Saturday, September 19, 2020

On the Passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Well, as if 2020 wasn't interesting enough, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died from pancreatic cancer yesterday, only 45 days before what is likely to be a hotly contested presidential election.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell issued a statement last night that whomever President Trump nominates to replace Ginsburg will get a confirmation vote on the Senate floor.

This is good, and I hope it happens before the election.

Unlike Obama when he nominated Merrick Garland for SCOTUS, Trump is not a lame duck president working with a Senate controlled by the opposing party. The Republicans were given control over both the presidency and the Senate by the people because the people preferred their vision. They should do their jobs to the best of their ability. That includes filling vacancies on the Federal bench, all the way up to the Supreme Court.

As for not politicizing her replacement, consider a few things:

RBG could easily have stepped down while Obama was president and allowed him to pick her successor. However, she was so confident that Hillary Clinton would win in 2016 that she stayed on the bench in the hopes that her seat would be filled by an HRC appointment. And in the wake of Trump's victory in 2016, RBG held on as long as she could in the hope that he would lose reelection, and a Democrat president would fill the seat. By her actions, RBG politicized her seat and the replacement process.

It's being reported that her last dying wish was that her replacement would not take place until after a new president is "installed." First off, "installing" leaders is some real banana republic shit right there. We elect leaders in this country. Second, what if Trump wins reelection? Do we wait another four years? That's ridiculous.

Let's not forget the Democrats' appalling conduct since Trump became the Republican nominee in 2016. A four year long tantrum of one faked, debunked scandal after another, all in an effort to stymie the peaceful transition of power that is a hallmark of American government.

Let's also not forget the Democrats' unforgivable conduct during Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation hearings, when they brought forth a slew of witnesses with no credibility to smear Trump's nominee as a rapist. This was merely the latest of a line of Democrat smear jobs against Republican Supreme Court nominees, e.g., Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas.

Finally, even before RBG's death, Democrats were already signalling that they do not intend to accept the results of the election if Biden loses, and are already assembling an army of lawyers to challenge a Trump victory in the courts. This, after a summer of civil unrest that was and continues to be enabled by Democratic politicians in several cities. We'll need a fully staffed Supreme Court if this comes to pass.

It would be insane for Trump to not nominate a replacement for RBG and for the Senate to confirm that person.

Friday, September 18, 2020

Loaded Some More Black Powder 12 Gauge Ammo

Last weekend I primed 25 Magtech brass 12 gauge shotgun shells and on my lunch break today I finished loading them. The details:

  • Magtech 2.5" all brass hull
  • CCI Large Pistol Primer
  • 80 grains of 2Fg Goex black powder
  • 11 gauge nitro card (over powder card)
  • 11 gauge fiber cushion wad
  • Lubricated felt wad
  • 1 1/8 oz. of mixed No.7.5 shot
  • 10 gauge overshot card
  • Sealed with Duco cement




Magtech hulls require the use of oversized components because the case walls are thinner than 12 gauge plastic or paper hulls.

The felt wads were punched out of 1/8" thick wool felt with a .75" punch, then soaked in a mixture of 50/50 beeswax/mutton tallow. This is to help keep powder fouling soft.

The shot is a mix of plated that I bought from Rotometals, along with some unplated shot scavenged from miscellaneous promo loads. No. 7.5 shot is primarily for clay busting but it will work on doves, as well. Otherwise I'd load No. 5s for small game hunting.

I'll let the Duco cement cure overnight before boxing them up.

These will be good for informal clay target shooting. They shoot well in my Russian-made Baikal MP-310 over/under. Cleanup in a chrome-lined smoothbore isn't bad.

Friday, September 11, 2020

Keeping my Nissan Xterra on the Road

 Last Saturday when I got up to our campsite in Tioga County my two friends who I met onsite smelled antifreeze from my 2007 Nissan Xterra after I pulled into camp. My sense of smell sucks, to put it mildly, and I didn't smell anything. We popped the hood and after the engine cooled down, checked the antifreeze level. Sure enough it was low. One of my friends had a gallon of premix so we topped it off. (Given the age of the vehicle I should have been carrying some.)

