Friday, December 20, 2013

Calling out Glenn Greenwald.

Wait, what was that?  Calling out Glenn Greenwald?

Yes.  You read that right.  And I'm talking about a legitimate calling-out, too--not the playbook-regurgitated tripe that you'd expect from the various flavors of American Exceptionalism.

I've been following, with some interest, Arthur Silber's recent work on this topic (which seemed to start back in June, here and here), and as much admiration as I have for Greenwald's work (and I do), Silber's core point cannot be denied.  He articulated it in October, this way (emphasis in original):

...Greenwald, together with the other journalists to whom he has granted access to the Snowden documents and who abide by his ground rules, is engaged in precisely the same exercise of power that the State employs. Yet Greenwald continues to vehemently condemn the State's exercise of such power, just as he condemns those who obey the State's edicts, while he and his enthusiastic fans view his identical exercise of power in glowing terms, offering endless praise for the "bravery," "courage" and "independence" demonstrated by those who bring us these carefully selected, sanitized, edited, and redacted tidbits from the documentation of the State's actions and crimes.

Silber makes this case by illustrating the substantive differences between WikiLeaks and Edward Snowden (emphasis in original), of which this is just an excerpt:

...WikiLeaks' methodology stands in stark contrast to that used by the journalists to whom Edward Snowden gave his document trove. These journalists insist that filtering of the "raw" documents is indispensable to understanding by the otherwise untutored (and, presumably, unwashed) public. These journalists will first select which documents we will be permitted to see, and which we won't (which is most of them). But that is far from sufficient in the view of these journalists, who are gifted with powers of understanding and judgment far exceeding the abilities of us ordinary schmucks. We are told that the Snowden documents are "difficult" and "complex." Therefore, when we are allowed an occasional glimpse of carefully selected documents, these journalists will explain to us what we should think of them, and what conclusions we are entitled to reach. These self-appointed authorities are genuinely dedicated to the role they have granted themselves: they will guide us in every step we take. Our "protectors" will guard from all the dangers that might unleash chaos resulting in the immediate implosion of the rigid structures that narrowly circumscribe our lives: an original thought, a unique perspective, an unexpected insight.

You can see where he's going with this.  And while it's not that I want him to be right about it--Greenwald seems to make for a truly excellent hero in many respects--I sure can't see where he's wrong.  (As with so much of Silber's work, you don't so much read it as confront it--which is what makes it some of the most useful writing available today.)

And if I'm understanding events properly, Greenwald just seems to be serving himself up perfectly according to the very script he seems to have spent so long railing against.  For anyone who does bother to look beyond his past laurels and view his current actions critically, it ain't lookin' so good for Glenn Greenwald.  (Emphasis and links in original.)

If there is a single general theme to Glenn Greenwald's career as a journalist, it is that he constantly confronts and challenges power and those who exercise power, primarily in the political sphere. Greenwald himself has often proclaimed this to be his major concern, and he repeated this conviction in a recent interview: "I came to believe if you’re smart, skilled, and have the resources, you should use those things to fuck with the powerful.”

So challenging power and those individuals who exercise power is a positive good, one of critical significance. Indeed, if you are able to do so, you should "fuck with the powerful."

Pierre Omidyar is a multibillionaire. On Fortune magazine's list of "The World's Billionaires," Omidyar appears as number 123. Fortune describes that article as follows: "The names, numbers and stories behind the 1,426 people who control the world economy." At 123, Omidyar is very high on the list of people who control the world economy.

Look, I'm hardly against the idea of wealth honestly earned, but even if Omidyar is just exactly, precisely that, still:  that's painfully ironic and Greenwald has got to know that.  (For anyone who isn't yet up on the Omidyar connection, see here and here.  The short story is that he seems to want to make GG into some sort of large-scale franchise.)

Nor does it help that the State seems to have found a perfect comfort with Greenwald's "filtered leaks" strategy.  Rather than offer a quote from the article, I'll just use Silber's title, which says it all:  The Establishment Makes Big, Sloppy Love to the Snowden Leaks.  Again, more than worth a RTWT.

As much as I hate to admit it, as a whole this stinks pretty big.   I wanted to believe better, but with Master so content, chaos replaced with subjective "management", and what leaking there actually is backseated for books and branding deals...

...well, it'll take something pretty spectacular to recover from that.  I don't think I have that much more breath left to hold.


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Kurt does it again.

This wound up here because the commenting engine over at Examiner (currently Disqus) got all stoopid again, at least for me, this morning.  I thought it was worth keeping.

Kurt Hofmann has another great article out there, comparing the recent Arapahoe High School shooter and professional victim disarmer Evie Hudak.  It's worth the read.

This is what I tried to post in response.

Excellent work, Kurt. The comparison is a simply outstanding observation.

Not to pick on you specifically as you're hardly the only one who does this, but I dislike dehumanizing terms like "filth" to describe other people--even the very worst examples anyone could imagine, like killers or politicians. You know me well enough, I think, to understand what I mean by this. Dehumanization is a deliberate tactic of the very people
that wish "our kind" could be removed from the earth entirely, and we should always avoid the path of becoming what we behold, even when it seems like picking nits. I'm also of the opinion that it doesn't add anything to the weight of a valid point--and your point in this article is SO superb that I'd not want anything hanging out there that someone could use as a lever to actively ignore it. After all, many people are committed to their ignorance, and are just looking for something to grasp onto when they have nothing of substance themselves. We should deny that comfort at every opportunity.

Just to be clear, I certainly don't mean to steer anyone away from the fine art of properly-targeted ridicule for those who so richly deserve it. Here, for example, the term "self-righteous busybodies" is right on--both dead accurate, and also distinctly human.

And once again: a truly outstanding observation. You're becoming somewhat of a specialist in this format--I do hope you keep it up. :-)

Friday, December 6, 2013

From the 'Problem? What problem?' file...

Behold the logo of the newest National Reconnaissance Office satellite:


Nah.  Nothing to see here, peasant.  Move along.


__________________
H/T to LRC, via Grigg on Facebook.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

And...I loves me some Pyramyd Air.

Wow, that was quick.

Here's the deal, briefly:  

If you know anyone who is either already into the Jeff Cooper "scout scope" concept, or who would like to try it out,  please pass on this news.  A promising new glass from Leapers is now available, and the outstanding folks at Pyramyd Air have agreed to carry it.  It may not be for everyone, but it seems worth trying out.

Here's the story:

It was only recently I found the back-post on Tom Gaylord's blog about SHOT Show 2013, in which he reported on a new scout scope offering from Leapers, a variable-power glass promising a full field of view.  (For anyone who has been around the scout scope concept for a while, that is a Big Deal.)  I must have missed it the first time around (I've been reading Tom's outstanding airgun blog for over a year now), and frankly I don't remember exactly what it was that caused me to look there so long after the fact, but Hugo Foxtrot Sierra, am I glad I did.  :-)

And it now seems that Pyramyd Air will carry the glass.  The funny part is that I may have had a small hand in that.  At the bottom of the comment stream to the SHOT post (the thread starts here), you can see me getting all excited about it, offering up some reasons I think people might be interested in the scope.  And suddenly Tom reports that Pyramyd Air will indeed stock it.


Awesome.  I look forward to seeing what they offer it for, if MSRP from Leapers is $200.  (I don't have a Spidey-sense yet for how street prices and MSRP relate in the airgun world.)  That already seems like a great value for what this represents.

