Thursday, April 30, 2015

I'm just asking...

Traveling Cameras

1990 Canon EOS 10S 35mm on the left, 2004 Canon EOS 20D 8.2MP digital on right
Overheard at Castle Frostbite a couple weeks ago:
Lyra: (craning to see the back of the camera) "Can I see the picture?"

Me: "No."

Lyra: "Why not?"

Me: "Well, you see, a long time ago, before you were born...
The eponymous munchkins of The Munchkin Wrangler had never really been exposed to the concept of a film camera before.

Before heading out to New Hamster, I decided to acquire a more serious camera bag. My plan was to pack a film body along with the DSLR and a small 35mm P&S in case I got a chance to go play hipster street photographer in Lebanon or Hanover. After coonfingering a bunch of the choices at local camera store Roberts, I picked out a Lowepro Pro Messenger 200 as a well-made bag that would hold two bodies and a few lenses, plus all the ancillary gear, and not look terribly dorky while doing it or fall apart after a month's use.

Coolpix P-7000 on left, Ricoh GR1 on right
The P&S selection was easy: The GR1 is my fave little pocket 35mm camera. Picking the bigger film camera wasn't as easy. I anguished over the film SLR choice, dithering back and forth, and think I wound up choosing the wrong one for the trip. See, I brought the EOS 10S on the theory that it could share EF-mount lenses with the 20D and that would be very practical and pragmatic.

But if this was about practicality and pragmatism, I wouldn't be using film in the first place. The 10S is a fine camera, but I might as well be using the DSLR, given how little bond there is between me and it. I'd have gotten out and about and shot more pictures on film if I'd brought the A-1 and a couple of FD lenses for it. The 18-135 zoom is normally the only lens I take on vacation for the 20D anyway, so it's not like I needed extra EF lenses along.

Next trip I'll know better.


Drove down to MCF&G this morning for a little bit of range time. After a little bit of shooting with the M&P22, I ran fifty rounds of PMC Bronze 115gr FMJ and fifty rounds of American Eagle 115gr FMJ through the Sig Sauer P320. No malfunctions to report.

That makes a total of 720 rounds fired without cleaning or lubrication since I took it out of the box. 1280 to go until it gets cleaned and lubed.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015


...going to the range and running errands and riding my bicycle, it was time for a lunch break today...

From Elsewhere...

Left in comments at Unc's:
"I do get a chuckle how everyone immediately jumps to TACTICS! and COMBAT! and RAWR!

The study was merely measuring the ability of people to hit a target with a gun, something many people seem to vastly overestimate their ability to do. Sometimes they make excuses for that inability by saying “TACTICS! and COMBAT! and RAWR!” and, hey, if that gets you through the night.

Personally, I’m setting out to learn wingshooting. I hope I don’t suck at it. I guess I’ll be prepping for if I ever get attacked by clay pigeons.

The gun-owning community (as distinct from the shooting community; there’s your argument starter ;) )is in dire need of an enema right in the Lighten Up, Francis hole."
Sometimes some people shoot just to hit the target. Not every cap busted is done as some sort of preparation for the zombocalypse.

Too many tabs...

Closing the following three Wikipedia tabs which have been open on the browser for so long I've forgotten why I had them open:

Call or fold.

I've mentioned "Bridge Kids" before, which are Broad Ripple's juvenile form of Hobo americanus. Often found with accessories like acoustic guitars or bandanna-wearing mutts and dressed in a ratty melange of every counterculture fashion from the Sixties to the early Aughties*, they're just part of the scene around the canal and the Strip.

The other day, I was pedaling across the canal on the Monon Trail bridge when this disembodied voice to my left says "I'll take two cards." From where I was, on the right-hand side of the bridge, I couldn't see where it came from. Turning my bike down the Canal Towpath on the far side of the bridge, I turned around and spotted the card game...

*Hand to God, I have seen, simultaneously and on the same person, a safety-pin bedecked black leather jacket, tie dyed shirt, and flat-brimmed hip hop ball cap at the correct angle of skew. "What are you rebelling against?"
"What have you got?"

Automotif LXXXIII...

Remember this tired old '49 Ford work truck?

Well, it appears to have recovered from its malaise...

