Thursday, April 30, 2020

Updated thinking on air rifles for training.

(Okay, so all this week I have been just giddy with the success of last weekend's introductory gunhandling sessions with Feral Daughters One and Two, which culminated not only in reliable hits with the Airsoft 1911 from about five yards, and also not only with exemplary attention to safety and basic handling, including load and reload...but also with conspicuous smiles.  More on this effort later;  for now, that's the context of my starting to think again about the broader context of airgunnery for training.)

I wanted to set down a couple more thoughts about the use of precision pellet guns for training, as the landscape has evolved a bit since I last did that.  I've now been freshly reminded of the viability of using appropriate Airsoft replicas for true gunhandling, and really for any training in which the gunhandling is more important than great precision in marksmanship...but in the end, there will also remain a need for low-cost, high-volume training using something more precise.

Previously, I've written on the Scout-Rod concept, and I'm still keen on making this happen.  The problem of course is that even aside from the ridiculous "safety" on the otherwise-excellent Benjamin Marauder base gun, there would still appear to be much custom work to do to get it up and running in full form, and of course along with the base gun, that's expensive.  But then I noticed the Diana Stormrider, which seems more promising in several ways, especially with the ability to add an additional barrelband for the possibility of a true Scout Scope setup without extensive gunsmithing.

And then today, I happened to notice both the Diana Trail Scout, and also the Diana Mauser K98 repeater.  Both of these are at the very least, interesting options!

The Trail Scout is clearly a derivative of the Stormrider, with the same bolt and breechblock, magazine, trigger and safety group, sight setup, and presumably it would accept the same second barrelband, if possibly requiring some stock inletting.  The Trail Scout seems to be about half the cost of the Stormrider, runs on CO2 instead of HPA, and currently only comes in synthetic stock garb.  Would CO2 be the way to go?  It sure might.  The Stormrider produces velocities, in .177" caliber, high enough that you can (maybe) start to lose some precision, and it seems to get about 20 good shots on a fill, with attendant blast for the not-strictly-necessary oomph.  The CO2 gun advertises much more sedate velocities, and 100 shots on a fill, using three standard powerlets.  Presuming the CO2 powerplant is as accurate a platform as HPA, this lower cost option might be a great training tool!  (Hell, might need to have both...)

The K98 Mauser replica was also a pleasant surprise.  I'd seen Tom Gaylord cover the single-shot version of this rifle before, and hadn't paid it much attention because I've already got a wonderful trainer for single shots in the Air Venturi Bronco.  But this one is a repeater...and hmm, look at that bolt!

I'm pretty sure that is the closest I've seen to a full-size rifle bolt on a non-Airsoft airgun.  No, it's not going to duplicate a real Mauser bolt in travel or even in feel, but it is so much closer than anything else I've seen, at least in a precision, rifled pellet gun, that it immediately becomes a serious contender for a precision trainer.  It's not cheap, by comparison to other HPA alternatives like the Stormrider, and it will have some of its own flaws--for starters, a true scout scope is going to require true custom work, the "safety" is a...let's call it comically primitive crossbolt in the trigger itself (good gawd, people!), and it probably will fit the same 20-shots-per-fill, 200-bar fill pressure, 20-foot-pound envelope as the Stormrider.  But hmm...that bolt, plus the onboard sights, the friendly stock (for shortening and mounting a Ching Sling), and what appears to be an overall excellent base platform...well, I now need to meet one, and am glad that the option exists!

Finally, I'm also curious to dig a little more into what SIG has been doing with EBR-pattern, semiauto rifled pellet guns.  This seems a distinct "third", in terms of training importance (where "first" would imply Airsoft blowback replicas capable of precision gunhandling and gross marksmanship, and "second" would imply rifled pellet guns capable of gross gunhandling and precision marksmanship), but those lines are of course at least a little blurry.  But still, to have the ability for some real rifled-pellet precision, in a semiauto*, AR(-ish) pattern carbine, would seem to be quite useful, and certainly worth the initial investment for inexpensive trigger time.

Anyway, SIG seems to have some options in their MCX and MPX rifles, and boy, I'd love to meet those too, to get an idea of what they're like.  (Tom has covered both an MCX variant and an MPX variant, and I'll cogitate further on the idea.)

