Sunday, November 30, 2008

Inane quote of the day:

Via that ever reliable source of vacuousness, CNN:
Pirates have reached a deal with the owners of a Ukrainian ship loaded with arms that was seized more than two months ago, an official with the Kenya Seafarers Association said Sunday.


The ship, which is laden with Soviet-era tanks, tank artillery shells, grenade launchers and small arms, was seized on September 25.


After the hijacking, the U.S. Navy sent ships to monitor the vessel for fear its cargo could end up in the hands of terrorists.
Really? I guess having a bunch of 125mm 2A46 tank guns in the hands of terrorists would be much worse than having them in the hands of pirates, then?

I mean, if Al Qaeda got their hands on a 40+ ton T-72M, they could sneak it onto an airliner with the aid of a mole in the catering crew, and I'm pretty sure that not even a reinforced cockpit door would be a match for a long-rod penetrator at 1600 meters per second. You don't even want to know what a tank would do at the food court of your local mall...

Today In History: Less than your chances of...

On this date in 1954, Ann Elizabeth Hodges of Oak Grove, Alabama was napping on her sofa when, all of a sudden, an honest-to-God rock from outer space came through the roof of the house, smashed her big ol' Philco console radio, and slammed into her, leaving her rudely awakened, bruised all up and down one side of her body, and the only person in documented history to have been hit by a meteorite.

Since Powerball didn't exist at the time, she couldn't run out and buy a ticket.

Training Day.

The precipitation is stacking up in the yard outside my window. What a great day to go shooting!

I think some speedloader drills with numb fingers are in order today. Especially because, now that I think about it, I've never worked with HKS speedloaders while wearing gloves before. I imagine that it could be downright comedic with the little size 32-J's that I use for my 432PD.

Plus, I haven't done any drills of any kind recently with either of my two most usual carry revolvers, the 296 or the 432. One of the downsides of having training guns is that sometimes they wind up getting used to train to the exclusion of the guns for which they are substituting. My little Model 34 Kit Gun is a wonderful training aid, and allows me to do a lot more shooting with a 2" round butt J-frame snubbie than I could do if I had to shoot .32 or .38, but it doesn't mean I can stop logging trigger time on the centerfire guns altogether.

...and, hey! Checking out that HKS link above, I notice that they are making .22 J-frame speedloaders! I know what I want for Christmas now! (The main thing I've been unable to mimic with my Kit Gun has been reloading drills...)

The other purpose of the range trip will be to see if the LTC 9 guiderodectomy was successful, or if the patient needs to go back under the knife. The guide rod had a slight interference fit, but only feels like it's binding anything at the extreme rearward limits of slide travel. If it will wear in with a magazine or two, that's preferable to actually doing any more whittling on it...

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Who's the racist?

Xrlq has a brutal fisking of measured response to Tamara Dietrich's handwringing complaints about paranoid racist gun owners here.
A black man gets elected president and half the country dives for the panic room, buying up guns and squirreling away supplies like fatalists awaiting the End of Days.
In case you weren't aware, Ms. Dietrich, the response from gun owners would have been the same if a white woman or a white man had been elected. It's not the color of the skin that panicked Cletus, Zed, and me, but the color of the bunting.

And nobody's stocking up for a war, Ms. Dietrich, it's more of a "get 'em while you can" thing. For instance, if a candidate with a track record of voting to ban bad hairstyles had just been elected, wouldn't you be in line at Sally's, filling the cart with mousse right now?

Notes from a very strange place...

Abby from Bad Dogs and Such would like to let us know that Iraq is in very good hands now: Hers.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Shooty goodness...

Tomorrow morning comes awful early in these parts. I'll be taking the Para LTC 9 to the range again, and... I dunno... something cool and Smith & Wesson-y. Maybe the Model 53, if I can work up the energy to degrease the chambers real good.

Well isn't that just $#%^ great.

My dinky little 15" LCD monitor is starting to crap out.

Dammit, why do things like this always crop up around the holidays?

Like crossing some event horizon of geekery...

I just stumbled across The Nerdiest Thing On The Internet.


Gunsmithery. Sorta.

So, the package from Brownell's arrived in my mailbox Wednesday, and I scurried downstairs to the gun cleaning area to install the stubby guide rod in my Para LTC 9 and relocate the full-length guide rod to my spare parts bin.

Now, what could be simpler than putting a new guide rod in the pistol, right? Right. Some of you might be aware of a manufacturing phenomenon called "tolerance stacking"; if you are, bear with me while I explain for the kids in the back...

See, all mass-produced parts are not really exactly the same size; there is an allowable range of size, ranging from a few hojillionths (in the case of hard disc read/write heads and mechanical artificial heart valves) to a couple tenths of an inch (really big nails or two-by-fours). These are called "manufacturing tolerances". The problem can arise when you have a situation like, oh, I don't know, say an Ed Brown 1911 guide rod with a head that is out near the maximum spec and a ParaUSA cast frame and slide that are way at the other end of the scale, vis a vis their interior dimensions.


So I'll be taking a stone to my guide rod head and mumbling imprecations about cast frames and slides under my breath while doing so...

Anyhow, this seems like a splendid time to bring up some handy dandy rules of gun mechanics, with a quick translation from catalogspeak into English:
  1. "Drop In" Installation: Some fitting required.
  2. Some Fitting Required: Better take it to a good gunsmith.
  3. Gunsmith Installation Recommended: ...and bring money.

The upside to the whole drama of messing with the gun is that you get to keep the old parts that come off it. It was some time ago that I realized I had a complete 1911 bottom end, less a hammer strut and the actual, you know, frame in my spare parts box. I've arranged to get my hands on those two missing parts, and soon my Ciener .22 conversion kit will have a permanent home and I'll have a dedicated .22LR training 1911.

Random musing...

What do you put in fuel stabilizer to keep it from going bad?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The language of the sandbox...

The other day I was laboriously raking leaves in the front yard of Roseholme Cottage. As the tree detritus was scraped into piles and shoveled manually into bags, I kept glancing at my neighbor two doors down with her stylin' mulching leaf vacuum.

I suddenly felt kinship with every kid in the sandbox who wanted another child's toy for her very own: You need to share! It's not fair!

Now that the word "fair" has re-entered our national political discourse, perhaps I can expect our newly-elected Dear Leader to make my neighbor share her neat toy with me come January 21...


"The European Commission wants EU governments to jointly combat the growing economic slowdown with a €200 billion ($256.22 billion) stimulus plan to boost growth and confidence among consumers and businesses."

Look, governments do not generate revenue, okay? They don't make anything, sell anything, or create anything... (Well, except red tape and bizarre and inexplicable regulations, but those are hard to charge for when you can get them for free at your local church or bridge club.)

Any money that the government "pumps into" the economy to "boost" it had to be pumped out of the economy in the form of taxes in the first place. Why is this so hard to understand? You can't raise the water level in a swimming pool by siphoning its contents from the deep end to the shallow end, nor can you build a wall higher by removing bricks from the bottom and putting them on top. Why is this extremely simple fact so terrifically difficult for otherwise smart people to grasp?

The chOsen One has made noises about revitalizing the American economy by hiring people to dig holes and fill them back up again, and pay them with the taxes that come out of their paychecks, and apparently sane people nod their heads sagely and think this will work. Unglaublich!

Vacuous quote of the day:

From a Christiane Amanpour interview on the current festivities in Mumbai:
CNN: An attack this large, this sophisticated, and carried out with no warning could have come from inside India, maybe, maybe outside, maybe a neighboring state could be involved.
Well, thank you for narrowing that down for us, Captain Obvious. Did we need to pad out air time or word count?

It's a photoshop contest!

Sebastian at Snowflakes In Hell is taking submissions for HS Precision's next ad campaign.

Let your inner snark off the leash. :)

Next up, Paris Hilton on the sociological impact of multigenerational welfare communities...

But first, noted international geopolitical expert Deepak (sweet Jesu, I'm laughing as I type this) Chopra takes time out from writing lame-ass, vague self-help books read by tapioca-willed yuppies to discuss potential exit strategies in the "War on Terror" with Larry King.

I swear to Vishnu, you don't need to know anything about anything for a newsie to interview you, do you? From Meryl Streep whinging about Alar in apples to Rosie O'Donnell on gun control, all you have to be is famous for something... anything, and the media will lend credence to your opinion on everything: Bono on global economics; Al Gore on climatology. Not one of these people could pour piss out of a boot with instructions printed on the heel, and yet we're clogging up the datastream with their inane off-topic mutterings. Why?

(PS: ...and before anybody says "Oh, he's from India! We should listen to his opinions on what to do!", may I remind you that Ice Dog Johnson is from South Central, but nobody's springing for his bail money to get his opinions on fixing urban blight...)

