Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Do we shoot too much in shooting classes?

A conversation between a couple of very knowledgeable dudes...

Lee knows his way around a blaster, too...

You might recognize the dude on the right, who is no slouch with a pistol.

Tab Clearing

Tuesday, June 29, 2021


Nikon has officially launched their much-rumored retro-styled mirrorless camera, the Zfc...

Under the sexy retro magnesium outer shell, it's a Z50, but with an articulated screen and those knurled aluminum control knobs.

I don't know that I'd be into going back to a crop sensor body for my main work camera, but if I were shooting a Z6 or Z7 for work, then I'd definitely snatch one of these up as a walkabout fun body.

The problem, of course, is that a bunch of my Nikon glass is the older screw-drive type and the FTZ adapter doesn't have a drive motor in it, so they'd be manual-focus only. It looks like my eventual return to full-frame mirrorless for a work camera is going to be via Canon's R system, since my current Canon autofocus lenses will port over seamlessly on a factory EF-to-RF adapter.

I still want a Df, though. Someday.


The Terrible Horrible No-Good Very Bad Day

So, Sunday dawned... and I was there to see it.

Castle Frostbite is about an hour and a half from the airport in Manchester, and my flight home had originally been scheduled for noonish, allowing for a leisurely departure time and an early lunch on the way. But American Airlines* had changed my schedule and now my flight was departing at a bit after eight. If I wanted to get to the airport an hour early, this meant waking up at 0mygod30.

So, we did, and I got checked in and through security with plenty of time to spare, boarded the flight, and... There were low clouds socking in the airport in Philly, so we were put on a ground hold there at the gate. They'd already closed the boarding door and started the engines on the packed-full CRJ700, so they had to power them down again, at which point we learned that the APU on the little executive mailing tube was deadlined.

We wound up sitting there on the ramp for more than forty-five minutes, such that they had to hook up to the ground umbilicals again to get some limited a/c in the plane.

We finally got airborne and into Philly an hour late. Lotta scrambling for connecting flights. I was fortunate, in that I'd originally had a three-plus hour layover, so I had plenty of time to shuttle bus my way from Terminal F to Terminal B.

Departure from Philadelphia was on time and went smoothly...

After about an hour and twenty minutes in the air, we were touching down at IND. 

To the east, the sky over Hoosieropolis was mostly cloudy against a backdrop of blue, but as we were taxiing, your could see the black wall of a thunderstorm sweeping toward the airport from the west.

By the time I was walking toward baggage claim, rain was lashing the airport windows and the intercom informed us the ramp would be closed for at least twenty minutes before our baggage could be unloaded.

Finally the bags started dropping onto the carousel and I grabbed my well-travelled Maxpedition Fliegerduffel, attached the shoulder strap, and wandered over to baggage services to fetch my Case Club eight-pistol case. (I had been trying to get some work done while dog sitting in the north woods.)

Instead, while I was talking to the American Airlines BSO guy, I noticed my black case with its pink padlocks and prominent red Do Not Put On Carousel tag circling the baggage carousel. Blurting "Holy $#!+!", I scurried over to retrieve it.

Towing about a hundred pounds of guns, camera gear, and luggage, I headed for the Uber pickup area, giving the mortified BSO dude some hard side-eye as I passed.

My Uber driver was pleasant, but the ride had unavoidable delays as Indy has torn up the interstate through the middle of town for a long-overdue revamping.

On arrival at home, I noticed that inconsiderate me from two weeks ago had left current me almost no Diet Dew in the fridge, so I decided to head over to Preston Safeway to restock. Only the Z3 was sitting on a flat driver's side front tire. Looks like it's got a slow leak that likely means another crack that needs welding. On inflating the tire and heading to the store, I discovered that they were absolutely out of Diet Dew or any other caffeinated citrus-flavored diet cola in any serving size or container.

At least I was home and Bobbi and the cats seemed glad to see me. Other than that, I gotta give Sunday 2/5 stars. Do not recommend.

*Marko and I are both Delta loyalists, but during the travel crunch of the Time of the 'Rona, Delta discontinued service to Manchester, which is basically a feeder/alternate for Boston. Boston flights would be cheaper and direct, but the drive is longer and then there's the whole gun thing...

Monday, June 28, 2021

Word of the Day: How to Speak Tamarese

Bearthread {bār-thrĕd} (n.) Interminable discussion threads on internet gun fora devoted to rationalizing purchase of exotic firearms solutions to fantastically unlikely problems. 
"The Taurus Judge is the concrete, physical world manifestation of too much bearthread."

