Saturday, December 27, 2014

TalonP - preliminary field notes.

Got a chance to tote the new hunting airgun on a quick hike today, representing its first real field trip.  The purpose of the hike was not hunting, and no shots were fired, but I'll still document a couple of useful notes here nonetheless.

Sling.  A good sling is going to be essentially necessary, but which one is still up in the air.  What I'm most familiar and competent with is the magnificent Ching Sling for rifles, but it may be that a variation on the Giles sling is the way to go.  (I'm still learning the -fu of both hunting airguns and carbines in general, and each of these seems to be distinctly different than with full-house rifles.)  With a gloriously short carbine like this, the concept of "wearing" the gun seems distinctly possible, whereas you are always "carrying" a rifle, even when slung for walking.  If it turns out that you can get a really solid shooting lockup with a Giles sling, its carry flexibility would seem to rank it above the Ching Sling for this application.  But if you can't...well, airgun hunting is all about precision, and the TalonP is known for being a tack-driver, and I know how much more precise I can be with a good shooting sling...  I will have to cogitate on this more.

Short.  I wanted short, and I got it.  Carried in the cradle position on either side, you really notice how little muzzle there is past the elbow.  I got plenty of chances to switch sides as the trail wrapped around itself (we were a column of 6, and I mostly trailed caboose), and "the short" does rather assert itself.  With this gun there are several possible means of hand-carry, including by the forend (unusual balance, but not necessarily bad), by the glass' ocular bell with the fingers through the frame-top window (well-balanced, but a bit strange to have the fingers right on the bolt handle), and of course simply carried by the pistol grip, pointed down (very secure in one sense, but different than you're used to with all that weight forward).  In general it's easy to tote, but the dimensions are different enough from a traditional rifle that I always had to think for just a second about how to set it down when necessary.  (Keep in mind that Dad is often the one who totes the drinks and snacks, and who in the rear notices when a little person inadvertently walks out of her stretch-over-soles ice studs.  I got quite a lot of set-down, pick-up practice over the course of little over a mile.)

Optic.  Stipulating that it's big and heavy, this Leapers is a very nice glass.  I took a few looks through it at various safe backstops in various light, both at low and high magnification.  Light transmission is really excellent, with that 44mm objective and 30mm tube.  The illuminated reticle options are kinda nice, if you have the time to use them.  The lens caps are easily accessible as mounted.

I will still have to see how it looks when tracking a real game animal, but somewhat to my surprise thus far, I simply do not notice the increased field of view when sighting--at any magnification.  This has been stated as the real raison d'etre of the Leapers unit, but it may be that field of view is simply a lesser concern with a longer eye relief, true binocular tracking, and the technique of a good field mount.  Again, the jury is still at least a bit out, but I think I can now say with increasing confidence that any  functional improvement (over a traditional "scout scope" like the Leupold M8 2.5x) is minimal, and probably does not outweigh the weight and size disadvantage, for fidelity to the scout concept.  (The light-gathering, on the other hand, for a dedicated hunting arm, yet might.)

Low-light shots at home.  We arrived back at home after the hike as light was truly running out, and I decided to take a couple of shots off the porch at the steel rimfire spinners, using the lowest illumination level on the reticle.  At 10m, the speed was nearly at the snapshot level--I was impressed.  And just to test it out, I thought I'd try engaging my 25yd "through-the-trees" spinner, using the first holdover dot on the mil-dot reticle (as it is currently zeroed), using a lovely new flashlight from the in-laws.  Held alongside the forearm, I mounted the gun, hit the light switch, and got a very satisfying clank right off the bat.  The light's rating says 960 lumens, and based on this experiment I believe it--wow!  A good way to end the excursion.  (Incidentally, the three shots took me from a full 3000psi down to about 2700.)

I do notice the limitations of the single-shot mechanism.  The potential for fumbling, in the cold with gloves, is not a trivial consideration.  The .25 caliber pellets are far easier to manipulate than the bitty little .177s, but they're tiny compared to any centerfire firearm cartridge, and you do need to seat properly.  I'll want to put some more thought into this as well.

Top hat.  I noticed that the air tank had started to loosen during the walk (I hadn't checked it since first bolt-up) and took the time to locate not just that wrench, but the tiny little one that secures the top hat.  Everything is now nice and tight, and ready for some serious testing.  Some day, I may mess with actually adjusting the top hat, but I expect I've got a good while in front of me just trying out the power wheel, and I might as well get the top hat screwed down to stay put while I do it!  :-)

Next up:  actual velocity testing with the power wheel, and accuracy testing with a few different pellets.  And of course a little more thought behind sling and field practices.

Very well then!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Functional chronography at last?

The replacement chronograph arrived from Battenfeld Technologies, and today I got to set it up and try it out.  By which I mean "conduct a very rudimentary test";  this was no sort of dedicated session.

However, I'm encouraged at the results.  I had the deck stacked up for it to fail.  To wit:
  • Today is the winter solstice, at just about 60 degrees north latitude.  It wasn't fully overcast, but certainly cloudy.  I shot at 3pm, one hour before sunset.  This is not what you'd call "ideal light".  (Temp was 27F and humidity was 64%, for my own documentation.)
  • I had the standard screen shades on the unit.  (When they sent me the replacement, they actually sent me the "deluxe" kit, which includes a pair of infrared skyscreen shades intended to improve performance in diffuse light.  I now have that option, but I tried it without first.)
  • I tested with the tiniest projectile I will ever shoot over the screens--an 8-grain .177" diabolo pellet.  (Even Airsoft BBs are bigger than this.)

The test string was 18 shots (the capacity of my "pellet pen" loader/seater).  I did record two errors on shots 4 and 5, but suddenly I had an odd hunch that maybe I should cause the pellet to pass lower, closer to the screens.  I tried this and the error, and the "fix", seems to be repeatable.  Interesting.  I'll be curious to see if I get the same effect when I pass a 31-grain .25" diabolo pellet over the unit, or if maybe that tiny little 8-grain pill is just that much harder to pick up that you have to "help" it a bit with proximity.  Or, maybe this is where the IR lights start to become valuable.  More testing, of course!

Still...every time I put a pellet low over the screens (call it the bottom 1/4 of the presented trapezoid, rather than the middle half), even in minimal, flat light and using the standard screens, I got a read.  And the simple interface and export options (this chrony is notable for interfacing with a smartphone) seem quite promising.

All of which makes me pretty happy.  Here soon I'll try to wring it out more thoroughly at the house (using .177" pellets in the Bronco, Airsoft BBs in the gas 1911, and .25" pellets in the AirForce TalonP), both to learn more about those guns themselves, and also to get ready for range testing when the now-completed 03 Springfield arrives. 

I'll keep fingers crossed that this is going to work out the way I'm envisioning it.  And in that vein, today was a much better start than the first time!  :-)

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Gunsmoke project imminence.

Another teaser post. 

I got a call today from Rich Wyatt at Gunsmoke.  The 03 Springfield project is now complete, which on one hand is plain gonna hurt, as I am "freshly unemployed" at the moment, and this turned out to be a full-house custom rifle (a six-year story for another time)...but that is the end of the bad news.  I'm so excited about this piece I can hardly stand it, and if it's going to cost me, I intend to get full enjoyment and utility out of it.  :-)

Now, here's the teaser part:  Rich was calling in part to ask my permission to use the gun in an episode of Gunsmoke's YouTube series.  It's got a couple of features on it that you just don't find on a lot of 03 Springfields--even "Springfield Scout" iterations like this one is--and he thought it might be worth recording.

So, it may yet be just a little bit more before I actually get the gun back.  (Since it's been over six years since I commissioned the work, there's really no worries there.)  And I suspect it may well be worth it anyway, to have the rifle featured by someone who really understands all the -fu I was after with this project.  (He taught it to me, after all:  it may have been Jeff Cooper who first taught me what I needed to know about Scout rifles over the course of a lot of years, but it was Rich--and fellow master instructor Tom Russell--who was there on the line for my four hundred rounds of in-person school once I got a Steyr Scout of my own.)