 It appears to be in regular use, too. That makes me happy.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Not much of a sales pitch, Achmed.

"Amid violence over the death of black Baltimore resident Freddie Gray from spinal injuries while in police custody, Islamic State propagandists have gleefully proclaimed that unlike the United States, their self-styled caliphate sees “no difference between black and white.”"
Sure, they behead people in boxcar lots when they're not busy burning them alive, but at least they're not racist.

Well okay, then.

Let's not go patting ourselves on the back too quickly.

Over at No Lawyers- Only Guns and Money, John asks the provocative question "Can You Shoot Better Than A Cop?"

He cites a recent, yet-to-be-published study that
"...broke down the shooters into three classifications: expert, intermediate, and novice. Experts had either finished the academy shooting course or had been trained in the military while intermediates had no formal academy training but had shot before in either recreational settings or had military rifle training. Finally, the novices were just that. Many of them had never even held a gun in their lives."
You can see the problem already, right? Military handgun training, outside of a handful of job descriptions, is laughable. The handgun training from a typical LE academy is better than that, but still unlikely to turn out any pistol wizards, either.

Then comes the part that doesn't automatically follow, which is that us non-po-po shoot better than that. Well, we probably do... assuming we're an active competitive shooter and/or have had some formal training ourselves.

But as far as the general run of the mill shooting public? I go to the public shooting range. A lot. I see how the general shooting public shoots. It's not very well. The average shooter at a public range finds the 7 ring of a B-27 at seven yards to be a less than clout shot.

I am not a very good shooter. I'm the special ed student at gun school. When I walk the prize table at a match, I find myself wondering if the tablecloth is not the most valuable thing left on the table, since I already have a Bore Snake and a three ounce bottle of CLP. But when I go to the public range of a weekend? I'm almost always a veritable ninja compared to the shooters on my right and left.

The average shooter is never presented with an opportunity to find out how bad they are, because things like scores and timers are foreign to their experience. It is possible to go to the range monthly for years and years and never see any meaningful improvement because it's hard to improve that which you do not measure. There's a lot of Dunning-Kruger in the shooting world.

Automotif LXXXII...

This '71 Chevy El Camino had three times the miles of the Ranchero and three times the price tag to go with it.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Automotif LXXXI...

"1979 Ford Ranchero with 30,000 one-owner miles, $4,500" 

I'm not even lying when I say I've half a mind to sell a couple guns, fly back out to New Hamster, and drive this thing home to Indiana. Anybody want a Forester?

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Another sign of spring...

While I was sitting on the patio at Twenty Tap today and enjoying a pint while re-reading Idoru on a hand-me-down Kindle Paperwhite, the streets of SoBro were swarming with motorcycles. This sidecar rig was merely one of the more interesting ones.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Range notes...

Fifty rounds of American Eagle 115gr FMJ plus fifty rounds of Brown Bear 115gr FMJ plus ten rounds of Sellier & Bellot 140gr FMJ plus five rounds of Black Hills 115gr JHP (I had a couple partial boxes in the ammo can) equals 115 rounds through the Sig Sauer P320 today. No malfunctions to report.

That's a total of 620 since I took it out of the box. 1380 to go before it gets cleaned and lubed.

Hopefully the weather is nice tomorrow so I can go outside and take some pics of the Glock 19 before and after scrubbing. I don't want to put that thing in a light box in the shape it's in.

Automotif LXXX...

It was a nice sunny day in Broad Ripple yesterday when I set off to run some errands. I passed this car parked up at a local auto shop on my way out and made plans to stop on my way back and snap some pictures if it was still there. It was.

A 1954 Nash Rambler Custom. Such cool lines! (Although I read that in '55 they added cutouts for the front wheels and reduced the turning circle by six feet.)

Rather than contorting her back to put her bewbs in the breeze, the early '50s Nash hood ornament lady is relaxing and enjoying the ride.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Voight-Kampff Machine

Article at PetaPixel.

Sight for sore eyes...

Spring seems to have well and truly arrived in my absence.

"It fell off da truck like dat, Vinnie."

The latches on my Pelican are hard to pop open on purpose, let alone by accident...

Automotif LXXIX...

