Monday, December 31, 2012

Why Not Renew the AWB, a Leftist Speaks

Over on the Kontradictions blog, a self-described leftist wrote a very cogent piece on why we should not reinstate the Clinton-era Assault Weapons Ban.

It’s not easy being a leftist who loves guns. It’s like being a Republican who listens to NPR or supports single payer health care. But being a leftist, I get exposed to all the liberal publications and media that invariably call for gun control every time someone does something stupid with one. Being a gun enthusiast, I also get exposed to the political Right’s oversimplification of those liberals as somehow lacking moral fiber or true appreciation of freedom. Rather than agreeing with both, I tend to end up arguing with both. It’s exhausting to always feel like I’m apologizing for the other “side”.

This article takes a point of view, but aims to do so in a way that members of both sides of the political spectrum can understand. I’ll try to give some idea as to why we on the political left roll our eyes at the rhetoric of the NRA, and how we in the “gun culture” can possibly defend something called “assault weapons”.

We all know the cycle by now: Tragic incident occurs, both sides attempt to use it for their political gain, both sides act shocked that the other would attempt to use it for political gain, insults are flung, statistics are cherry-picked, rinse, repeat.

I began writing this some time after the Aurora massacre, but it was just this morning that news started coming in of the mass shooting at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin. I knew the wave of cries for a renewal of the “assault weapon” and “high capacity” magazine bans hadn’t yet faded from Aurora, and that they would be reinforced by this next event, regardless of how relevant either of the topics were to the incident.

So in order to get around to why the assault weapons ban was an utter and absolute failure in its attempt to deter violent crime, I have to start with mass shootings.

Kontra’s post is outstanding and I highly recommend reading the whole thing.

Jew Without a Gun

No not me. Winking smile
Hollywood screenwriter Robert J. Avrech has reposted his three-part essay, “Jew Without a Gun,” over on his blog.
Part One
Hollywood is Burning
Hollywood is on fire.
Karen and I lock every door in the house, shut tight the windows. We move through the house switching off all the lights.
Gazing from our bedroom window we watch orange flames lick at the darkness, pillars of black smoke climb into the sky. We can actually smell the acrid odor of burning rubber.
“Look how close they are,” says Karen.
“Just past La Cienega. Maybe eight blocks away.”
Karen gives me a long penetrating gaze:
“What do we do if they come here?”
My mind is racing away. The truth is we are defenseless. Unless I get crazy inventive like Dustin Hoffman in Straw Dogs.
“After this is all over,” I vow, “I’m going to buy a pistol.”
Karen says: “How about a shotgun?”
Dissolve to—
Two Hours Earlier:
The rioters are surging toward the front doors of the theater. They are shouting, but the glass doors are so thick we cannot hear what they’re screaming. The visual is quite enough. Their faces are twisted into expressions of raw hatred. The mob looks intent on some serious violence.
I highly recommend reading the whole thing.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Which One of these Rifles is an Assault Weapon?

Identify which of these rifles is an assault weapon, according to anti-gunners:


Ruger-1022-BC-Folder (1024x577)

Has to be the second one, right, because it has a pistol grip stock and a “banana clip?”

In fact, both pictures are of the very the same rifle, taken about 10 minutes apart. It’s a Ruger 10/22 Carbine that I bought about 10 years ago. For the second picture I added a Butler Creek folding stock that I got from Amazon (eligible for Amazon Prime, yay!), and a 25 round magazine in place of the 10 round mag the 10/22 normally comes with. It shoots the common-as-dirt .22 Long Rifle cartridge.

Ruger has been making the 10/22 since 1964. Over five million have been made since then, making it one of the most popular sporting rifles in history. It’s well suited to informal target shooting and small game hunting. The majority of them were sold to American shooters, and since they basically don’t wear out, the vast majority of those remain in circulation. (Or “on the streets,” if you are a gun banner.)

The bullets fired by the rifle as configured in the second picture are no more deadly than those in pic #1. The only functional differences between the rifle as shown in both pics is that with the folder it can be stored in a smaller space, and you can fire 2.5 times as many cartridges without reloading. Reloading takes only a couple of seconds even with the 10 round mags, so while gun banners like to make hay over “high capacity” magazines, against defenseless targets like schoolkids confined in a “gun free” zone, the difference is virtually nonexistent.

