Tuesday, October 27, 2015

How cool is Marilyn Williams?

Pretty durn cool, from initial reports.  (H/T David Codrea)

The pair of alleged burglars then tried another house nearby, but little did they know that homeowner Marilyn Williams is a trained sharpshooter.

There's all kinds of irony in this story.  The one that jumps out to me at first is her (say it breathlessly, now) "sniper rifle":

Click you to embiggenate the awesome.

Hey, nice airgun!  That's a Benjamin Marauder, for which I myself lust in both rifle and "pistol" form.      It can certainly put its little pill into just the right spaces out to 75-100 yards, and I've no reason to doubt that this lady can perform up to her piece.  And her "M-Rod", presuming it begins with a suitable starting fill, has a 10-round magazine to work with.  Within its limitations, it would indeed be a viable choice for "sniping", for anyone who actually cares about the non-pejorative meaning of that word.

It would not have been pretty, though, if the thugs had come prepared for a fight.  Airguns are not "stoppers", and the powerful ones tend to be unwieldy--especially with the moon-scopes that airgunners love to put on the really accurate pieces.  As a "gunnie", I'd advise her toward all sorts of preferable alternatives in the firearm realm--revolvers, pistols, short leverguns and shotguns, etc.--but she may well already know about that.  I don't presume to know her story.

Fortunately, these seemed to be typical thugs, who wanted a score, not a fight, and Ms. Williams waged and won her fight purely with her attitude.  For that alone she earns my respect, to the point that I will make sure my girls are aware of what she did and how she did it.  (Is she a "freedom person"?  Who knows?  I don't need to know.  She doesn't have to be, to do what she did, which stands by itself.)

And I like the way she carries herself on camera.  David's comment was "Not Cooperating with the Narrative", which (as usual for him) is right on.

The ironies only get thicker from this point.

Take a moment to watch the video under that breathless headline "Female sharpshooter scares off crooks with sniper rifle".  (That is a separate H/T to David, as well.)

Now how does that title go with that content?  It is a wonderment, isn't it?  The title screams PSH, but the content is pretty golden, and even the talking heads (I know nothing else about "Fox & Friends") are pretty transparently into Ms. Williams.

After seeing that, I want to talk to her even more.  She just has to know the difference between an airgun and a firearm, and yet she parades that M-Rod all over the camera without saying a word about it.  She's never even asked about it, which is like division-by-zero in this tiresome age of "always-indict-the-hardware".  It's almost as though it's the way things should be, in a sane world--and I have this niggling feeling that she may be perfectly aware of the ironies, and may simply be enjoying them.

Oh sure, perhaps I am being overly generous.  Again, I don't know her full story.  But I can see what she did, and in my book at least, that's earned her a cut above impartiality.

Not a trivial cut above, either.  Remember, she won her fight with her attitude, which more than made up for her sub-optimal hardware.  (Really, if her comments during the video are accurate, she didn't really "need" that rifle at all.)  I'll take that over any number of "gunnies" out there, who may have vastly superior hardware, but not an inkling of attitude to go with it.

Pay attention, girls.  This is what empowerment looks like.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Fun shop research.

Got a few minutes today to stop in at a local fun shop;  a few items seemed worth recording here.

Benjamin P-Rod airgun.

I had remembered that this place had carried a P-Rod before;  since this "pistol" uses the same bolt mechanism as the M-Rod rifle I've been considering for the Scout-Rod concept, I thought I'd put it to shoulder with that in mind. 

Yeah, that bolt throw is really short.  I was hoping it wouldn't feel that much so, but it does.  That's just not going to be an honorable trainer for a real turnbolt centerfire.  I suspect there's still a lot of value in the "Scout airgun" concept, but I may want/need to modify my thinking a bit on it.  Boltwork is important.  (Maybe when--if--my financial ship comes in and I can fully go at a new custom project, I'll try to convince someone like Tom Gaylord, or a Dennis Quackenbush, or some other innovator in the airgun space, to work with me on a concept piece.  I still think that some sort of slow-indexing cam is a worthwhile pursuit, to get a faithful bolt function.)