I'll be sure to post back here once the episode airs, and...yeah, I'll probably be squee-ing about the gun too, once it arrives. 

Now, to acquire a supply of stripper clips, which thanks to the forward glass, this 03 can still make use of!  :-)

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Perhaps there will be a guest post.

I was about to post this as a responding comment here, but instead thought it better to separate it from something unrelated.

If this turns into something backchannel, I will keep it that way.  Or, perhaps there will be a guest post that captures the exchange with topical continuity.   Who knows?  It all depends on--of course--"Anonymous".  Who said the Election Day post:

Why don't you post on Facebook how we're all idiots rather than hiding your last word on a blog after you've exhausted the BS arguments on Facebook? It's crap that you repost the arguments here with some BS "courtesy" of using our first initials here…and your final word...why, because you have the need to whine about it in a place you have a very few followers, who are yes-men/women, and will "like' the crap rather than deal with those, who think you're full of yourself and your BS?

Which, I admit, just made me furious.  (On the other hand, it's also kinda funny...calling my paltry but loveable "Commentariat"...sycophants.)  And so here's the comment-that-became-a-post:

Well, "Anon", if you want to stand up and claim your part in one or more actual conversations, you feel free to do that.  You might also want to direct your comment to a more appropriate post--perhaps you noticed that this post makes no mention whatever of Facebook.

Now...if you really are one of the principals in one of my Facebook-related posts here, you have doubtless noticed that I no longer post "[my] last word" anywhere on my own Facebook stream;  the last evidence of any kind I see is from January, and prior to that April of 2013.

On the other hand, the principals that have "inspired" most of the FB-related posts here seem to offer, on their own streams, a steady diet of uncritically regurgitated talking points that ultimately go back to a small universe of transparently biased sources.  I ignore 95% or more of these, but every now and then my baser impulses override my self-discipline, and I momentarily forget that nothing in all the fecal flingery (which is, to be clear, usually from the linked source, moreso than from the principal--who is nearly invariably an otherwise marvelous person) is anything about wanting an actual two-way conversation.  And so I will make an isolated appearance on another's stream, calling out "BS", with as much support as is required for the exchange.  And every time, I ask questions and/or make points that go unanswered--even if the overshouting and retreat to the original talking points continue.

As well, "Anon", if you're actually privy to the history, and even dimly honest about it, you will note that I do not call the whole crowd "idiots";  in fact I do my best to avoid dehumanizing people because I view that as a great deal of the problem in the first place.  (That observation is usually written right into my first comment.)  Do not conflate--or project--my attacking of poisonous, dehumanizing thinking with an attack on the people that are taken in by it.  Jeez, I make no secret of the fact that I myself was taken by much such thinking for nearly thirty years of my life, and while I may pull no punches when calling BS on items that represent real threats to everyone (a sad lot of those, these days), I always have time for someone who actually does want to engage in dialogue.

Given that latter observation, I suppose I really should stop my few remaining attempts to engage.  Based on the nearly invariable response I get, I must conclude that nobody is interested.

As to Rifleman Savant, that's an outlet for me.  I've made no attempt to increase readership over the few people who either know about it or wander by, but nothing here is "hid[den]", either. 

You necessarily assume and/or project much, to arrive at your definition of "crap".  Foremost among that:  based just on the offensive Facebook exchanges that are catalogued at this blog, to say nothing of the other 95%+ that get no attention from me at all, the idea of attacking me for operating in some sort of echo chamber is...pretty damn hilarious.

You pursue me here, post from anonymity, and beat your chest over "[my] BS"?  Very well then, bring it.  Stand up with a name, and call me on "my BS".  Do here what you would not do on Facebook, and answer my core questions.

You insinuate somehow that I argue from ignorance?  Oh, I'll take that bet.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

They're so cute when they puff themselves up like that.

My wife (who has a bit of training in genetics and classification) has confirmed for me that in the realm of scientific classification, the difference between a subspecies and a cultivar is principally that a subspecies might occur naturally, while a cultivar is essentially designed and created for a purpose.

In that regard, meet the hominid cultivar Gerald Ensley, who might well deserve the appellation homo narcissus invertebratus.  Or maybe homo sanctimonious hoplophobus, or even homo recto-cranio-invertatus.  There would seem to be many possibles, but regardless it would appear that sapiens he is distinctly not, warranting something a step beyond a simple "what color is the sky in your world?" or "please, please, make your unicorn shit the rainbows again, it's so cute when you do that".

See, ol' Gerald deigned to address Us The Unwashed in this fashion:

We're coming for your guns. And someday, we'll take them.

Thanks Gerald.  Seriously.  I mean, we already knew that and all, but thank you at least for being plain about it.  It gets tiresome to watch others who try to hide the obvious with sophistry and semantics, even when it doesn't fool anyone, and it is always both refreshing and invigorating to speak plainly.  Even if you do broadcast a near absolute lack of understanding of the people you would subjugate with the guns of the state, and how things actually work outside of your Hive-approved echo chamber.

Perhaps you'll even try some day.  ( won't, of course.  You fancy that you have...people to do that work for you.)  Then, once and for all, we will find out if you are right...or not.

Just remember that whatever happens, you own it, Gerald, because you insisted on it.

NOTE:  Article comments, when I first looked, were running about 95% "Molon Labe" and 5% "Moar! Defenselessness! Now!".   Curiously, there were 850 comments when I first looked, and now it's down to 805.  Also, the article has been quietly updated to correct at least one embarrassing error, while he was frothing on about Newtown, N.J. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Vanderboegh behind enemy lines. Godspeed, Mike.

The man is dedicated to his mission, and although I truly don't know if I think it's the best play, he fully deserves the Big Brass Balls moniker for doing it--at considerable personal risk.

Since the firearm and magazine registration act went into effect on 1 January 2014, state authorities have elected not to enforce the law when faced with a non-compliance rate as high as 85%. since then, Connecticut firearm owners who refuse to obey a law that they believe is tyrannical and unconstitutional have been waiting for the other jackboot to drop.

It hasn't dropped because Governor Dannel Malloy very cynically wanted a second term. Now that he has it, the raids that his "Gun Czar" Mike Lawlor promised Ron Pinciaro and other firearm confiscationists can begin.

Mr. Vanderboegh is here to show solidarity with the Connecticut resistance and to urge them to stand fast in their promise of "We Will NOT Comply!" Armed civil disobedience, Mr. Vanderboegh believes, is the only course left open by the Governor's insistence upon enforcing a law that the Supreme Court has not yet ruled as constitutional.

Boy, do I wish him well.  The country needs people like him right now, and I continue to be amazed at his sincerity.  May he achieve the effect he is after--because all of the other alternative outcomes are far worse.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Dude, more squee.

Wasn't expecting this so soon, but today a gift from my folks arrived, a Caldwell "Ballistic Precision" chronograph

Well then, excellent!  With a little luck I'll both get zeroed and be able to do a preliminary test on both chrono and TalonP, this weekend.

UPDATE:  Grr.   I couldn't get anything at all to record today;  the unit kept failing consistently on the stop screen.  I may have to do an exchange.

UPDATE 2 (12/1):  Well, credit Battenfeld Technologies for a positive customer service experience.  It seems that I may have acquired an earlier edition of this model, wherein this problem is not unknown.  A later-edition replacement has been promised as soon as they can get it out the door.  Stay tuned!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Squee. Assembly and first shots.

Boy, I have so much learning to do.  :-)

The AirForce TalonP arrived a couple days ago, along with the Leapers "scout scope" for sighting and the Hill pump to fill the tank.  Today, I got to put it all together and take the first shots.

I'd say "awesome", but that would shortchange the experience considerably.

So much of this is new to me that it will take a number of posts to cover it all, but I do intend to get around to it.  Here, I'll offer a simple pic or two and a short list of initial observations.  (And my next step is to tap the community of AirForce owners at Tom Gaylord's commentariat, for several no-longer-so-abstract questions.)