Incidentally, if any Hoosiers are looking to rationalize a magnum revolver purchase, here ya go.

I wonder if anyone has any 10mm Trophy Bonded Bear Claw in stock?


Very Cool Beans

With scale applied, this photo of Ganymede becomes super wild. Those are some monster ice cubes!

The science fiction nerd in me has a Traveller scenario there where our characters are trying to chainsaw and jackhammer some reaction mass out of those mesas.


Monday Morning

Have some adorable dog pictures to ease the transition into Monday morning...

Sunday, June 27, 2021

Overheard at Castle Frostbite…

It was just as enjoyable the second time through as the first. Nearly perfect television, right up there with the first season of True Detective

I've taken Bobbi's advice and gotten the book on Kindle.

Saturday, June 26, 2021

D'oh, a deer!

I wished I had more reach than the 24-105/4L. These are already pretty cropped.

Automotif CCXXIV...

Mercedes-Benz SL380 R107, from the early Eighties. The late Seventies and early Eighties were an era of great horsepower disparities between American market and Euro versions of the same car. European cars had more lax emissions regs and the computerized fuel injection revolution hadn't occurred yet.

The 234 cubic inch single overhead cam V-8 in Eurospec cars had a 9.0:1 compression ratio and put out 201bhp. The US market saw the engine's compression reduced to 8.3:1 and an emissions control potato stuck up the tailpipe, dropping the output to 155bhp. The NHTSA-required 5MPH bumpers just added insult to injury.


Nature is healing...

Friday, June 25, 2021


Excited two-stroke noises!

This mad lad looked like he was having entirely too much fun. So much fun that I checked and, yes, you can buy gasoline engine conversion kits right off Amazon because of course you can.

I wonder what the price and availability of donor bikes is like these days?


Where's my flying..? Oh.

Flying cars, which are always just around the corner, are apparently just around the corner.
"Google co-founder Larry Page’s air-taxi firm Kittyhawk is pushing a vertical-takeoff electric plane it calls Heaviside. Intel, Toyota, and JetBlue have invested tens of millions of dollars in Joby, another electric air-taxi venture. Traditional planemakers including Airbus, Boeing and Bell have their own air-taxi efforts. Even Uber is trying to take to the sky, on-demand."

Odd Reluctance

I travel enough that I keep a separate toiletries kit bagged up and always in my suitcase. Travel sized shampoo and conditioner, moisturizer, that sort of thing, plus ibuprofin and Claritin and typical boo-boo kit stuff.

While on the road at some point, I had to replace my antiperspirant and grabbed a powder-scented one by mistake.

Now, I don't necessarily have anything against that scent if you're into it, but it's not really my jam. Except now when I'm on the road, I'm powder fresh, because while I can walk away from a half-eaten twenty dollar entree at a restaurant, something won't let me pitch a half-used three dollar stick of antiperspirant.


Thursday, June 24, 2021

Pistol is Not Fine

No it's not. Put an optic on that thing.

There is a certain subset of far Left gun nerds that are so into their Tankie* LARP** that they insist that the firearms produced by glorious socialist people's arms factories are perfection and anything to the contrary is capitalist propaganda.

I don't know if the Redditor who made this piece is one of those, or just a garden variety Makarov fanboi...

Look, there was a time back in the late Nineties when a surplus Mak stuffed with Hornady XTPs was absolutely the best hunnerd dollar CCW gun you could get, but a three hundred dollar Mak in a world where Shields go for two-fitty? That is straight up dumb.

That Being Said™, those translucent grips are hawt and if I had a Mak just lying around, the temptation to do it up like the one in the picture would be mighty. Except mine would get real sights and not have the painted hammer & sickle, which is every bit as gross as a swastika.

*For the unhip: Tankie
**For the unhip: LARP



The beat covering the hashing-out of trade regulations between the EU and freshly-Brexited Britain has got to be as dull as watching paint dry, the journalistic equivalent of being exiled to a quonset in Thule.

But writing this headline must have been satisfying...

In other news, "Positive Sausage Signals" is the name of my next band.


Too soon, spambot...

Hand to gawd, this was in my inbox yesterday afternoon...

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

That didn't take long at all.

Well, that's not cool...