The planning part of my mind has already decided that I may need at least three of these.  (That part doesn't bother to wait around for the fiscally responsible part, before making plans.  :-)   Provided that the glass does what it seems to promise, I'm currently thinking of using it on the following:

  • An '03 "Springfield scout" .30/06.  I originally conceived this as a backup to the Steyr, and it would remain that, but...with a 2-7x variable that gives up nothing but (a lot of) weight to the fixed 2.5x, this might well become the primary hunting rifle as well.  Left at 2x, but with the ability to dial up to 7 if appropriate...with significantly improved field of view and light transmission from a 30mm tube and 44mm (adjustable) objective...with adjustment-friendly turrets and available illumination on an etched reticle (i.e., not subject to breakage, and simply black on any illumination failure)...and for $200 or less?  Hell yeah, I'll try that out.

  • The Benjamin Marauder .22 air pistol I've got such a jones for right now.  The trick will be mounting, but if that can be sorted out this would seem to be a great fit.  The "pistol" comes with a carbine buttstock, and I would think the advantages of the scout scope would fit that system very well.  Among other things it would clear up the loading area for the rotary pellet magazine.  With airguns especially, if I am learning things properly, the advantages of an adjustable objective and adjustment-friendly turrets are considerable.

  • An as-yet-to-be-conceived Airsoft bolt rifle.  The way discussions are going with Tom Gaylord's commentariat, it seems that a spring Airsoft bolt rifle just might be capable of enough precision to make a viable firearm trainer, and so the idea of building one up as an "Airsoft scout" is up in the fore-brain right now.  Again, the trick will be mounting, but I'm hopeful on that.  With the magnification left low and/or the target perspective considered carefully (smaller targets for the closer ranges), this might allow a whole lot of practice cycles for a very efficient use of funds.

  • A flattop AR .223.  As I learn more about the AR platform, I find myself coming back to the idea that it might be possible to set up a carbine with scout features.  For a while it seemed like this would be counterproductive, but I'm not at all sure that's right any more.  And the Leapers unit would make lots of sense on a gun I see as being a real sport-utility piece (defensive, varminter, and with Barnes X-bullets, some light big game at moderate range):  friendly adjustment turrets, a useful magnification range, and all the available speed of the intermediate eye relief concept.  The way the AR is arranged, the scout scope is not an essential item the way it is on a traditional rifle (the other AR setup option for me is to use a conventional glass along with the "backup irons" that are offset 45 degrees from the top rail, which is actually more intuitive than I'd have guessed) but the consistency and redundancy of using the same scope style across everything still appeals, and may not give up much in the end.

And of course other ideas percolate as well.  The Marauder (air) rifle might also benefit from the magnification range and adjustments;  it seems that lots of people put much bigger glass on their "M-rods", but jeez, with the Steyr I can hit reliably at 400 with a 2.5x, so I'm still thinking that an available 7x is going to be plenty for even a long-range airgun.  (Do these guys know something I don't?)  As well, if I do get serious about Airsoft (and I suspect I will, soon), it would be smart to set up an Airsoft AR the same way the firearm is set up, both with the glass and any backup irons, Ching Sling, etc.  (And then there are the .22 rimfire versions of both the bolt-gun and the AR carbine, which would also benefit from setups that mirror the centerfires they support...  See where I'm going with this?  :-)

The 2.5x Leupolds will still stick around, of course.  They work well, at least out to the limits of which I am capable.  The Steyr will continue to wear its original glass (I know exactly what I can do with that system, and feel no need to change it), and I like the idea of having quick-detach scout scopes available for rifles whose primary sighting system is irons, like the Marlin 45/70.  Clamp the scope on for load development, then remove to set zero and carry afield.  Or, hunt with it--certainly wouldn't be the first time!

I'm excited about this new option.  (Can you tell?)  Call it enthusiastically hopeful.  Now, it's certainly possible that the new Leapers glass offers little advantage to someone who already understands the scout scope concept.  After all, magnification over 2-3x is usually unnecessary for sighting (since we don't glass for targets through riflescopes, right?), and can even be counterproductive as the disparity of focus between the two eyes (which are both open and tracking, right?) gets larger.  And bells and whistles always come at a cost, which in this case isn't so much in dollars, but in weight.  They should buy something for that cost.

I have a hunch that they do, here.  How much, I'll have to see for myself once I acquire my first example.  But the promise of improved field of view, improved light transmission, and the durability of an etched reticle, with the available options of dialing up and illuminating the reticle--and at a cost which seems very reasonable--may make the option worthwhile.

Kudos to Leapers for offering the glass, To the invaluable Tom Gaylord for making me aware of it, and to Pyramyd Air for carrying it.

UPDATE:

Edith Gaylord updates us both with a link at Pyramyd Air, and indirectly, with the offering price:  $180.   Excellent!


Monday, December 2, 2013

Nixed personally by Bob Costas?

It's not that I get all misty-eyed at the plight of the "betrayed soldier".  Voluntary fealty to the Beltway brass just doesn't impress me at all, and would seem to carry entirely predictable results from the beginning.  But--provided it's true--I've gotta give Daniel Defense one up on this effort.



It seems that this submission for inclusion as a Super Bowl ad got summarily rejected on account of being insufficiently supportive of what might now be called The Costas Opinion.  Not really much of a surprise there;  the NFL has certainly made its opinion of the grubby masses perfectly clear before, and seems to have been stepping it up with some regularity lately.

And that's what I like about DD's effort here.  It's something, on record now, that lots of people can identify with, that exposes the league's transparent bigotry for what it is.  And aside from replacing the soldier with a true Everyman, it makes an excellent and unapologetic point available for pretty broad consumption.

Good on 'em.

Of course, I'm more of a crank, myself, and I'd have probably gone a little farther.  In this vein, it seems that Colion Noir has got the news too, and personally, I'd prefer to see his response run as the ad:


Nicely done. 

But my real pick for a slot to run during the Super Bowl would still have to be this one:



Sunday, December 1, 2013

This is significant.

Via airgun ace Tom Gaylord, I recently learned about a new "scout scope" offering from Leapers, which promises a full field of view from a variable-power, intermediate eye relief glass.  Tom had seen a 3-9xthis one is a 2-7x.


The negative:  at over 25 ounces it's almost painfully heavy, compared to the workhorse Leupold fixed 2.5x unit (7.5oz) I've grown so accustomed to.  Yowch.

The unknown:   how low this unit can mount may be open to question.  I also don't know how Leapers scopes hold up.  IIRC, Gaylord said he found the optical quality on the scope he saw, to be comparable or better than a Leupold Vari-X II, and he would think that the durability and overall quality should be about the same. 

But boy, the rest of it is all very intriguing.  Field of view, the raison d'etre here, is listed (at 100 yards) as 32' at 2x and 10' at 7x;  compare this to Burris' 2-7x scout scope (21' at 2x and 7' at 7x), or to a conventional eye relief 3-9x variable at 33' at 3x and 13' at 9x, and you begin to understand the significance.  (The Leupold 2.5x scout is 22' at 100yd.)  Exit pupil numbers, on a 30mm tube and 44mm objective, are impressive.  Turrets promise to be friendly.  The illuminated reticle options seem more like a frill than a requirement, but they might be nice, and the etched reticle itself really does seem like a nice touch.