This is what I have now.  Stipulating that it is not yet tested, it matches the concept I had in mind nearly perfectly.

Click to behold the glorious embiggenationment of a totally quickie photo.

Really, all the elements except a viable Ching Sling are in place, and if this thing proves to shoot as configured, I'm going to be pretty stoked.

A few of the details of the other side (note the power adjustment wheel midway down the barrel housing, and the onboard pressure gauge at far right).

I was actually expecting that the scope just wouldn't clear the frame bridge, requiring me to get taller rings, but instead it just did.  Awesome.

Okay, so here's what I need to know next:
  • What is the proper way to think about zeroing this airgun?
  • How difficult should it be to rotate the power wheel?  (It seems really stiff.)
  • Can the gun be dry-fired without the tank attached?
  • What is the "lowest low" one can run the tank down to safely?
  • What's the preferred way to store the gun?  This is more of a conundrum than you'd think, since if the action is closed and the power source (the air tank) is on the gun, it's kinda like storing a half-loaded gun (missing only the pellet);  and if the action is open, there's always the possibility of grit getting where it shouldn't.
  • How might one go about getting a middle stud for a Ching Sling?
Here are a few observations in general:
  • I do think this is going to be what I wanted it to be.  Sweet!
  • There are so many details to this system that are new, to learn.  Sweet!
  • There are several things that I now understand much better from having now held things in my hands.  Proportions and dimensions especially, but also more subtle things like the distinct advantages of the (two) different styles of onboard tank.
  • I intend to try two different sighting systems, as I learn about the gun.  One is this Leapers glass, representing the potential ideal, and the other is a small, nonmagnifying dot sight, representing the potential for maximum compactness.  (I may even try a Leupold scout scope on it some day;  at one-third the weight of the Leapers glass, it may prove to be the right "in-between" option.)
  • This, I think, is going to be how I really learn about sight offset.  Very well!
Here are a few about the gun:
  • The power is obvious.  Steel rimfire spinners...spin.  No, it's not a .22LR, but I doubt I'll need to quibble about pellet weight for any of the game I'm thinking of pursuing up here.
  • I now understand a lot better how this gun can be thought of as loud, for an airgun, while its stable-mate in the AirForce lineup, the EscapeSS, can show very nearly the same peak SPL on a simple meter, but be considered far quieter.  The shape of the sound signature seems to explain that, to my ears.  But...even though it is considerably louder than my Bronco, this is not a sound that is going to scare my girls, and that is important to me.
  • The carbine-ness of it is right on.  Total length is 26" on the nose, with a 12" length of pull, and both sight height and cheek weld on the tank is comfortable.  The balance is definitely forward, with that giant glass, but it seems to mount easily enough.
  • Trigger seems to be very workable, at least initially.  The (Garand-style) safety is smooth.
  • I now understand the value of a valve protector.
  • This is a very clever design;  unconventional looking perhaps but well-thought-out.
Here are a few about the scope:
  • Holy crap-tons, Batman, this thing is large and heavy!
  • Truly impressive light gathering and optical quality.
  • Build quality seems pretty solid.
  • The illuminated reticle gizmo may actually be useful, and "fails over" to plain black. 
  • I look forward to learning the mil-dot system, at least for my airgunning.
Here are a few about the pump:
  • I suspect I'm going to be happy I ponied up for the Hill unit (there are other hand pumps that are cheaper, but everyone seems to suggest that the Hill is truly that much better a pump).
  • There are lots of little things that I'm learning about dealing with high-pressure air in a small tank.  For just one example, I've already noticed the gauge on the pump and the gauge on the AirForce tank being out of sync (and you're supposed to trust your pump, first!).
  • Refilling in the field is a great idea, but must take into account that pump is heavy!  I may choose to acquire a spare tank or two for field work--they would be much more portable.
  • It seems pretty clear that safety procedure for high-pressure air is worth investigating further.  Very well, here I go!

Yeah, that's "brief" for me.  There will be more later, when the new chronograph (many thanks to my parents for that) arrives and I get to do some meaningful performance testing, and of course for the zeroing operation.  Perhaps this weekend...  :-)


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Once Upon a Time...

...there was a battered spouse.  Let's call her Libby.  She'd been with Sam for what seemed like forever, and yet no matter how she tried to work with him, the control, and the threats, and the abuse only and ever got worse.  She agonized perpetually over how to make it better.

Yes, Libby had a problem, and she knew it.  And her problem was Ana, who kept suggesting that she simply leave Sam and go on her own.  That she try something--different.

But Sam understood Libby's problem too, and he had the perfect solution.  Every two years, to prove that he was fully committed to making it work on with Libby, he remarried her, in a great big ceremony that always promised her just enough hope to make it through the holiday season.

And thus it was.   Sam kept Libby in her place.  Libby never had to worry about life on her own.  And the biennial renewal really did bring them together--at least in their hatred for Ana.

Ana.  That little corner of Libby's mind that just wouldn't go away.  But it could be...managed.


The End.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Gear squee: the hunting airgun is ordered.

One of the things I simply must appreciate about airgunnery is that so much of The Stoopid that attends all things firearm is notably absent.  You can order, online from a site like Pyramyd Air, your favorite short-barrelled, folding-stock, sound-suppressed, full-auto rifle or pistol, with as much tactical plumbing as you care to hang off of it and ammunition by the five-thousand, and they'll ship it all to your door, for nothing more than a credit card number, with a smile and a thank you.

A lot of that gonzo stuff I've got little or no interest in, but that's just damn near civilized.

But there is a lot more in the realm of airgunnery than just things that bring out the tax-stamp crowd in the firearm world, and I now have the order in for my first general-purpose and hunting airgun.  For more than two years now I have followed airgun ace Tom Gaylord's outstanding blog, and my first two steps into the air-powered world (the Air Venturi Bronco .177 breakbarrel rifle and the Airsoft 1911 'green-gas' powered pistol), selected largely on analysis fuelled by Gaylord and his "commentariat", have been huge successes.  I've got a lot more planned with what I've learned, but between the economic realities of life in Alaska and spending so much time (absolutely by choice!) with the girls, I tend to do a whole lot of planning before the spending, to make sure that when the time comes, it's done wisely.  And so there is...rather a lot of mental energy behind this order.

I wanted short, light, and more than enough power for the local spruce grouse and snowshoe hares that are the intended quarry for hunting.  Firearm folks have a (very) general rule of thumb for establishing "enough" power for hunting big game, whereby a cartridge that develops 1000 foot-pounds of kinetic energy is considered adequate for taking deer-sized game, and 2000 fpe is considered adequate for elk, moose and bears.  (This oversimplifies, of course, but lots of people are aware of the measure and thus it is a helpful point in discussion.)  In a similar way, the airgun world considers a 12 foot-pound airgun to be adequate for squirrels, many birds, and cottontails, and a 20 fpe airgun to be adequate for larger woodchucks, raccoons, and critters of that size.  (There is a further world within airgunnery that uses larger bore sizes and larger projectiles to go after even bigger game, but that's a specialty and not the mainstream.  I may well get there, but first things first.)

There are actually a number of choices that would have fit the power bill, but most of those are the size of (large) firearm rifles, and as heavy, with lots of attributes that I don't like.  Ultimately, I narrowed it down to two candidates:  the Benjamin Marauder pistol, and the AirForce TalonP pistol.  The "P-rod", as the Marauder pistol is known, would have been a fine choice, with the advantages of being an 8-round repeater, internally sound-suppressed (we're talking under 100 dB peak, and most of its sound well below that level), more efficient in shots-per-fill, and somewhat less expensive to feed with .22-caliber diabolo pellets.  It develops 15 fpe, which is hot stuff for an airgun with just a 12" barrel, and is plenty accurate enough to put pellets of 14-28 grains into sub-1" groups at 25 yards.  It comes with both a plain pistol grip and a carbine buttstock attachment, which I would just use permanently.  That one is, absolutely, planned for the future, but for the first one, I went with the AirForce gun.