One of the wilder reality shows on the internet isn't getting renewed for another season, apparently, because its larger (and crazier) than life one-man cast is dead.
"John McAfee, the controversial antivirus software magnate who'd had multiple recent run-ins with the US law, has died at 75. McAfee was awaiting extradition in a Spanish prison after being charged with tax evasion in the United States last year.

McAfee was found dead in his cell in a prison near Barcelona on Wednesday around 1 p.m. ET and a medical examiner is on the scene, a spokeswoman for the Superior Court of Catalonia told CNN. She said the cause of death is under investigation.

How long before this gets plugged into the universal adaptor of conspiracy theories, Qanon, and the story gets absorbed into that ever morphing and expanding LARP?

ETA: Basically where I'm at, too...


Half a klick, half a klick, half a klick onward...

Across the Reuters wire this morning, and still pretty fresh:
"A Russian military ship fired warning shots at a British Royal Navy destroyer after it entered Russian waters in the Black Sea, and a Russian jet dropped bombs in its path as a warning, Interfax cited Russia's defence ministry as saying on Wednesday.

The British Ministry of Defence did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Obviously we've only got the Russian side of the story so far, so the bit about the ship intruding three kilometers into... er, Russian-with-an-asterisk territorial waters is one party's side of the story.

We don't know if it was an accident, we don't know if it was deliberate, we don't even know if it actually happened. All I know is that disputed incidents with destroyers give me the creeping willies.

That, and a lone surface combatant that deep in a hostile littoral is definitely in the belly of the beast (and Ironically within cruise missile range of Balaclava.) The Crimean Peninsula as a whole is not, historically, a location associated with great British victories.

HMS Defender

ETA: The Beeb claims the Russians' штаны are on fire. They say nobody shot at their destroyer and there was no F-111ski dropping bombs.
But the British Ministry of Defence (MoD) said "no warning shots have been fired at HMS Defender".

It added that the ship was sailing in Ukrainian waters.

"The Royal Navy ship is conducting innocent passage through Ukrainian territorial waters in accordance with international law," the MoD said.

The MoD said the Russians were carrying out a gunnery exercise in the Black Sea and provided prior warning of their activity.

"No shots were directed at HMS Defender and we do not recognise the claim that bombs were dropped in her path," it added.
It should be pointed out that technically the British would consider the Crimean coast to be Ukrainian territorial waters.


Automotif CCXXIII…


1957 Ford Thunderbird: Last year for the 2-seater grand tourer style T-bird, before it morphed into the Personal Luxury Coupe.

It’s funny. Laugh.

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Your toter's permit is not a Batman badge.

To steal a line from someone on Twitter, "Minding your own business is free."


*pinches bridge of nose*

So, back before SHOT 2017, DeSantis released a "sidecar-style" AIWB rig they called the Pipe Hitter. At the time, I quipped
"Someone needs to tell the suburbanites who think this is a synonym for “badass” what the actual etymology is,"
This caused some humor at SHOT Show that year and the holster's name was changed to the Hidden Truth. (It's still called the Pipe Hitter in at least one Amazon listing, though!)

This was all brought to mind again recently...

Yes, I know that "pipehitter" has entered VetBro speak as a synonym for "door-kicking face-shooter" but that doesn't change its etymology one bit. It originated from a Ving Rhames line in Pulp Fiction

I know you’ll find this shocking, but the young men who run off to join our country’s special operations forces are a whole lot more likely to have been Eagle Scouts than they are to have smoked rock. 

Hence, when they watched Pulp Fiction, they thought Marcellus Wallace wanted a couple of people who hit other people with pipes, not a couple callous junkies who would torture someone with a pair of pliers and a blowtorch in exchange for drugs. Thus the confusion of terms. 

In the early days of the War on a Noun, suburbanite White dudes in SOF began misusing the slang they’d heard in a movie as teens as a term of respect.

The idea I've seen floated that Pompeo picked it up from his military service in the Eighties is ludicrous, but I've no doubt that he honestly doesn't know its meaning beyond the current VetBro one. He doesn't strike me as being familiar with drug patois of any variety. This doesn't make his request any less ludicrous, though. 

The idea that Edna of The Villages in Florida becomes a "pipehitter" in the VetBro sense by mailing off a portion of her Social Security check to some grift-y sounding PAC to fight the Marxism is ridiculous, and you'd need to be hittin' the pipe pretty hard if you think most of that dough won't go to salaries and nice conference room furniture.