We also noticed that a hose going from air cleaner to the engine was cracked. I'm now carrying some Rescue Tape (self-fusing silicone tape) in my truck toolkit in case any other hoses crack.

The joys of owning an older vehicle. 😐

Yesterday, I brought the truck to a local mechanic who confirmed that it has a leak, so I had him replace the radiator. It must have been a very small leak since the truck didn't overheat either way on the trip (about 240 miles each way).

I've actually been thinking of getting this done to prevent the Xterra Strawberry Milkshake of Death from happening, anyway. The Xterras were designed with an automatic transmission fluid cooler integrated with the radiator. Unfortunately, sometimes there's a failure which allow cross-contamination between antifreeze and ATF fluid, causing the SMOD, which kills the transmission. It's both a clever and dumb design.

Although my truck is 13 years old it only has 110,000 miles on it, so I'd like to keep it for several more years, therefore replacing the radiator is worth it to me.

Monday, August 31, 2020

Video: Ken Hackathorn on M1 Carbine Reliability

 Lately I've recently been paying more attention to my M1 Carbines and so watched this nice video on the Forgotten Weapons YouTube channel with Ken Hackathorn discussing the M1 Carbine:





I have NOWHERE near as much as experience as Mr. Hackathorn, but I’ve owned several M1 Carbines since the 1980s and my experience matches his when it comes to ensuring reliability.

My first Carbine was a commercial copy by Iver Johnson, purchased new. It had a problem with an improperly hardened bolt. The locking lugs peened and it had to go back to the factory for repair. I got rid of it a little while after I got it back from IJ.

Since then, I've owned a few USGI Carbines: 1943 Underwood, a 1944 Underwood, and a 1944 Rock Ola. I still have the '43 Underwood and the Rock Ola. On all of them I replaced the recoil springs with new springs from Wolff.

In my experience, the USGI Carbines have been very reliable as long as they were kept clean, lubed, and fed good ammo. The only time I had significant reliability issues was when shooting steel cased Wolf (Tula). The steel cases don't obturate as well as brass and the chamber got filthy. After shooting a box of that stuff I changed over to some RA 52 Ball and got extraction problems. Cleaning the chamber fixed that.

Good .30 Carbine ammo that I've shot includes RA 52 Ball (Remington from 1952), Winchester FMJ, Remington FMJ and JSP, Prvi Partizan FMJ, and Federal FMJ and JSP. I recently got a 1080 round can of mid-1980s vintage Korean milsurp ball made by PMC, and I'm sure that will be perfectly fine.

Finally, if you're interested in keeping an M1 Carbine around for more than just casual use, get ahold of Jerry Kuhnhausen's The U.S. 30 Caliber Gas Operated Carbines: A Shop Manual. It's the definitive work on gunsmithing M1 Carbines.

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Rifle vs. Shotgun for Defense in the Event of Civil Unrest

 On an email discussion list the relative merits of shotguns vs. AR15s came up in the context of defensing yourself in a riot. Another member offered the opinion that Kyle Rittenhouse would been better served with a semiauto shotgun or even a side by side (SxS).

This is an edited version of my reply:

An AR15 or other semiauto rifle is an ideal choice for protecting oneself in a riot. As demonstrated by Kyle Rittenhouse, 5.56mm at close range is devastating, while offering light recoil and the ability to carry a lot of ammo while not weighing much.

A SxS shotgun is better than a sharp stick but when confronted with multiple attackers I don’t want to have to reload after only two shots. KR actually fired at 4 different individuals, all at bad breath range.

Something that needs to be noted is that these Antifa guys pressed the attack even after watching one of their buddies get killed. The old saw that a group of criminals will disperse after you drop one or two cannot be depended upon to be true when dealing with Antifa. IMHO, they need to be regarded more like determined insurgents than as criminals.

Also note the importance of a sling for weapon retention. One of the shootees, I think Pedo Dwarf, tried to pull KR’s rifle away from him before being shot. The sling prevented that. A bayonet might also be helpful for weapon retention.

A semiauto shotgun would have worked as well for KR as the AR15, at the expensive of additional recoil and the ability to carry less ammo. Also at the expense of shorter effective range (although that would not have been a factor in this incident).