 Click to embiggenate.  (It's worth it.)

Like the P-rod, the TalonP is a "precharged pneumatic" airgun, and one of its selling points with me is that (again like the Benjamin) its air tank is small enough that it can be reasonably filled in the field by hand, with a hand pump that resembles a bike pump built for truly high-pressure air (2000-3000 psi).  It doesn't get nearly as many shots per fill as its larger-tanked AirForce siblings, but for hunting especially, the idea of 10-15 full power shots before a field-fill, instead of nearly 100 shots before requiring a scuba tank, doesn't bother me at all.   And, the large-tank AirForce rifles do not permit shortening their very long length of pull, which is an important thing for me.  (The basic AirForce gun design is very clever and modular;  one of the nifty points is that the air tank actually serves as the buttstock.)  The TalonP and the Escape rifle series (derived from the TalonP), though, use this smaller tank and then add an adjustable buttstock extension that allows you to set your length of pull from 14 all the way down to 10 inches.  Bingo!  I can set it at my preferred 12" or 12.5", or down even lower for when my kids are ready to start shooting airguns.

The basic frame design will remind firearm folks of an AR, in having an EBR aesthetic and considerable modularity.  AirForce advertises it as a shooting system, and they do have a point, with interchangeable barrels, tanks, and of course rail-mounted gizmos.  One of the design points I intend to take advantage of is an adapter that turns the standard 11mm airgun dovetail atop the barrel into a Picatinny/Weaver mounting surface, and elevates nearly to the level of the frame's top-bridge so that the whole thing is nearly a flattop surface.  If I've done my pencil work correctly, this is going to permit me to mount an actual scout scope out there in front, and I've been meaning to try out the new Leapers glass anyway, so if this works, I'm not just going to have my first hunting airgun, it's going to be a "scout-style" airgun. 

The AirForce design is a single-shot, with a bolt that you push forward to open and backward to close.  My biggest concern with that is how easy it will be to load individual pellets in the cold (snowshoe hares are hunted from August through March, and definitely through the winter), but other than that, the design seems like a proven winner.  I'm not worried about it conflicting with my firearm technique, since it's not a repeater, but on the other hand, with a Garand-style safety, forward glass, short LOP and reportedly excellent trigger on it, I do suspect I will be tempted to work snapshots. :-)   I don't know yet for sure, but I may even be able to fit a Ching Sling on it somehow, which would make it an awesome little field piece.

And then there is the power.  The TalonP is a .25 caliber gun, which is known to propel its 25-43 grain diabolo pills fast enough to achieve nearly fifty foot-pounds of energy.  (Consider that 9-pound "magnum" spring-piston rifles, usually about 45" long and requiring forty to fifty pounds of force to cock for each shot, generate less half that figure.)  Being unsuppressed, it's known to be louder than the P-rod (peak SPL is about 103 dB, and much of its sound signature is up near that peak), but it's still far quieter than any .22 Long Rifle*, and yet nearly half the power.  (The Escape rifle series, which is based on the TalonP's frame and tank, can generate nearly 100 foot pounds with a 24-inch .25 caliber barrel, and I could achieve basically that same performance by swapping out my 12" barrel for a 24".  Maybe someday, but for now at least I want the short:  the TalonP with LOP set at 12" is going to be about 26" long, where even the P-rod is going to go at least 30", and my "short" Steyr Scout .308 is starting to look enormous at 39".)

It's going to be overkill for snowshoe hares, for sure, and even moreso for spruce grouse--at least at close range.  But that much power also means I've got a lot more available range to work with, and the AirForce guns are renowned as tack-drivers.  What this all means is that I should be able to apply that power out to ranges that are very unusual for smallbore airguns, with the accuracy required to hit reduced-sized targets.  (Check out Tom Gaylord's series on the TalonP.)

I'm psyched about this project.  It's the product of a lot of cogitation and learning, and may well represent "starting at the top" for design and function, for what I wish to do with it.  I do have long-term plans to add a few others to the stable, including the aforementioned P-rod in carbine form (having a 15 fpe airgun, especially one renowned for being so quiet and an 8-round repeater to boot, will be a nice niche to fill), an AirForce EscapeSS in .22 caliber (for the ability to shoot the cheaper and more ubiquitous .22 caliber pellets at the 50fpe level with sound suppression), a Crosman 1322 iron-sight carbine for fun (and, its ~5fpe level is certainly adequate for birds and squirrels at close range), and a good .177 pistol for developing pistol accuracy (I'm currently leaning toward the CO2-powered replica of the S&W M&P 45, for that, but the jury's still out), but one must begin somewhere, and this seemed to be the right combination of desiderata to serve the most purposes.

Now, to wait.  Then, the squee.  And then, the T&E.  Finally, with a little luck, a day on snowshoes with the five-year-old, a hare or three within range, one good shot each, and the subsequent task of figuring out how to prepare the little beasties for the table.  :-)

* A .22LR out of a rifle generates around 140 dB, and adding a good suppressor reduces that to between 115 and 120 dB.  Even loud airguns are quieter than suppressed firearms, and some airguns, such as the P-rod's big brother the Marauder rifle, are known to be so quiet that the loudest sound you hear is the (muffled) thonk of the hammer knocking open the air valve.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Sometimes I forget how much of a geek I am.

And leave it to Tam to furnish the latest illustration.  After losing considerable coffee over this, I thought I'd share it with a couple of gunnie friends.

Once Upon a Time... a gun shop long ago and far away, there was a bunch of that Indian surplus .303 for sale. Tamara and A Gunsmith Who Shall Remain Nameless were standing behind the counter when a man came in and began looking over the merchandise.

The man saw the Indian ammunition and shook his head and said "You know, this stuff ain't even got gunpowder in it. It's all full of this stuff that looks like spaghetti. I took some apart with a genetic bullet puller." And then he left.

"He needed a genetic bullet puller," said Gunsmith Name Redacted To Protect The Innocent.

"Too late," said Tamara, "There was a kid in the car."

The End.

I wound up explaining the jokes and it was, of course, a whole lot less funny that way.  (On linking back, I now notice that Tam provides explanatory links, inline.)

Okay, I'm a geek.  And I admit, I'm torn between wistfulness that fewer and fewer people get the references, and a purely prurient wish that I could have been there to see that.  :-)

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Really, I have come to hate the term 'hero'...

...but this, my friend, is what one looks like.

Cody Wilson rides again, doing what he does, which is work that needs to be done.  And my word, does he do it with style.

In the wake of the governor’s veto of the Ghost Gun ban, Wilson’s CNC mill could make untraceable guns all the more accessible. And as the video above shows, Wilson isn’t shying away from that face-off so much as directly confronting gun control advocates. He’s gone as far as applying for a trademark for the term “Ghost Gun,” a move that could limit how gun control advocates are legally able to use it.

“This wouldn’t be worth doing if Kevin de Leόn didn’t know about it,” Wilson says. “What excites me is giving this world to the politicians. Our strategy is to literalize and reify their nightmare, to give them the world they’re talking about.”

One just has to step aside, to make room for all The Awesome in that.  It's hard to imagine a more quintessentially American spirit than Wilson's, and long may he haunt the nightmares of anyone that presumes to rule over others.

So, yeah:  hero.  Brass balls and all.  Large as life and twice as natural.  If the term must be used, then by all means I'll use it where it's deserved.

The Zelman Partisans

I caught first wind of it from Kent McManigal on Facebook, and the realization of what was going to be behind the link hit me even before the mouse pointer got there. 

I'll echo Kent's thought:  may it succeed wildly.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Elevating victimhood above empowerment.

It appears that The Hive Mind continues to rediscover the "Man Trap", as it was first...introduced to me by David Codrea back in 2008.  And so I saw on Facebook, today:

The comment that went with it is just depressing:

I honestly think this is brilliant.