(PPS: Seriously, Deepak Chopra? This guy is to serious philosophy what John Tesh is to classical music...)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Mm-mm, good!

I just stopped by Locally Grown Gardens to pick up a pumpkin pie and a honey crisp apple pie for a friend's Thanksgiving festivities.

They are now, by the way, serving pulled-pork BBQ every day. From age 10 to age 40, I lived in Georgia and Tennessee. I know what good barbecue is supposed to taste like (...and don't none of you Texans start up with that beef brisket blasphemy; that ain't barbecue. BBQ don't come from no cows; it comes from pigs.) This is some of the best I have ever eaten. I guarantee it.

When I want tastelessness....

...I always choose H.S. Precision!

Anybody who would use the endorsement of someone who has at the very best showed questionable target acquisition skills and at worst is the cold-blooded murderer of a mother with babe in arms, does not deserve my financial support or that of any other freedom-loving American.

What's next from HS Precision? A John Lee Malvo Signature Edition AR-15 stock?

It is hard to believe anyone could be that clueless and still remember to breathe. I've seen cows graze on lifeforms with more foresight.


More Para notes...

I really dislike the grasping grooves ParaUSA is using on their slides these days. I know that one way to be visually distinctive in a market full of people making nearly identical guns is to go with a different style of cocking serrations, but the ones Para picked definitely emphasize style over substance.

They appear to have been cut with a ball end mill, and have a wide, shallow, semicircular profile that leaves none-too-sharp ridges between the grooves. Slather this with teflon paint, and you have a recipe for slipped grasps with dry hands. And a slipped cocking grasp on a pistol sporting a big BoMar-esque target style rear sight equals a trip to the first-aid kit for a band-aid.

Incidentally, somewhere between Blackwater and Roseholme Cottage, the LTC 9 also sprouted an ambi thumb safety. While the thought was nice, the CTC Lasergrips make it nearly impossible to re-apply the safety using the left thumb.

This way to the egress...

Brian at Samizdata has tacked through 180 degrees and now agrees that maybe the fastest cure for Britain's politico-economic mess would be for the people who make the brains run on time to stampede for the exit.

Today In History: Fire for effect.

On this day in 1939, some artillery shells may or may not have landed on or about the Russian village of Mainila.

What is nearly certain is that if shells did land there, they weren't Finnish shells, as their army didn't actually have any cannon cockers in, you know, range to shell the village in question.

Stalin's propaganda machine instantly whipped up a frenzy of panic, as the poor, tiny, defenseless peace-lovers of the USSR would be forced, forced! against their will to defend themselves against the slavering giant of Finnish aggression.

This played about as well in the court of world opinion as one would expect.

In the subsequent war, the Russians won (but only on points) and gained territorial concessions, mostly involving prime real estate and natural resources, which most folks considered unusual behavior from a "peace-loving people" who were "only trying to defend themselves".

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

...and to the republic, for Richard Stands...

I made a 32 out of 33 on the "civic literacy" test that's going around, apparently leaving me overqualified for elected office...

Om mani padme burn in hell...

Apparently a fatwa has been declared against... yoga?

Could granola be next? Or aromatherapy? Pilates, maybe?

(H/T to Barefoot Clown.)

Scandal in Mayberry...

Rocky Ripple is a hopelessly twee hamlet of some 300 homes just across the canal from the Broad Ripple area where I live. It is isolated from the rest of the city by the fact that it can only be accessed via two bridges over the canal, but the canal couldn't keep the little thorpe isolated from modern scandals. Apparently the secretary-treasurer of the tiny burg, one 79-year-old Margaret Jansen, is accused of embezzling as much as a quarter of the town's operating budget over the last year.

Town officials are mum about whether the entire missing sum was spent on a 2-year subscription to Cat Fancy, or whether some of the funds were diverted to purchase Mister Ruffles a catnip mouse from the local PetSmart.


If I get fired up today, I'm going to take my two older Finnish Mosins apart and check all their markings. The newer of the two is an m/28 and the older is a full-length m/91, a New England Westinghouse. I want to see what other markings the m/91 has from its long journey 'round the world, and I'm especially curious to see if the m/28 has a SIG barrel.

What's funny is that I was never that much into Mosins before I discovered Finns. I have a 91/30 and an M44 (actually a postwar Hungarian 44.M) mostly because it's expected, and I needed the 91/30 for my collection of WWII long arms. I never really picked them up and handled them or had any real desire to take them to the range, the way I did with Mausers or Springfields or Enfields.

Then I got my first Finn, a VKT m/39, and here was a Mosin I could love; a true silk purse from a sow's ear. Soon after came the m/28 and then the m/91. More will definitely follow...

An odd Wikiwander...

This date is the anniversary of the sinking of the White Ship in the English Channel, which drowned the son of Henry I and set in motion the events that led to the period of civil war in England known as the Anarchy.

The Anarchy was brought to a close by the reign of Henry II, who (probably unintentionally) had Thomas Beckett offed. Backtracking to Hank the Deuce led me to a list of monarchs in the British Isles, which led me to a list of Scottish monarchs, which led me to...

...a movie about Idi Amin? Huh. The things one learns...

Sigh. Looking at Pugsley and the Dear Leader, one realizes that batshit crazy Third World dictators sure have gone through a quality slump in the last thirty years...

Everybody's sleepin' off the weekend.

Saturday morning started at 0600 with the feeding of the cats and the making of the coffee and the very hasty ablutions, because Shootin' Buddy showed up at 0730 so we could saddle up and head for the bowling pin shoot at Marion County Fish & Game.

We arrived at the match and met up with Turk Turon, and proceeded to do much shooting and cheering and freezing. Red and Mrs. Red showed up, but they hadn't brought his new 1911, just a camera. Maybe next time. The whole thing would have had a much higher suck quotient if Turk hadn't thought to bring some of those little chemical hand warmers, which he generously passed around. Toss one of those things in a North Face mountaineering glove and your digits will stay toasty warm. Thanks, Turk! Also, the match would have been a lot harder on my digits without my awesome Blackhawk tactical gloves, which are thin enough to allow shooting and a lot grippier on a teflon-painted pistol than my poor bare fingers.

After two tournaments, we punked out, leaving the hardier souls starting a third, and piled into two vehicles to caravan across town for... Naked Tchopstix! At RobertaX's recommendation, I ordered Dolsot Bibimbap, which is an awesome cast-iron bowl that is brought to the table sizzling hot and full of beef and rice and cabbage and peppers and comes with a little container of spicy Korean barbecue sauce which you can dump over the sizzling contents of the bowl and then hold your face in the resultant steam cloud to clear your sinuses and warm your soul.

After lunch we went on a little gun store crawl, first to Bradis out on the west side and then down to Elmore's in Greenwood. Elmore's was frickin' awesome; it's a rare thing to see a gun store with about 20 high end 1911's in the showcase: Ed Brown, Nighthawk, Wilson... Great selection! Literally hundreds of more mundane pistols, too. Their showcases looked like I wanted CCA's to. If they were closer to home, I'd be begging them for a job.

After that, we headed out onto the lonesome prairie for dinner at Brigid's, where there was simply amazing homemade yumminess in the form of portabello mushroom turnovers in a sour cream sauce for an appetizer and a main course of delicious lasagna. I was sent home with, not only leftover lasagna, but the most sinfully delicious sammich spread I have ever tried: homemade cashew butter. I will never eat Jif again.

We staggered home at ten-ish and were sleeping not an hour later because the alarm was set to go off at 0600 Sunday, too, so we could do even more fun stuff!

My friend showed up at 0800, and we left Roberta behind and headed out for breakfast, and thence to Eagle Creek, because we just hadn't gotten our fill of shooting outdoors in the freezing cold the day before. When we got back to Roseholme Cottage, Shootin' Buddy offered to help rake the front lawn and, not being a complete idiot, I heartily took him up on the offer.

Meanwhile, Turk and Roberta had wandered off for a snack. When they got back we all loaded up and set off for the Blog Meet at Fionn MacCool's Irish Pub.

So, if I wasn't super-productive yesterday and my typing sounded like I had the sniffles or was coming down with a cold, and maybe it seemed like I was taking a three-hour nap on the sofa, now you know why. It was a pretty go-go weekend, and I'd do it again in a minute...


During a recent conversation with friends, I mused that the BATF added "Explosives" to their portfolio in an obvious effort to make it a cool place to work. When they add race cars, steak, and bacon, I'll probably try answering phones or sweeping floors or whatever it takes to get in on the ground floor of Tech Branch. With the Lightbringer in charge, you know they'll be hiring...

"Hello! BATFERCSB! How may I help you?"

