Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Solution for Broken Time Machine Backups and a New Laptop on the Way

At work I use a late 2013 13" MacBook Pro with Retina display. Most of my files are kept in our corporate account, which is a handy way to ensure that they are backed up. However, I was using Time Machine to ensure application settings were also backed up, and in general for a "belt and suspenders" approach.

Unfortunately, Time Machine stopped functioning back in October. I kept running into this problem.

I tried all sorts of fixes, including disabling application throttling for it, to no avail.

I have a new 15" MacBook Pro on the way and want to be able to move all my old settings over to it, so I revisited the issue yesterday. After trying several of the fixes I found online, again with no positive results, I decided to upgrade from OS 10.11 El Capitan to 10.12 Sierra. That fixed it.

My laptop is bound to our NT domain and I found that after the upgrade my NT account was locked. It turns out that there was a known bug with Sierra causing this. Applying the OS 10.12.3 update fixed that. I also had to upgrade to the later versions of the Symantec VIP soft token app and the Pulse Secure VPN client. The older versions I had weren't compatible with Sierra.

Other than fixing my Time Machine backup and requiring a couple application updates, Sierra isn't dramatically different from El Capitan. I deleted the Siri icon from my dock -- I don't use it even on my iPhone.

Hopefully, I'll have the new MBP by the end of the week, but at the rate our IT department is working it may not be until next week.

Monday, January 02, 2017

Some More Range Time With the C96 Broomhandle

Yesterday I took my Mauser C96 Broomhandle out to a friend's place and we put another 50 rounds through it. As with the first 100 rounds it ran flawlessly with the Prvi Partizan 7.63 Mauser ammo.

Our target was an 8" steel gong from about 15 - 20 yards and it wasn't any problem keeping the rounds on it. We shot it both without and with the stock. I'm not sure if was the natural lighting or that my eyes weren't as tired, but I found it easier to focus on the front sight this time when it was stocked, vs. the first trip when I shot it indoors under florescent lighting.

Compared with a lot of other semiautos, recovering the brass was easy because it ejects the cases almost straight up. By laying out a tarp on the ground we didn't have to do much searching for them.

New Router

A couple years ago I installed an Asus RT-AC66U 802.11ac router at home. A few weeks ago it started acting flaky, requiring frequent reboots, and finally crapped out entirely yesterday. To get our home network back online I took my Comcast XB2 Arris TM862G gateway out of bridge mode, enabling routing and WiFi.

The performance stunk, largely because it's 2.4GHz only and I'm in a subdivision, so I get a lot of interference on that band. The fastest I could get on was about 20 Mbps down, totally unacceptable for what should be ~100 Mbps service.

So, yesterday afternoon I ordered a Linksys WRT1900ACS router from Amazon, selected one day delivery (I have Prime), and it was dropped off this morning while I was eating my oatmeal.

My initial impressions are generally favorable and setup was straightforward. Performance is plenty acceptable. After installing it I ran a test and got about 96 Mbps down. I just ran a test and got this:

I can certainly live with that.

The Linksys offers some features I'm unlikely to take advantage of, e.g., USB ports to serve files or a printer. However, it does support DynDNS and NoIP, so I may setup OpenVPN on it for remote access and possible as a private VPN for when I travel.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Mauser C96 Broomhandle Range Report

Saturday night after dinner I went along with my dad to his club's indoor range and had the place to ourselves. We put 100 rounds of PPU 7.63x25 through the Broomhandle and it ran perfectly.

My first 15 shots, fired at 7 yards:

My point of aim was 6 o'clock on the black. The flyer was my first shot, fired one handed. I switched to a two-hand hold for the remainder.