OMFG, how can one even begin to address that?  The failure to see reality in its proper context is nearly absolute.

Nonetheless, I try:

Only a society which elevates victimhood above empowerment could see anything but disaster in this sort of thinking. 

The only value such a device could possibly have is a puerile and hypothetical sense of revenge.  And it would seem to require some demonstrable effort to be more short-sighted in strategy.  Consider that it does absolutely nothing about the actual crime of rape:  by the time this device comes into play, the critical crime of domination has already been committed, and cannot be undone.  Or has all the effort to educate people that rape is not about penetration, but about domination, been nothing more than idle bluster?

And--this seems so self-evident that it feels ridiculous to say it out loud--what does anyone think actually happens when an attacker completes his crime of violent domination, and finds out that he has been (passively) disfigured by his victim, who is still right there in his very hands?  As David Codrea said about this thing back in 2008, "Well, this is going to get someone killed.  I wonder if they indemnify against a violent revenge reaction?"

It absolutely stuns me that any woman would choose this as a premeditated strategy against rape, over something--anything--that has even a shred of actual empowerment in it. 

We'll see, I guess.  Maybe I should just shut up and let those who wish it, to choose the life of prey for themselves.  I like to tell myself that I would do exactly that, but for the fact that these same people almost invariably presume to control my life too--precipitating at least some sort of response. But maybe I'm kidding myself about that.

UPDATE:  The following exchange, names replaced as a courtesy.

[J]:  Hm. I'm not sure, Kevin, that this device is not actually empowering. Obviously, one hopes that it would never need to serve its purpose. However, if a woman is attacked, I think this device may accomplish a couple of things: 1. Prevent skin to skin contact in the most vulnerable of places - a last defense or shield, if you will . If someone is attacking you, a shield - with spikes or whatever you've got - might feel like protective armor that helps a woman in her reaction and recovery process. He didn't 'get to me.' 2. If the rapist has to go to an emergency room to have this removed, he will be identified. There's no "I didn't do it." It's like a woman having handcuffs in your pants. Ha! That seems fairly empowering, too. 3. The description says nothing about this being 'disfiguring.' Painful, yes. I imagine the guy would be quickly 'immobilized' with pain and surprise and the woman would have an opportunity to get away while the guy is writhing. Again, ha! I can imagine it like a lizard shedding its tail when a predator grabs it. The predator is left holding the tail but the lizard gets away. In this case, the distressed rapist would be left with a "biting vagina" attached to him, while the woman runs away. Again, ha! This device sounds pretty empowering to me. In the last extreme moment of being dominated, a woman has one last tool to turn the tables and not only keep the man out of her, he also is wounded and marked with evidence of his crime.
[K] (not me):  desolee, living in a world where there is need for this kind of thing
[A]:  It doesn't surprise me at all that a woman would choose this as a premeditated strategy against rape, especially in a world where walking home, going to get water, doing anything puts her at risk of rape. It's shockingly common in South Africa. Shockingly. And men aren't preventing it....
[Me]:  Sorry [J], not having it. I don't accept that a woman should have to submit to the crime--the actual crimes of domination and battery and assault--before her last-ditch response becomes effective. Even if everything you say here were to work exactly as advertised, it STILL requires victimhood up front. This seems to me a terrible, horrible message to send to women.

Actual empowerment would instead involve being able to turn the attack off before it happens. Presuming an equivalence of scenario--that an attacker has managed to get through the same layers of alertness and shut off all the same avenues of escape--the skilled use of a defensive weapon is going to be a superior last-ditch strategy in every conceivable way. First and foremost, it makes possible the most desirable outcome of all--no completed attack, no bloodshed. An attacker suddenly confronted with a pistol, for example, is no longer in the driver's seat, and now has a choice to make. If the woman behind it is confident and resolute, most attackers call off the attack and run away like the opportunists they are--a result that is simply not going to happen with a passive instrument like the Rapex. On the flip-side, those few who do proceed against a weapon will not be turned aside by anything less than its effective use. And, while shots are never the desired outcome, they can be effective where absolutely nothing else would be.

One could examine the comparison further, but I think the point entire is made here. A woman's life and health is worth defending without having to submit to the assault first.
[Me][A], if you believe that one is not "at risk" everywhere, all the time, you are kidding yourself. The prudent recognize that "it" (whatever terrible thing "it" may be) can happen at any time, anywhere, in "good" places or in "bad" ones. Lament as much as you want that things are this way, but reality has never required our approval. In the end, all any of us can do is to learn to see "it" coming beforehand, and ultimately be prepared to meet "it" if we fail to avoid it first.

On the other hand, you're absolutely right that nobody is preventing forcible rape in any meaningful way in South Africa. Hell, offcialdom there simply dismisses the idea of armed self-defense entirely, taking the most effective option right out of the hands of the very people most in need of it.

Perhaps out of THAT absurdity comes the appeal of something like the Rapex. Still, I can't get past the appearance of misogynistic condescenscion in telling women that they can't use a means that just might prevent an attack entirely, but hey, if you're willing to submit first, here's a painful variation on marking paint...oh, and here's hoping your attacker isn't more the sodomy type.

My fervent hope is simply that, confronted with that reality, many women will simply go outside the law, treating it with all the same due respect that it treats their natural right of self-defense. (Fortunately, when things get bad enough, decent people often seem to do this very thing. It simply seems a shame that they should tolerate it for as long as they do.)
[A]:  Coupla thoughts: Yes, bad things can happen almost anywhere. Maybe absolutely anywhere. However, statistically, some places are riskier than others, and the reality of being a small woman (or a girl) is that one has to be very creative about how to protect oneself. That could include physical training in self-defense. Sure. But personally, I don't think that teaching jujitsu or martial arts/self-defense is as practical, nor any more empowering, than the Rapex device. I agree with Jen -- this is a pretty empowering item. Here in the USA, we market pepper spray, which is virtually useless, IMO.
[Me]:  Statistics would seem to matter less and less as the potential for harm goes up. When asked with a sneer, "Just how often do you think people get killed around here, anyway?" the classic rejoinder is "Same as anywhere. Just once." Sure, you try to stack the odds as best you understand them, but the more important consideration is that you realize you are never "safe", and you must be prepared mentally no matter what course you have chosen for yourself.

In general, people focus way too much on the tools and methods over the mindset, and not all methods are appropriate for all people, but it is absolutely true that the more people learn about what really happens in attacks, the more they tend to gravitate toward the skillful use of personal weapons as part of their personal security plan.

As to that: nearly thirty years of study into interpersonal attack and defense causes me to disagree totally about the efficacy, practicality, and empowerment of passive methods. Totally. It doesn't matter how many people with a political agenda try to say otherwise, and it doesn't matter how much anyone may wish it not to be so: successful self-determination is active, not passive. Piles and piles of case study are unambiguous on this. (So is the rest of the animal kingdom, at that.)

I'm not sure I could recommend a martial art like jiujitsu/karate/aikido as a primary plan, either. Aside entirely from the "every person is different and must make her own choice" consideration, every streetwise master of these arts I have come across, carries a pistol by preference. (Ignore that observation at your own risk.) It's something, of course, but without the right mindset it's vapor, just as a 45 caliber pistol without the right mindset is vapor.

All that aside, of course, each woman should have the unquestioned right to choose her methods for herself...and be responsible for their use. That so many are prohibited from freedom in this choice is the worst crime here.
[L]Kevin, I think you are missing the point. In your first comments you mention a woman having a gun for defense. That's not going to happen in the majority of cases. Likewise, women will not put that device up their vagina unless they predict being in the situation of needing it. But, at least they have it. I think the idea is brilliant - I just wonder if the description is for real. And the use of this is not "submitting to an assault" - women do not submit to an assault - they and other humans who are over powered are not submitting to assaults. Bullies on the school grounds do not prey on kids who submit. Those kids and the women who are victims are over powered - they do not submit.
[Me]:  Submission and consent are not the same thing, and I use the word "submit" quite deliberately here. I would be the last person to suggest that anyone somehow consents to an attack, but if you do not fight back against it effectively, you have rather by definition submitted to it.