LOL calm down

Monday, June 21, 2021

Corvette Summer

For the official first day of summer, here's a 1973 Stingray. The current owner has had it for thirty two years and had the Jaguar Racing Green paint job done because he thought it would look cool. He was right.

If you click on the pic and go for extreme embiggenation, you'll note that the steel wheels behind the chrome center caps are painted to match. Nice touch.


The internet likes dog pictures, right?

Shooting the EOS 7D in aperture priority with the 70-200/2.8L wide open at ISO 400. Even so, in the shade I was having trouble occasionally with the shutter speed dropping low enough to show a bit of blur at longer focal lengths.

For instance, Dinky here looks good on a smart phone or small monitor, but 100% crops show the effect of camera motion. (I think this was 1/125th at 200mm.)

Sunday, June 20, 2021

Watch This

I'm not really what you'd call a watch person. I have a few wristwatches, sure. There's Clifford the Big Red Watch, which I bought for the altimeter because I thought that would be cool on trips out west. I have a murdered-out Citizen Eco-Drive I bought because I thought it looked really cool. Oh, and the orange and black Bertucci that I bought as kind of an homage to ToddG, since those were his colors and he was definitely a watch person.

Some concatenation of circumstances caused the internet to waft this past my eyes the other day.

I will not deny that it is super-cool looking, but a watch from the Braves gift shop that costs three hundo is something I need like I need a hole in my head, and there's a simple reason behind that lack of need.

It's because the truth of the matter is that the Apple watch is the only one I usually wear, because it's nice to be able to reject phone calls without actually pulling my phone out of my pocket. Sending text messages by talking to my wrist is pretty Futurama, too, not gonna lie. It nags me about my calorie burning, or lack thereof. I use the Apple watch, whereas I just wear the others and occasionally consult them regarding the time.

I get that watches are a hobby some people really enjoy, but it's one I don't entirely understand.

This puts me in the same boat as Mike at TOP:
"Unless the rest of your life is not just prosperous but downright rich, everyone would assume you're wearing a fake Rolex even if you're wearing a real Rolex. No way would I ever wear a real Rolex, because it would shame me! Anyone would assume it's fake. And a fake Rolex? How gauche. Poor taste.

It would shame me, though, only to those who noticed what I was wearing at all. That's another one cares what watch you wear. Maybe one person in 50 would notice it said "Rolex" on your watch, even if you took pains to wave it around under their noses. There are so many near-copies of Rolexes in the world—most companies have Rolex lookalikes for different distinct Rolex models, even—that most people, at a glance, would just assume you're wearing one of those.

So Rolexes don't actually work as jewelry for status display. At least not unless you're already someone who people would assume would wear a real Rolex. In which case you don't need to wear a real Rolex.

Am I conveying my flummoxification


Saturday, June 19, 2021

Automotif CCXXII...

1977 Chevy Nova Concours coupe. The traction bars and the orange-painted front drum brakes peeking out through the slots in the mag wheels really tie the piece together.

If I'm betting on my (admittedly very dated) experience, this thing's got a 305 smog motor that's never had the heads off, a dual exhaust done at the local muffler shop, and way too much carb, possibly on the factory manifold. All bark and no bite.

This is the four-wheeled equivalent of a KZ650 with an unpainted fiberglass bikini fairing, factory suspension, a no-name 4-into-1, and intact chicken strips.


Friday, June 18, 2021

U-Turn Charlie, they call him...

Batman, your car is ready.

LED lighting has definitely allowed for some wild headlight and taillight schemes. Also, what's up with 1,850 horsepower? They couldn't find another 150 someplace for a nice round 2k? Somebody was falling down on the job if you ask me.


Wednesday, June 16, 2021


This moment of tranquilo brought to you by Canon and Oh God I Needed This.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Wait, what?

"They're just doing that to trigger people into complaining," he complained, triggeredly.


They made their bed, now they're lying in it.

From a WaPo story on the urban camping epidemic in Portland:
On this Monday, the city sent its contractors a list of 14 sites:

A middle school with two tents and three broken-down RVs blocking access to the student drop-off zone.

A vacant lot near Costco, where some homeless residents had been living for long enough to lay concrete foundations and start building rustic homes.

A highway underpass with at least 20 residents, where the nearby building was charred by fire damage.

A cul-de-sac littered with stolen and disassembled vehicles located next to the DMV.