2-7x is a pretty useful range, for a variable, and hell, for someone accustomed to scopes fixed at 2.5x, dialing up to 7x is going to seem huge.  For the price (Leapers has MSRP showing two bills) that would seem to be a good value.

So!  Plans duly modified.  Start by testing it on the AR platform, and if it works out there, maybe add a copy to the 03 Springfield Scout. 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

It seems that Hollywood shall soon regale us on Walter Mitty.

So I learned today that Hollywood will soon grace us with a production of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.

Um...

Oh, I've got no idea about the film itself.  For all I know it might actually be pretty good, although I'm not going to start betting body parts or anything.

It's the irony.

Seriously:  is it just me, or is the depth of the irony of Hollywood doing Walter Mitty so severe that it might meet the technical threshold for hubris? 


Friday, November 8, 2013

The Airsoft term for this would be "full metal".

Q.  What's the most awesomest thing about the DEFCAD project?
A.  The idea grows its own tubers.


This is so cool it's going to be hard to think about anything else today.

_______________________
Hat tip to the increasingly indispensible Kurt Hofmann.

Monday, November 4, 2013

LAX attack as false flag?

Oh come now.  Regardless of whether it actually was or wasn't, who with a straight face can say that the Forcible Disarmament Now! crowd is in any way above it?

Via Workman, I just saw this YouTube, which is only really convincing in its perfectly understandable angst. Angst about the obvious sense that something stinks.  And something always stinks about these things, doesn't it?  Always.  And I'm not talking about the pluperfectly predictable stink of a mass shooting occurring in a "gun-free zone", either.

It is truly amazing, isn't it, that all these meme-perfect events only happen when frothing legislators have bills in hand, fresh oil in the propaganda machine, and a sense of either hunger or momentum among their legions of sycophants?  They don't happen in the troughs, do they?  It may have occurred to you before that things like the Brady Bill and the AWB, for all their sound and thunder (you remember that, right?), would not even have prevented the events that inspired them--instead the events that did happen were molded by propaganda to fit the desired political meme, and with enough repetition the lie became...what's that term again?...oh yeah, "settled science".  Even today, the victim disarmers regularly admit that their interest is in the meme above all else;  how many times have you heard some nitwit (with power over people's lives) say "well, sure, what we're proposing may not have prevented what just happened, but fersure we know it's a Good First Step(TM)"?  Yeah, I've lost track too.

So now we have this LAX shooting episode, which from the reports I've seen seems just about as meme-perfect as one could imagine today.   (Try not to imagine tomorrow--it's depressing.)  EBR?  Check.  Note indicating his intentions?  Check.  "Patriot" affiliation?  Check.  Antigovernment sentiment?  Check.  Wanting to show "how easy it is to get a gun into the airport"?  Check.  A scenario that the whole airport just trained for a few weeks earlier?  Check.  Made-to-order "heroism" from a detested agency struggling for legitimacy?  Check.  Really, one could go on.  It rather reminds me of a great analogy Grigg made while illustrating the FBI's manufactury of "terrorism" from which they may then be widely seen saving us all.

What political profit would result from allowing local authorities to prosecute Williams on a charge involving an actual property crime? On the other hand, arresting him as part of a black Muslim terrorist cell -- now, there's a bust with a high Q rating. Or, to recur to the Scrabble analogy, that's like playing the "z" tile on the triple word score square at the intersection of two fifteen-letter words.

There's also all the things that did not happen here, that make no sense.  As just one for instance:  I'm sorry, this shooter survived after opening fire at LAX and reportedly capping a TSA badge?  This isn't just an Only Ones zone, this is LA.  The place where, as Joel so memorably put it:

UPDATE: Mildly concerned police officers basically shooting everybody they see, on theory that it might turn out to be Dorner.
Does anyone doubt that this Ciancia fellow is going to sing the DiFi meme-song, on time, on cue and with perfect pitch?

Other stuff will be found to stink too--count on that.  Apparently the folks who made the above YouTube also feel that the blueshirt in the wheelchair was a dummy, and that the LAX police chief botched lines that were handed to him.  Yeah, well, maybe.  (Their strongest case, really, is nothing more than the idea that "officials vehemently deny...", which always lends a certain legitimacy in any political system.)  One might also reasonably wonder things like why the shooter returned to where he began, and why he bothered to carry boxed ammunition if he was expecting a quick, suicidal engagement.  There's the remarkably meme-convenient "just recently moved from Jersey", and so on.  Plenty of things for people to bicker about while ignoring the core lesson that "gun-free zones" are still a monumentally stupid idea.

Well--for everyone except those running the protection racket, of course. 

And to wrap up this "how amazing is all this?" fantasia, how about the idea that anyone who even notices these anomalies, discrepancies, patterns, histories, motivations, incentives--is inherently suspect, almost certainly a terrorist, and probably a witch.  You know, "agin' us" because they're not "with us".

So, here we go again.  Some creep visibly demonstrates, again, that forcible disarmament does nothing but create an obvious killing field...the slime mold from the statehouse oozes on by to wag its blobulous finger at the little people for not being sufficiently cowed by it all to hand over the rubberstamp...and the war on the people who didn't do it is fired up once again.

"They hate us because we're free."  Hell, after all this time and all those perfectly deserved jokes, it seems that indeed "they" really do.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Apparently I'm feeling very snarky today.

So I got wind of another school shooting on Facebook, yesterday:


The "annotation" provided with the picture makes the intent perfectly clear, in case there was any doubt:
Guns!  'MURICA!
 Wow, man.  That's, like, witty.  But you know, with just a small change it might at least be useful:


There, that's better.  More honest, at least.  (But you knew that already, right?)  I suppose one could re-caption the thing with a similarly honest phrase ("Moar!  Defenselessness!  Now!") but it somehow seems unnecessary.

But really, the weird part is that I haven't seen more agitprop about this yet--you know, with a whole day having gone by since the incident.  The machine is usually much better than this;  usually, I find out about this sort of thing from a long stream of such jabs, parading by on my Facebook "news feed", within what seems like minutes of the shots fired.

What, haven't Salon, HuffPo, Kos, NPR, WaPo (and friends) given sycophants their orders yet?*

I'm sure it'll happen, of course;  victim disarmers are nothing if not tiringly dependable.  But this does seem odd.


________________________
* At least judging by my own FB stream, it's pretty sad.  For any such event, you can essentially triangulate the issuance of official opinion from master to hive down to the hour, without even looking at source documents, just by the cascade of shares that roll by.  And I'm not even NSA!  :-)

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Milestone.

It has taken very nearly five years--astonishing what two quite marvelous little girls can do to one's sense of schedule--but the reloading operation is now officially up. 

The re-christening is a new load for .308, pushing 165s with 4064 over WLR in once-fired PMP cases.  Five rounds to confirm the consistency of the starting charge, and get the seating depth correct.  Five more rounds at the starting charge.  Headspace gauge is happy;  tomorrow will chamber-check to confirm, and then load up in fives to the target charge. 

Can't say enough good about the press.  Five years, five moves, and the first charge it threw was within half a grain of where I'd left it set at back in Colorado.  Consistency testing got boring quickly.  Everything's tightened back up and lubed appropriately, and we're back!

