Sunday, June 26, 2022

Automotif CCCXIII...

In 1973, OPEC announced an oil embargo directed at the nations that had supported Israel during the Yom Kippur War. The effects on the U.S. economy were harsh.
"The average US retail price of a gallon of regular gasoline rose 43% from 38.5¢ in May 1973 to 55.1¢ in June 1974. State governments asked citizens not to put up Christmas lights. Oregon banned Christmas and commercial lighting altogether. Politicians called for a national gasoline rationing program. Nixon asked gasoline retailers to voluntarily not sell gasoline on Saturday nights or Sundays; 90% of gas station owners complied, which produced long lines of motorists wanting to fill up their cars while they still could."
The effects on Detroit would trigger the first big round of downsizing and boost sales of compacts, as people suddenly had a reason to avoid "gas guzzlers".

Sales of one model weren't much affected, though...

Despite the embargo and the subsequent gas crisis, Chevrolet sold over 300,000 1974 Monte Carlos, up from the previous record sales year of '73 that saw almost 250,000 cross the curb.

The base engine was a 145bhp 2-bbl 350, and you could get a 400 in either 150bhp 2-bbl or 180bhp 4-bbl flavors, or splurge for a 235bhp 4-bbl 454 V-8.

The muscle car era was over... or at least in an intermission ...and Americans would spend the Decade of Disco enamored with the plush boulevardiers known as "Personal Luxury Coupes".



This fifteen year old v. good girl liked skritchies and was very interested in french fries and passersby.

Photographed with a Nikon D7100 & 16-80mm f/2.8-4E.


Saturday, June 25, 2022

Gratuitous Gun Pr0n #214

Sometimes gun reviews come in batches. In this case, there's a batch of FN stuff, like this new 509 Midsize Tactical, destined for write-ups in different outlets.

I like the 509 line, and this one's in the size sweet spot. (4" barrel, fifteen shot mag; basically the FN answer to the G19.)

Friday, June 24, 2022

Automotif CCCXII...

'71-'72 Cutlass Supreme Holiday Coupe 

The notchback roofline on the top-line Cutlass Supreme coupe distinguished it from the fastback lines of the lower level Cutlass F-85 and Cutlass S. It was Oldsmobile's shot at the burgeoning "personal luxury car" market.

The family that VROOOMs together...

It's the doggles on the pupper that make the photo...

click to embiggenate

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Big Win at SCOTUS

The biggest RKBA case since Heller & McDonald...

Let's try that again...

I've dusted off the "Patrons Only" post feature over at Patreon to do a day-by-day update of ongoing gun reviews, kind of a behind-the-scenes look at what's going to wind up in articles and how it got there.

Rifle Raffle Waffle ROFL

I've used Thread Reader App to consolidate an excellent Twitter thread by David Yamane about an interview he gave some local media who were in a tizzy over a firearm being raffled to support a little league baseball team:
Raffles are legal. Guns are legal. Combing the two is legal. All legitimate gun raffles, including the one in NC, require winners to pass a background check in order to take possession of the gun.

Charities raffle things that people value to incentivize donations. E.g., despite the harm it causes in society many groups use alcohol raffles to raise money for charity.


Guns are a commodity some people value. Why, then, is a gun raffle scandalizing? It is scandalizing because some people largely associate guns with crime and deviance and/or find guns distasteful.

Insofar as people's people's intuitions and cultural perceptions shape their opinions in general, we see systematic differences in people's views on guns that map onto whether a gun raffle is scandalizing.

Is it paranoia if they're all watching you?

Some people just like thinking they have the real truth, I guess. But have you noticed that people rarely believe just one wacky thing?
They are in fact vivid illustrations of a striking truth about human beings: however intelligent and knowledgeable we might be in other ways, many of us still believe the strangest things. You can find people who believe they were abducted by aliens, that the Holocaust never happened, and that cancer can be cured by positive thinking. A 2009 Harris Poll found that between one‑fifth and one‑quarter of Americans believe in reincarnation, astrology and the existence of witches. You name it, and there is probably someone out there who believes it.
It's rare to find a person who belives that UFOs are kidnapping people who doesn't also believe, say, that the moon landings are faked, or worry about chemtrails. The linked post asks if there isn't a fundamental reason why these sorts of people think the way they do; if, in fact, some people are just bad thinkers.