Conceivably the not-fully-optimized airgun could be thought of more as an adjunct piece to a carefully plan, that includes both live- and dry-fire of the centerfire Scout, live-fire airgun focused on singles, and/or live-fire rimfire.  After all, so much useful work can be done dry, with a manual repeater, and of course that would be the very bolt to practice on...  okay, set cogitate mode on.

I do still want me a P-Rod, though.  The carbine length is nice, and with the right sighting arrangement it should be a nice workhorse.  Downside:  the dang stock is too long, and doesn't lend itself well to shortening;  there is an AR stock adapter available but believe it or not the shortest LOP is still too long.  (I suspect there's a good answer available, but haven't found it yet.)

Benjamin Discovery airgun.

This air rifle is what I think I'd go to, if asked to put together a "classroom set" of noob training guns.  Since they had one, I thought I'd look at it in that context.

Yeah, okay, I really am on to something here:  the Disco is impressive.  It looks heavier and bigger than it really is, and should prove most useful for working with the small-statured.  Stock is workable wood, which means shortening LOP and adding Ching sling studs will be simple.  It shoulders naturally, and in this age of insistence on carbine-style vertical pistol grips it actually feels like an honest-to-goodness rifle.  Safety is indeed acceptably located--would be better at front of trigger guard rather than rear, but it will do.  Rear sight seems plenty good for an open sight, but of course I'll discard that and put a ghost-ring on instead, and probably replace the front with a solid square post.

The bolt seems solid enough. but the action is not "positive".  As a reliable teaching rifle, it is probably perfect.  I'd love to see positive clicks and snaps, but that is really just preference talking.

I like the Disco more and more the more I learn about it.  It may not have the repeating mechanism or the sound-suppression of the Marauder, but its safety is vastly superior to its upscale brother, and it is both lighter and shorter besides.  It's quite possible that the route I will take may not to go to the Marauder at all, but rather to have a custom Disco with sound suppression.  Will think further.

Kel-Tec KSG shotgun.

Ah, the storied and famed KSG.  And now I've met one in person. 

It is indeed luxuriously short.  (Muzzle blast must be impressive to the shooter.)  Short enough that I admit I have, somewhat surprisingly, a visceral hesitation to it.  Sure, it's probably irrational, but I can't deny that it's there.  Sight radius will necessarily be limited.  The forward sling stud would necessarily be right there at the muzzle.  And I believe the horror stories about shot hands after shearing off vertical foregrips during chambering.  (I'm not a vertical-foregrip kinda guy in the first place, but still.  This is a pump shotgun, after all;  one works the action briskly, and the idea that your hand winds up right out there at the end of the stroke is somewhat sobering.  One might reasonably observe that the pistol is even shorter, but the pistol's chambering stroke is away from the muzzle, not toward it.)

And yet there is much to like about the piece.  It is, if nothing else, ingenious.  Controls seem reasonably sized, positive, and easy to reach.  14 rounds of 12-gauge in a package this compact is impressive to my "size efficiency" aesthetic.  It doesn't feel nearly as heavy as it really is. 

So, jury's still out.  But I'm glad it's here.

Glock G43 9mm.

I happened to notice one of the new Glock G43 single-stack 9mm pistols in the rack, and of course had to see that.  No, I've never been a Glock guy, but really, that has been mostly because of two very specific personal reasons:  1) they just feel like two-by-fours in my hand, and 2) the trigger has always caused my trigger finger to nearly go completely to sleep over the course of 20 shots or so.  (I first noticed that on my ex-wife's G23 a lot of years ago, and every Glock I've shot since then does the same thing.  I really wanted to like that G23, but I kinda need to retain sensitivity in my trigger finger, ya know?)