As soon as possible then:  fresh batteries in chronograph and active muffs;  bring out the grouping targets.  Find a good range day.  Company if possible.  Measure, record, analyze.  And go from there.

Here's looking forward to a productive winter.  :-)

Thursday, October 17, 2013

How cool would it be to hang with this guy?

Some people's enthusiasm is just infectious.  Pair that with both an Ed McGivern trigger finger and shooting a "Bill Drill" with a Barrett .50 BMG, and you have Jerry Miculek.


I bet it would be an absolute hoot to hang with him for a day.  That has got to be among the best jobs in the world.

Hat tip to Gunmart Blog.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

This is what tone-deaf looks like.

Seriously, folks.  Just update the dictionary entry now, 'cause we have us a clear winner.  Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly have made an appearance at a New York gun show, to show all of us what swell, normal, gun-loving folks they are.


Hey now, stop that double facepalmThat was so totally, completely, not a staged stunt at all.  Honest Injun, no.  Why on earth would you think that?

Thing is, though, this is at least arguably very encouraging:  the degree of "know thy enemy" fail is just staggering.  If this is the quality we are up against, then if they get the war they seem so desperate to get [someone else to start for them], the routing may well be so embarrassing that it might actually restrain the level of vengeful bloodlust among those otherwise susceptible to it.

I don't for a minute, of course, think that Giffords and Kelly actually believe their own bilious act, and although I hate to say words like never, it sure would take an...exceptional recovery to have any sympathy whatever for whoever these snake oil salesmen manage to take;  that is, nearly anyone fooled by this Dynamic D'oh may well already be brain-dead beyond repair.  I can't even bring myself to believe that they think they'll sway anyone with their preening, but maybe the depth of my understanding of narcissistic chutzpah is just insufficient.

You can see my conundrum.  Are they smart, and therefore fully calculating in their deceptions, or are they simply "congenitally insane or irretrievably stupid"?

(I jest, of course. Otto is far, far more sympathetic. :-)

Monday, October 7, 2013

This is the country we live in.

Remember when we used to make jokes about police states?

You know, when we meant other states?

(Yeah, it's been a long time for me too.)

Presumably this poor kid had a smart mouth on him.  Not very smart after all, maybe, but that's all.  Nothing in his actions or body language is even remotely threatening.  If I'm reading things right, what he was originally accused of was simply being the wrong age.

Behold the summary punishment these offenses incur.



Get it?  Nothing to see here, citizen.  You do not question your betters at work. The system is sound and the po-po are here for your safety.  Don't let a few "bad apples" ruin it for everyone.  Did we say "bad apples"?  No, no, no.  There is so much you can't see here in this unfortunate video.  See, after carefully unilateral consideration, in which we reviewed our own actions to see if we did something wrong and should give ourselves a good spanking, we instead found that no, the kid totally had it coming, and our officers weren't really "bad apples" after all;  their actions were completely within policy and actually they showed remarkable restraint.  All of them.  Including the second relay team.  And the dog. 

That is all.

(Well...except that in a few months, after this has all blown over, we'll further prosecute the victim, commemorate our own as human "heroes", and maybe put the dog out for stud.  Howya like me now, bitch?)

_______________

When it finally does happen and the masses turn on them, it is not going to be pretty.  And completely unsurprising.  The only thing that does seem inexplicable is that it's gone this far already;  that so many people who have grown up reading countless morality tales about bullying and "living by the sword", still manage to excuse it all for nothing more than the "right" costume.

Maybe it won't happen during my lifetime.  But happen it will, and to the surprise only of those invested in the legitimacy of a rigged game.

Jeez, now I need music. 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Research can be painful.

I have lately been trying to do some research into the Airsoft concept, as a training tool.  I do think there is some significant value there, and I'm trying to figure it out as much as possible before spending scarce dollars. 

This research process can be excruciatingly painful.

(My apologies.  The following is going to sound horribly elitist and snobbish, but I know of no way to mitigate that.)

What have I learned by seeking out Airsoft-related content on YouTube and textual product reviews?  Oh, lots.  I've learned that:
  • The average Airsoft video review involves a highly ritualized unboxing segment, including such details as what product stickers are included in the box.
  • An Airsoft video review absolutely does not mean that the gun will actually be shot.
  • Jaw-droppingly atrocious gunhandling is essentially mandatory.  (Seriously, I think there is a bureau somewhere that simply requires it.)
  • Street cred seems to be measurable by how much Walter Mitty garb the reviewer is wearing.  Extra bonus points if your reviewer speaks to the camera through a gas mask or face shield.
  • "Accuracy" appears to be measured in minute-of-target increments, with targets typically measuring at least a foot across, at purely random ranges usually under 10 yards.  
  • The reviewer is not interested in group size, nor really in adjusting the sights.
  • Targets, when they are actually traditional targets with, you know, an aim point, cannot be held in place by more than one tack;  and if the target is not four feet away in the basement it is blowing around constantly in the breeze.
  • During "accuracy testing", any attempt to actually steady the gun at all is either completely ineffectual, or has no bearing on the visible trigger control and patience of the shooter.  One might logically conclude that actually resting the gun is a sign of weakness.
  • Paradoxically, the segment about adjusting the "hop-up" (a mechanism which imparts a backspin to the round plastic BB, retarding its drop and theoretically extending its effective range) is highly ritualized, and gives the novice viewer the impression that it will make the gun rilly rilly accurate at extended range.
  • Likewise, velocity testing (most likely driven by the need to use as many gadgets as possible) is nearly mandatory...and pluperfectly pointless.  What difference is there between 300fps and 500, for a plastic BB shot out of a smooth bore, in environments where 25 yards is a long shot for a "sniper"?
  • Brain-dead narrative, or at best a solid commitment to complete the review without saying anything useful about the gun, seems to be a cultural requirement.
Oh, there's more.  One could go on.  In trying to approach the question of "just how accurate can one of these guns be?" I ran across a video that advertised testing an M14 lookalike at 75 feet, 100 feet, and 150 feet.  Cool, right?  And the video even begins with the claim that the distances were measured accurately, and footage of meticulous use of a 25' tape measure to set the range.  Cut to our intrepid shooter, who is lying prone, absolutely square to the target, support hand under the rifle's "20-round" magazine, muzzle waving all over the place, squinting like there's no tomorrow, and finger just kinda...drumming on the trigger.  (Maybe it really was an accomplishment that he got all his shots on paper at 25 yards, but how much did that really tell me about the rifle?)  And here's the punchline:  out at 50 yards, after he landed zero for five in semi, he switched to full-auto, fired a full three-second burst (so, somewhere between thirty and forty rounds at the gun's cyclic rate) at the end of which a few rounds hit the 50 yard target, and the reviewer (not the shooter) concluded that--wait for it--the accuracy was much better in full-auto than in semi.

Ow.  The stupid.  It burrns!

There are times when I think that the better way to do this would be simply to buy the gun in question, and look at it myself.*  The heartburn would surely be reduced.



____________________
* I think I'm pretty much at that point already, and just need funds to spend.  The amount of new info I'm getting from the Airsoft world is pretty small now, especially compared to the acre-feet of drek that surrounds it.

Monday, September 16, 2013

And then there is the .460 Rowland.

Even before yesterday's renewed examination of .45 wheelguns for big critters, I got to talking with my neighbor a bit about his .460 Rowland, which is what he intends for bruin repellent.  