It's That '80s Show, featuring a couple of roadgoing survivors from the era of big sweaters, big hair, and leggings...
The Merkur XR4Ti, a re-badged euro Ford Sierra, never caught on stateside, largely due to a half-hearted marketing campaign and goofy naming. It had a four year run, from 1985 to 1989, but the whole Merkur division basically sank without a ripple. Being sold in Lincoln-Mercury dealerships, which were largely purveyors of Medicare barges, can't have helped the sales of an oddly-labeled turbo coupe.

Volkswagen's Scirocco replacement, the Corrado, sold from '88 to '95. It was available with cool powerplants like a supercharged four-banger and the then-new narrow-angle VR6.

The downside...

...of flying through certain airports as a firearm owner is what might happen if something goes wrong.

Simply changing planes in Logan or LaGuardia with guns in your checked baggage is, technically, not a big deal. The problems with the law arise if problems arise with the plane.

Just before I was scheduled to set out from Castle Frostbite to the airport for my flight home on Wednesday, I was talking with Robin about the potential mishaps that could happen when there came an "Uh oh..." from Marko's office in the back of the house.

"What's wrong?" I asked.

"There's some problem with your connecting flight in Newark; they want you to overnight there and they'll put you on a plane to Indy in the morning," he explained.

"Dude, that's not funny."

"I know!"

It took me a second to realize he was serious. I thought for a second he'd heard Robin and I talking and was yanking my chain; the timing could not have been more coincidental.

Fortunately, Marko was able to get in touch with the airline people and move my whole flight schedule back a day. This averted the scenario of winding up on the wrong side of the security checkpoint in EWR, watching my big Pelican 1700 chock full of New Jersey v. Keel circling the conveyor, while wondering how to get out of this mess in a fashion that didn't involve jail or losing several thousand dollars in firearms and accessories.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Home again, home again...

...jiggity jig.

Wasn't this in a Bruce Sterling novel? Or was it Gibson?

From a brief NYT piece on the use of drones to smuggle contraband into prisons:
Drones flying over prison walls may not be the chief concern of corrections officials. But they say that some would-be smugglers are experimenting with the technique as an alternative to established methods like paying off officers, hiding contraband in incoming laundry and throwing packages disguised as rocks over fences into recreational yards.
Jasper and Cletus and Ice Dog and Ray-Ray have thus far confined themselves to smuggling dope and burner smartphones, but the bigger quadcopters can loft a DSLR, and anything that can loft a DSLR can loft a couple-three Kel-Tec P3ATs just as easily. It'd make a good movie or TV show plot element.

O brave new world...

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Wait, what?

We can't be having nuance and ambiguity in a column at! I demand to be told what my opinion should be!


From comments elsewhere...

From comments to a post at McThag's about the automobile industry's growing hostility to aftermarket underhood noodling:
Looking at it from the OEM's point of view, I can see their reluctance to allow it, given that they're on the hook to comply with ever more ridiculous standards of economy and safety and are relying on more computer control over every vehicle subsystem to do it.

I don't like it one bit, but it looks like the wave of the future. (I also think that those who say we're closer to the era of self-driving cars than we realize are probably right. *checks watch* Thank god, only twenty more years left. ;) )
The villain here, as it almost always is, is the good ol' .gov, who has issued instructions to automakers that border on ludicrous.
Congress, the EPA, and NHTSA hand down standards willy-nilly with little or no regard to whether they're actually achievable or not. "We want your vehicles to average one million miles per gallon. With zero emissions! And you'd better be able to drive them into a brick wall at a hundred miles per hour without breaking an egg left on the passenger seat!"

This is how we've wound up with Ford pickup trucks built out of aluminum and sporting V-6 powerplants with twin blowdriers and direct injection that wouldn't look out of place in a full-on open wheel race car not all that long ago. We're getting to the point where my turn-of-the-millennium, OBD-II-compliant Bimmer has more in common with the carburetted vehicles I drove in high school than it does with the newest stability-control-having, Wifi-hotspot-equipped, "mild parallel hybrids" rolling off dealership lots these days.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

QotD: I Learned It From Watching You Edition

From an out-of-the-park post by Ken at Popehat which you should absolutely go read right now:
"Today's college students came of age in the years after 9/11. What did we teach them about the balance between liberty and safety in that time?