Likewise, millions of 25+ round magazines have been sold by Butler Creek, Eagle, MWG and other third party manufacturers since at least the 1980s. Ruger got on the 25 round mag bandwagon a few years ago, and that’s what is shown in pic #2.

The only tool I needed to change the sporting carbine in the first pic to the deadly assault rifle in the second picture was a screwdriver.

The point of this post is that “assault weapons” as defined by gun banners are not functionally different from “sporting” rifles as manufactured and sold in the millions for about a century. Artificial definitions of banned or permissible arms created by people with little to no firearms knowledge don’t make us safer.  Tackling the root causes of crime, whether they be mental illness or outright evil is harder but is key in actually making us safer. So is allowing potential victims the right to fight back.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Poking the Hornet’s Nest

I just got back from my regular gun shop, Surplus City in Feasterville, PA. I wasn't really planning to buy anything, I went mainly out of curiosity.

The salesmen looked shell shocked from how busy they've been. Business went into high gear after the election. I was last there on Black Friday and they were mobbed. It normally takes about five minutes for an instant background check to go through for me, but that day it took about 15 because PICS (PA Instant Check System; PA doesn't use NICS) was so busy. Black rifles such as AR-15s and AKs had just started to come back into the supply channel right before Sandy Hook happened, then things got really crazy.

Surplus City is usually well stocked with AR-15s and AKs. Today I saw no AR-15s and a solitary AK. There were a few Century VZ-2008s (VZ-58 clones) and about 8 to 10 stainless Ruger Mini-14 GBs.

But it’s not just “assault weapons” that are flying off the shelved. The weekend after the Sandy Hook shooting, the distributor that Surplus City gets guns from sold 1100 Ruger LCPs (pocket sized .380s). If you go to Cabela’s website, the Pietta 1858 Remingtons with blued finish are out of stock. I wonder how many of those were bought because there’s no paperwork required.

Further, more people are getting their carry permits. This morning I  renewed my PA License to Carry a Firearm at the Montgomery County Courthouse. The deputies in the Sherriff's office told me that they processed 53 LTCFs yesterday, the vast majority of which were new applicants, not renewals. If PICS  had been working faster, they would've done about 70. I didn’t think to ask what a normal number would be, but the impression I got was that 53 is way higher than normal. Per one of the guys at Surplus City, Bucks County is just as busy.

The gun banners really poked a hornet's nest with all their hue and cry for an AWB. Hopefully, these new gun owners are joining the NRA and contacting their politicritters.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Letter to my Senators and Congressman

I sent this off to my elected representatives. Feel free to plagiarize as you see fit.

The usual antigun media figures and politicians have used the wake of last week's tragic school shooting in Newton, CT to promote their anti-rights agenda. We do not need any more gun control in the US. No gun control measure has been been proven to reduce crime or make society safer.

Three things which will reduce the frequency and impact of mass shooting are:

1. Improve our mental health care system. If the perpetrators in any of the recent mass shooting over the past couple of decades could have received good treatment for their psychoses, odds are most if not all of them would never have gone on to kill anybody.

2. Stop creating victim disarmament zones. "Gun free zones" are a feel-good non-solution to violence. The only people who obey the prohibitions on guns in such places are the same people who won't commit murder any way. All these zones do is create safe hunting preserves for psycopaths.

3. More specifically than #2, we should encourage school faculty and staff to get training and carry firearms so that they can protect the children in their care. When Israel was faced with school shooting attacks by Arab terrorists, they didn't put up signs saying that no guns were allowed on the premises. They did the smart thing -- they trained school staff are armed them. School shootings dropped off to almost nothing.

Please don't cave in to the hysterical cries for more gun control from the mass media and the usual anti-gun politicians. We can take action to make our schools and society safer, but not by giving in to their demands.