Anyway, the G43 does indeed dispense with the "feels like a two-by-four" problem, and that makes me happy.  It's not the thinnest of the breed, and it won't displace my interest in Kahr, Shield, XD-S, and Solo, but it is certainly of the breed, and that will probably make it the Glock I'll go to when I want to get serious about Glock-fu.  The rest of the gun was...Glock.  Which means it seems well-built, simple, logical, and probably runs like a top.


Le sigh.  I think I've run into this particular counter-jockey before;  he'll make you work to avoid having to tell him how full of shit he is about...oh hell, a lot.  His ignorance about airguns is nearly weapons-quality, and he shows no sign of being really interested in learning otherwise.  His gunhandling was awful, as was his attention;  he didn't even seem to notice me repositioning myself nearly constantly whenever he was handling something.

He insisted I look at a PX4 Beretta for how "comfortable" and "safe" it was;  I said upfront I could guarantee I wouldn't like it, and that my safety was between my ears.  Fat in the hand, DA/SA fire control, decocking slide mounted safety, and size inefficient.  I'm sure it runs fine, and some might like it, but after hearing me working over the G43 and discussing what it was about that piece which interested me, one would think he could manage a little less tone-deafness than this.

Perhaps I should have made it a point to make a point, but honestly it's frustrating that one should have to do that, and given the reasonably clear signals he ignored in the first place, I'm not sure it would have made much difference anyway.

The fun shop...should be, damn it.  But sometimes, research can be painful.

One of those 'because Claire' bookmarks.

"What are we as a society going to do?"

With Claire*, you don't get a magnum opus, you get a lupine opus.  This is one of those, not so much because of the size of the response, but because it just seems like it's all in there.  Nothing is perfect, but it's good enough that it becomes very difficult to quote it merely in part.


One feels a bit sorry for the original "first-time" commenter, who at least implicitly gets fairly savaged by the force of the article, and then by the Commentariat.  Claire does a perfectly fine job of declaring that she's speaking to attitudes rather than singling out ad hominem (she's better than most at this), but still...whoosh.  (I admit, full disclosure, that I am familiar with such criticism myself, and perhaps I make more of it than I should.)  Truth is, unless he speaks up again (and as of this writing he doesn't appear to have done so), we may never know what his actual intention was.  In one way that's a bit of a shame, but on the other hand, if someone really does need to learn this particular lesson, it's probably gonna leave a mark anyway.

Anyway, that aside, it's a truly excellent summary statement on the question, and what the question usually implies in society-as-it-is-now.  Duly bookmarked here, because I have a feeling I'll want to refer back to it.

* Claire Wolfe.  Get it?

Um, hey, a note to all those 'good apples' out there...

...now might be a rilly rilly good time to get get all up in these people's faces about protecting the gun culture you claim to be a part of...demonstrating to the plebes that you're not out to destroy us...that it's not really all about the revenue stream...you know, all those things I keep getting told "real cops" are all about.  "Real cops."  That underappreciated mass of you who I keep getting told so vastly outnumber the thugs and the cowed-into-silence, despite all appearances to the contrary.


Gun Shop Forced to Pay $6m to Two Cops Because they Sold the Gun that was Used to Shoot Them

This unprecedented civil award will encourage efforts to hold gun retailers – and, perhaps, firearms manufacturers – civilly liable for crimes committed by other people. It also reinforces the prevailing (and factually impoverished) narrative of an ever-escalating “war on cops.” Ten additional lawsuits similar to the one filed against Badger Guns are working their way through the courts.

Oh, swell.  Just what, do you suppose, might be the topic of conversation at police unions all over the country now?  (I'm envisioning drool buckets, and yet more futures in ambulance-chaser legal quackery.)

I know, I know, I must be fulla shite, making something of nothing, insensitive to the dangerous job, cancerous and fattening, et cetera ad nauseam.

Just don't try and tell me I don't understand about this judgment "sending a message" to those who might behave badly in the future.  Make no mistake, a message was sent here.  And heard, with crystal freakin' clarity.

We'll be hearing about it for years to come.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Outsourcing empathy: what could go wrong?