We should have taught them not to give up essential liberty for a little safety. Instead, we taught them that the government needs the power to send flying robots to kill anyone on the face of the earth without review and without telling us why. The government, we're told, needs to do that for our safety. We also taught them that the government also needs the power to detain people indefinitely without judicial review, again in the name of safety. We taught them that to ensure our safety the government needs the records of what books we read and who we talk to. With that as a model, it seems like small potatoes to say that safety requires disinviting Bill Maher from a university commencement, because he's something of a dick."

Jesus, make it stop.

So over at Autoblog, there's a piece about how the efforts of automakers engaged in legal CYA maneuvering are now exploiting a provision in the DMCA to try and keep owners out from under the hoods of vehicles that are increasingly "No User Serviceable Parts Inside" sealed tangles of computer-controlled components.

So far it's the Alliance of Global Automakers vs. the Electronic Frontier Foundation lobbying the U.S. Copyright office as to whether or not the extensive software found in current cars meets the requirements for intellectual property protection, which could keep home tuners and handymen out from under the hood. This has come to a head with a lawsuit by Ford against a manufacturer of home automotive diagnostic equipment last year:
Last September, Ford took steps toward consolidating such control, filing a lawsuit against Autel US Inc., a diagnostic-equipment manufacturer based in Huntington, New York. Ford alleges the company unlawfully copied trade secrets and accessed on-board computer systems that relay technical information on diagnostic codes and repair data.
A policy statement by John Deere is also cited in the article. So that's Ford and John Deere... How did I find out about this article? Well, I sat down at my computer at zero dark thirty this morning to find that someone had tagged me in the comments of an Oleg Volk Facebook post that opened...
"Interesting that GM, the company most famous for On-Star spyware pre-installed in all of their rather poorly made vehicles, is leading the effort to make something illegal."
Really? General Motors is "most famous" for On*Star spyware? Not the Corvette? Not the public assassination attempt by Ralph Nader? Not the ignition switch coverup debacle? No, they're "most famous" for building a cell phone into the car. Call me on your iPhone and tell me all about it.

Don't tag me with stuff like this before sunup, people. Manichaeism before 0800 does nothing good for my blood pressure. I don't want any part of your War for Justice in Society until after lunch.

God, I long for the day when buying a chicken sandwich or a car is not a signalling device for an entire weltanschauung.

Boom! Handshot!

I seem to have missed another shot-off hand incident with a Kel-Tec KSG.

The combination of:
  • a vertical foregrip 
  • mounted to a plastic picatinny rail 
  • on the forearm of a shotgun you have to run like it owes you money in order to ensure reliable cycling
  • and that has an OAL so short that Kenny Baker could inadvertently get a paw in front of the muzzle
is a combination that has cost at least two shooters their south paws already now.

A reminder...

Angles of Attack is shipping today! Which means, I guess, that the dead tree copy I pre-ordered is on its way to supplement the dead tree copy I got already because I know a guy.

I've already read it twice. It's got some scenes that would be hella cool on the big screen.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Gratuitous Gun Pr0n #124...

Striker-fired plastic duty pistols at yesterday's range session: A pair of Sig Sauer P320 nines in Full and Compact sizes, an FNH FNS9, and a Heckler & Koch VP9.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Pew! Pew! Pew!

One hundred rounds of Speer Lawman 115gr TMJ ammunition through the Sig P320 today. Accidentally hit the slide stop with my thumb once, otherwise no issues to report. That makes 505 total and 1,495 rounds to go until the gun gets cleaned and lubed.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

1 Real Fact

I beseech the gods of cinema...

...please don't screw this up. Please.


China is close to completing the construction of an airstrip on a tiny outcrop in the South China Sea, heightening its ability to project power regionally from the disputed waters and further raising the stakes in an increasingly tense showdown between Beijing, its neighbors, and the United States.
In the movies, these things are always guarded by sharks with frickin' laser beams.

I wonder if the PLA's base stores will include a standard issue white Persian cat for the base commander to pet in a huge revolving chair in his office? Because that would be boss.


Friday, April 17, 2015

When is a Bubba not a Bubba?

Everybody knows Bubba the gun butcher, but what separates "Bubba-izing" from actual "sporterizing"? There's plenty of WECSOG* gun work that doesn't turn out as disastrous-looking as the stipple job on my FNS-9. Take this Glock 19, for example...