Today’s AR15s are a far cry from the M16s fielded in Vietnam with no cleaning kits and poor maintenance instructions. Especially in a relatively clean (i.e., no blowing sand or mud baths) environment like an American city, an AR15 with good ammo and magazines, and properly lubricated will function very well.

A Mini-14 or AK would serve just as well.

AAMOF, I am looking once again at my M1 Carbines because they are so light and handy.

I have a 1943 Underwood and a 1944 Rock Ola. Both have been fitted with Wolff extra power recoil springs and have been checked for function with Remington 110 grain JSPs. Gelatin tests of that load result in permanent cavities similar in size to those produced by 5.56mm M-193 ball.

The Underwood used to be my road trip gun. I had it in a replica of an M1A1 paratrooper folding stock but this week put it back into the original stock because it’s more ergonomic. It has an Ultimak rail on it, replacing the handguard. I’ve had it with a Bushnell TRS-25 but I am going to swap that for a Primary Arms micro RDS with a longer battery life, and rezero. I’m also going to add a Rogers Rail Light.

I have an Italian surplus bayonet on order for it. (grin)

USGI Carbines have gone way up in price in the past few years but from what I’ve read the current production Auto Ordnance Carbines are good. (Early production apparently had issues.) Fulton Armory Carbines are also supposed to be good to go.

Nowadays, my CZ Scorpion Micro is my road trip gun. I have a laptop backpack that fits the gun, several spare magazines, a multitool, IFAK, and an Israeli battle dressing. The CZ is fitted with a Primary Arms micro RDS with a 50,000 hour battery life, Olight weapon light, and a Magpul sling. The gun is zeroed at 25 yards; shooting a little low at 50.


On Kenosha

 Kyle Rittenhouse did more than simply defend a used car lot. He stood up to defend civilized society against marauding barbarians determined to destroy our way of life and replace it with a communist "utopia."

As Edmund Burke said, "All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing."

I am relieved that he is getting top notch legal assistance. I donated to Lin Wood's Fight Back foundation, which is working with his family, and secured him a good criminal defense lawyer. It is well past time that supporters of liberty engage in lawfare against the left.

Sunday, August 16, 2020

20 Gauge Black Powder Patched Round Ball Shells

 Today I loaded up 25 rounds of 20 gauge shells for potential use as short range deer hunting loads. They consist of:

  • Magtech brass cases
  • Federal large pistol primers
  • 80 grains of Goex 2Fg black powder
  • Ballistic Products nitro card
  • Ballistic Products fiber cushion wad
  • 2 x 0.010” patches prelubed with Wonder Lube
  • .575 round ball
  • Ballistic Products over shot card sealed with Duco cement
Before I settled on the patch/ball combination I check it for fit in my H&R Topper’s modified choke. With only one patch I could push it through with hand pressure. With two patches I needed to tap it through using a mallet, but it required less pressure than a typical tight fitting PRB in a muzzle loading rifle.





Waiting for the Duco cement to dry:









Friday, July 31, 2020

Office Visit

Today I went into the office for only the second time since March 12th.

As with the first post-lockdown visit, my reason for going in was to download large virtual machine templates (OVFs), and then upload them to a different system. I couldn't vMotion them between clusters, because they are on different network security zones and running different version of VMware ESXi.

The other task I had was to setup a new PC that a coworker and I will use for this sort of thing going forward. It's configured to allow Windows Remote Desktop connections and hardwired to the company LAN.

Our local IT guy did a great job of quickly turning around my request for the PC. It's a new Dell OptiPlex with an Intel Core i7-800 at 3.2 GHz, with 16 GB of RAM and a 500 GB disk. I was surprised to see that it came with a DVD drive. The OS is Windows 10 Enterprise. It seems like a decent little corporate desktop machine and is on a network security zone that will allow me to access anything I need to.

I have an old Netgear 8 port Gig-E Ethernet switch on my desk that allowed me to connect both my MacBook Pro and the Dell to my network drop. After setting up the PC I just used Remote Desktop from the Mac all day to do work on the PC. After I got home tonight I confirmed that it's working over our VPN connection.

Going into the office was a nice change of pace but I'm happy working primarily from home. I expect that to continue into next year.