Monday, November 24, 2008

Well, you have to credit them with chutzpah.

The Russkies claim that the Georgians and Poles fired on their own presidents in order to foment an international incident. When asked for proof of this assertion, the Russian foreign minister said that he had it, but his dog ate it. Or he'd left it with his girlfriend in... uh... Canada.

As long as we're not getting reports that Saakashvili committed suicide by throwing himself backwards onto a steak knife twenty-seven times, I guess there's no real cause for alarm.

Besides, the Lightbringer will be stepping up to the plate on 1/21/09, and he'll fix everything.

Test pattern...

Stuff coming up on the blogmeet/Moronpalooza, Even More Shooting In The Freezing Cold, and the awesomest sandwich topping EVAR.

Had to run to the grocery store for Vault Zero and some kitty propellant, so I'm off to kind of a slow start this morning, plus I swore I'd answer some email...

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Match Dissection, Para Review.

First, the report on the Para LTC 9: In a word, boring. It shot just like it did at Blackwater, no malfs, no breakage, no drama. Of course, although it was cold and the pistol was just out of the box, the round count was probably only 40 or 50 rounds, so that was no big deal; not exactly a torture test. I haven't cleaned or lubed it, and I'm going to try to head out to Eagle Creek in a couple of hours and put another hundred rounds or so downrange.

I ordered a stubby GI-style Commander-length guide rod and the proper plug from Brownell's this morning, because the full-length guide rod that is in the pistol is an abomination unto the eyes of God and John Moses Browning (pbuh) and Jeff Cooper who is their Prophet. Lo, it doth complicate disassembly and raise a vile smell unto the nostrils of the Lord, much like the designated hitter, or Jeff Gordon fans.

I liked the sight picture. My Pro has Novaks on it, and between the white dot, the Black T coating, and an uneven layer of propellant residue, the front sight can get a little mottled halfway through a match and easy to lose in the strong black notch of the clean rear sight. The fiber optic on the LTC was just as easy to pick up on my last table as it was on my first, however.

I didn't use the CTC LaserGrips, of course. I'll see how well their zero has survived at the range today.

My shooting? I cleared my first two tables in workmanlike, if unspectacular, fashion. The 115gr ball was not a good combination with the frozen pins, tending to spall off chunks without imparting much momentum to the pin unless it absolutely centered it. As my markspersonship declined in direct proportion to the sensation in my toes, I was more often rewarded with gutterballs and even when I did hit, it often as not left a half pin laying on the table towards which I sprayed bullets in impotent frustration.

Lessons learned: 1) Make use of glove warmers between rounds; it doesn't matter how loud the little Todd Jarrett in your head is yelling "Grip the gun 20% tighter!" if you can't feel your fingers. 2) Front sight. Watch the front sight, not the bowling pins, nor the other shooter's table. Just the front sight. 3) If I use the 9mm again, which I probably will, 147gr JHPs are what I want to be shooting at pins, especially in cold weather; not lightweight, fast-moving, low-momentum roundnosed bullets that glance off the pins in a spray of plastic and wood chips, leaving a wounded pin on its side on the table.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Game face. says it is nineteen degrees out there. I see no reason to doubt them.

I'll be shooting minor caliber at pins today, with the ParaUSA LTC 9. The only thing I'm worried about is the way the pins behave in the super duper cold. Last month, it was pretty chilly for the first few rounds in the morning, and the cold pins were spalling off huge chunks of plastic and wood. If you center punched one, like I did with a 230gr Golden Saber on my first shot of the day, the pin virtually exploded on its way off the table. On the other hand, a peripheral hit just threw white plastic fragments and left an oddly asymmetrical pin on its side to be laboriously shot off the table.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Viva. La. Bredalucion!!!!

Palin/Breda 2012!

Just in case you needed further proof that Breda is 12 feet tall and made of radiation:
Anyway, if you are disturbed by this, maybe you should go to Whole Foods and buy yourself a tofurkey. I'm sure that's what that candy ass David Shuster is eating this year - with a side of arugula - but probably only after he gets through sobbing and apologizing to it.

It's that time again...

With Christmas coming 'round, I'm going to shake loose some spare gelt by going to the knife cabinet and tossing out a couple on eBay.

Anybody particularly interested in a ceramic-and-titanium Boker Delta or a radical carbon-fiber Warren Thomas-designed Beretta Avenger before they go up for auction should speak now. I may sell my Boker Orion, too...

A likely excuse...

NRAhab is making noises about having to go to some far-off city to watch his favorite NASCAR team play a rubber of cricket or something tomorrow, but I think the real reason he punkt out of the bowling pin match tomorrow morning is because it is going to be as cold as... well, let's just say there won't be any brass monkeys running around at Marion County Fish & Game... and he's not dumb as a stump, like certain others of us that are going to be there regardless.

Mystery can.

When I moved in, I slung four full ammo cans into the corner of a closet. I have since pulled out Can #1 (which contained a variety of premium +P and +P+ .38 Special JHP) and Can #2 (.45ACP ball) and taken them to the range.

I know Can #3 is full of 55-grain 5.56mm FMJ from Georgia Arms.

I have no recollection at all what is in Can #4.

I almost don't want to open it. As long as I don't, it could be full of anything: precious .44-40 or .32-20, 9mm I badly need to feed the Para LTC 9, a zillion rounds of .22LR to keep me plinking for months... I'm sure when I open it it's going to turn out to be corrosive Romanian 8mm Mauser or 12ga birdshot or some 7.62x39mm left over from when I had guns chambered for 7.62x39.

But as long as I don't look inside, it's Schrödinger's Can and I can imagine it full of whatever I want.

UPDATE: I was weak. I had to look in the can. Highlight below for spoiler...

The downside? It wasn't full of precious, precious .44-40 or .22 Remington Jet. Upside? If I need to fend off the zombies with my Steyr-Mannlicher stützen, I am squared away with 8x56mmR already loaded on en bloc clips.


It was a balmy 18 degrees out when I stepped out to get the paper, and it may get up to a sweltering 33 today.

The sun is out, but I'm not sure what good it's doing. I think I'll go emit some CO2; or maybe run the car for a bit to contribute to the "urban heat island".

Unless it snows, of course. I'm totally cool with arctic weather as long as I get some snow for the payoff. Cold without the white stuff is pointless.

Depriving widows of broken guns.

Cleveland is apparently conducting another gun "buy back" (without, as usual, explaining how one is supposed to buy back something one never owned in the first place.)

David Codrea brings the snark:
What I love is the requirement that it be "a working handgun." ...

I mean, what could make more sense than giving someone who knows nothing about guns financial incentive to pull the trigger to make sure it works?

Bless Al Gore and his mighty tubes of internets!

How did misanthropes ever manage to get any holiday shopping done before the invention of teh intarw3bz?

Plus, hooray for all the cute little micro boutiques made possible by eCommerce! Without the internet, how would you ever be able to find socks knit from the fur of long-haired chihuahuas by blind nuns in Lichtenstein, or hand-painted faux-Brady Bunch lunch boxes made out of recycled Spam cans and filled with green M&M's?

Unusual sphincter control.

The Seattle Pravda managed to do a blurb on National Ammo Day with only the tiniest squirt of PSH.
While many gun owners are preparing to part with their cash, a Washington CeaseFire spokeswoman said the day should have a different emphasis.

"As we approach Thanksgiving, we would better benefit from responsible firearms owners reminding the public of the importance of safe firearm storage," group executive director Kristen Comer said.

Maybe we could steal a march on this hand-wringer and have a National Four Rules Day, too. On second thought, every day is Four Rules Day. Having a special day for gun safety would be as dumb as having a special day for not driving into telephone poles.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Who leaves Atlantis off the maps?

Who keeps the Martians under wraps?
We do!
We do!


I just grilled myself a reuben for lunch, 'cause I'm cool like dat. Freshly sliced deli corned beef FTW.

(Note To Self: Butter would have tasted a hojillion times better than olive oil. Not that the olive oil-grilled reuben tasted badly, mind you...)

Team Predator in action.

If you don't find this tale amusing, your eyes are probably on the sides of your head.

Mine are on the front, and I'm still wiping tears of laughter out of them.

EDIT: Speaking of eccentric feline behavior...

Oh, wait...

So, someone just hit my blog searching for "mossy oak ribbons", and I thought "That would look awesome in my hair!" before I realized they probably meant the papery kind for wrapping Christmas presents...

They don't really make distinctions...

(Poster by, of course, Oleg Volk.)

With the "Fudd" discussions going on here and there about the gun blogosphere, I was reminded of this poster Oleg did a while back...

(Plus it was a good damned excuse to post a picture of a Finnish Mosin, which just makes me all warm and fuzzy inside.)