*Wile E. Coyote School Of Gunsmithing

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Alert the Ministry of Irony...

Tentacle Pr0n

"Question: Who has two eyes, can take eight selfies at once, and is an absolute sucker for underwater photography?"

This is awkward.

So, yeah, this "totally spontaneous roadtrip thing" that Hillary did... Wow.

Watching Hillary trying to act like an Everyday Joe is painfully awkward. So many metaphors suggest themselves. It's painfully obvious that the Venusian Brain Slug doesn't quite know how to operate its Human 'Bot Suit all natural-like yet...

And the thing is, her handlers are right there. They see this, and they let her keep doing it to herself! Nobody's pulling her aside and saying "You know, maybe this wasn't such a good idea," and hustling her back to her natural habitat inside the beltway. It's like seeing the profoundly challenged kid sitting there playing with themselves in church and their parents are right there smiling and nobody's saying anything because AWK-ward!

If her people are letting this happen, is it because they're so deep inside the bubble themselves that they don't notice anything wrong, or is it something more sinister?

"...and that's how far from the Gulf of Tonkin, now?"

Regarding China's ongoing friskiness in the South China Sea, the Filipinos are balking, and calling on treaty obligations with Uncle Sam to back their play:
""We are, at this point, seeking additional support from the United States in terms of being able to take a stronger position in defending our position, which is to uphold the rule of law," Albert del Rosario, Manila's foreign minister, told journalists."
China, of course, says they aren't being greedy or belligerent, it's just that all that stuff is theirs and everybody else should just butt out and mind their own business if they know what's good for them.

I'm reminded of the farmer who wasn't greedy; he just wanted his land and the land that adjoined his land.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Meanwhile, on Planet Higher Education...

From an editorial in the Brown University Daily Herald:
Just as it would be disconcerting to find copies of “Mein Kampf” strewn amongst the National Geographic magazines in a dentist’s office, so it is strange to find a controversial war movie playing at a casual party. Though there may be an acceptable time and place to read “Mein Kampf,” it’s quite clear that a waiting room is not. Likewise, a fun social function is not the place to watch “American Sniper.”
Got that? American Sniper is like Mein Kampf*... I guess To Hell and Back was like The Turner Diaries and Gary Cooper's Sergeant York was like The Protocols of the Elders of Zion?

*How come a high school grad like me knows that book and movie titles get italics and not quotation marks, but they apparently don't teach this to the student newspaper staff at an Ivy League school with an annual tuition bigger than my parents' first mortgage?


Continuing Education

When I bought my first Glock, a Model 23, back in the mists of 1994, it was a very big deal that it Had No Manual Safety. Never mind that the Ruger KP-91DAO that I traded in on it had no manual safety, either, somehow the Glock was different.

I was very cautious in handling it, treating it as gingerly as one would a live and slightly annoyed rattlesnake for the first couple weeks, and I picked up a gun-handling tic I have to this day: Unless I was actually pulling the trigger, I'd hold my trigger finger canted out away from the gun at about a 45° angle, as though it were afraid to get too near the loud lever.

In a general sense, this is a good thing, as we don't want the trigger finger up inside the trigger guard when it shouldn't be. However it's not really that ideal because there's no feedback to let my finger know it's in the right spot, since it's just hovering in air, and there's also nothing to get in the way of it straying toward the trigger should my fist close in a spasm.

The Good Samaritan that busted a cap in a carjacker down in Smyrna, Georgia showed us how it was done the other day:
Look at that trigger finger! See how the tip of it is pressed into the ejection port of the pistol? That is a textbook hard register. Homie is doing just like he did in batting practice on Game Day, which is just outstanding.

I am working on retraining my trigger finger out of its dumb habit and into a hard register now. Never too late to learn, I reckon.

Monday, April 13, 2015


My lawyers plead and they wheedle
Say I shouldn't get the needle
And it really wasn't all my fault
Say I'm a very nice guy
And I shouldn't have to fry
'Cause my brother planned the whole assault

If I'm gonna be candid
I know they caught me red-handed
And my case is looking pretty boned
It's a small consolation
And no cause for celebration
To've made the cover of the Rolling Stone...
(I guess the song needed a third verse.)