During the past several years, Portland had systemically eliminated some of its tools for policing life in homeless encampments. Oregon had decriminalized the possession of small amounts of heroin and methamphetamine, which were common in camps. Portland had cut its police budget by $15 million and gutted its neighborhood response team. Increasingly, the city’s homelessness enforcement was left up to teams of contractors armed with nothing but de-escalation training, heavy-duty gloves, Naloxone to treat opioid overdoses, garbage bags and orange buckets to carry away human waste.

How long can stuff like this go on before you scare off the taxpayers who can actually afford the cost of living there?


Automotif CCXXI...

Spotted this Ford Model A Deluxe Tudor while out and about. The Model T may have been the car that put America on wheels, but it was still very much the beta test version of the automobile, with controls that would seem confusing to a modern driver. On the other hand, if you can drive a manual transmission, there's nothing really unusual about a Model A, although the unsynchronized crash gearbox might take some getting used to.


Monday, June 14, 2021

Pulling a 'Crazy Ivan'.

Pep Talk

Marko on writing full-time:
"I sold Terms of Enlistment and its sequel to 47North in the spring of 2013, and I’ve been able to write full-time ever since. It took me until my forties to figure out that I wasn’t really cut out for any other kind of work, so to those of you who are submitting stories and trying to get a foot in the door, I’d say not to worry about being too late to the party. Nothing moves fast in the publishing field anyway."

Won't Get Fooled Again...

Although it happened over a year ago, I remember it like it was yesterday...

I was headed home from Indy Arms Company and pulled up at the traffic light at the intersection of 54th and Keystone. I was westbound, and 54th Street makes a little dogleg across Keystone Avenue, so the two sides of 54th don't get a green light at the same time; westbound gets the green light first, and after it turns red, then eastbound traffic gets to go.

The light was yellow already as I rolled up, so I stopped. Looking at the line of cars on 54th across the intersection, the fourth car back or so caught my eye. It was pretty much obscured by the cars in front of it, but the lines of the C-pillar and rear fender that were visible were the bright green shape of a Dodge Challenger. I thought about reaching for the Sony in my pocket so as to be ready when he rolled through the intersection, but really the novelty's worn off on the Mopar pony car revival for me. Unless it's something wild like a Hellcat or whatever, I rarely pull out the camera...

Man, of all the retro homage pony cars, the Challenger is the most faithful to the original, because what rolled through the intersection, turning north on Keystone to taunt the camera still in my pocket with a lingering broadside shot was an original gangsta 1970 Dodge Challenger T/A in color code FJ5, Sublime.

This was on my mind the other day when I was riding along with Marko and noticed that distinctive roofline... purple this time ...waiting to pull out on a side road. I had my 5DS in my lap with the 24-105mm f/4L, and I hefted it expectantly, but fully prepared to be disappointed by another provocatively-painted current Fiat-Chrysler product.

Only nope.

As we rolled past the side street I was staring straight down the snout of a Plymouth Barracuda.

Marko pulled over and let the guy drive past and we continued along behind him. 

When we took the on-ramp to the interstate and the 'Cuda continued straight, I managed some good shots. I was kinda wishing for a longer lens, but the 50MP sensor in the 5DS gives you plenty of room to crop.

It appears to be a 1970 'Cuda with a 383 in color code FC7, In Violet (the Plymouth name for what Dodge called Plum Crazy).

Nice clean lines, no wings or tape stripes... about as low key as a car with a color named "In Violet" can be. With the standard engine, the 335bhp 383 Super Commando, and a four speed, this must be a pleasant ride in the mountains on a summer day.

Friday, June 11, 2021

Automotif CCXX...

I've been trying to get a shot of this guy for a while. The best I've done so far is this one, which was snapped on the way home from the Indy 500. It's a center crop from a shot taken across 62nd Street, which is five lanes wide at that point, using my RX100 pocket cam, which only has a 105mm equivalent zoom.

El Cutlassino

Yes, I know it's not actually an Oldsmobile, but I'm willing to play along with dude's whimsy.

Now in my headcanon there's an alternate universe with a '70 Hurst/Olds 442 El Cutlassino...


A Dash of Decadence...

In case the idea of a touchscreen LCD in the middle of the elegant wood dash of your Bentley Flying spur is too gauche, you can apparently hide it at the touch of a button...

I mean, you can if you add an option costing around seven grand to a car whose base price is almost every bit of two hundred long.