A Facebook friend--a good man, let me be clear, and one who is a bit of a personal inspiration to me regarding outlook on life--asked, today, after hearing of another hive-publicized shooting incident which may or may not have much in common with other mass shootings:

Again? My friends who are responsible gun owners--what's going on? Sorry, I don't want to put you on the spot (as in, you don't really have to respond), but something has to change, I think.

He then amended;

I guess I didn't state that right: Just because you have a gun, you don't have to know what's going on. I'm just curious what people have to say. I think I'm at the tipping point where I think we have to have some kind of licensing process.

I thought he deserved a response.  He's no sort of hard-core state bootlicker, and is more thoughtful than most.  And so, privately, I sent him the following.  It seemed worth posting here.

Hi, [S].  Thought I'd give a more thoughtful answer to your "what's going on?" question in the backchannel.  It is offered respectfully;  I know you to be a thoughtful person, and I'd not bother if I didn't think you would listen.  

Full disclosure:  I speak strongly.  I am contemptuous of all politics.  And I seem to say things that most people don't want to hear.  That said, I can assure you that I do not argue from ignorance, and I try to speak to attitudes rather than ad hominem to people.  (And so, for example, any reference to "you" in here isn't directed at you personally, etc.)  

With that in mind, here you go:

I don't think "tipping point" is a rational concept here. The core argument for gun rights, to the extent that even has any logical relation to today's shooting case (the few details available now don't suggest persuasively that it does), is not a statistical one, but a moral one. To wit: there is no magic statistical threshold that, once crossed, will suddenly make it morally acceptable to impose forcible prior restraint on people (gun owners, in this case) who have harmed no one, and never will.  The reverse, of course, is equally true:  gun controllers will never be persuaded by any amount of evidence that guns in the hands of the peasantry save more lives than they take.  For all the grandstanding to the contrary, the notion that either gunnies or gun controllers actually care about "performance" statistics is arguably the biggest fiction you'll ever hear on the subject.

What I find most depressing, though, is that so many otherwise intelligent people are convinced that gun control schemes will somehow do what they are advertised to do, despite all of history and basic human nature. The salesmanship may be stunning and slick, but the "performance" has been abysmal and even counterproductive (which, an uppity peasant might observe, makes it no different than the War on (some) Drugs, imperial warmongery, domestic surveillance...). And so after all the worst mass shooting disasters, we eventually* find out that 1) the site was already a de jure or de facto "gun-free zone", 2) there were other laws in place already that also failed to protect the innocent, and 3) none of the gun-control proposals on offer to fix the problem would actually have prevented the incident in the first place...oh, gee whiz! And it really doesn't take a whole lot of analysis to figure out that the "gun-free zone" is a much preferred site for a sick creep to work without interruption.

And yet somehow, the only socially acceptable remedy is more of what has (QED, each time) demonstrably failed to perform as advertised. Because simply entertaining other options is somehow prima facie evidence that you would spit-roast your own children for another box of ammo. "What's the matter with you cousin-humping redneck ammosexuals, who would rather hug your rifle than your kid? Why won't you have that 'national conversation' with us?" It's hard to get more tone-deaf than that, and yet most control-freaks I've met consider themselves far more subtle and nuanced than the rest of Us The Unwashed.

Adding to the chutzpah is the more recent sentiment that gun-rights supporters are getting too in-your-face and (buzzword alert) "extreme". Yes, more and more are exercising their rights with less than elegance. But the gun-controllers own this "problem", because they produced it from nothing. Who really thinks, seriously, that the gun-rights folks just up and decided one day that they needed to start carrying carbines to the local coffee shop to make a point? That's a politician's logic**, not that of a rational person who can see simple cause and effect. The aggravating displays we see now are an absolutely natural consequence of having been hounded, marginalized, and even dehumanized for decades by people who absolutely would NOT leave them alone, despite their never having harmed or threatened anyone, and despite having been promised many times along the way that "all we want is..."  Consider the pious (and very vocal) "reasonableness" of the idea that we must deny guns to "the mentally ill":  this is certainly designed to sound unassailably agreeable, but consider that these same people are also pushing the idea that simply wanting a gun is evidence of mental illness in and of itself.  (This is a great strategy, of course, because the disarmers can argue both that any pushback means that you must somehow want to hand carbines to the insane, and also that your obvious paranoia at being thus persecuted must be indicative of a pathology of your own.)