I remember running across reports of this cartridge a while back, and I kinda wrote them off;  at the time, my thinking was that guns tend to work best with the cartridges they were designed around, especially auto pistols, and at any rate I was figuring that I'd invest in the Rolls-Royce of big wheelguns, a Bowen Arms Nimrod, for all things bear, and be done with it.

This was before moving to Alaska, however, and now I'm thinking about the Rowland idea again.

In a nutshell, the Rowland is an elongated .45ACP case that operates at 40,000psi, as opposed to 21,000psi.  Jim Clark makes a drop-in kit for 1911s that is simply a compensated barrel, bushing, guide rod, 20 and 24 pound Wolff recoil springs, and instructions, and it sounds like the expansion port compensator and heavy recoil springs are enough to keep slide velocity low enough that it doesn't batter the gun.  It's been around long enough now that we can say that it works.

And the power level seems to be mid-level .44 Magnum performance.  Buffalo Bore claims, out of one of the Clark kits, 230 grains at 1350fps, and 255 at 1300.  Consider that when most people considered the .44 the "most powerful handgun in the world", the load it had made its name on was a 240 grain bullet at a listed 1500fps.  (Well, from 8" and longer test barrels, that is.  In the 4" and 6" barrels of most people's working guns, actual velocities were probably closer to Elmer Keith's original development envelope of 1,200fps.)  And of course now, we know that the .44 can be loaded to much greater performance levels...but still, 255 grains at 1300, especially with a good bullet design, is pretty impressive...and that performance from what's effectively a 6" 1911? 

Wow, that really is something.  At the penalty of requiring either a new holster or an existing one with open muzzle...that's the gun you already know, the one you might already wear on a regular basis, luxuriously slim and comfortable, with eight or nine full-house .44 Mag loads on tap, and a slim reload faster than any rimmed-round wheelgun.  This is an idea which may be worth revisiting.

My neighbor bought his already converted;  it's a Dan Wesson base gun with the Clark kit installed, and probably fitted by someone--the lockup seems pretty tight.  The only thing I'd change is the sights, but that's a personal preference--I get distracted by all the white on a Millett-style rear sight, and for a field gun I want the front sight to be plain black, either with serrations or an undercut.

He seems amenable to some joint testing at the range, so I'll see if I can score a box of Buffalo Bore's 255s for him (not cheap, but a worthy experiment) and bring chronograph and some penetration testing materials;  maybe we can see how they perform next to BB's 325-grain .45 Colt.

Fun times ahead.  :-)
  


There are .45s and then there are .45s.

As part of yesterday's delightful range experience with a new father-son team, I got my first chance to shoot a Smith X-frame in .460 S&W Mag.  When I found out that the dad was going to bring this, I figured I'd show some solidarity and try out the new Buffalo Bore load I had picked up for my Ruger Blackhawk some time ago.  As it turned out, this was a very smart move on my part.

He had acquired the huge Smith as a recommended bear backup, and had only put a few rounds through it thus far;  he was interested in my opinion on it, and was happy to let me shoot it with the full-house loads.  Curiously, the load recommended to him was a 200-grain expanding bullet with the sort of pointed polymer tip that Hornady first developed for leverguns;  we didn't have a chronograph to verify this, but the box claims--get this--2200fps velocity for this load.  Sectional density aside (and that's a very real consideration with really big critters, not a trivial attribute that you can ignore), that is hard on the heels of the .308 rifle round, for 200 grains of bullet.

As Jeff Cooper would say, that is indeed much gun, especially in beltgun format.

The dad also had brought some Federal hollowpoint .45 Colt loads, 225 grain, clearly antipersonnel in design;  they're probably running somewhere between 800 and 950fps.  He admitted to being a bit intimidated by the giant loads, and figured (correctly) that being confident and sure of placing the shot was a more important consideration than all that extra power.  His question to me was, would the lesser load be okay in the bear-protection role?

And suddenly I had the "duh" moment...yes, Smith's .460 Mag is simply an elongated .45 Colt, by design.  That meant he could safely chamber and shoot my Buffalo Bore loads, as well

Instantly I knew that was the right answer.  The whole reason I got that load myself was for bear protection, after all;  I'd followed raptly along as Ross Seyfried went through his experiments in the 1980s with heavy cast bullet loads in custom five-round .45 Colts...experiments which culminated in successful Cape buffalo hits that broke shoulders and otherwise penetrated like big-bore stopping rifles.  Seyfried's hunting load, IIRC, was a bullet of about 410 grains, running at a measured 1200fps.  Buffalo Bore's load claims 1325fps for a bullet of very similar design, at 325 grains weight, and from what I gather from others, Buffalo Bore often does actually hit their velocity claims in real, everyday guns.  Bears around here are big, but Cape buffalo are bigger, with thicker skin and heavier bones.  The short answer seemed to be:  this load should be nearly as good as anything you can carry on your belt, and crazy as it may seem, it's rated for my six-shot, box-stock Ruger Blackhawk.

So!  Experiment time.  The 460V revolver itself is certainly a beautiful work of metal;  its principal drawbacks for me are that it is so large and heavy (just shy of four pounds empty) that it would probably be a true nuisance on the belt--I'd probably invest in one of the specialized "Alaska-style" chest rigs to carry it--and that the DA trigger is noticeably heavy.  Stock is comfortable, balance with the 5" compensated barrel is actually pretty good, and the SA trigger is just what it should be.  The weirdest part about handling the piece, for me, wasn't the conspicuously long cylinder, but rather the comitant length of the ejector rod.  This ain't no stubby J-frame!  :-)

Click to embiggenate


I loaded two of the "regular" .45 Colt rounds into the big Smith, and of course they were complete pussycats in a gun of that weight, sporting an aggressive compensator.  (Interestingly, in a perfectly clean gun, the cases dragged moderately during extraction, and primers appeared slightly flattened.)  Next I loaded two of my Buffalo Bore rounds into the same two chambers, and the step up in power was obvious.  I had no idea what to expect here, and must confess that my trigger control was probably at least a bit...anticipatory.  Despite that, the two shots at 10 yards landed within a couple inches of each other, and I'm happy to report that the cases pretty much fell out of the chambers afterward, with no visual evidence of overheating at the primer, pocket, or the web of the case head.  (It's a "+P" load, after all, and one should always be careful to look and see how it does in one's own piece.)

Finally, two of the full-house 200-grain .460 rounds, this time in two unfired chambers.  Again, honesty compels me to admit that I did not achieve an instructor-quality surprise break on either shot, but I'm happy to say that, whatever the quality of compressed surprise break that actually occurred, still caused both shots to land within three inches of one another, centered on the target.  Case extraction was almost alarmingly tight (and remember these were deliberately clean chambers) and primers showed enough flattening that I'd back off if it were a handload.  Now I realize full well that most bear encounters that degenerate to gunfire will probably be decided within a five-shot cylinder, but I for one will not take the field without a reload, and iffy extraction is a big deal to me.  I'm already predisposed against this round for bear because it's the wrong bullet design and too light for caliber;  sticky extraction and signs of overpressure simply confirm that further.