Anyhow, I'm torn on the term "Fudd". Now, I hunt when I can; heck, one of my big dreams is an African safari. Although that is not my primary reason for owning firearms, it is definitely an ancillary one. I don't see "Fudd" as applying to all hunters, but I have met plenty over the years that would gesture to an AR hanging on the wall behind me at the shop and say "Whadda y'all needta sell them things for? Don't nobody need onea them."

I believe it's true that the political side of the house does benefit somewhat by claiming "x-many jillion" American gun owners, and counting torpid .30-30 owning hunters who don't know the Second Amendment from second gear on their ATVs among that number. However Billy-Bob Fudd gets something of a turn in the wagon with someone else pulling, too, in that every time a single mother in an urban area buys a .38 or a shotgun to keep around the house or the ammunition to feed it, she is paying an excise tax that is used to maintain hunting lands she will never use and could probably care less about. (That's right. In case you didn't know, a sizable percentage of the price of your last Glock or case of 7.62x39mm went to make sure that Cletus has someplace to shoot ducks this year.)

So, the issue is all kinds of complicated. I do think it's important to get Uncle Jed to understand that there are very few politicians who believe in what he would consider "sensible gun control", unless by "sensible gun control" he means getting rid of his handguns and everything but a double-barrel shotgun that he keeps locked in a government-mandated safe...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Ammo Day plans got kinda scotched by my trip to the car store, so I wound up going to Gander Mountain with my roomie when she got home from work. 100rds of WWB food for the Para LTC 9 and one of those 333rd packs of Winnie .22LR have helped restock the VFTP ammo locker...


In a moment, I shall tell you about Tamara's Big Adventure in the wretched "system house".

Touching at the root of the problem.

Sebastian, in his post on the rumored Holder nomination, references the last Democrat AG with
...Ruby Ridge was at the end of the Bush I presidency, and that would seem to be correct. But I would note that it doesn’t appear Janet Reno did much housecleaning to get rid of the people who concocted the unlawful rules of engagement.
which obliquely illuminates the bigger problem: The explosive growth of federal agencies since the 1930s has left a government whose interface with the people is largely conducted through a swarm of unelected, virtually unfireable bureaucrats that sail along on their pre-charted courses no matter how various elections may try to re-trim the sails of the ship of state.

Another Yankee day...

It's cold and windy, and the sun is scheduled to set sometime around lunch.

Plus, if all goes according to plan, at the end of the day I will be driving something practical and roomy and slow instead of the zooty Kraut roadster I've piloted for the last seven years. If I make a passenger throw up with this thing, it'll be from body roll over urban potholes, not from pressing their face against the side glass with G-forces in the Appalachian foothills.

The temperature is expected to rise to a balmy 42, but with the thirty-knot gusts blowing from Mordor to the northwest, it'll be hard to tell apart from the high twenties it was this morning.


Solar spectrum lamps and Vitamin D, you say?

Today In History: ...and don't come back!

On this date in 1095, Pope Urban II convened the Council of Clermont in France. An embassy had just arrived from Alexius I Comnenus of Byzantium asking for help from his fellow Christians against the heathen Turks, who were almost at the very gates of Constantinople.

The topic of the conference offered a splendid way to remove a burr under the Pope's saddle; the ambitious dukes and barons who were jostling for crowns, landless younger sons, and unemployed mercenaries from the great Norman adventuring armies of the time, all of which were making life in Western Europe in those days look like the set of an Errol Flynn movie, complete with spilled drinks, beaten peasants, and much swinging from chandeliers...

Happy National Ammo Day!

Go buy some ammo today!

I'm going to do a double whammy, placing an order at Georgia Arms as well as driving down to Beech Grove Firearms; spread the love around, so to speak...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

All the cool kids...

...are in the chat room here.

You can be a cool kid, too.

Stepping out the door... go look at a used Chrysler Pacifica and a Dodge Magnum.

A shaved-down minivan and a wagon. For someone who has only ever owned one four-door auto in her life. I must be getting old...

The RINO is not an endangered species... least not in Congress.

I could hear the squee from here.

Breda has a visitor.

Prob'ly it ain't, but if it ain't, it should've been.

Are you experienced?

One way of telling the experienced gun toter is that they have a box full of holsters that they have tried and discarded. I actually have two boxes, about the size of long neck beer cases, one full of revolver holsters and one of 1911 rigs, and those are just the ones I have kept because they are likely to see use again.

I have pretty much settled on a very few holsters for use: I have an el-cheapo Uncle Mike's pocket holster for J-frames, two more-or-less identical IWB rigs for 1911s (a Brommeland Max-Con V and a Milt Sparks Versa Max 2), and a G-Code paddle for 1911s that I use when playing gun games at the range.

Over at Home On The Range, Brigid shares her notes on the same topic.

Where's the problem?

So, there seems to be some nattering to the effect that having Slick Willy looking over her shoulder is an impediment to Hillary being tapped for Secretary of State.

Are she and Bill even living together these days? Last I heard, their girlfriends weren't speaking to each other...

Today In History: Drinking the Kool Aid.

Actually? It was Flavor Aid.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The funniest thing I've seen all day.

Only God can make a tree, but only Government could make a graffiti wall...

...and launch a criminal vandalism investigation when someone spraypaints graffiti thereon.

Proof that ignorance is no barrier to opinions.

Every morning I make a point of stepping onto the front porch with a cup of coffee and a cigarette, retrieving the Indy Catbox Liner from the lawn, flipping to the editorial page and pressure-checking my cerebral arteries for weak spots.

After this morning, I can safely state that there are no incipient aneurysms waiting to let go, because they surely would have burst while reading a piece by one Fran Quigley, who went to a gun show called the "Indy 1500" at the state fairgrounds at the end of October. Oddly, I also attended a show at the same fairgrounds at the same time, and it even went by the same name, but it must have been in a different building, because the one I attended had no Title 2 Glock 23s for less than $100...
Thousands of weapons are for sale. Glock 23 fully automatic pistols, Uzi nine millimeters, Colt 44 magnum Anacondas. Some cost less than $100.
He bemoans the display of an German uniform for sale, without noting that the table in question was also selling a British gas mask, a U.S. Doughboy helmet, a Japanese sword, and a French revolver.

The best part is the Totally Unregulated Gun Show Loophole Exploited By Private Sellers To Arm Thugs And Wife Beaters!
The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1983 requires that licensed gun dealers conduct background checks of purchasers before selling firearms. But there is no such federal or state requirement for private sellers. They are free to sell weapons, including at gun shows, to anyone, including convicted felons and spouse abusers, who plunks down the cash.
(...and yes, the Brady Act was passed in '93, but we'll credit him with a typo on that...)

Speaking as an unregulated private seller who actually sold a gun on the floor of that very show, Mr. Quigley, let me recount my experience: I was walking around with a very tricked-out AR carbine, hoping to get the funds for a Colt 1902. When folks would ask the price, I would say "$1,300". I'd had several nibbles, when a young man with a military haircut called his father over to look at the weapon. "Wow, Dad, look! This is just like the ones we were issued, except it doesn't have the CCO sight! How much?"

He obviously wanted it very badly, and as "Thirtee..." came out of my mouth, I could see his face fall "...but with the serviceman's discount for you? A thousand even." He walked off with his dad, deep in conversation. An aisle later, he caught up with me, with a fistful of hundreds and fifties.

"Cool!" I said, "I'm happy to sell it to you! Just flash me an Indiana driver's license for my conscience..." Now it was my turn to feel disappointment as he pulled out a military ID... and an Illinois driver's license and FOID. I had to explain to he and his father that, thanks to his home state, we were going to have to find an Illinois FFL at the show to handle the transfer and he would have to wait 24 hours to take delivery on his new toy.

Luckily he was understanding, and there was an Illinois FFL at the show whose business premises were not too far from where the young man lived.

Yeah, so, that was my totally unregulated experience with selling to "anyone who plunked down the cash," Mr. Quigley. But don't let me disturb your preconceived notions with any pesky facts; you obviously went to the show expecting to see something, and anything you saw was going to be bent through the lens of your own perceptions.

Our Dear Leader-Elect... part of his plan to put a bullet between the eyes of any potential economic recovery, has stated that even though it has been proven that an increase in capital gains tax is followed by a loss of revenue to the .gov, he would support raising it anyway in the interest of "fairness".

I would like to take this moment to note that "fair" is nothing but a word in the dictionary between "fail" and "fantasy".

Getting our terms straight.

Unc's post on how the economy around him seemed okie-dokey reminded me of this handy set of definitions of common economic terms:
Downturn: You hear that people have lost their jobs.

Recession: Someone you know has lost their job.

Depression: You have lost your job.