Continuing story...

So, yesterday, nursing an awful headache and recovering from whatever virus had been making me miserable, I got some reading done. Because I know a guy, I got my hands on the soon-to-be-released Angles of Attack, the third book in Marko's Frontlines series.

I read the first nine pages before bed the other night. I read the next three-hundred and twenty-nine pages in one lick on the sofa yesterday. As with the previous two books in the series, Marko has yet again written a novel whose biggest flaw is that the covers are too close together; I'm going to need to reread it to tide myself over until book four drops.

The plot steps along smartly, all your favorite supporting characters (along with some new faces) make appearances, and there are explosions a-go-go, from ground combat with giant aliens to some pretty cool space battle scenes. Oh, and an earlier side-plot gets fleshed out and steps front and center.

Get to typin', Mr. Hugo Nominee! Make with the words, already. *clangs empty tin bowl against cage bars*

Thirtywhat-th and What?

It's become a running joke. I'll wake up in the morning to hear the televisor informing me that there's been a shooting in My Fair City and I'll ask aloud "At Thirtywhat-th and What?"

30th and Sherman, last night, it seems.

It's shaping up to be a pretty sporty year in the Circle City.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Apologies for the lack of content.

Whatever it was, it had me sore and achy all over, and running a low-grade fever. I spent yesterday on the couch, napping and finishing up Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield.

Apparently, six hours of dozing followed by a good night's sleep was what the doctor ordered, because other than a bit of a residual headache, I'm feeling a bunch better today.

Friday, April 10, 2015


Loose Change

Did you know that the TSA pockets the misplaced change that gets left behind at the security checkpoints of the nation's airports?

I mean, I guess it makes sense; a certain amount of coinage is going to turn up in any Lost 'n' Found and it's not like they're just going to throw it away. And the Thousands Standing Around do have a lot of Lost 'n' Founds...

Last year they apparently pocketed more than two thirds of a million dollars in abandoned change at the nation's airports. Lest you think that this unexpected windfall would somehow help fund the Federal Mall Cop Jobs Program and reduce the burden on the taxpayers, I'll remind you that $675,000 doesn't exactly buy a whole bunch of GS-15s these days. It's not even a rounding error on the Security Theater budget.

ETA: Incidentally, last time I went through a TSA checkpoint, I got to see what the Transportation Security Administration's  maternity uniform looked like. Also, walking with a cane and being probably 100lbs overweight was not enough to put another officer on light duty; he was still there manning the barricades. Let me tell you how safe I felt. "Tell you what, Officer Third Trimester, how about you let us carry the guns through here and I'll take my chances with Johnny Jihadi on my own? Because if someone suddenly went all Aloha Snackbar in here, Officer Gimpy McCruller over there's best and highest use would be as a ballistic shield."

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Bath Time.

Gen 3 Glock 19. Stock except for CTC Lightguard, Vickers mag release, Ameriglo I-Dot Pros, and a Gadget.

Slightly over two years ago, I threw it in my range bag and over that time period, if I had remembered to bring an extra complete 50rd box of ammo to the range, and had the time to do it, I'd run 50 rounds through the Glock. It has been neither cleaned nor lubricated since February 12th of 2013. In that time it has fired 2,000 rounds without a malfunction other than one light strike on round #1,057 (Brown Bear FMJ) on May 17th of last year.

Now it gets cleaned.


Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Automotif LXXVIII...

A New Beetle Turbo convertible and an Original Gangsta Beetle

Important Safety Tip: Don't Cross the Streams Street.

Via Lurking Rhythmically comes this reminder from Guns, Cars, and Tech that Tennesseeand specifically Nashville, have some potential pitfalls waiting for the unwary gun toter attending the NRA Annual Meeting. A sample:
"Anti-gun signage is generally legally enforceable

There are some quirks and caveats and whatnot, but for those visiting, if you see a “no guns allowed” sign in any form, just don’t go there."
Go and read the whole thing for the down-low. Being forewarned gives you four arms, or something like that.

Gratuitous Gun Pr0n #122...

WWII-era USGI Colt M1911A1, all original save for the Herrett's Camp Perry target stocks. (The original USGI grip panels were in a Ziploc baggie.)