Why Americans Need Military-Pattern Arms

The very guns which the media and anti-gunners want to ban are those most protected by the Second Amendment. From Federalist No.46:

Let a regular army, fully equal to the resources of the country, be formed; and let it be entirely at the devotion of the federal government; still it would not be going too far to say, that the State governments, with the people on their side, would be able to repel the danger. The highest number to which, according to the best computation, a standing army can be carried in any country, does not exceed one hundredth part of the whole number of souls; or one twenty-fifth part of the number able to bear arms. This proportion would not yield, in the United States, an army of more than twenty-five or thirty thousand men. To these would be opposed a militia amounting to near half a million of citizens with arms in their hands, officered by men chosen from among themselves, fighting for their common liberties, and united and conducted by governments possessing their affections and confidence. It may well be doubted, whether a militia thus circumstanced could ever be conquered by such a proportion of regular troops. Those who are best acquainted with the last successful resistance of this country against the British arms, will be most inclined to deny the possibility of it. Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation, the existence of subordinate governments, to which the people are attached, and by which the militia officers are appointed, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of. Notwithstanding the military establishments in the several kingdoms of Europe, which are carried as far as the public resources will bear, the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms. 

That was written by James Madison, the primary author of the United States Constitution.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Gun Control is Anti-Jewish

I didn’t want to write this in the wake of the atrocity that happened last week in Connecticut, but since the anti-gunners gleefully waded into the gore of the innocents, I’m going to exercise my First Amendment rights in defense of my Second Amendment rights, with a focus on a Jewish perspective.

Back in 2004, I wrote the following:

The Maccabees -- the Jewish rebels who tossed the Greeks out on their posteriors -- didn't win with pleas for tolerance or even harsh language. It was an armed rebellion. Too many Jewish Americans gloss over this fact during all the holiday shopping, menorah lighting, and wolfing down potato pancakes.

The point that American Jews need to take to heart from Chanukah is that sometimes the government is not here to help and the only way left to preserve our freedom is through force. That means the willingness and means to use force. In 2004, the means of force are firearms and that's why it pisses me off to no end that so many Jewish Americans support gun control, especially in light of the most blatant act of antisemitism in history -- the Shoah (Holocaust) -- being a mere 59 years ago.

When only the military and police have guns, we call that a police state. If you grant a government that much power, there is a really good chance that they will commit democide. As we know, anytime you have a runaway government, one of the favorite targets is its Jewish population. Six million Jews were murdered within living memory, by a country which was considered one of the most sophisticated in Europe.

Anti-semitism is not a relic of the past. Entering “resurgence of anti-semitism” into Google yields 901,000 results. Recently, the leader of a political party in Hungary called for Jews to be registered.

Resurgent anti-semitism isn’t an entirely European phenomenon either.

“Oh, but that can’t happen here!” you say. Really? Why? Again, within living memory, Americans of a unfavored ethnic group were singled out and forced into concentration camps. The Japanese-American Internment of World War 2 pales in comparison the atrocities committed by the Nazis, but I shudder to think of what would’ve happened to those Japanese-Americans had we not been able to turn the tide of the war within a year.

“Turn the other cheek” is a Christian concept, not a Jewish one. In fact,in the Talmud, we are instructed that, “If someone comes to kill you, rise up and kill him first.” (VILNA TALMUD, Tractate Sanhedrin, folio 73a). Sometimes, that someone who is coming to kill you wears a uniform.

If you advocate civilian disarmament, you are advocating making Jews defenseless. If you are serious that never again will Jews be slaughtered en masse, then you need to make sure that we have the tools to prevent it. Freedom isn’t safe. There are risks to freedom. But giving up our freedom in search of safety is a fool’s errand, as history shows.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

All Comments Now Moderated

Due to increasing amounts of spam I am now moderating all comments.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012


After getting my No-Code Technician's amateur radio license back in 2005 I was active on 2M for a couple years, but haven't done much with it lately. The FCC finally eliminated all Morse Code requirements in 2007 but I never got around to upgrading.  Recently, I came to the conclusion after the bout of storms we've had ove the past year and a half or so that I should get back into it, and upgrade my license.

So, last Thursday I took the FCC's Element 3 exam and upgraded my license to General Class. The update hasn't shown up yet in the FCC's Universal Licensing System database, but I have my CSCE.

To prepare for the exam I used three resources:

Although and contain the same pool of questions, they present the questions differently. When you take a practice test at QRZ they are shown to you one question per page, and immediately graded. However, when you take a practice test at Hamexam all 35 questions are presented on one page, and not graded until you click a button after finishing all of them. I found Hamexam's format to render better on my iPad, but I found QRZ's format better for learning.

With my newly acquired HF privileges I need to get a new radio. The modes I'm interested in operating on HF are SSB, PSK-31, and Olivia MFSK, on 10M to 40M. 60M and 80M would be cool, too, but I don't know yet if I'll be able to setup an antenna suitable for them.