The circles you run in...

I don't know what it says about my life that I'll be able to do 90% of my Christmas shopping at Brownell's...

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Overheard in the Office:

RX: (reading Phlegmmy's blog) "Wow! Neat shoes!"

Me: "I need new shoes, too..." *click* *click* "Hey, these are cool! And they have Blood-Borne Pathogen Resistance!"

RX: "I like the ones at Phlegmmy's better."

Me: "Yeah, but are they resistant to blood-borne pathogens?"

RX: "I don't really spend all that much time wading through the blood of my enemies. At least, not any deeper than the soles of my shoes."

Me: "Okay, but come the Zombocalypse, if you get some kind of zombie foot funk, don't say I didn't warn you."

As it turns out...

...I wasn't stymied by the weather but by an even more potent force.

Cold and rainy scares me not. Since you can't guarantee that your "for real" moment, should it come, will come in the middle of a grassy lawn on a sunny, 78-degree day, it behooves you to get out and shoot when Mother Nature isn't cooperating. If the wind is trying to blow your hat off or the cold rain is dribbling down your collar or your fingers are so cold you can hardly feel them, you know it's good training weather.

So it wasn't the weather that kept me from the range yesterday, it was an even more irresistible force: the unstoppable force of bureaucracy. The local Five-Oh had the place closed off for their own purposes.

Plot? Hello?

I have actually seen folks complain about Quantum of Solace not having a "plot".

Uh, hello? This is a James Bond movie, not Terms of Endearment.

For those of you who may not have ever seen one, here's a spoiler:
Chase, Fight, Chase, Sex, Shootout, Sex, Villain Confrontation, Escape, Chase, Shootout, Dead Villain, Sex,
There you go; the plot of every single James Bond movie ever. Going to a Bond flick and complaining about the lack of a plot is like going to an Episcopalian church service and complaining about the lack of strippers.

Next thing you know, folks will gripe about lack of character development. "I just don't feel like Pussy Galore was a fully fleshed-out, three-dimensional character..."

Today In History: Lützen.

On this date in 1632, Gustavus Adolphus, the king of Sweden, was killed in the climactic battle of Lützen, guaranteeing future employment for novelist Eric Flint.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The short list:

I need something handier for schlepping long guns on road trips, so the 30mpg Zed Drei is slated to be traded here in the next few weeks while car sellers are still desperate and while 30mpg is still a big selling point.

Vehicles around which I am currently sniffing on used car lots:

1) A full-size domestic truck of some sort.
2) A recent RWD domestic sedan (Chrysler 300/Caddy CTS/Lincoln Zephyr).
3) One of Mopar's "Shooting Brake" crossovers (Dodge Magnum/Chrysler Pacifica).
4) An '01-'03 low-end FWD Eurosedan (Audi A4/Saab 9-3).

Comments? Owner experiences? Suggestions? (Unless someone out there in readerland has a sub-100,000mi Lexus SC400, SC300, or Infiniti Q45 with which they're dying to part.)

EDIT: While I appreciate all kinds of suggestions, this is going to need to be a used car in the $6k-$10k price range, so a new Mini Clubman or Bimmer X3/X5 is right out.

I've got nothin'...

Blech. It's icky and cold and rainy out, the high temperature for today was recorded at, like, 7AM, and after a couple days of it, the steady drizzle gets to be like Chinese water torture.

Supposed to take the Gun Blog 9 to the range this morning; I'll let you know how it goes.

Maybe I'll get a burst of writer-type inspiration as the day goes on. In the meantime, feel free to chat amongst yourselves.

Bond. James Bond.

Holy crap was Quantum of Solace the bomb diggity shizznit! It you liked what they've done to Batman, you'll love what they've done to 007.

He was using that licence to kill like it was earning him frequent flier miles.

Eleanor Ringel, pinko film critic for the Atlanta Urinal Constipation, once reviewed a James Bond movie (View To A Kill, a particularly cheesy example of the breed) by stating that "Going to a James Bond movie is like going to the zoo; either you're happy to see the giraffes again, or you're not."

Well let me tell you that the zoo now has carnivorous killer robot ninja giraffes, and they rock.

EDIT: As noted in comments, if you thought that Roger Moore phoning it in through lame plots like Octopussy and View To A Kill was the height of Bondness, you're going to loathe this movie. If, on the other hand, you're more into You Only Live Twice or From Russia With Love, you'll dig it.

Friday, November 14, 2008

I am typing this one-handed...

...because the Gun Blog 9 is finally in my other hand.

I are stoked.

Shooty goodness happens tomorrow morning, and I don't care how cold or rainy it's supposed to be.


So, the box on the kitchen counter said "Roasted GORGONZOLA Flavored Oven Crisp Crackers."

Except that when I caught it out of the corner of my eye, I saw "GORGONPALOOZA"...

...and, Shiva help me, my first thought was "Wow! Amy Winehouse is touring with Courtney Love?"

John's Addiction.

Are you ready for some heresy? Okay, here goes: Sure, 1911's are nice to shoot and all, but there's something especially crack-like in John Moses Browning's earlier designs. I had never really paid them much mind until I got my first Pocket Hammerless, and then I wanted another. And another...

While guns like the earliest Model 1902's, 1905's, and the exposed hammer 1903's have been solid collector guns for many years, the littlest Colt pocket autos have remained ridiculously affordable, partially because these solid little designs remained in production into the '40s, long after the 1911 had eclipsed their bigger brothers, and there are consequently a bajillion of them out there.

That, however, is starting to change. As prices get ever more stratospheric on other antique Colts, collectors are starting to turn their eye towards the little 1903 Pocket Hammerless .32ACP. and the 1908 Vest Pocket .25ACP.

A premium example of the earliest "Model M" .32 will already fetch well over a grand, and a top-notch Vest Pocket is crowding that total. Shootable examples of either are considerably more reasonable, of course, but they aren't getting any cheaper, either.

And when I say "shootable", I mean "shootable". I have a 1904-production .32 that has been worn to an even gray patina by over a century of coat pockets and sock drawers, but its bore is bright and its rifling is sharp, and despite it rattling like a trash can full of scrap metal it will point naturally and shoot accurately like no other .32 I've ever shot. I've put a few hundred rounds through it over the last several range sessions, without a bobble or a malfunction. Not bad for an autopistol that was built before the Panama Canal.

With prices going steadily upwards, you might want to look into acquiring a good shooter while reasonably pretty ones are still affordable. It's never fun to be standing over a table full of pistols under glass and thinking "Why, I remember when you could get those things for a hunnert'n'fifty, maybe two hunnert bucks..."

Today In History: Wings of Gold, Larval Edition.

On this date in 1910, Eugene Ely rumbled his Curtiss Model D down a wooden deck constructed aboard the cruiser USS Birmingham, and flew right off the ship and into history. It was the first time an airplane had taken flight from a naval vessel.

Within seven years, the Royal Navy had launched HMS Furious, the world's first aircraft carrier.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Well excuuuuuuuse me!

Whatchoo talkin' 'bout?

I don't watch television, so how am I supposed to know which little pop culture catchphrases you kids think are, like, so November 12th?

I pity the fool that gets all worked up about this.

(Via Unc.)

Now that's funny!

"Too big to fail" taken to reductio ad absurdum:
Congressional Democrats announced today that they had agreed to a bailout plan for Republicans after last week's devastating election results. While exact details are unavailable, sources tell us that the Republicans will be given 4 seats in the Senate and 15 in the House. Nancy Pelosi said in a statement today: "We've established pretty clearly over the last several months that failed strategies and management should not necessarily have to result in losses in market share, particularly for well-connected Washington insiders."

(H/T to Dustbury.)

About some things, I am superstitious.

If you own a Smith & Wesson revolver with a titanium cylinder and actually read the destructions, you will note that they go on at length about a magical coating used on the titanium that is supposed to prevent flame erosion and possible concomitant crack propagation in the cylinder. They warn not to do anything even slightly abrasive to the cylinder, lest this voodoo film be damaged in some way. Therefore, I only use soft cotton patches moistened with a little CLP or FP-10 to clean the cylinder on my 296.

Maybe I'm being overly paranoid, but pictures like this give me the creeping willies.

As it is, I've had the 296 for seven years now, and it has shot a bunch of trouble-free rounds. I'd like to keep it that way...

(And yes, I know that in the linked case the problem was not flame erosion, but the aftermath is the same...)


A little birdie has informed me that there should be a package from ParaUSA waiting for me at my fave little gun shop today.

(Incidentally, you may want to give them a call if you're looking for EBRs. Last time I was in there right before the election, they had a good stock of ARs and stripped lowers, and they're a small shop that is off the beaten path. They also had a nice collection of reasonably priced consignment guns from a collection, including prewar S&W and Colt revolvers, an '03 and a Trapdoor, a very early Winchester '94, etc...)