Thursday, June 10, 2021


I stumbled across an interesting article this morning while looking for pictures of the tailgunner's station in a B-52...
The first American to shoot down five enemy aircraft was Frederick Libby, an ex-cowboy from Colorado who joined the British Royal Flying Corps in 1916 and served as an observer-gunner in FE-2B two-seat pusher aircraft.

FE gunners used two machine guns, including a rear-facing Lewis gun, mounted on a steel pole, which required them to stand up on their seats when firing. “Only your grip on the gun and the sides of the nacelle stood between you and eternity,” said Libby years later.

That sounds like an acrophobe's delight, right there.

The reason I was looking for the photo was because of this photo of the exterior of the gun position, along with one very cool dude:

SSgt Sam Turner is apparently the founding member of a very elite club

The guy in the photo, SSgt Turner, had the first confirmed kill from the tail gunner position of a B-52.

During Operation Linebacker II, one of the last big conventional strategic bombing campaigns...
USAF B-52s flew 729 sorties and dropped 15,000 tons of bombs on 34 targets. Fifteen bombers were shot down, all by North Vietnamese surface-to-air missiles. During this period B-52 gunners claimed five MiG kills. Only two were confirmed. The first was Turner’s aerial victory.
I wondered how many other times a tail gunner in a jet bomber might have scored. I looked around, thinking maybe an Il-28 Beagle gunner might have gotten lucky over the Strait of Taiwan or in one of the various Indo-Pakistani or Egypt v. Libya scuffles, but I'm coming up empty-handed. The number of gun kills from defensive gun positions on jet bombers is truly tiny. More dudes have driven dune buggies on the moon than have scored a confirmed gun kill from a jet bomber.

Interestingly, the B-58 Hustler originally had a tail gun, too, and one that spawned an amusing urban legend, claiming that the bomber was so fast that the rounds fired from the tail gun would actually move backwards relative to the ground when fired. A little math will show that the Hustler's maximum airspeed was about 1,900 feet per second, while the muzzle velocity of the Vulcan in the rear was something close to 3,500fps, so that's a myth busted.

Wednesday, June 09, 2021

Worth keeping an eye on...

Supposedly Senator Cornyn of Texas is negotiating a bill that would tweak who is required to perform a NICS check when disposing of their own personal property. 

This is almost certainly yet another attempt to close that non-existent loophole, and will be framed as one of those "compromises" where one party gives up something and gets nothing in return. Normally that's considered strongarm robbery, not a "compromise".


Messy Used Plane Lot?

It's like some giant kid in Bolivia forgot to pick up his toy airplanes...

There are a bunch of areas at Jorge Wilstermann airport in Cochabamba where the planes look like they've just been shoved into a corner. There are a few clusters and singletons parked in weird places at the La Paz airport, too. This might be the aftermath of the demise of Lloyd Aéreo Boliviano.


Tuesday, June 08, 2021

Automotif CCXIX...

A super-straight BMW 535i that caught my eye... and by "caught my eye", I mean I pulled a u-turn and detoured down a side street to snap the pics when I saw it out of the corner of my eye as I was driving along.

It's dolled up with an air dam and spoiler like a 535is, but badged like a 535i. If the driver would have been standing around, I'd have offered to swap titles for the Zed Drei, because this thing really does it for me. I could definitely walk the earf in a 3.5L E28.


Monday, June 07, 2021

Ah, the Hanyang 88...

I still remember buying mine...
"...a crude Chinese copy of the Steyr copy of the German original. The wood was pretty beat up and it was missing a bottom metal screw, the buttplate, and a stock fitting out by the nosecap. The exterior was surprisingly un-rusted with no real pits and a smooth brown patina, while the action was caked with a sludgelike mix of old WD-40 varnish and dust.

I asked him what he wanted for it, more out of curiosity than anything else, and he said something about how he'd wanted $100, but these guys were telling him it wasn't worth that, so he'd take $75. I thanked him for his time and walked on.

I stopped at a table run by some crufflers I knew and asked them if they'd seen the abomination. They had. They asked if I'd looked down the bore. "No, why?" I replied

"Because the last person to stick a bore brush down it pulled what was left of the rifling out in a cloud of orange dust," they laughed.

It turned out they'd offered him $35 or $40 for it, which it was probably worth in spare parts, and he'd left in something of a huff. I smiled at the story and continued my stroll.

A couple of hours later, I ran into him again, still dragging the gun-shaped tomato stake with him. "No luck?" I inquired, sympathetically.

"Nah," he said, dejectedly, "They all say it's worthless 'cept maybe for spare parts."