The disarmers' outright lies, the deliberate misdirections, the procedural shenanigans, the manufactured "stats", the nearly continuous astroturfing...and above all, the sanctimonious insistence that you, simply because you are a "gunnie", are somehow responsible for the actions of others and an enabler of future evil... All this, simply to provide empty absolution for a mind-set that cannot conceive of a non-political approach to a social problem. 

Jeez, I'm frankly amazed at how polite the gunnies have remained, for all these years.

Yes, something has to change. The concept of gun control, as forcible prior restraint on those who haven't harmed anyone, is morally repugnant on its face.  As "crime control" it is an absolute bomb, despite what you may have heard from the propaganda factories. And as any sort of "solution" for the disaster of mass shootings, how is it not the absolute height of irony and cynicism to advocate further disarming the victims when it's clear to anyone paying attention that the perpetrators simply ignore the law entirely?

Given all that, my own question is this: for anyone who believes in gun control as a deterrent to crime, where does your faith come from?  I mean seriously: why, exactly, do you think that anything that is proposed now, will somehow accomplish what the thousands of gun laws already on the books have failed to do?  Is it because a politician told you so? Is it because you believe that the NRA is hopelessly politicized and in it only for itself, while the Brady Center, SPLC, and Everytown for Gun Safety have only the best public interests at heart? Is it because you suffer from the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect, or perhaps a simple hatred of The Other who you don't understand?

Which, ultimately, brings me back to the beginning. The biggest problem we have--as a society--is that we have created a world in which people outsource their empathy, and their morality, to others, rather than retaining it for themselves. That "we" are willing to outsource these core functions of our humanity to politicians, is chilling beyond words to anyone who has studied the history of genocide and mass atrocity. (And to be clear, here, a whole lot of "gunnies" do that too--drives me crazy to see it.) In such a world, an event as incomprehensibly nihilistic as Sandy Hook, or UCC, or Columbine, seems not only plausible but inevitable.

How to turn things back toward sanity?

Well, trying to remove, reduce, or control guns is doomed to failure, and will just get more people killed. And it does nothing to strike the root.

Arming the peasantry may well help a little by giving people a chance to fight back in desperate circumstances, but in and of itself that is not going to reverse sociopathic nihilism either. At best it will displace it, with an elevated threat of tactical failure.

Ultimately, the problem is in our minds. No law, no rule, no attempt to control other people against their will, will ever fix it. We have to take our empathy back, each one of us, and not let it go again.  (I think it was Jung who said "The salvation of the world consists in the salvation of the individual soul."  I'm no sort of religious man, but I don't think you have to be, to recognize the truth in that.)

Some say this is impossible, that it would be too much work, and in the end people will sooner accept devolving into civil war. Well, maybe. It sure looks that way some days. But I can't let myself believe that it has to be that way.  If nothing else, I have to answer to my daughters, and I want them to see me trying to build the world as I want to see it, from the ground up. 

* This information is usually available right away, but is drowned out underneath all the sanctimonious grandstanding, and is often never reported in the mainstream at all.
** You know, politicians:  those folks who dream of a day when their approval ratings might make it up to their hat size.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

File this under "Do you understand?"

Sure, we've long known that the Establishment propagandizes for the Establishment.  But this Greenwald article does make the case in a way that should be digestible by a larger audience of fence-sitters than I'd ever be able to reach.

We’re bravely here to report that these two incidents perhaps coincidentally occurred at “about” the same time: There was a hospital that blew up, and then there was this other event where the U.S. carried out an airstrike. As the blogger Billmon wrote: “London 1940: Civilians throughout the city were killed at about the same time as a German air strike, CNN reports.”