This is how unplugged I am:

When Dr. Strangegun commented that the only network show he watches is House, I wondered why it took so long to make an enjoyable '80s B-movie into a show.

Learn something new every day...

While wikiwandering this morning, I was made aware of the distinction between actual rotating-drum turrets and the armored gunhouses atop fixed barbettes that we term "turrets" on modern ships. I had previously gleaned the fact that there was a distinction, inferring it from various readings on big boats with guns, but it had never been spelled out for me before.

I doubt this question will be on the final exam, but I am oddly satisfied to have acquired the tidbit of information nonetheless.


Marko discusses how, having completed a year without TeeWee, he feels a little "pop culture handicapped".

I can commiserate, although I don't feel particularly handicapped, at least not anymore. I was never a large TeeWee consumer; even when I last had one in my domicile, it was mostly used for watching Fox's Sunday night lineup (The Simpsons, King of the Hill, The X-Files.) I didn't even have a television in the house from '02 to '08; I'd go downstairs to watch Braves games on my neighbor's set.

This means that I have never seen an episode of Survivor. Nor an episode of Dancing With The Stars or American Idol or whatever the popular sitcoms or dramas are right now (I don't actually know.)

Further, since I stopped listening to broadcast radio when I got a CD changer in the trunk of my car, I couldn't name a Billboard Top Forty tune (or artist) from the last decade, either.

What's funny is people's reactions when you share this tidbit of information: They often get very, very defensive. Even hostile sometimes. Why is that?

If you look back over what I have written in the paragraphs above, it contains no value judgments. I didn't say "TV sucks and only cretins watch it," or "mainstream radio is a wasteland for drooling imbeciles," and yet if you mention that you don't listen to the radio or watch TeeWee, frequently people react as though you made exactly those statements and accuse you of everything from snobbish elitism to putting flouride in their children's water. It's rather comical, actually; it's almost as though they're feeling guilty about something. They do say that the wicked flee when no man pursueth.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Personalized license plates...

How to get "BITTER CLINGER" into "seven alpha or numeric characters plus one space without punctuation"?

Ready? Go!

Non-attributing heathens.

In the buying frenzy, one Indiana blogger even warned readers to not haphazardly snatch up a rifle and be "stuck with some exotic that takes unimportable mags."

Thanks for the link, guys. You're a shining role model of online journalistic excellence. Only not.

(H/T to Mike W at Another Gun Blog.)

(Also, if I'd been more diligent in reading my comments section I would have noticed that Bitter called this out two days ago. D'oh!)

Attack of the illiterati...

Yet another Googler arrived at my doorstep via the search item "music hath charms to soothe the savage beast".

If sir will step around to the tradesman's entrance, we will get sir a clip-on tie and a polyester suit coat so that sir conforms to the dress code of the establishment.

Best. News. Story. EVAR!

Woman pulled over for speeding. Turns out she's blotto. Problem: Can't take her to the county hole and leave her 1-year-old baby in the car. Solution: Call home for a responsible adult to come fetch the tyke while they put the bracelets on mumsie.

Further problem: A severe and ongoing shortage of responsible adults...

(H/T to Shermlock Shomes.)


Denise on the happy proliferation of small arms in America.

The flower of the white race strikes again...

To your left you will see a member of the master race. You can tell by the piercing blue-eyed gaze, the high cheekbones, thick golden locks, firm and resolute jaw, and... Oh, jeez, I can't do this with a straight face.

Anyhow, apparently this walking doctoral dissertation in phrenology and seven of his troglodyte buddies pooled their beer money and got an actual real live girl to travel down to Bayou Country from Oklahoma, apparently for the purposes of joining their Koven or Klavern or Klubhowse or whatever the hell it's called. There was some sort of argument in paradise, however, and the would-be Brunhilde decided she didn't want to play their reindeer games anymore, and Chuck Foster (who would be the protosimian in the picture) kind of, you know, killed her.

Too bad your girlfriend thing didn't work out, Chuck. Maybe you'll have better luck in romance when you get where you're headed.

Snark to bring a tear to your eye...

The Tory Hitchens on The chOsen One:
And it was interesting how the President-elect failed to lift his admiring audience by repeated – but rather hesitant – invocations of the brainless slogan he was forced by his minders to adopt against his will – ‘Yes, we can’. They were supposed to thunder ‘Yes, we can!’ back at him, but they just wouldn’t join in. No wonder. Yes we can what exactly? Go home and keep a close eye on the tax rate, is my advice. He’d have been better off bursting into ‘I’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony’ which contains roughly the same message and might have attracted some valuable commercial sponsorship.
God, I wish I could snark like that.

(H/T to Kevin at The Smallest Minority.)

Today In History: Hail, Columbia!

On this date in 1981,the shuttle Columbia launched from Pad 39-A at the Kennedy Space Center for the second time.

STS-2 was the first time ever that a manned spacecraft was reused for a second flight.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Perfect training weather.

37 degrees and raining is the perfect weather to be slamming rounds downrange out in the woods, making pepper poppers sound like Chinese opera. (Ting! Tang! TingTing! TangTang! Ting! TangTangTang!)

Note to self: Gloves would have been nice. Thicker socks, too.

On the nature hike prior to shooting, we saw a whitetail big enough to wear a saddle. As he sprinted off through the bean fields, I thought I was looking at a horse at first.

Awesome day.

On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month...

...the guns fell silent.

Today In History: Great Blue Norther.

On this date in 1911, a record cold snap hit the Midwest, causing many localities to experience record low temperatures in the evening after recording record highs that morning. Springfield, Missouri had seen a humid morning with unseasonably balmy 80 degree temps (must have been all those Stanley Steamer SUV's) but as the cold front rolled through, the temperature dropped a pavement-cracking 67 degrees by midnight to a record low of 13F.

Monday, November 10, 2008

"I can't reach the mag release without shifting my grip."

Well, neither can Dave Sevigny, and it doesn't seem to be slowing him down.

Quit whining and train. ;)

The good thing about the Four Rules... that you have to break a couple of 'em at once to put a hole in anything important. And, yes, manually de-cocking a single-action weapon is a Rule Three violation.

Sometimes people violate the Rules quite on purpose. Technically, every time I engage in dry-fire practice, I'm committing a Rule One violation, so I definitely avoid committing any Rule Two or Three violations at the same time. Carrying in a horizontal shoulder holster or a pocket holster is a Rule Two violation.

Violate the Four Rules at your peril. You'll notice Unc was careful to observe all the other Rules, and is therefore no worse for wear, save for ringing eardrums and a scuff to the pride. (Based on my personal experiences with other experienced shooters and unexpected loud noises, he's going to be a regular safety Nazi for a bit, too. This is not a bad thing at all...)

UPDATE: Other, very valid and educated, points are made here in the comments section.

Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right...

I guess he wasn't in a "Free Speech Zone".

(H/T to Unc.)

Attention, Hoosier shooters:

The people that would like to legislate away your gun rights would prefer it if you did not join the Indiana State Rifle and Pistol Association.

Are you going to make them happy? Didn't think so...

Ninja combat powers, activate!

So, I was reading the latest newsstand special from Guns & Ammo on personal defense (it's okay, I washed my hands afterwards) and, in amongst the "Semiauto vs. Revolver: Part MCMLXVII!" and "Wonderbullet of the Month!" articles was a piece by Chuck Taylor on how competition shooting will get you killed. Heck, even thinking about attending an IPSC event could get you grazed, and shooting an NRA Bullseye match is guaranteed to cause a mugging.

While mercifully free of 20-year-old pics of a square-jawed, sideburned Chuck staring steely-eyed into the middle distance, the article was long on telling you that Chuck was a former world-class IPSC shooter, IPSC sucks, and... well, that was pretty much the long and the short of it, although big photos and good-but-generic tips such as "seek training (preferably with me)," "watch your front sight," and "choose your holster with care" did manage to pad out the article to ten pages.

"Competition," asserts a certain subset of the handgun world with chest-thumping intensity, "is not combat!"
Well, thank you for tipping me off to that fact, Enrico Fermi. Here I thought all along that I was training myself for that grim and inevitable mugging by five bowling pins in a sunny, grassy alley some pleasant weekend morn. Glowering at me from their table in plastic-coated malice, they'll stand in a straight line and... well, do whatever it is that criminally-minded bowling pins do, I guess.

Look, I understand what Chuck is trying to say here: IPSC (and even IDPA) are not combat. They are not training. What they are, however, is shooting practice of a kind that you will not get at your local indoor range. Most people will never be able to shoot under time pressure, or from the leather, or on the move, without engaging in some sort of competition. Also, the fundamentals of actually hitting the target don't change whether it's an attacker or an A-zone. You may not be learning any tactics, but you'll sure learn a lot about shooting fast and accurately under pressure.