I need this thing like I need a hole in my head... but I am such a sucker for a poor, neglected military rifle.

I rummaged through my pocket... A twenty, a five, and four ones.

"Will you take $29 for it?" He would and did.

Things I knew that ain't so...

Working in a gun store, I got to hear a lot of truisms that got blindly repeated, from both sides of the counter. I repeated them myself, often, blindly assuming these things to be true because everybody just knew they were. It was common knowledge!

A lot of it didn't hold up to practical observation, though. Shotguns and pistol caliber carbines do shoot through residential walls, oftentimes a lot of them. Revolvers can malfunction. Et cetera.

One was the utility of a little pocket gun, often an NAA Mini or a derringer, whose owner would refer to it as a "get off me" gun, with the implication that if they were ever caught in a physical scuffle, they could use it to shoot their assailant off of them.

While pocket carry can be useful, especially by allowing one to unassumingly have a hand already on a firearm before a potential attacker realizes it, the idea of pulling it out of a pocket in mid-scuffle is based more on hope than good planning.

One of these was actually designed with in-fight weapon access in mind.

A similar myth surrounds ankle carry. While it is useful and offers many benefits, such as an easy draw when seated and one which can be done relatively unobtrusively under a desk or table, the idea that it's going to be useful for retrieving a weapon in a grounded scuffle seems to be more optimistic myth than fact, as Cecil demonstrates.


Sunday, June 06, 2021

Continuous Lines

"Wouldn't you really rather have a Buick?"

Harley Earl's design for the 1942 Buick Super and Roadmaster was longer, lower, and wider than its predecessor. It also had memorable styling. Due to the production interruptions in Detroit caused by the war effort, the basic body style was still used through the 1948 model.

Called "Airfoil" fenders, the line of the front fenders swooped in a downward curve along the car's flanks until it met the rear fenders, creating a continuous styling swoop along the side of a Buick that was quite distinctive.

It was so distinctive that, even after the era of separate fenders had ended, it lingered on as a chrome styling line, known as the "Sweepspear" as seen on this 1957 Buick Special.

With the two-tone paint schemes popular in the Fifties, the Sweepspear was the dividing line between the different paint colors.

Buicks didn't get much longer, lower, and wider than this 1967 Buick Wildcat, and the general shape of the Sweepspear is still visible in its body lines.

The 1967 Wildcat featured the new 430cid Buick big-block V8, replacing the old 425, which was the largest-displacement variant of the "Nailhead" Buick. The 430 would eventually get a displacement increase to become the legendary 455.

Even after the swoopy space-age styling of the late Sixties and early Seventies devolved into the dull formal angularity of the late Seventies and early Eighties, the Sweepspear clung on, albeit in the most vestigial of forms. Check out the shape of the pinstripe accent line running along the top of the fenders on this 1985 Riviera convertible...

Saturday, June 05, 2021

Automotif CCXVIII...

It's not just another rat rod with a Small Block Chevy. Instead, it's a rat rod with three quarters* of a Small Block Chevy.

(*Ish. I'm fairly certain that's a Buick V6. The Buick V6 isn't actually an SBC missing a quarter of its pistons, but it's close enough for government work.)


Range day yesterday...

I took the .38/32 Terrier to Indy Arms Co yesterday. It was my first time shooting indoors there since probably April of last year. Bobbi had spotted me a couple boxes of .38 S&W out of her stash of Enfield fodder (one Magtech and one PPU) and Chris at Lucky Gunner found a box of Fiocchi that had, I don't know, fallen down in the sofa cushions or been used to prop up a wobbly table leg. I also had eight rounds of Winchester LRN left in a box in the attic.

I'd already done some chrono testing, and that'll go up at the Patreon site today or tomorrow. Yesterday I wound up limiting myself to using up the last of the Winchester and the PPU, all in double-action work at five yards.

This may have been the first time anyone's ever shot a Modern Samurai Project target with a .38/32 Terrier. (I'd just got the targets in from an order the other day, so it's what was handy.)

With the original "splinter" stocks and nothing filling in the sinus behind the trigger guard*, fast double-action work is hard and will challenge your skills. You can see that I'm tending to shade to the left and a bit low even at only five yards. 

I could put a more modern set of stocks on this, but I think I'll go with a grip adaptor. If I can't scare up a Tyler T-grip in the attic, I'll have to be off to the internet.

*Chris has a good explanation in this piece.