* In the pistol realm, I already went through this thinking a bit ago, though I don't seem to have written about it specifically yet;  the core idea is to come up with a faithful replica of a "semiauto" design that can shoot rifled pellets rather than Airsoft or steel BBs--to be able to work on precision, across multiple shots.  Pistols are difficult for this, at least for 1911 lovers like me:  no pistol design I've yet seen seems to have been able to combine both rifled-pellet feeding, and a single-action trigger.  However, what is available--and what I would argue is viable enough for the concept--are a few designs employing a small internal rotary magazine, against a "double-action" style trigger (technically, this is really a CO2-powerplant revolver, in the guise of an auto pistol), and no blowback.  It's by no means perfect--I'd want the blowback and reciprocating slide if I could get it, and of course I'd want the option of a 1911 design as well--but then I stopped and considered the S&W M&P 45 variant simply on its own terms...and I think it's worth pursuing.  Whether or not the 1911 might be a preferred platform, this still captures a good base gun to train on (the M&P is well-established) and the long trigger is a good exemplar of striker-fired pistols like my own beloved Kahr.  I figure:  use it for precision singles and doubles;  the long trigger roll is the focus of the exercise here, and requires the same sort of sight-settling focus that blowback provides, without needing the actual blowback.  No, it won't combine with authentic reloads or clearance drills, but it is pretty clearly the best option for precision work in a pistol that is anywhere close to ergonomically authentic to a design you'd want to train for.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Hive mind? What hive mind?

You know that sense you get sometimes, when it seems like you are suddenly seeing all the usual suspects use exactly the same talking point verbiage to push whatever stank they've been told to pimp today?

No no, loyal comrade.  You do not understand.  We said, it must be your imagination.

That actually made me laugh, to see that.  Blanket pre-approval from The Hive, to simply dismiss whatever content might appear above, probably just because someone used a hashtag for "QAnon"*, whatever that is.  (It hardly matters, as this content speaks for itself just fine.)

Anyway, whatever y'say there, MiniTru (or WikiPravda, if you insist on a modern name).  You said it, all right-thinking people believe it, that settles it.

Thursday, April 9, 2020

For those who insist on having a 'leader': this is what a real leader sounds like.

Today I became aware, for the first time, of South Dakota governor Kristi Noem.  I got referred to this video clip in particular:

Other news clips picking up on this statement were available as well, but the clip really speaks for itself.

I'm impressed.

I may have nothing good to say about anyone who wants to engage in politics, on general principles, and I may have no further contextual knowledge about Kristi Noem or anything else she may have done, but on the strength of this clip alone, she distinguishes herself significantly, above nearly everyone else in her field, standing out as a (pretty lonely) example of what an actual leader sounds like.  Here, she appears to be:

  • Someone who understands that the people she leads are worthy of respect.
  • Someone who acknowledges that there are limits to her power--and who considers herself bound by them.  
  • Someone who neither panders nor condescends to her audience.
My god, it's like she appears to be a human being, or something.

I happen to think that it's a tragic flaw, in much of humanity, to insist--despite the evidence of all of human history--on having "leaders" in the first place.  It makes me a heretic, I know;  insert here whatever joke you may think passes for a witty and clever rejoinder.  (I've heard 'em all.)  But hey, let's get real;  on a practical level, I'm quite aware that I won't likely live a single minute of my entire life without at least one "leader", at some level, laying some sort of claim on me.  (Because enough people believe this to be inevitable, so it becomes inevitable.  A sort of psychosomatic slavery.)

In such an absurd world, I may still bristle at the idea of having "leaders" out there, on principle, but that does not mean that I can't recognize better from worse.  Which means I can say, unequivocally, that if our "leaders" were more like Kristi Noem as she is in this clip, the world would be the better for it.  

Nearly incomprehensibly better.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Hello there, Robert Gore.

Posting has been pretty dark here for a while--not really my intention even given the deliberate attempt to pull back from all Teh Stoopid for a good bit--but this deserves a bookmark.  "The Last Gasp", by one Robert Gore.

I came across it via the Zelman Partisans blog (hat tip to Sheila Stokes for this post), which linked to Gore's "Basic Math", which then identified itself as a companion piece for "The Last Gasp".  So, arguably, I found it nearly by accident.

It does sorta get your attention right away:

When you can’t love, you hate. When you can’t build, you destroy. When you’re ignored, you scream. When you can’t tell the truth, you lie. When you can’t reason, you panic. When no one will follow you out of admiration or respect, you compel. When you can’t live, you kill.

This is it, the last gasp of the psychopaths who express their contempt and hatred for humanity by trying to rule it. Compulsion, not voluntary and natural cooperation. Power, pull, and politics, not incentives, competition, honest production, and value-for-value trade. From each according to his virtue to each according to his depravity.

Nicely said.

It goes on from there, with a refreshing excellence.  Gore's style strikes me as a mashup of Rothbardian ideas, laid out and presented in a Butler Shaffer artistic style, using a tone that reminds me of Robert Higgs, with some polite nods to Will Grigg.  (Meaning, of course, that in me it would naturally find a friendly audience.  :-)

Boy, I hope he's right--with the "last gasp" idea.  It makes perfect sense in a go-to-the-logical-conclusion kind of way, but of course I'm also reminded of an El Neil backstory (I think it was in Forge of the Elders) which talked about a similar tyranny inexplicably snatching an unexpected total victory from the jaws of similar defeat, right at the point everyone thought it was over and could finally move the hell on to better things.  "No one is more dangerous than the suicidal," indeed.

Anyway, hello there, Robert Gore.