As far as the sense at firing the .460, yes, it was much gun;  distinctly less pleasant than the Buffalo Bore load, with all the impressive flash and blast I'd expect with a light-bullet, high-velocity, heavy-charge-weight load going through an expansion port compensator.  Muzzle jump was noticeable even with a high grip and a strong Weaver stance, but it would be workable in action, especially with a little practice.  All in all, and granting that this load is not everything that the round is capable of, I think the piece is less fearsome than I was anticipating.

We had the dad try a couple of the Buffalo Bore rounds himself, in his Smith, and he seemed satisfied that they were less intimidating enough that he would be happy carrying them.  So I essentially insisted that he do that.  Everyone seemed much happier about this.   :-)

I think it's a much better bear-load anyway, than the fire-belching big brother.  A wide-meplat hard-cast bullet of 325 grains, at an adequate velocity, is going to penetrate Big Critter better than an expanding bullet of 200 grains in the same caliber, at nearly any velocity.  And at 325 grains, 1300fps, at last-ditch bear engagement distances, is as "adequate" as anything I've yet heard of.  In the unlikely event that he needs to use this against a bruin, if he keeps his head, things should turn out fine.

But my last test, to my considerable pleasure, confirmed for me again that the road I took myself is one I don't feel any need to stray from.  I put two more Buffalo Bore rounds through my box-stock, 4-5/8" Ruger Blackhawk.

Again, click and embiggen.


Again, a couple inches apart at 10 yards, centered, for two less-than-perfect test shots.  Cases fell out of chambers with no visible signs of overpressure.  Recoil was definitely heavier than anything I've put through this gun, but the hogleg gripframe design mitigates a whole lot of that, and I will be happy to balance the recoil with that power level.  

Comparing the Blackhawk to the big Smith tells most of my story nearly by itself.  The Blackhawk lists at 39 ounces, compared to 61 for the Smith.  That's over twenty ounces less to absorb recoil (and no compensator), but also over twenty ounces less on the belt;  the Ruger is a trim, comfortable beltgun that will be there when I need it.  The power level seems to be as effective as anything you can wear on your belt, and it seems to be a power level that can be applied effectively.

It was interesting to compare the DA design and the SA design side-by-side.  Muzzle rise in the Smith, even with the Buffalo Bore load and certainly with the full-house 460, was great enough that I don't think the DA trigger option is any sort of advantage.  The SA gripframe, in recoil, "rolls up" in the hand, which both mitigates heavy recoil and also presents the hammer into an excellent location for recocking a follow-up shot.  By the time I get either piece down from recoil, I can have that Ruger recocked and ready to go just as fast as the Smith.

So, I'm once again happy with my choices.  Now I need to acquire a usable stock of that ammo (yeeks, not cheap) and dial myself in to it.

Very well then!  :-)


Glorious day. Much learned.

By happy chain of happenstance, I got a range introduction to a local dad and his 13-year-old son, preparing for their first Alaska hunt and generally wanting to learn more about their equipment, knowledge and skills.

They are very much "in the right place".  And by that I'm not speaking about me (I'm little good at at tooting my own horn);  I mean their minds are in the right place, they're receptive to learning, and they already are doing many things well.  It's a pleasure to work with people like this, because they can be their own teachers, while I can be an effective guide.  I do think I can help them, and suspect they may have left feeling the same way.  (I hope so.  The list of things I love to do more than this is very, very short.)

They've only been shooting for about a year, and I understand that it is the son's initiative and interest that is fuelling them both.  This strikes a significant chord with me;  it was my interest in hunting and shooting that caused my own father to take those things back up after...focusing on being a dad for quite a while. 

The short story is that we got to their primary goal for the day (adjusting optics on hunting rifles with a minimum of ammunition expended) with plenty of further time to discuss stretch goals and next steps.  Based on their stated interests, if I don't chase them away, I think there is a lot more here we could do together.  (My first job, in understanding that, will of course be to limit the size of the information pipe.  You don't have to grok it all at once, and if I do things well it may still take a great deal less time than it took me to get to the same place.)  The critical elements--no serious safety infractions and a willingness to listen--are there already.

And the journey is marvelous.  There's no reason not to enjoy it.  :-)

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Quiz: how can you identify the one guy in the room...

...who has never before seen Monty Python and the Holy Grail?

Answer:  after seeing this, he is the one guy in the room who is not on the floor in an uncontrollable fit of hysterical laughter.




Repeat that:  fits of laughter so uncontrollable as to cause a poor victim to personally wet himself.  (Me, I soiled my armor I was laughing so hard.  And a moment later I done it again...)

Awesome.


________________________
The...ah..."modern trailer" (snicker) may have a functional use, as well.  It's another excellent example of the impact of creative editing--in fact could be used as the sole basis for a short course or workshop.  For a while now I have leaned on the "Gummi Venus de Milo" sequence in The Simpsons episode Homer Badman as a humorous illustration that lots of people can identify with.  Gunnies in particular can identify with the before-and-after of the full interview with suspect Homer vs. the edit that appears on the boob tube later.  It seems likely that the show's creators might not appreciate the generalization of this perfect-presentation-of-the-skillful-edit to illustrate the demonization of gunnies (a barrel into which they have repeatedly reached), but there are lots of people who grew up seeing just this sort of thing applied relentlessly to gunnies all the time, and the example holds up well.

This Holy Grail trailer might be the flip side of the same idea...and is arguably an even more accurate representation of how things work.  Think about it:  a slickly-produced, creatively-edited, straight-faced ad for an underlying product whose primary value is the sheer depth of its own absurdity...

The delicious difference then, as you watch the next impassioned Bloomie/Chucky/DiFi/Horwitz/Brady production (in support of whatever their next ridiculous idea is), is simply this:  unlike the Holy Grail trailer, they offer their edits--and their absurdities--un-ironically.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Seen on Facebook...

Too bad Israel isn't a United State 'cause they could only have 2 senators then.

Buh-zing. 

(And:  feel free to swap out whatever influence peddler you like;  the joke remains the same.)


Friday, August 30, 2013

Please, make your unicorn shit the rainbows again...

Hat tip to Grigg, via Facebook.

The quantity of what color is the sky in your world? is very, very large here.  I had to read through it a few times to make sure it wasn't an Onion article, but no, near as I can tell, the author actually means it.

The article's title is "If You Send Your Kid to Private School, You Are a Bad Person:  A Manifesto".  (I know:  an obvious Onion headline, right?  You understand my confusion!)  Its point is laid pretty bare here:

I am not an education policy wonk: I’m just judgmental. But it seems to me that if every single parent sent every single child to public school, public schools would improve. This would not happen immediately. It could take generations. Your children and grandchildren might get mediocre educations in the meantime, but it will be worth it, for the eventual common good. (Yes, rich people might cluster. But rich people will always find a way to game the system: That shouldn’t be an argument against an all-in approach to public education any more than it is a case against single-payer health care.)

Only a hard-core statist can have such supreme confidence in the hive mind, to state an absolute truth ("But rich people will always find a way to game the system"*) and then, without even so much as a single word of physical separation, utterly ignore it as though it did not exist ("That shouldn't be an argument against an all-in approach to public education...").  See:  she said it, you believe it, that settles it.  What are you, a cancer to the hive mind or something?**

I think I may have to propose a new, simplified definition of statist as one who does not merely fail to recognize irony, but actively refuses to believe that it exists.