(h/t to RobertaX)

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Sowing and Reaping

Greg Ellifritz has a post up reflecting on yesterday's bombshell revelations about the police (non)response to the Uvalde school shooter and its multiple points of abject failure:
Which option would you choose given this scenario? I would argue that sometimes you have to take the shot regardless of the backstop. If these officers would have missed, they may have hit a couple kids on the playground. That would be absolutely horrible, but would be a far better result than the massacre that occurred.

But again, these officers will not be disciplined for allowing a murderer to get into an elementary school. They would be fired and sued if they had missed and shot kids on a playground. These are the rules society has set for officers. There’s no expectation that they do anything. They get punished if they screw up. They aren’t given the training to be truly competent with their weapons. It’s easy to see why they made the choices they did.
You should definitely RTWT.


That Time of Year

With the first big heat waves of summer, the news is full of stories about how important it is to not leave [kids, pets, the elderly or disabled, et cetera] in a parked car.

The gem of the stories is always when they share tips for avoiding these tragedies, one of which is always "To avoid forgetting an infant in the back seat, keep something back there that's important that you won't forget, like your purse or briefcase."

Tuesday, June 21, 2022


Earlier I was thinking that these were the first caps I'd busted since the FN High Power launch event in Georgia back in early March, but I think I made a couple range trips between then and TacCon. I didn't do any shooting at TacCon except the camera kind and don't think I've done any since?

It shows. 

Pistol shooting is a perishable skill.


The Great Indoors

Got magazines loaded for the High Power so I can walk in at Indy Arms and get to blasting right away when they open at ten.

When it's hot and humid enough, the HVAC system on an indoor range can have a hard time keeping up with the sheer volume of outside air being hauled in by the filtration system. Every bit of the entire volume of air on that range is exchanged in less than ten minutes, if I'm remembering rightly. It's generally fine until outdoor air temps hit the nineties and the humidity is high.

I'd imagine that ranges where the weather's like this for a significant chunk of the year will build more capacity into the air conditioner servicing the range. I remember CCA's not having too much trouble keeping up during a normal Knoxville summer. I don't know enough about air conditioning to grok the specifics. 

I wonder what it's like in places like the Pacific Northwet where A/C wasn't the norm until recently? When I took that class from Kathy at FAS back in 2015, it was pretty hot, but we didn't spend much time on an indoor range, and I've slept since then.


Gratuitous Gun Pr0n #213...

Fresh off the truck, this FN High Power is slated for a full-length review for the print edition of Shooting Illustrated

As a bonus (big thanks to Lucky Gunner) it's also going to crunch through 2,000 rounds of assorted ball and hollow point ammo, from premium grade stuff to... um, less-than-premium-grade? Let's go with "more budget-friendly" ...fodder, all in the name of science, for Shooting Illustrated Online.

Let's turn up the juice and see what shakes loose.


The Longest Day

It's the summer solstice today, which means sunrise here in Indy happens at 0617 and it doesn't go down again until 2117, with Civil Twilight lasting almost until ten PM.

Ma Nature is celebrating the date by bringing the humidity back, replacing yesterday's dry 90°F with a more sticky 97°F. 


Monday, June 20, 2022


Got another test in the works...

This is why we can't have nice things.

The caption to this photo in an online gun article reads "This rig from Crossfire Holsters is stable, secure and readily accessible", when you can look at it and plainly see it's neither of the first two things.


California Dreamin'

I'm generally over the whole genre of "Fisking Some Random Anti-Gun Column". Everybody on both sides generally has their minds made up and the whole "I'm not arguing with them, I'm arguing so the undecided people who read it can see my arguments" is just a pipe dream. 