Shooting impressions:

  • Loading a pistol with a stripper clip definitely isn't as handy as a detachable box magazine. In the case of the this pistol and these clips, you need to wiggle the clips down into the charging slot. They are a tight fit.
  • At ~40 oz. empty, the recoil is pretty mild but after awhile the edges of the frame start to dig into the web of your hand. When shot as a carbine it recoils like a .22.
  • The trigger is similar to that of a Mauser rifle. I.e., it is a two-stage trigger. It's a bit heavy but not at all unmanageable. There's little to no creep and not much overtravel.
  • The barleycorn front sight is hard to see with 48 year old eyes. It's worse when you shoot it as a carbine, because it's closer.
  • Muzzle blast and flash is definitely more noticeable when shot as a carbine, since the muzzle is closer to your face, but isn't too bad. I noticed the amount of flash varied. Some rounds had little visible flash but others had a nice fireball. However, the rounds without much flash had just as much recoil and blast as the flashier rounds.
  • Cases ejected straight up towards the front and then bounced all over the place with most landing in front of the firing line.
  • When I did my part it shot into about a 2" group at 7 yards when shot with two hands. Mean POI was about 1.5" to 2" high.
Dad took a short video of me shooting the Broom with the stock on*:

Having fired a stocked pistol now, I'm even more annoyed with the NFA. A modern stocked pistol with a micro dot sight would be the tits as a traveling gun, a real pocket carbine. Especially in a hot, flat shooting round like 7.63 Mauser or 7.62 Tokarev.

I have wanted a shootable Broomhandle for 40 years and now I finally have one.

* A reminder for those late to the show: According to the BATFE an original Mauser C96 with an original German stock is not considered a Short Barreled Rifle under the NFA.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Field Stripped the C-96 Broomhandle

So, as a follow up, I field stripped the Broomhandle tonight after dinner. Getting it apart was difficult, because the old grease or oil had congealed and glued the floorplate on, and the lock work into the receiver. I dribbled some FP-10 on and let it soak it for a few minutes and was able to get it apart. I spent some time tonight scrubbing congealed goo off the metal parts with a copper Chore-Boy. I'd love to know how many decades it's been since the last time this pistol was taken apart.

The floorplate and grip serial numbers don't match the frame, but at least the floorplate is an old replacement. The grips probably are, too. They are correct for the pistol.

Now that I am able to look through the bore from breech to muzzle, I am amazed. It looks new.

I currently have the lock work soaking in Hoppe's No.9 and FP-10. I'll disassemble it all the way to get out the remaining grease tomorrow. It's hard to tell from the pic but the bolt stop and safety still have a lot of the fire blue left. You can see some of the fire blue on the rear sight's elevation slide. It's almost the same color as blue Dykem layout fluid.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Wartime Commercial Mauser C-96 Broomhandle

Two years ago I came into a Mauser C-96 Broomhandle pistol, which has long been one of my Grail guns. The pistol is in fair condition externally but the bore is shot out. I also posted pictures of the gun taken down to its constituent parts.

In early 2015 I sent the barrel and bolt to Redman's to have the barrel relined for 7.63 Mauser but he returned it to me because it wasn't a good candidate for such work. Specifically, he uses a piloted reamer to enlarge the bore enough for the liner, and my gun's bore was already too large for the pilot. He was concerned that the reamer would wander and I'd end up with an off-center bore. Worse, it appears that the barrel had already been relined once, which made it unsafe to do again.

At this point the only way to restore that pistol to shooting condition would be to cut the barrel off, bore out the barrel extension, and weld on a new barrel. This was sometimes done back when these guns were in service. See here and scroll down to where the discussion of "hashed barrels." I'm not aware of anyone currently offering this service, and it would be awfully expensive.

Naturally, this didn't sate my desire for a functional Broomhandle, that I've had since I was a kid in the '70s, even before seeing Han Solo wax Greedo in Star Wars.

Well, this weekend I went to a gun show in Oaks, PA and came home with this:

It's another Wartime Commercial with a serial number about 20K lower than my other C-96, which is in far worse shape.

The caliber is 7.63x25 Mauser. It was supposedly a WW2 bring back and came from a high-end York, PA collection. Given the condition, I wouldn't be surprised if it was a World War One bring back. Either way, it appears to have spent the past century being well-cared for.