Oh, but it gets better.  Check out my submission for "top zinger" among a truly bumper crop of The Stupid (emphasis mine):

And parents have a lot of power. In many underresourced schools, it’s the aggressive PTAs that raise the money for enrichment programs and willful parents who get in the administration’s face when a teacher is falling down on the job. Everyone, all in. (By the way:  Banning private schools isn’t the answer. We need a moral adjustment, not a legislative one.)

Just--wow.

Please, lady, pleease make your unicorn shit the rainbows again.  It's simply astounding to behold...


__________________________
* Got news for ya, hon:  ain't just "rich people" who understand how to "game the system".  But then again, you probably think that anyone who doesn't vote, simply does so from ignorance or apathy...right?  It's truly amazing how you have this all figured out...

** She's clearly got her sense of duty...and, well, I've got mine.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Ruger's new American Rimfire rifle

Okay, I admit, I actually find this interesting. 

Click for embiggenation

The compact model in particular just might be the premier choice for a rimfire rifle.  A serviceably short length of pull (12.5"), usable front sight mount, promising trigger, ergonomic safety and magazine release, the uber-dependable and ubiquitous rotary 10/22 magazine, and very reasonable price point are a nice combination of features.  If that receiver scope dovetail can permit a ghost-ring rear sight in back and a cantilever Scout scope base up front, one could add those plus a third stud for a Ching Sling, a replacement front sight post, and have a fairly feature-complete .22 Scout rifle.

Yeah, I find that interesting.  :-)

Maybe someone at Ruger is listening again.  Just recently I met my first SR9, and wasn't prepared for how much good there was in there.  It ain't perfect by a longshot, but it's a good deal further along the continuum than anything in the P-series ever was--good enough that if it runs well in hard use, it's arguably a viable competitor to the XD and M&P, which is saying something.  Certainly the most compelling original centerfire auto pistol that Ruger has yet offered.  And it wasn't too long ago that I ran into Ruger's Gunsite Scout Rifle, which impressed me greatly.  And now this.

Good!

Please, fellas:  do keep this up.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

'The Loudener'. Because Race Gun.

Sure, it's perfectly ridiculous.  Still, this guy makes me giggle.  Behold "The Loudener", muzzle-blast (yes, you're reading this right) enhancer:



The money line comes at about 2:20 in the video, when he says "...you have this‘rain of hate’ coming out of the end of your gun...”, and the following disclaimer shows up at the bottom of the screen:


Click for embiggenation


Didja lose coffee over that?  I very nearly did.

Thanks, Joel, for the giggle.  

Claire. Read.

America's UberGovernment.  And the rest of us.

But that goes only so far. Keep that up for a few years and one day you’ve got no friends left at all. And then you’re surrounded. By us. And by millions more who never thought they’d be at such a point in all their lifetimes.

But remember: you started it. We didn’t. We wouldn’t. We’re better than that. But once you’ve weakened yourself with your own voracious secret keeping, your gluttony for data, your excesses in the cause of Control — we will damn well finish you.

I understand the angst.  Hopefully enough people will "get it" in time that we can simply walk away from the dickheads...but I know that may not be the way to bet.  Some people are...committed to their fantasies.

For them, Claire.  And Vanderboegh.  And Larken:


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

And here's Arthur Silber, being all relevant again...

Despite being in failing health, and now freshly persecuted by The Gang That Wishes Demonstrably Sapient People Would Just Go Away...Arthur Silber is at it again.

Being relevant.

In From the Merely Calamitous to the Ungraspably Nauseating, he offers a brief (for Silber) reaction to Dear Leader's recent lecture on how a Zimmerman acquittal means that we should stop being naughty and swallow his gun control pill, for our own good of course.

It's not terribly flattering:

If a significant number of Americans were remotely healthy, they would treat Obama as they would any monster who raises his bloody arms from the open chest of his latest victim, lifts up his hands -- which hold his victim's heart, liver and other organs -- twists himself with enormous effort into his most obviously and fundamentally false serious mien and with phonily solemn voice, as blood soaks the scene, implores us all to love one another and embrace tenderness and gentle care for each other as the greatest of virtues.

What stuck out at me, though, was his quoting of himself, from January of this year, on the same subject in a previous round:

Therefore and thusly, to believe that one of the greatest sources of violence in the world today should be trusted to solve the problem of gun violence in America is to believe in self-contradictory statements which immolate themselves on a gigantic pyre of the most ridiculous, asinine, ludicrous notions ever imagined in the malformed, grotesque, nonfunctioning brains of the dumbest animal that has ever existed. Anyone who believes that gun control -- gun control devised and implemented by a brutal, endlessly violent, systematically murderous State -- will even begin to solve the problem of violent death in and by America is a fucking idiot. Moreover, to believe that the man who has lovingly embraced the principle of mass murder, and who proudly and repeatedly declares to the world that he is a serial murderer dedicated to continuing his murders into the indefinite future, targeting an ever-increasing number of victims, is sincerely devoted to ending even a single aspect of the problem of violence is so colossally, stupendously stupid that it defies accurate description. 

Well said, as usual.  And this is not a guy that you would naturally call a "gunnie" in the sense that I know it.

In Stop Doing the Vicious Work of the Ruling Class, he goes further on what I was on about in the last post.  As usual, Silber says it far better.

The demonstrations against the Zimmerman verdict continue, as the tribes play out their chosen roles. The demonstrations concern a case which should not have been brought, and which cannot support the constructions the right and left have placed on it. Meanwhile, wouldn't all those energies be far better directed if, for example, they were targeted against U.S. foreign policy? Or against the War on Drugs? Or against what is almost certainly the already irreversible rise of the surveillance state? But no: the right and left have learned their parts very well. All the arguments they need have been prefabricated, ready to be hauled out whenever the signal is given.

The Zimmerman case is yet another in an endless series of distractions. It is another bauble to be tossed around by the ever-busy writers and "activists" of this country's political factions. It is a means of fragmenting and splitting the people's political power, which would be far more meaningful -- and far more powerful -- if the warring factions could only be motivated to form strategic alliances. All those energies are safely directed into a non-threatening pathway -- while the ruling class continues to consolidate and expand its power over every one of us. To the extent the right and left play their parts with such enthusiasm, they do the ruling class's bidding. Most of those on the right and the left have enthusiastically placed themselves in service to the State, and the majority of them have no understanding whatsoever of their grievous failing.

At this point, I almost feel it's beside the point to blame the ruling class for this kind of thing. (Note: I continue to blame and condemn the ruling class without mercy.) What appalls me is how easy it is to distract the American public with incidents like this. Most Americans have been trained very thoroughly. The bell is rung, and they eagerly run to their designated positions. While they are entirely consumed with playing their meaningless roles in the affair of the moment, they pay no heed to the hell that is rising around them.

Indeed.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Oh, please do go on...

...about how there is simply no justice whatever that George Zimmerman was acquitted of the charges against him.

Or, please do go on about how Zimmerman must be acquitted, else the "Stand Your Ground" concept be hung out to dry and lost.

Either way:  please do go on,...Otto.



(Apologies, I couldn't find a single YouTube that had the whole sequence, hence the two clips.)

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Behold Gun Geo Marker, the app that will save us all!

New for your Android:  it's Gun Geo Marker, baby!

The Gun Geo Marker operates very simply, letting parents and community members mark, or geolocate, sites associated with potentially unsafe guns and gun owners.