What most cheeses me off about these articles, however, and where I think trainers like Chuck Taylor are in error by writing them, is that they encourage a certain mindset in the armchair pistol enthusiast, the tactical wannabe who reads internet forums and gun magazines, sprays fifty rounds at a target once a month, and never gets into competition or attends any good formal training. You know the type: You'll be standing around the gun store or shooting club with friends when Marty Mallninja walks up...

Joe Blow: "Hey, Marty! We were just going to go shoot some steel; falling plates for a dollar a rack. Wanna come?"

Marty Mallninja: "No way! That stupid competition stuff just blunts your skills! Sensei Klikklikbhang says so."

Joe Blow: "Uh, we're not going to be blunting any skills, just shooting some falling plates for fun and side bets."

It's doubly funny when Joe is not only a solid club-level IPSC shooter, former NCO in the 75th Regiment, and multiple Thunder Ranch and Gunsite attendee, and you know for a fact that Marty can't hit a barn from the inside with the door closed 'cause you've seen him blazing away on the range without much danger to his B-27.
But competition would "blunt his skills". Right.
Now if you try to tell him otherwise, he's got Chuck Taylor to back him up right there in black and white. Thanks Chuck. The guy who's gonna jump Marty Mallninja tonight thanks you, too.

Today In History: The gales of November came early.

On this day in 1975, the SS Edmund Fitzgerald went down with all hands in a storm on Lake Superior.

Happy Birthday, Devil Dogs!

233 already? Wow, you hardly look a day over 225!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Sign of the times...

One local Ford dealership is advertising a "Buy a 2008 F-250 Super Duty, get a new F-150 free!" sale.

I'm thinking that if I ever wanted to experience the joys of owning a full-size pickup or SUV, now's the time to tool used car lots dangling the Bimmer as trade bait...


I usually feel like 60% of the DSM-IV could be re-written as "Malingering", with 35% characterized as "Weak" and the remaining 5% as "Genuinely Bonkers".

While I generally think the cure for "Seasonal Affective Disorder" is a nice frosty glass of Get The Hell Over It, I can't deny that this last week since the time change, with daylight disappearing at some early heathen Yankee hour and the sky a cheerless shade of gray or sporting a lowering, watery sun casting long shadows by three P.M., has sucked the creative chi right out of me. Bleh. At least cheery Christmas lights will be going up before too long.

The 100.

A contentious theory I've often heard advanced is that if you told the police in any major metropolis "One hundred people. You know who they are. Go round them up," and they actually went out and got The Usual Suspects off the street at the same time, that crime in the burg in question would virtually dry up overnight, and stay dried up until those evolutionary niches could be re-filled by migration or reproduction.

You know the hundred people of whom I speak, too: Records that wear out the "pg dn" key on the courtroom computer while being scrolled through. On a first name basis with the local Five-Oh by the time you're sixteen. The cops not only know who you are, but have a rough idea of where to find you at any given time, like when they need to ask questions about the latest convenience store stickup.

Is this just one of the unsolvable perils of modern society? Any comments or thoughts by my readers in Law Enforcement?

EDIT: Since this has already been misconstrued as me saying "Screw the Constitution, let's go round us up some miscreants! Yee-haw!" 'cause that would be so in character for me... (this is me, rolling my eyes,) allow me to clarify that what I'm wondering about is the theory that in any given area, 90% of the bad stuff that happens can be traced back, either directly or indirectly, to a shockingly small number of people. I know from having lived in a small rural town that you'd hear deputies mumble that if the So-and-so family (and that one no-good layabout over on Rocky Creek) would just pack their whole clan up and move to the next county, then Smallville would become a dull place of a Friday night.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

The list just gets longer...

The longer you collect old guns, the longer the list of stuff you need gets...

1) An extractor and a grip screw for a Frommer Stop.
2) A Radom recoil assembly.
3) A takedown plunger for a Colt 1902.
4) A thumb safety for a Colt 1908 Vest Pocket.
5) Un-bubba'ed stocks for a Ross Mk.II and a Mannlicher-Berthier M.1907/15.
6) A magazine spring and follower for a Siamese M.1903.

Wanna have fun? Ask the gun parts guy at the local Fun Show for any of the above. You'll probably get a "Nope," on the Colt parts and maybe the Radom bit, too. The other stuff just gets you a blank stare.


While I was dog-sitting this past week, I was surfing the 'net with my friend Brigid's laptop. It's a fairly recent Wintel machine with reasonable specs, and it made me realize that I'd completely forgotten what web-surfing was supposed to be like.

Back in March, I started what was supposed to be a month-long experiment, doing all my computing on vintage Macs. (Prior to that, I had just been using my Mac laptops and an old iMac as a DVD player.) I hooked up an old G4 tower to use as my main machine and... somehow a month turned into more than half a year.

Don't get me wrong, the Sawtooth is a swell machine, and I love Camino as a browser, but the G4/500 with half a gig of ram was just bog slow when it encountered flash-heavy web pages. Last night I dragged the P4 2.4 back down from the attic. I feel like a quitter, but the Sawtooth just wasn't going to work without more RAM or a faster CPU.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Today In History: Red October.

Which, due to the confusion of using old-fashioned calendars actually happened in November.
November is the traditional month for Commies to take over...

X-Files fans:

I have Season 6 on DVD. What season should I get next? Season 5 has "Bad Blood", "Post-Modern Prometheus", and "Unusual Suspects", but Season 4 has "Musings of a Cigarette-Smoking Man", and Season 3 has "Jose Chung's From Outer Space".

For that matter, what's your favorite episode? (Mine's "The Unnatural".)

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Finding amusement where you can.

Josh torments the dim:
I was talking to one of my coworkers today, someone who claims to be moderate. She was smug as all hell about Obama and disappointed that she couldn’t needle me about it since I just can’t make myself get emotionally invested. I was checking the results of our local races and state votes, and expressed dismay about what looks like a Prop 8 win.

To which she replied…”Good.”

Cue the movie villain steepled fingers and slow spin around in my chair until I was looking her face on, much the way you might look at a bug you were about to step on.

“Run that by me again. What does ‘good’ mean?” I asked...

Today in History: Boom!

On this date in 1971, the U.S. tested the Cannikin device under Amchitka island. The purpose of the test was... well, as best as I can tell, to see how cool it would be to set off a really big nuke under an island in the Bering Sea. The test was eminently successful, releasing as much as five megatons of fun, and pissing off hippies to no end. (If you had a crew cut, a slide rule*, and a PhD, this is what you used to do instead of setting off M-80s under your neighbor's trash cans.)

Unfortunate side effects included guaranteed employment for government eco-types through at least 2025, and the formation of Greenpeace, but little of the kind of fallout that makes your kids have three heads.
*If you are even a tiny bit geeky, do not go read the Wikipedia entry on slide rules. You will fall down the rabbit hole and not come out for hours. You have been warned.

New dawn fades...

Roberta X with a cheerful reminder of political realities:
For those of you who have bemoaned the so-called "Patriot Act" and incursions on the Constitutionally-protected rights of citizens under the Bush administration, let me remind you that in two years of a Democrat majority in Congress, not a single one of those tools had been taken off the table. Now the Democrats have the Executive Branch as well and it will be interesting to see what they do with them -- and what you have to say about it when they do. I have not been impressed by that aspect of President G. W. Bush's tenure, either -- but I don't think the Opposition will be any better. They may select a slightly different group of targets, is all. Possibly including me. Promise me you'll still be outraged? At least a little?


Wednesday, November 05, 2008

For those who are hedging bets...

If you are stocking up and are new to the shooting community since the Ban on Guns That Look Kinda Like Assault Rifles made the go-aways back in 9/04, here's some advice:

Those rifles you're snatching up right now? Make sure they take AR, AK, G3, or FAL mags. You don't want to be stuck with some exotic that takes un-importable mags. I had a Beretta AR70 for a while. They were imported in small numbers right before the '89 Bush Ban on Imported Guns That Look Kinda Like Assault Rifles, and magazines weren't common. When you could find them, they went for $150 and more...

Ideally, your pistol should take Beretta 92 mags. Between '94 and '04, every gun shop seemed to have a fairly healthy supply of lightly-used Beretta 92 mags. Especially gun shops located within five or ten miles of the front gates of a military post. If you drill a hole in the right place on a Beretta 92 mag, it works just fine in a Springfield XD-9.

It's not the end of the world, and you can't even see it from here.

More moderate predictions:

Steven Den Beste on the election and the next four years.