The entire article is designed to obfuscate who carried out this atrocity. The headline states: “Air attacks kill at least 19 at Afghanistan hospital; U.S. investigating.” What’s the U.S. role in this incident? They’re the investigators: like Sherlock Holmes after an unsolved crime.

This, too, pretty much says it all:

Now, if only we could get more folks to remember how this all works when the subject is "Plebes with gunz, ZOMG!", or "Working within the system is the only way to get results."

(That includes you too, Glenn Greenwald.  You may be better than most, but you too have your blind spots.)

A metaphysical lament. When those who say they get it, don't.

As I was writing this, I had already been thinking about making it into a post of its own, because the topic seemed to be worth it. The following was inspired by one of Mama's insightful comments, and once Blogger told me it was too long to be a comment, it was reasonably easy to say, "okay, Blogger, fine...I'll make it into its own post."

As a "contextual continuity clue": the following relates to several posts I've got here at Rifleman Savant, in which something relating to a Jeff Cooper topic--scout rifles, Ching slings, gunhandling technique, etc.--struck me as so far off the mark of what Cooper actually said or intended, that I felt the need to vent about it. Mama's comment got me thinking about that, and I responded as follows:

Maybe it's just a normal phenomenon that accompanies middle age, but I am really starting to grasp the wistful frustration that I so often read as a younger man (without really understanding) in Jeff Cooper's work. Or, maybe it is a natural outgrowth of a long-cultivated appreciation of deliberate design. (And really, I suspect strongly those two things are quite related.) But whatever the reason, it seems like the "...how often they do very badly at it" observation comes frequently in recent years.

I'm certainly not without my own history of jumping in to something before fully understanding it, but I like to think that I am learning that it always--always, without exception--fails to achieve full value, or at least full synergistic value. Probably these days I go too far the other way, where the biggest risk is in missing the window of time for which the whole idea has currency.

With something like this [a "scout rifle" missing critical features or implementing others badly], or like my recent lament about misunderstanding the technique of the speed sling, I wonder if the bigger problem is less the people whose well-intentioned exuberance carries them into a place they do not understand, and more the problem of chest-thumpery among those who purport to know, but don't. How do the consciously ignorant know that they are not following the unconsciously or willfully ignorant?

The position I'm in myself is a real challenge, in this regard. Anent the observations and teachings of Jeff Cooper, I tend to minimize how much I actually know, since 1) it's kinda my personality in general (I like being underestimated), and 2) I don't have a CV of "official" credentials that say I know what I know. But know it I do, both because I have long paid really close attention to matters of design and the history of design, and because I have tested nearly all of it myself and understand why it works from that perspective. And so when something misses the mark, it jumps out at me like nails on chalkboard, and I can both quote chapter and verse, and then defend it extemporaneously.

But who am I, really, to speak with authority on it in the first place? I only met Col. Cooper, in person, once. I have never "been in a gunfight" (and am quite happy about that, no joke). I'm no sort of master marksman, nor particularly fast. I've never got into formal competition, and I get quite a bit less trigger time than it would require to impress a good number of people. And so I try, at least, to minimize my own authority, because I can't really argue that I have it. Shooting, for good or ill, seems to carry an expectation that "experience" equals "analysis".

On the flip side, I am reminded of how much I really do know, and at what level of explication and depth, pretty much every time I engage with someone else, even those with years of shooting experience. I couldn't even tell you the number of people I've met who know simply astonishing minutiae about how to wrest a tenth of an inch of group size from their precision fitted boltgun, at exactly 100 yards, from a bench--who have no idea how to use their own body, much less a shooting sling, to shoot from an unsupported field position with any stability; or how to zero their rifle to optimize a "maximum point-blank range" for what they will be most likely to encounter in the field; or how to manage their ammunition supply without looking at it; or even how to run the bolt from the shoulder... It's a little better for pistolcraft, but not a lot. There's been a depressing resurgence in the concept of unsighted pistol fire, usually declaring loudly a complete non-understanding of the flash sight picture. The "high-speed, low-drag" tactards have convinced far too many that "two to the chest, one to the head" is nothing but a speed drill, rather than the observation-and-problem-solving technique that it is. The "cold range" mentality, as understandable as it can seem, continues to retard any general improvement in safe field gunhandling. And so on.