The original blueing is in excellent shape and the serial numbers on the barrel extension, frame, and bolt match. The bore is excellent. There is still some of the original fire blueing on the rear sight leaf and it's basically intact on the extractor.

There is still some old grease visible in the bolt and the hammer recess. I haven't taken it down yet.

The stock which is in excellent shape is original, but not matching. Since it's an original German stock, BATFE doesn't consider the gun to be an SBR when it's attached. (I have an email to this effect from Tech Branch, addressed to me. See my post from December 16, 2014.) The stock has some pretty nice grain on the left side and it's even visible inside the stock where it's cutout to hold the pistol.

The attachment of the stock to the grip frame is solid, with no wobble. Out of curiosity I attached it to my other C-96, and the fit on that gun is sloppy.

I have some original stripper clips and a few hundred rounds of Prvi Partisan 7.63 Mauser ammo that I bought after I got the first Broom. Damn skippy I'm going to shoot it after I verify that the locking block is in good shape. On my other C96 I replaced all the springs and this one is still more difficult to cock. Because it appears that the gun has seen very little use I'm going to hold off on replacing any springs.

Without getting into specifics, the cost was reasonable for the condition of the gun and stock.

After I shoot it, I will post a range report.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

New Pedals and Lights

I'm liking the Nishiki Maricopa road bike that I got a couple weeks ago but the pedals that came with it pretty muck suck. They are on the small size and not very grippy. So, after doing a lot of reading on, I decided to stick with platform pedals but ones that would be larger and grippier. I got a set of Wellgo MG-1 magnesium platform pedals this week and installed them today.

The reviews on Amazon were generally very favorable for the Wellgos, but mentioned that the painted versions tended to flake. So, I ordered the natural colored pedals. I tried them with sneakers and my Shimano cycling shoes, and they are definite improvement. The pins that protrude provide a nice grip on my shoes. I'll have to see how I like them compared to pedals with toe clips.

To make swapping the pedals easier I bought this Sunlite pedal wrench. A Crescent wrench would probably have worked, but the dedicated tool made it easier. E.g., it's about a foot long and gave me lots of leverage. The ends are slightly offset, which helps you from banging your knuckles.

Aside from the better pedals, the bike needed front and rear blinkies in case I get caught out near dusk. I put a Planet Bike Spok white light on the handlebar and a Stupidbright on the seatpost, pointing to the rear. (I picked up the Spok at REI while I already had the red light from a previous Amazon order.) Both mount with a stretchy rubber band and feel secure. I already did one ride with the taillight in place.

The reflectors will remain as passive backups.

Finally, I picked up a Blackburn Air Tower 4 floor pump on sale at my local bike shop last week. I needed a pump that would work with Presta valves. I have a Topeak Joe Blow floor pump from the 90s but it's setup for Schrader valves and the Presta adapter is long gone. This way I can have a pump setup for both, with no fidddling.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Nishiki Maricopa Bike

That deal for the '86 Nishiki Olympic road bike fell through. The seller kept discovering things wrong with the bike and offered me a discount or a refund. I chose a refund. Oh well.

So, today I bought this Nishiki Maricopa at Dick's:

It weighs about 24# in the small frame size that I bought. Frame and fork are 6061 aluminum. Three chainrings up front with 8 in back. The modern "brifter" shift levers are neat. I.e., the gear shifters are part of the brake levers.

I took it for a 6-1/4 mile shakedown on the Schuykill River Trail this afternoon. It rides well, much livelier than my Trek 820 mountain bike, even with narrow slicks.

The one upgrade I plan is to replace the pedals. They are pretty crappy and don't have toe clips (I'm not going to get clip-ins, but want toe clips). I'll add lights and probably a kickstand.

BTW, Nishiki is now a Dick's in-house brand. They bought the rights to the name for US distribution in 2010.