Perhaps surprising to people only familiar with shot-out, rattly issue guns from the '70s and '80s, this thing was as snug as your average current production Colt or Springer. Perhaps surprising to people accustomed to modern 1911-pattern pistols, the trigger was a heavy 8+lb. affair.

Placing my bets...

A friend of mine was a young recruit at Parris Island and related the tale of being on guard duty (or whatever the term is) when one of his fellow recruits came over to report that he'd seen lights in some buildings that were under construction where there weren't supposed to be any lights. My friend went to investigate and, as he put it, "The second I was around the corner and out of view of the other recruit, I was pointing that empty M16 every which way like I was auditioning for an A-Team episode."

Segue from coastal South Carolina in the '80s to downtown Indianapolis in 2015, where an IUPUI campus cop mysteriously got shot in the leg the other night with his own duty weapon while he was patrolling the basement of an empty, locked building:
"Somehow that officer's weapon discharged while he was on patrol in the basement of Cavenaugh Hall."
Uh-huh. His holstered gun mysteriously went off all by itself and for no reason and shot him in the leg. Sure it did. Any bets that he Grebnered himself practicing his fast draw in those deserted basement corridors?

(F-bomb warning, so plug your kid's ears:)

For the eleventeenth time, STOP TOUCHING IT.

Monday, April 06, 2015

Gratuitous Gun Pr0n #121...

Neat old Colt M1917 .45ACP revolver. If you think an N-frame has a big grip and a long trigger reach, you need to handle one of these old horse pistols; an N-frame is downright svelte compared to a New Service.

If ten percent of troops issued these could get a good trigger reach for double action fire, I'll eat my hat. There must've been a whole lotta "h-gripping" goin' on.

This was an early M1917 with no shoulder in the chamber to support the case mouth. Later M1917s can be fired without moon clips, but you'd have to pluck the empties out one by one. With the earlier guns, the cartridges actually headspace on the moonclip; dropping a rimless .45ACP round in without one will cause it to just slide straight out the front of the cylinder.

Saturday, April 04, 2015

Automotif LXXVII...

Minolta Maxxum 3000i, Kodak Portra 160
Local BMW E92 ('07-'13) M3. Sure, it's a quarter ton heavier than the Z3 2.8, but having a 4.0L V8 pumping out better than double the 2.8 I6's horsepower makes that completely immaterial.

Saturday Range Trip Part I...

First Dot Torture of the season, and my first Dot Torture with the P320: 50/50.

Fifty rounds of TulAmmo FMJ fired through the P320 on this range trip. No malfunctions to report. Total is now at 305 rounds with 1695 rounds to go before cleaning and lubricating.

Friday, April 03, 2015


Despite having lived around the corner from the Jazz Kitchen (and being a frequent customer of their next-door spinoff, Bebop Pizza) for seven years, I had never been inside.
Tonight we went and saw the Steve Allee Big Band, in the club's 21st anniversary show.
 The music and the food were wonderful, and it's a cozy little venue.
I'll definitely be back.

On Awareness...

Thursday, April 02, 2015


So... these people, whose combined net worth is so many orders of magnitude greater than mine that comparisons are meaningless, don't have enough guns between 'em to fill a table at a podunk county gun show?

I'm frankly disgusted.

It explains a lot, though.

Oh, yumm!

Coming home from the range, I will frequently stop at the little Safeway store at the corner of 56th & Illinois, the commercial heart of Butler Tarkington. Sometimes I'll even walk across the street from there to Kincaid's or 21st Amendment, but I'd never investigated the dining possibilities in the neighborhood. I corrected that yesterday by stopping in to get lunch at Oh Yumm Bistro.

I ordered calamari as an appetizer and the Wagyu (Kobe) slider.

The calamari was calamari. It was perfectly adequate, but didn't rock my world or anything. The breading was tasty but maybe could have been a little more crunchy. The burger, on the other hand...

"havarti, curried tomato jam, crispy leeks, pretzel roll"
...the burger did rock my world. Sweet baby Odin, I get a little mouthwatery just looking at the picture and remembering how it tasted. That was the best burger I recollect having in quite some time. I would also note that what a fast food joint would boast as a "Quarter Pounder(!)" is a "slider" on the small plates menu here. As a lunch burger, it was more than adequately-sized. Recommend. Will eat one again. Soon.