It's hard to say simply that people need to be more observant, although that seems like an obvious part of the solution. "Try it yourself, before you believe or disbelieve" would seem to be another obvious one, as would "go to the source, after you hear it second-hand". But a really substantial part of the problem is also those who stand up and loudly say "Lookit me, I know!", and then don't. When it comes to things that Cooper taught (both the gold and the stuff that really does need re-thinking), I usually know, immediately, when someone is wrong. But does that make me right? I struggle with that, but I also don't want to see such an immense reservoir of knowledge and history simply forgotten, or worse, revisioned by people who didn't really understand it in the first place.

Sorry. Metaphysical lament.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Airgunnery may now include a viable shotgun.

Need a quick bookmark for this idea, which I think is significant.  Via Tom Gaylord's excellent blog, which I have been following for a few years now, I now learn that there is a production air shotgun, and at least initially it looks pretty promising.

This new .50-caliber shotgun seems to be about half the payload of a .410, delivered at nearly the same velocity, for at least 3 shots in Foster-fill PCP format.

I'll want to learn more about the ability to home-roll the shot "shells", of course, but the idea of a 10-25 yard scattergun, quiet enough not to need hearing protection when shooting outside, that is not dependent on gunpowder or primers, is pretty appealing.

Gaylord saw, with #8 shot, nice, even patterning of 9-10" at 10 yards, 12" at 15 yards, and 16" at 20.  Check out his 15-yard paper:

Promising, indeed!  I'll be following this report with interest.

I got to thinking, too, about this "half a .410" idea.  For most of my life I'd have simply said "ho hum" to this entirely unsexy idea.  What's the point, right?  But I am really starting to think I've been shortsighted all this time.  Airguns are not firearms, and even now I'm not interested in trying to make them into something they are not, but what they are is, I do believe, something that can actually get a surprising amount of work done.

I've already concluded that in smallbore airguns, my .25 caliber TalonP is fully "half a .22 Long Rifle", and you know, that can cover pretty much all my pest-control needs and any small game I care to go after around here, with little fuss and noise.  (Going to the EscapeSS model, which is a bit longer than the TalonP but with sound suppression built in, is on my list.)

The newly exploding big-bore airgun market has PCP rifles delivering 2-6 shots of .357-.45 caliber cast bullets at a performance level that will take unexpectedly big critters at close range.   The AirForce Texan, a 2-shot .45 that is like a big brother to the TalonP, can launch a 405-grain .45/70 bullet at 750 f/s!  Or smaller bullets in the power range of the .45 ACP.  And the Benjamin Bulldog seems to be able to spit out 10 .357-caliber bullets at about 170fpe each before a refill.  Again, there is much that can be done with these ballistics.  Nobody is expecting these things to be stoppers, but they may be very effective hunters.

And so now there is the possibility of the air shotgun.  Half a .410, at close range, may wind up being an excellent off-grid tool.  I intend to keep my eyes out for how the new gun does in the field, and I admit I like the idea enough that I'm pulling for it to work famously.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Apparently Mossberg has been busy.

I haven't paid hardly any attention to Mossberg in...a long time.  By complete accident today, I encountered a couple of items that seem quite interesting.

Scout Rifle

I never realized they had an entry in the "scout rifle" space, but lookee here:

Oh, I can immediately see problems.  It doesn't make weight.  The glass on the "with-glass" model seems to offer most of the problems of a conventional eye relief without delivering the value of a true intermediate eye relief.  The rail with integrated ghost-ring sight is indeed nice, but it ruins access to the loading/ejection port without offering anything of real value.  The bolt design appears to be push-feed, plunger-eject, and sliding-plate-extract--exactly what the Scout Conferences codified as the configuration of last choice*.  The LOP is too long, with no apparent means of adjustment.  And there is no stud for a Ching Sling.