And please don't mistake me here. My specific ire is against political systems that effectively require such submission by forcibly denying women available methods that actually have a chance of preventing the attack from proceeding in the first place, and that have a fighting chance of stopping the attack if it continues.

The pistol is one such method--proven, reliable, simple, and practical--and yet most political systems (absolutely including the RSA) would deny it to those who have greatest need. The Rapex, by comparison, absolutely cannot perform at the same level in a confrontation, physically or psychologically (even by definition), and somehow the powers that be don't seem to have a problem with that--yet. This edition of "what's wrong with this picture" would seem to be rather self-evident, but yet here we are.

You say "that's not going to happen in the majority of cases". Well hell, perhaps if women were not counseled from birth that they are incapable of using effective force to defend themselves at the moment of truth, maybe that would be different. It's still hard for me to believe that many women, themselves, not only believe that condescenscion (which is entirely BS, by the way) but even promote it to others.

And once again, this isn't to say that the gun is for everyone--only that any woman should be free to choose it without official or social harassment. And it's not a magic talisman, either. To be effective, the defensive pistol requires a commitment and a lifestyle change that not everyone is willing to make, but then it also provides a capacity that nothing else can match. (What surprises many who do make the commitment, is that it carries extra benefits they did not anticipate--chiefly, that the extra alertness and observation that comes from training to avoid trouble, usually results in seeing all sorts of wonderful things in the world they'd never known were there before.)

Personally, I think we should encourage the women of South Africa to look into the matter for themselves, without restriction and held responsible for their own outcomes just like any other free people, and just see what answers they come up with.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

"Corporations control government"

A draft-clearing post here.  This one has apparently been sitting around a while.

Seen on Facebook:

"The government doesn't own the media, corporations own the media. Corporations control government (and farmers and universities, and so on), not the other way around."

At best, this is a semantic argument. More accurately, it is a classic... manipulative sophistry. It is promulgated vigorously like a religious catechism, by the very entities that most benefit from the conflation. And otherwise intelligent people repeat it uncritically, feeding the problem by misdirecting their perfectly understandable anger at the wrong target.

Look, what is the definition of a corporation? It is an entity that is recognized by law (law which is created, interpreted and enforced by the same state), entitled to certain specific favors from the state. What most irritates most of us about powerful corporations is that they use their influence to curry additional favors from the state: to stifle their competition in a way that would not be possible in a free market, to give themselves competitive advantage through the gerrymandering of regulations, to protect themselves from their customers, etc.

The state could shut down any corporation it wanted to, tomorrow, because it is the state to which any corporation owes its existence and its continuing influence. Seems to me the alpha dog is pretty clear, on that basis--even if they are in collusion with each other.

Am I then defending the corporate part of this corporate mercantilist arrangement (that is:  fascism lite) that we have here? Oh HELL no. By aggressing against others, using the state as a hired thug, such corporate entities contribute to the evil and are just as culpable. But if one wants to "strike the root", one must recognize who wields the actual power to harm real people. Without a state, corporations would have no "legitimate" means of exerting their influence. The state, on the other hand, has declared itself the sole monopoly on "legitimate" coercion and aggression--even with respect to the mechanics of buying its influence!

The huge blind spot of most of those who rail on against corporations is that they almost invariably propose to solve the problem by handing over the (rest of the) reins to the single biggest, most corrupt and murderous "corporation" in the history of mankind--the state.

What on earth do they think is going to happen, with that dynamic going on?

Well hello there, David Hathaway.

Not quite by chance (but close) I just ran across one David Hathaway's writing at Lew Rockwell's site, and initial impressions are very encouraging. 

The first article I stumbled on was called "Once Upon a Time in OKC" and it begins:

This story is fiction. Once upon a time, there was an FBI Agent, Bob, and an ATF Agent, Sam, that didn’t know each other. They worked miles apart. But, they both were good little feds and they read their agencies’ marching orders and watched the controlled media to know who they should be targeting.

The FBI Agent, Bob, decided that he could get recognition by targeting militias and white supremacist groups. He didn’t know any, so he hired a guy off the street, Tommy, who in turn hired a paid unwitting flunky underling, to go with him to, um, Arkansas to the small town of Eloy City where people supposedly wanted to be left alone. It was slim pickings in that town until he met a guy, John, who also wanted to talk tough about blowing things up. This guy would be a great target. This guy talked as tough as Tommy did. Tommy could keep the federal gravy train coming his way and FBI Bob could write lots of fancy reports to get promotions.

The ATF Agent, Sam, decided that he could get recognition by targeting militias and white supremacist groups. He didn’t know any, so he hired a guy off the street, John, who in turn hired a paid unwitting flunky underling, to go with him to, um, Arkansas to the small town of Eloy City where people supposedly wanted to be left alone. It was slim pickings in that town until he met a guy, Tommy, who also wanted to talk tough about blowing things up. This guy would be a great target. This guy talked as tough as John did. John could keep the federal gravy train coming his way and ATF Sam could write lots of fancy reports to get promotions.

Of course, you know how this "fiction" story ends.  It sounds pretty convincing coming from a former DEA agent, too.

I was also much taken by his treatment of the "constitutional cop" problem, which begins thus:

There is a lot of chatter amongst conservative “2nd Amendment cops” and military folks about how they will not obey the orders when the grand pronouncement is made to take guns. It will be a cop sit out. What will really happen is quite different. Your Republican cop or military buddy will gladly and patriotically take your guns.

Gun grabs and grabs of anything else – children, money, real estate, raw milk – don’t come down the chain of command as such. There is not an edict that comes out saying:

Obama Executive Order 666:

All federal, state, and local law enforcement officers and all active duty military personnel are hereby ordered and required to seize firearms from all persons whose only crime is non-compliance with the firearms transfer provisions contained in the Children’s and Puppies’ Omnibus Health and Safety Act of 2014. Operation Patriot Crush will commence at midnight on June 1, 2014. All will be required to participate from that date forward and to actively engage in door-to-door gun seizure operations against fellow Americans. Constitutional objections by officers will not be recognized and are hereby deemed meritless.

What really happens is that good ol’ patriotic cops are told by their bosses to show up at the police department at o dark thirty for a briefing about the execution of a search warrant. This happens hundreds of times every day. These law enforcement agencies often have military personnel and resources dedicated to assist in their mission as well. No one ever objects. There is action afoot against n’er do wells. It is based on a hush-hush deep dark sinister undercover deal. It can’t be discussed because cooperators are “in deep” and it’s all “need to know.”


Okay, so I've got him bookmarked now, and will check out some more as time permits.  It would be  good to have another solid resource to link to.  

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Protection, without the racket.

Just in case you're tempted to believe that Will Grigg is all "cry the dystopia" with no recognition of workable alternatives, note here his recent report on the actions of one Dale Brown.  Brown may be deserving of some sort of brass balls bravery award for publicly offering a protection service in direct contrast to the protection racket that most of us have to deal with.

"How would things be different,” muses Dale Brown of the Detroit-based Threat Management Center, “if police officers were given financial rewards and commendations for resolving dangerous situations peacefully, rather than for using force in situations where it’s neither justified nor effective?”

Brown’s approach to public safety is “precisely the opposite of what police are trained and expected to do,” says the 44-year-old entrepreneur. The TMC eschews the “prosecutorial philosophy of applied violence” and the officer safety uber alles mindset that characterize government law enforcement agencies. This is because his very successful private security company has an entirely different mission – the protection of persons and property, rather than enforcing the will of the political class. Those contrasting approaches are displayed to great advantage in proto-dystopian Detroit.