Tgirsch offers a view from the other side of the fence.

Quote of the Day: "Katie bar the door..."

Art writes in comments on the "History of the Great Depression" post:
It was not until the 1980s that I started learning the realities of the causes of the Depression. As near as I can tell, anybody who disagreed with the Official Version was treated just like today's scientists who are unconvinced that Homo Sap's CO2 is a major cause of climate change.

We had a similar problem in the late 1970s with the loose money of the LBJ-Jimmy Carter era, but Volcker's efforts at the Fed gave us a short-term but deep correction. After him, though, Greenspan et al put us back on the trail of loose credit and easy money.

It appears to me that Obama and the more liberal Democrats and RINOs have bought into the conventional wisdom as to the causes and solutions for the Depression, as they look at today's debacle. After all, they've already committed some two trillion dollars we don't really have--and more tax dollars to come (or go).

Sometime next spring, look for a resurgence of protectionism, ala Smoot/Hawley. If that happens, it's Katie-bar-the-door for the following half-dozen or ten years.

And I haven't even mentioned our coming problems with electric power and transportation fuels.

Odds are, cities are gonna be seriously bad places to live.


Art's one of the savviest people I know. I hope to Vishnu he's wrong on this one, but I have a bad feeling he may not be. Look up Smoot-Hawley. Google the stalled Doha talks, and the sticking points on agricultural trade barriers...

Investment tips.

Those with any liquid capital might want to look into investing in:

1) AR and AK magazines.
2) Burkha shops in Afghanistan.
3) Companies that publish those Tax Shelters for Dummies books.
4) Iranian aerospace firms.
5) English-to-Chinese business dictionaries.

On the other hand, if you have anything tied up in coal company stocks, domestic drilling operations, or Taiwanese or Israeli real estate, you might want to get out while the gettin' is good.

Even better than a President...

...we appear to have elected a superhero!

Barack a-ah
Savior of the Universe!
Barack a-ah
He'll save every one of us

(Seemingly there is no reason for these extraordinary intergalactical upsets)
(Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha)
(What's happening Barack?)
(Only General Colin Powell, formerly at State Department, has provided any explanation)

Barack a-ah
He's a miracle

(This morning's unprecedented solar eclipse is no cause for alarm)

Barack a-ah
King of the impossible

He's for every one of us
Spread wealth to every one of us
He save with a mighty hand
Every man, every woman
Every child, with a mighty

(Senator Clinton, Barack Obama approaching.)
(What do you mean Barack Obama approaching? Open fire! All weapons! Dispatch war rocket Ajax to bring back his body)

Barack a-ah
(Obama's alive!)

Barack a-ah
He'll save every one of us

Just a man
With a man's courage
You know he's
Nothing but a man
And he can never fail
No one but the pure at heart
May find the Golden Grail
...Oh..Oh........Oh..Oh ................

(Barack, Barack, I love you, but we only have four years to save the Earth!)

EDITED TO ADD: Wow, reading around the intertubes this morning, I'm actually starting to feel sorry for Barry (even more than I already felt sorry for whoever was going to wind up with a key to the Augean Stables and a garden trowel.) There is a large slice of his constituency that is going to feel betrayed if he doesn't walk to the inauguration across the Reflecting Pool in the Mall.

Remembering the right parts of history.

Wall Street can have a stock market crash all by itself, but it takes ham-handed government intervention to create a Great Depression.

Now that the Lightbringer has Ascended...

...and we're all ready to start taxing our way to prosperity in a few months (If you plan on realizing any capital gains, better do it before the next Congress gets seated!) let's look around the country to see what great strides in freedom and assorted other boneheadery happened at the ballot box...

Voters in Massachusetts voted to decriminalize possession of less than an ounce of marijuana. They may have actually been partaking of the herb in line at the polls, because they also voted against a proposition to first halve, and then eliminate the state's confiscatory income tax.

Voters in Colorado agreed that babies are cute, but blastocysts are invisible, and besides, it's hard to extend Constitutional rights to free speech to something that doesn't even have mouthparts yet. Me? I still think life begins at 40, so you kids stay offa my lawn. I mean it.

Floridians and Arizonans are still worried about who their neighbors might marry.

A state lottery was approved in Arkansas, using the usual selling point that all the funds will be used for education. I'm generally in favor of a voluntary tax, especially one that weighs heavily on optimists and idiots, but if they ever actually do use the money from these things on schools, it must be to buy more dodge balls and not things like, oh, Probability & Statistics textbooks.

Finally, the denizens of the Upper Left Coast voted to allow people to check out with dignity, provided that they are officially diagnosed with less than six months to live. The rest of us will still be stuck knotting half-hitches into bed sheets.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


I have apparently been trained at Shadow Army Headquarters!

I was counting the factual errors, but ran out of fingers at about the two-minute mark and couldn't get my 5.11 Tactical boots off in time to catch up.

Ah, well... In Nu-Perfect America, perception is reality, right?

Monday, November 03, 2008

Your tax dollars at work...

...driving the economy. Bribing the voters. Raising the dead.

Overheard in the Hall:

RX: "Caroline Kennedy says this has been the cleanest campaign ever."

Me: "A Kennedy wouldn't know clean politics if they drowned in it."


A dedicated reader apparently put together an alphabetical index to The Arms Room, even sorting the Sunday Smiths by model number. That's awesome!

I need to convert it to html...

"I learned it from watching you, Dad!"

Berkeley Breathed, artist and creator of the increasingly less-focussed comic strip Opus (aka Bloom County III: The Search For Royalties), explains its demise in Sunday's paper as being caused by the mean political tenor of the nation, and... um... "snark":
"Berkeley goes on to discuss how the 24/7 “all snark, all the time” culture of the 24/7 media, coupled by its simultaneous political correctness bothers him immensely."
Ah. And here Bloom County, which was my generation's Doonesbury, had been so above the fray, never mocking or poking fun at political figures or stereotyping various demographics. (This is me, rolling my eyes.)

I'd say "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen," but it feels weird to say it to a guy standing there with a flamethrower in his mitts.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Weekend earworm...

This is the Coldplay tune I haven't been able to get out of my noggin.

.405 Winchester vs. .45-70 Government

This was an interesting question that popped up in search terms, and I thought it was worth discussion.

The .405 Winchester is a pretty serious big game cartridge, intended for Winchester's Model 1895 lever-action rifle. Designed from the ground up as a smokeless powder round, it is just short of being considered a real dangerous game cartridge by virtue of the fact that all commercial loadings for it use a 300-grain .412" bullet, which is a little lacking in weight and sectional density for stopping the charge of the largest African game (although T.R. laid out lion with the round...) It should be more than adequate for anything that walks, crawls, or flies on the North American continent, although I wonder why a caliber deemed insufficient for dispatching dangerous game in Africa is considered okey-dokey for the minivan-with-fangs that is the Alaskan brown bear...

The .45-70 is hampered by the fact that the first rifle chambered for the loading was the Trapdoor Springfield. As a result, anything you buy from the Big Three (Remington, Winchester, and Federal) is going to be throttled back so as not to turn Paw-paw's floptop into a pipe bomb. The stuff I keep around the house as fodder for my M1873 Springfield offers a 300gr unjacketed bullet meandering out the muzzle at something less than 1400fps, for less muzzle energy than today's most adventurous handgun loadings. In a modern rifle, such as a Marlin 1895, however, truly vigorous ammunition from Buffalo Bore is available, and in a Ruger No.1, you are free to handload items that will kill on one end and maim on the other.

If you have to pick just one of the two to sledge down really big critters, I'd go for the .45-70 and a modern rifle, to take advantage of the really scary stuff available from the boutique ammo companies.

You get a lot more style points for a .405 Winchester, though...

QotD: Teddy Roosevelt edition.

Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat. -Theodore Roosevelt

If they understood "restraint", they wouldn't be running for office.

As I said in a comment at Marko's, I'm only really happy when one team has Congress and the other has the White House. Anytime one side or the other has had all the keys to the store, they've gone on an orgy that made "Bluto" Blutarsky look like Simeon the Stylite.

Believable fan fiction.

I am given to understand that there is an entire subgenre of "Fan Fiction" devoted to Kirk and Spock doing the bow-chicka-bomp-bom thing. I didn't get this at all because I never really picked up that subtext from Captain Velour and his pointy-eared sidekick.

However I would totally find it believable if the stories instead centered around Chris Matthews gettin' jiggy with The Anointed One. I mean, Matthews can barely say the guy's name without an ecstatic quaver in his voice.

The topic of the show this morning was "How grateful are you to be allowed to be alive at this awesome and transcendent moment in history?" I gotta say this for Chris: He sure can enunciate clearly with his mouth full.