There aren't any undecided people reading 1,000-word columns on gun control on the internet. 

Generally these fiskings are just done by people counting virtual coup in order to get asspats from culture war teammates in their own hugbox, usually by saying "Hurr durr, other team bad!" in a humorous fashion.

Still, I have to recognize game when I see it, and this one is good. It's not just some blogger titillating their comments section by coming up with novel ways to call their opponents "poopieheads"; it's a genuine effortpost and deserves a read.

Here's an excerpt:
Microstamping is straight science fiction. A totally non-viable technology. Steel, brass, and aluminum under momentary pressures varying from 24,000 to 80,000 PSI don’t work this way. Neither the firing pin nor the chamber can in any way reliably imprint a QR code or whatever else someone is thinking onto a spent case. This is basic materials sciences.

This utopian pipedream sits firmly in the realm of ‘wouldn’t it be nice if’ and it will remain there, probably until the end of conventional metallic cartridge ammunition. This suggestion also assigns an absurdly over inflated importance to ballistic matching and tracing in criminal investigations. It isn’t that important. It isn’t unimportant but it isn’t that important. Tracking down people via the social aspects of their interpersonal interactions is going to remain the most reliable method, not checking to see if a microstamp on a casehead can find an owner through a trace report (which takes a good while) to a dealer.

So no, there is no ‘right’ to fire a gun anonymously, beyond the obvious protections you have against unreasonable search, seizure, and privacy in general. There is just no way to make this magic work.

Even if we could get a reliable case print with material durability, which we cannot, a few seconds with polisher compounds or something like swapping firing pins and all the effort to imprint cases is wasted. Heck a modestly forward thinking criminal type could pick up brass from a range and leave it at the scene, or use one of the many brass catcher devices. Reloaded ammunition would carry multiple microstamps. You could make it against the law to remove stamps, like mattress tags, but what particular brand of neerdowell do you believe wouldn’t take a basic defacement step to protect themselves? They already make the attempt with serial numbers.
Go and RTWT.

Actual Anti-Gun Protest in Broad Ripple, 2013


Caught Up In The Gears of Injustice

Check out this horror story...
A man’s life was changed after he spent 17 days in a New Mexico jail because American Airlines wrongfully accused and identified him to police as a shoplifter at the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport, according to a lawsuit filed Monday.

Michael Lowe boarded a flight at DFW Airport in May 2020. More than a year later, he said, he was on vacation in New Mexico when he was arrested on warrants he had never heard of for a crime he did not commit.

For more than two weeks, Lowe was held in Quay County Jail at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in “grossly unsanitary conditions,” according to the lawsuit. Lowe said he didn’t even find out what he was charged with until after his release.
The horror comes not only from the kafkaesque facts of getting hauled to jail on a mystery warrant, but also from the gulag-like conditions in the Quay County lockup. This isn't some third world prison, or even an overcrowded underfunded city jail in some coastal megalopolis; just your basic county hole in rural-ish New Mexico. 

It's not just bad that an innocent man was subjected to these sort of conditions, but that anybody is, here in these United States.


Automotif CCCXI...

Sunday's weather was absolutely glorious, with temps in the mid seventies and low humidity, complimented by gentle breezes. It was perfect convertible weather, and this gentleman was out making the most of it in his Triumph TR6.

It's a later one, '74-'77 as attested by the grotesque rubber bumper warts required to meet U.S. safety standards.

While the few TR6's of this vintage sold in the motherland were fuel-injected, American market cars (by far the majority of TR6's sold) had a pair of Strombergs feeding fuel-air mix to the slightly undersquare, cast iron, pushrod straight six, resulting in 105 SAE net horsepower from 152 cubes of displacement.

Acceleration, consequently, was hardly eyeball-flattening. Most tests reported 0-60 times in the ten-to-eleven second range. Still, everything feels fast when your ass is only inches from the pavement.