File under "Headlines I Thought I'd Never Read."

Coroner: Chainsaw Deaths Were Murder-Suicide

Killing someone else with a chainsaw is messed up enough on its own, but you gotta have some serious Want To to kill yourself with a chainsaw. Also, leaving your bodies for your kids to find? They make you wear a kerosene sweater in hell for that one, dude.



Fifty rounds of 115gr Blazer Brass and fifty rounds of 115gr +P+ Federal 9BPLE JHP through the Sig Sauer P320 yesterday. No malfunctions of any type. 255 rounds so far.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

A grievous error.


Wehraboos and 'tards and gun otaku, oh my!

I'm off to my Happy Place for a bit. Catch y'all on the flip side.

I, too, like surplus!

So, there was a recent clickbait listicle over at Outdoor Hub on "7 Military Surplus Guns Every American Should Own". While it's a good idea for a list, and I happen to have at least one example of every weapon on it, it's a little unfocused.  Is the "Every American" in the title Warren Buffett? Or the kid working at the local drug store? Are they collecting just to collect? Or are they looking for good shooters?
Gratuitous and unrelated Oleg Volk photo of Type I rifle.

I don't have a lot of experience with high-end collecting on a 1%-er budget, but I happen to have some experience with hoarding cheap old shooters on a retail clerk budget, so I'll steal the idea to make my own list:
  1.  Lee-Enfield: This one stays. Some form of Lee-Enfield is practically a must have in a gun nerd's life. Unfortunately, the days of cheap Long Branches and cordite-filled surplus .303 are a decade and more in the rear view mirror. However, Ishapore-made rifles in 7.62x51 NATO are still to be found for reasonable prices, and cheap 7.62 NATO is easier to source than .303 Brit.

  2.  M1 Garand Yugo M59/66 SKS: While the Garand is an historically significant rifle and everybody should eventually own one, they are hideously expensive to the young shooter on a budget. The SKS is the surplus self-loader for shooting on the cheap. Of the commonly-seen variants, the Russian ones have gotten stupid expensive and the Chinese ones usually aren't actually military surplus, which leaves the more plentiful variant of the Yugo. (I like the plain M59 better, but the M59/66, with all the useless grenade-launching tumors on the muzzle end, is what you're likely to find at the ~$250 price point these days.)

  3.  Mosin-Nagant 91/30 or M44: Hello and/or duh. The only way you're going to get an actually military-issued surplus rifle cheaper than this is if one falls out of your Cheerios box tomorrow morning. These are among the only milsurps still cheap enough to put in the impulse buy rack by the cash register at the gun store, along with ear plugs and those tiny little CLP bottles.

  4.  Finnish Mosin-Nagant m/39 (or any other Finn Mosin): Again, a lot of rifle for (usually) very little money. It's a Mosin-Nagant rebuilt by people who actually cared about hitting the target. Plus, Simo Hayha used one to shoot a mess of Bolsheviks.

  5.  M1903 Springfield Yugo M48 Mauser: The Springfield is, again, priced out of reach of the novice on a budget. Tatty M1903A3s are demanding new Glock prices, and an actual numbers-matching Mark I would be a down payment on a new car. Every milsurp collection needs a Mauser, and with Russian-capture 98k's dried up and non-Russian-capture 98k's priced like imported sin, the M48 Yugo is your best bet for getting your Enemy at the Gates on for XBox money.

  6.  K31: No argument from me. This elaborately-machined rifle must have cost the Swiss taxpayers a mint seventy years ago. You can get it cheaper than a crappy disposable Chinese laptop you'll throw out in two years.

  7.  Nagant M1895 revolver CZ52 pistol: It's easy to be lured by the Nagant's low price tag, but a practically unusable double-action trigger, sluggish and arcane reloading procedure, and a dodgy ammo supply make it of questionable utility for the new-ish shooter on a budget. I have one and mostly use it to be able to say "I have a Nagant". I had a .32ACP cylinder for it, but gave that to my roommate for hers. The roller-locking CZ52, while not as cheap as it was in the good ol' days of a dozen years ago, is still to be found for the price of a couple of Hi Points and ammo is plentiful, if not exactly super cheap anymore.
That's my list.