Look, this isn't about the app being a monumentally stupid idea, either for reasons of the obvious lawsuit risk, the childishly easy crowdsource-hack, or the pluperfectly misanthropic hatred of individual privacy that drives the very idea behind the app.  You can figure that one out for yourself by arranging for three of your available brain cells to work together for a few seconds.

This is about the app being launched a few days ago on July 4, and since getting buried by pure snark.  It's freakin' delicious.

At the time of this writing, here's what the overview of "reviews" looks like:


And lest you get the wrong idea about those "five star" reviews, here's a sample:


Yeah, seriously.  Again, as of this writing, there are 34 "five-star" reviews, and of those, exactly one appears to be serious:


The eagle-eyed may note that while Mr. G√∂zler titles his missive "Fantastic App", he appears to be much more concerned with fecal flingery;  possibly this is simply because his words are lonely out there among the unrestrained rifraff, but really, who here understands the inner workings of such self-evidently superior beings?  :-)

Of course, none of this means anything, according to the provider, who assures us that it's all sour grapes.  (You may feel like you are listening to the Brady Campaign or CGSV, backpedaling [Fast and F]uriously.  Or perhaps listening to Emmett Fitz-Hume.)

What was even funnier was clicking back to the Overview tab and noting something I had missed in the "About this app" section:


(snap) Well, of course!


________________________
Hat tip to Claire.  The giggle was welcome today.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Got a little gunshop time today...

...very little, actually, but I'll take it:  I can store a lot of mental updates in a pretty short time.  A couple things seemed worth documenting, if only for me.

Made note again that Savage has entered what I might call "the Chipmunk market" for kids' starter rifles, with an inexpensive, nifty little scaled-down single-shot turnbolt .22 that features real aperture sights and the "Accu-Trigger" that I've heard so many good things about.  This one appears to be called the "Rascal".


Also I got to meet Baikal's coach gun, which fairly impressed me with its nice basic design and a nifty tang safety that has just the sort of crisp, positive snap! that is music to a 1911 guy's ears.  Mounts were quick and the stock felt shorter than it really was, which always makes me happy (most people still insist on long stocks, for reasons I've heard for years but understand less and less over time).


I'd probably further go against convention by putting something more visible than a bead on the sight rib, but other than that and a buttstock ammo carrier, this unit is ready to go.

Also, I finally got to meet a SIG 938, which I have been contemplating for a while as a potential platform for a kid-sized .22 pistol...and I'll admit the impression was mixed.


The gripframe is simply not as compelling as it should be.  It feels "long" high on the frame, enough so to stick out immediately.  I'd have to see it in a kid's hand, and also under fire, to comment further, but by comparison I was much more impressed by the reduced 1911-22 from Browning.  The SIG's safety was positive enough;  I'll always prefer the 1911 style slide-locking safety, but this isn't a deal-breaker.  The 938's trigger was surprisingly heavy;  a nice, short, and positive reset, but as a single-action trigger it felt...stiff.  Now, I'll be the first to admit that what I'm after here is something deliberately sweet so that it can represent a serious training .22 sized for a kid's hand, but even on a combat pistol, a single-action trigger doesn't have to be quite that lawyer-proof.  In the SIG's distinct favor were the sights (excellent), and the slide manipulation is notably easier on the hands than many tiny guns...  In the end:  I dunno.  It may be that with the addition of a few common accoutrements (read:  better sights, ducktail grip safety and appropriate hammer, and tastefully extended safety lever) and good leather, the 1911-22 will be the way to go for a training and development pistol.  We'll see.

Saw an LCR in .22 rimfire, and it surprised me by being a six-shooter instead of eight or nine.  I wonder what the story is on that?

It appears that Springfield Armory is now making the XD-S in 9mm as well as in .45;  as a 9 it's a 7+1 gun instead of a 5+1, but otherwise it doesn't appear dimensionally different at all.  Call me old-fashioned, but in the same size package I'll take six .45s, thanks.  (Where the 9 makes sense to me is in the luxuriously light 6+1 DB9, at 0.8" thick, eleven ounces empty and with a surprisingly friendly trigger mechanism.)  However, in comparing the two I was again reminded of how amazing a piece that XD-S in .45 is:  how the gun really can be that tiny and yet still fit all your fingers on its gripframe I do not understand, but combine that with a nice short-reset trigger, great sights and excellent ergonomics, and you've got a real winner there.  If I were starting over with a general battery of pistols, I'd probably replace the .40 Kahr with the .45 XD-S to fit the "smaller than a 1911 but still carried on the belt" niche, and be happy with it.

Ammo still seems stoopid, and reloading components stoopider still.  I know it's been a while since I've been a shotshell reloader, but a 25# bag of lead shot for over fifty bucks just nearly causes hyperventilation.  Not only am I carefully designing a plan for skills maintenance with airguns, I'm strongly considering getting set up to cast my own pellets.

Anyway, a few thoughts to set down so I don't forget them.  Would love to go through a more comprehensive review of the state of the industry, but with two small kids in the house even the above whirlwind is appreciated time.

Data points.  Duly noted.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Con brio.

I may not understand how this man could have willingly been a soldier and law enforcement officer in the first place, serving what seem to be predictable masters, but this is an extraordinarily powerful demonstration of the ire-of-the-betrayed, and it seemed worth documenting here.



Aaron Weiss seems to have served in perfectly good faith, and is pissed at what his current "leaders" have made of his efforts.  He seems to be on sturdy moral ground, and presents an excellent witness.

More of that, please.  Especially from within Leviathan's own ranks.  Much more of that, please.

______________________

UPDATE:  Thanks to Joel for outing a limited link URL.  Originally I thought this was a public-facing Facebook URL, but apparently it's not.  I'll try a direct-embed as a test, and may try to seek a transcript as well.

IMMEDIATE 2ND UPDATE:  Well, double-dog drat.  It is the video itself that retains the privacy settings;  apparently I can see it (probably through the "friends of friends" at some level)...Okay then, let's hit DuckDuckGo with a quick search...

IMMEDIATE 3RD UPDATE:  Much better.  This (which is now also the primary link and embed above) seems to be a common source for at least a few other entries that each seem to be suitably public-facing.  Interestingly, it also appears this was recorded back in March, and is just making the rounds now.  Don't think that changes anything, but it's a data point.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

There was mud.

What do you do after sharing a mud wallow with 50-ish kids, inviting them to cover you completely with as much mud as they can, tossed, splatted and smeared from your hat to your toes, all over your clothes and skin, for nearly two hours?

Well hell, first, of course, you bask and revel in the smiles and laughs, both from the kids and from the parents.  Because that was just fun--the entire point of the Mud Games exercise.

Then you might wonder a bit at yourself, since you didn't plan to be That Crazy Dad, specifically, going in.  It was just the right decision at the right moment.  "Made sense at the time," and all that.

When it breaks up, you do the initial wipe- and shake-off, then scrape the 1"+ layer of mud that remains after that off your hat and torso, and permit the better half to garden-hose you from head to toe, with water that is really exceptionally cold.  (This is an outdoor tap in Alaska, after all.)

Finally, you make it back to the car, quietly transfer what nobody has noticed from body to an available Safepacker, and improvise a change in clothes for the drive home.

Some days are more gratifying than others.  :-)