All in all, a pretty impressive response to the problem.  Is it perfect?  Of course not, but we shouldn't make the same mistake we so often see and decry in the statists, demanding demonstrable utopian perfection even to consider a possible alternative, while tolerating and defending nearly any atrocity in the status quo.  Brown's idea doesn't have to be perfect, it simply has to be better--and really, that's not such a high bar to get over.  I might personally bristle at the idea of a "good person file", notwithstanding its (very clever) psychological utility as described in one of Brown's anecdotes, but then I must remind myself of the far more important consideration here:  the whole system is opt-in.  Voluntary.  You can walk away if you don't like it.  (No wonder it's got officialdom in such a tizzy.)

Hopefully Mr. Brown continues to have the success he's had so far.  And that more and more people notice.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

I'll try not to make a habit of this...

...but since the legions of Never Forget! Army soldiers dutifully continue to remind us, continually, of That Event What Made Us Lose Our Shit Completely And Beg For Total Tyranny Really We Like It We Luv It We Wants Some Moar Of's kinda hard to avoid.

And so I ran across this article of a few years ago, from the tenth "anniversary" of the (latest) Great Enabling Event.  It's interesting, in the same way that I now recall all the revelations that came out of the Waco massacre were interesting.  It reminds me that I'm firmly in the camp of "I've Got No Idea What Really Happened, And Neither Do You, And The Only Thing I Know For Sure Is That The Official Story(TM) Is Bullshit, Because 'Official Story(TM)'".  It even seems reasonably done, which is not something that I can say for others in the genre.  Worth a bookmark, at least for me.

But this post isn't about the article itself.  What caused me to pipe up on this Sacrosanct Day Of Remembrance (send money and votes, plebes!) was the thoroughly amusing video reference in the article's end notes:

Some people do understand how to do style.  I usually find the rapid-fire delivery aggravating, but it seems to work here.

And now it's marked here, for future reference.

Friday, August 22, 2014

JPFO and the curse of the institution.

Today I learn from Claire that JPFO--or rather, the (and this is gonna sound hauntingly familiar) arbitrary control structure that pretends to represent JPFO members--suddenly seems hellbent on presenting itself for what seems like certain self-destruction in the form of a business takeover by Alan Gottlieb's Second Amendment Foundation. (For anyone happening across this who needs a primer on why that is a terrible, awful idea, read these items from Claire, who knows the history better than most.)

I must confess that I cannot personally confirm the veracity of most of the details I'm hearing, but I will say that I trust Claire, and David Codrea, and Mike Vanderboegh, in their judgment on this, and I would not be surprised to see El Neil pop back up over the whole matter, recovering-from-stroke or not.  From my own limited exposure to Gottlieb's recent shenanigans with the Manchin-Toomey(-Schumer) pre-emptive surrender, I certainly don't have a great deal of confidence either, that he is not in fact the cat in this observation from the late and much-missed Aaron Zelman:
“A housewife and a cat will both chase mice out of the kitchen. But the cat wants more mice to come back.”
Details sound bad.  Bad enough that it's tempting to wonder if there is not a hand of some Bloomberg-like creep in all of this.  I mean, jeez, where have we heard the "hurry,-we-gotta-do-this-now-before-the-little-people-find-out-about-it" line before?  Again, Claire has details if you need 'em.

My observations at this point are two:

1) This is another (and extremely ironic) example of the risk of vesting power in a centralized authority structure--in institutionalizing.  Claire notes that the board of directors is three people--meaning that any two can destroy the organization in an instant, and it's all "legal and proper".  And in this case (presuming that past history is the way to bet), moreso than in most takeover cases, it would really be tragic to lose the organization's identity, as it is unique.  The tragedy is amplified further by the specific who is "bidding" for the takeover:  the way I understand it, Zelman would never have had anything to do with Gottlieb, going back for some time.  The sense of betrayal among the JPFO rank and file must be seething, and once again, unless I'm getting some pretty bad information, it seems very likely that Gottlieb must have known of Zelman's opinion of him, and stipulating that, it does not exactly cast much positive light on Gottlieb's intentions here.

all of which brings up

2)  If the fix consummates the way it appears to be intended, and the result performs the way long-timers seem to believe it will, it will cost the perpetrators, whether they realize it or not.  It's one thing to take over an organization with no soul or passion, but another entirely to do the same to people who are devoted to speaking plainly and rejecting compromise.  Maybe SAF really does see JPFO as just another list of protection-racket customers, newly available for exploitation.  First of all, I'd say they're simply wrong.  Second, even if that's what they believe and they are right, there is this:  protection rackets can work famously, right up until the moment when they don't.  If it really is Gottlieb's business to perpetually stump for money while never intending to kill his cash cow, he presumably understands that his ruse depends on others not figuring out they're being taken.

He would do well to remember that having a name on a list doesn't constitute...ownership

Monday, August 18, 2014

Not quite what I intended...

(MamaLiberty, this one is kinda for you, given the "so what are you wearing right now?" conversation from comments a few days ago.)

I can now confirm personally that the Kahr CW40 suffers nearly nothing from a ten-minute total immersion in 40-degree seawater;  one small bloom of orange surface rust just inside the muzzle came off easily 12h later with a cleaning, and shows no signs of return yet.  Nor does a Safepacker "un-holster" suffer from the same fate;  it launders normally and should now be salt-free once again.

The gun's owner, by contrast, was much grumpier about the whole episode, mostly because he lost his new eyeglasses, and because he held up the kayaking group, with an unexpected roll in choppy water.  (Apparently he felt the need to prove his noob cred in grand style.)

Of related interest:  the kayak guide was understandably worried about the possibility of hypothermia, but fortunately the Wiggy jacket performed exactly as advertised, and to my considerable satisfaction the cold simply was not an issue.  I suspect he figured out that I was exhibiting absolutely no signs, and was far more irritated than scared or compromised.  I wrung myself out and was back in the water in what was probably less than half an hour.  (I suspect he would have been far more freaked about the contents of the Safepacker, had he been even remotely aware of them.  :-)

Helluva first-kayak-trip, really.  Other than the loss of the glasses and the irritation of being caught off balance by an admittedly rough-conditions day, I'd say it was all win:  lessons thoroughly learned and home in one piece!

Your 'Uncle Frank'-ism for the day.

Just when I'm about ready to give up Facebook again, I seem to get a string of things that are actually useful.  Most of those are usually contacts with people about whom I would otherwise know nothing, but today, there was also this, via a site I don't know called Libertarian Money.  


It's hard to explain my continued amazement at Frank Zappa.  (Put as briefly as possible, I am not sure I know of a better use for the word genius.)  It's nearly impossible to explain to non-musicians, who usually either see him as a noisy, shock-jock lyricist, or...well, as a noisy, shock-jock lyricist.  (Many who appreciate him, do so only for that.)  It's a little easier to explain to someone who plays an instrument, and it's easier still with someone who is a geek about it--the geekier the better.  (For any non-musicians reading here:  let's just say that Frank's musical skills are at least as legendary as those of Miles Davis or Duke Ellington.)

But it wasn't until I figured out--really, actually figured out--that politics isn't the solution to the problem, but rather is the problem, that I discovered the next plane of my admiration for the man.  It's not so much that he often said things that I would now find agreement with, but rather that somewhere along the way I realized that personally, he simply shrugged off everything that wasn't real.  No fanfare or peacockery;  he just did.

Sure, he was known for poking fun at things that aren't real, but hell, lots of others did and do that too, without being conspicuously more than that.  In the blurb above, what stands out is what happened so often with Zappa:  the interview effort completely misunderstood its target and had no answer for what to do about the unexpected result.  I strongly suspect FZ loved this--to be continually underestimated, and to not care what came of it.  It is easy for the well-intentioned to presume that he would have been upset that the interview didn't run--but that would be missing much of the point!  (Being well-intentioned by nature myself, it took me an embarrassingly long time to realize this.)