But at least someone is trying, and there are a couple of nice features here.  The ability to use both AR10 and M14 magazines?  Yeah, that seems like a goodness thing--provided it turns out to be suitably rugged and reliable.  The trigger may be nice as well, but I've got no sense of field feedback on it yet.

All in all, from the look of it, this might yet be a decent platform for the concept.  It should be reasonably trivial to shorten the LOP and round the buttpad, cut out the rail space obstructing the objection port (or replace with a more suitable alternative), and add a middle stud for a Ching Sling.  Acquire a Leupold M8 2.5x Scout Scope and mount it as low as possible with QD rings, add the Ching Sling itself, and include some magazines, and--again, provided it runs--this might be a very nice little rifle.  It would have the magazine advantage over the Ruger, but require a bit more fiddling to get it close enough to spec to get the complete system synergy--and the Ruger's bolt is closer to the Scout Conference spec.  Hey, if nothing else, choice is good, and I'm happy to see it!

Lever Gun

I also--and again, accidentally--ran across this levergun, offered both as a 6-shot .30/30 and a 14-shot rimfire:

This struck me as a cross between "very encouraging" and "total facepalm".  On the "encouraging" side, I love the adjustable LOP idea, and a tang safety on a levergun is the right way to include what is arguably a not-strictly-necessary feature in the first place.  The front sight base seems reasonably sturdy, and the rear receiver ring should both permit a compact ghost-ring sight, and clear access to the ejection port.  Very nice.  I've got no idea how it runs or how the trigger is, but presumably any kinks could be worked out with some comparatively light gunsmithing.

Then I noticed the fore-end rail space.

Seriously, Mossberg?  You put rails on all sides except the top?  Okay, look, I admit I don't really speak tactard in the first place, but I think most of us would look for a top rail first, and then maybe--maybe--a bottom.  One of the principal attractions of the levergun in the first place is its luxurious flatness, and side rails would seem to be inherently counterproductive to that end.

Look, it's a levergun, not a plumbing main.  The more stuff you hang off those rails, the further away you get from what attracted you to the design in the first place.

Despite that irritation, though--a single rail on top would have permitted scout scope or dot sight options and still allowed a svelte fore-end--I like the idea of this piece, and hope I get to meet one some day.  May it sell well enough that Mossberg offers it in other calibers too--I'd love to see .45 Colt or .44 Mag, and even .357 is a worthy option for an iron-sight carbine.

Youth Boltgun

Finally, Mossberg also seems to offer a youth-scaled rimfire boltgun:

I'll have to look into this one some more, but I like the concept of the single-shot adapter/plug, plus the ability to take 10-round magazines as well.  Gives the kid something to grow into.  I've no idea about trigger or accuracy, but the safety seems well-located, the receiver sports a dovetail that should permit a good ghost-ring rear sight, it's light enough and looks amenable to some light gunsmithing should that prove necessary.  The fore-end looks a little short for a proper shooting sling, but I'd have to see it in a kid's hands to know if it was too short.  The LOP is just about right for adults (12.25") but should be shorter for kids;  since it's wood, this should not prove to be a daunting problem.

Again, I'd love to meet one and see how it feels in the hands.  

So, cool!  Mossberg has been busy.  Will have to cogitate, investigate, and see what if anything comes of it.  :-)

* Once again, full disclosure is that even the Steyr Scout is not controlled-feed, nor inertial-eject.  The Scout Conferences were clear enough in their preference for controlled-feed, inertial-eject, full-claw-extract...but Cooper must not have thought it a deal-breaker for the production Scout, as I'm not sure he ever even mentioned the Steyr SBS's use of plunger-eject and Sako-style mini-claw extractor.  The Steyr also has restricted access to its ejection port, and (just barely) doesn't "make weight" either.  Clearly, this arrangement can run just fine despite being "out-of-spec", and I always try to apply a few grains of salt when evaluating another take on the concept.  :-)