Consider his own musical genius.  During a time when the popular celebration of musical complexity and virtuosity grew from a counterculture beginning to a state of such self-indulgence and overhype that the next musical wave (punk) was specifically an "eff you!" reaction against it, Zappa was himself poking fun at it nearly the entire time--with the satire itself often buried in structures far more complicated than the chest-thumpers on the receiving end of the ridicule had come up with originally.  (And Zappa was skilled and subtle enough to intermix the anti-peacockery with genuine homages to those who deserved them.)

All this (and believe me, this is brief) illustrates a mind that I admire more and more with every new thing I learn.  He understood the world of the seem and the world of the real nearly without flaw, and played them off each other like toys, on a quantity of levels that I can hardly believe, and yet am still discovering.

The most amazing part is that I don't think he could possibly have done it by accident--and yet the significance of that seems to have been singularly unimportant to the man himself.

Miss ya, FZ.

Added later:  I should have caught this the first time, but it was via Kent McManigal on Facebook that I first saw the Libertarian Money link.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014


Randomly ran across this today.

Refreshing.  May have to look further at this fella.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

General purpose rifle squee.

I also got a chance to take another look at the .308 Ruger Gunsite Scout rifle while picking up the bruiser loads, and confirmed much of my initial impressions on that gun.  Nine bills for the base gun...add a Leupold scout scope with QD rings...take out all the stock spacers...add a proper Ching Sling...acquire a half-dozen magazines...sweeten the trigger if your example needs it (it's pretty good OOB)...and you are ready to do anything that you might reasonably ask a rifle to do!  I do not think you can get a finer general purpose rifle for less outlay and fuss than this.  No, it's not a Steyr, but it is a grand less, and at least seems to be far more gun than a Steyr-less-one-grand.  (If that makes sense.)

Today it struck me more forcefully than before, that the rear aperture is actually not a proper ghost-ring.  It's a nice aperture, but it's not big enough and the rim is not thin enough to fully disappear during sighting, which is the point of that system.  I suspect that there are already replacement parts available at minimal cost (Brownells, etc.), and while the stock sight is very nice as it is, you'll lose no functional precision and will gain measurably in speed with a bigger, thinner ring.

Why am I thinking about this lately?  There are two reasons.  One is that I'm putting some thought behind a recommendation for how a noob might reasonably build a working battery of guns from scratch, with maximum utility for minimum outlay.  (e.g., first, the general purpose rifle;  then, the general purpose pistol;  then, the general shotgun;  then a survival/combination gun;  from there, add other layers as fits the principal's interest--for fighting, a battle rifle / carbine / carry pistol; for hunting, medium / heavy / varmint cartridges to complement the GP guns;  etc.)

The other reason is this (click to embiggen):

That is my last remaining Gunsmoke project, now in progress, and I am very excited about what's in those pictures.  (There will be a full writeup when it completes, I assure you.)

Bonus points for anyone who, in the meantime, can figure out why.  (I promise, the answer is both fully arcane and personal to me, and also perfectly logical and utilitarian.  :-)

Notes from the fun shop.

I had occasion a few weeks ago to walk into one of my local funshops, and to my total surprise, I not only had a pleasant experience but also a useful one.  (Both the local places have been on my shit-list for some time, on account of reliably giving every appearance of being completely disinterested in my business.  I usually go some 80 miles up the road to get what I need.)  To wit:  the fella behind the counter (who is not new) not only was engaging and attentive, but also went out of his way to let me know they could work with me for special orders.

I was feeling charitable enough that day, not to mention a bit bowled over at a transaction that felt hauntingly normal, and so I said sure, I'd appreciate a call if he could get me a small supply of Brenneke slugs for my 16-gauge Ithaca M37.  That seemed to fit the definition of "low risk, high reward" well enough.

And on Sunday he called me back.  He'd managed to wrest 4 boxes from his supplier, and said that he'd be happy to sell me all 4 at the same time--which is usually against policy during this tiresome Great Ammo Panic Which Exists Because Panic.  (The usual policy with high-demand stuff is one-box-per-customer-per-day.)

And so here I am in the pleasant position of having not only managed to secure a small stock of game loads for the notoriously-hard-to-find 16 gauge, but also #1 buck, Foster and now Brenneke slugs as well.  (Range Day should be fun.)

Okay, score one for one of the local guys.  I'm happy to try that again.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Oh, gaaag.

This sentiment seems to be reaching meme-level proportions lately.  Presumably it has been handed down from The Hive Brain to the practicing faithful, who perform their phone-tree duties on cue as always.  And so this is currently being vomited onto my Facebook feed with gagging regularity today:

Jeez.  This crowd has actually found a way to weaponize irony. 

Look:  I detest the Reich-publicans just as much as I do the Demon-rats, and for the same reasons, really.  (Most of all, the transparency of both parties' lame attempts to dress up their cynical intrasquad games as something other than what they are.)  There is nothing here that constitutes any sort of defense of the R-wing's vision for Total Tyranny.

Still:  oh, come on.  The above coming from the "It's still all Bush's fault, two years into BHO's second term, and anyone who says differently is a wascawwy wacist!" crowd? 

Of all the casualties that modern "civilization" has inflicted upon humanity, the most irritating may well be the complete and total death of shame.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

People who pay attention are cool.

The scene: an elevator in Anaheim, at a technical conference. I'm going up by myself; at floor X, one woman and two men, all conferencers, get on with me, with the usual rote pleasantries.  The following happens after a short pause:

Man #1 to man #2: "You know, I'm really enjoying the side conversations here. They've been very useful." (Elevator stops at a new floor.)

Man #2 to man #1: "Yeah, and the eavesdropping; I really learn a lot that way." (They both get out and the elevator door closes.)

(After a short pause) Me, aloud, but not specifically to the woman, who is looking at her smartphone: "Ironic, isn't it?"

Woman (who doesn't just giggle, she *bursts* out laughing): "Yes, it is!" (She's still chuckling when she gets off at her floor.)

 I admit, I was happy to score the double play on that one.  :-)

Man, I love people who pay attention.  I hate this place--far too many folks who "personally wet themselves" at the very thought of their own shadows, and (worse) insist on wearing that particular neurosis openly on their sleeves--but even here, I regularly find people who are at least partially worthy of the term "human being".

That is a good reminder for me, in these tiresome times.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Grigg: Happy Insurrection Day!

Ran across this classic again today.  It is so outstanding that I felt the need to have it bookmarked here.

Just a teaser:
It's hardly surprising that the Wilson regime effectively criminalized the Declaration: Like collectivists of all ages, Wilson assumed that man, who was created for the state, should be pitifully grateful for whatever transient "liberties" he was given by the state, and should be prepared to sacrifice everything on behalf of the state.

"It is not an army we must shape and train for war, it is a nation," Wilson declared, as he centralized the economy, orchestrated a frenzy of war hatred against Germany, and moved to impose conscription. His Vice President, Thomas Marshall, urged that citizenship be formally revoked for anyone found to be "not heartily in support of the Government in this crisis."

Bernard Baruch, chairman of the War Industries Board and de facto commissar of the economy, explained the logic of Wilson's war regime in admirably frank terms: "Every man's life is at the call of the nation and so must be every man's property.... The state is all; the individual is of importance only as he contributes to the welfare of the state. His property is his only as the state does not need it. He must hold his life and possessions at the call of the state."
I'm saving that one for the next Wilson apologist I run into.  Jeez, what awful people.

And Grigg's wrap-up is exactly what you'd expect from him:

What if, instead of starting every day being marinated in the language of submission (to pledge "allegiance," after all, is to proclaim one's status as a vassal bound in service to a feudal lord, or "liege"), youngsters were taught, on a daily basis, the principles of self-responsibility, individual liberty, and principled rebellion? As I stated earlier, if this kind of thing were to become common, our rulers would simply criminalize the Declaration. They've done it before, and they would be more than happy to do so permanently.

The sobering truth is that, due to the cultivated docility of the American populace, Jefferson's document, much like the Constitution created eleven years later, poses no threat to the designs of our rulers.

As always, worth it to RTWT.