After seeking input on Arfcom and doing a lot of online research, I am leaning heavily to the Icom IC-718. It's been out for awhile and gets good reviews on Plus, compared with radios like the Yaesu FT-857 of -897, or similar Icom and Kenwood HF/VHF/UHF capable units, it's less menu driven, which should make it easier to use. The IC-718 does 80M to 10M, lacking 6M, VHF, and UHF. For the latter two I have a Yaesu FT-7800R and VX-5RS. While 6M might be nice to have I don't think I'll really miss it that much.

Along with the new radio I'll need a new antenna and an antenna tuner. Due to space constraints I'm leaning towards an Ultimax 100 strung between the roof of my house and a short mast near my back fence. (At least I don't need to deal with a homeowner's association.)

For mobile use I'll also pick up some sort of portable vertical antenna and/or a multiband dipole that I can string up between a couple of trees.

This should be fun.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

New Hickory Flat Bow

Back on August 20th I placed an order with for two of his unfinished "Classic Hunter" 64" hickory longbows. Before ordering I'd read mixed online reviews of, which gave me a little pause. However, at $114.95 shipped for two bows I decided to chance it. Delivery was expected in 8 to 10 weeks. I finally got them the other day, on 11/19.

Incidentally, I checked the other day and the website now says that he only sells items that are already in stock, only accepting custom orders from vendors or bulk purchases. Earlier this month the site was down for maintenance, so I'm guessing that he was so backordered he didn't want to take on any more business.

The bows came packed bound together with cardboard over the tips, all covered with a heavy duty plastic sheath-type packaging, with no padding. They came undamaged, thankfully.

The first bow has a left handed grip with a draw weight of 50#, while the second one has a primitive, ambidextrous grip, and a draw weight of 45#. Each bow came fitted with a well-waxed brown Flemish twist string. The string came unserved and without a nocking point set.

The bows are of the American flatbow style. I.e., the limbs have a rectangular cross section, not the D-shape of an English longbow.

One of my friends is planning to buy the 45# ambidextrous bow, while I'm keeping the LH 50# bow.

I inspected the bows carefully before stringing them. The tiller is even on both bows and the grain looks OK.

Along with the bows I ordered a set of faux copperhead snake skins to use as a backer. They look OK although I'm sure that real snake skins would look better. They would be more expensive, of course. I'm not impressed with the "snake skins" and left them off for now.

The unfinished bow:

To finish the 50 pounder, last night I lightly sanded it to 400 grit, then wiped it down with a clean paper towel wet with mineral spirits. After the bow dried I sanded it again with 400 grit paper and once more wiped it down with mineral spirits. I then gave it two coats of Watco Danish Oil with a medium walnut tint. I let the oil dry overnight.

This morning I cut a piece of leather and glued it to the arrow shelf. I also cut a piece of "Super Pad" silencing material and applied it as a strike plate. Then, before stringing it, I added otter fur silencers to the string. Once strung I served the string with some artificial sinew to both protect the center of the string, and also to fatten it so my arrow nocks snap onto it. I also made a nocking point with a shorter length of the artificial sinew.

I set the fistmele at about 6.5" by twisting the Flemish string to shorten it.

A closeup of the riser:

After letting the cement holding the arrow rest on dry for awhile, I did some shooting. It feels like it might be a little heavier than 50# but I expect it to settle it a bit. It shoots fast with little to no hand shock, depending on how tightly I grip the riser. It is dead silent.

After I was done shooting I brought the bow inside and gave it a coat of Sno Seal, which is a beeswax based compound intended for waterproofing leather. I've used it on other wood items before and it works nicely in this application. Other options for finishing the wood would be another coat of Danish Oil, tung oil, or a spray on polyurethane clear coat.

While I was a bit disappointed in the longer than expected delivery time, I am very pleased with the bow itself. It feels great in the hand and shoots well.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

How to properly use the Mosin Nagant stripper clip

If you've ever tried to load a Mosin-Nagant rifle using stripper clips, you you know that it can be frustrating. Here's how to do it correctly:

Note that because of the cartridge interruptor in the Mosin-Nagant's magazine, rim position should be irrelevant. In my experience with several M-N rifles reality diverged from theory. I tested the method with my Ishevsk M1938 carbine and VKT m/1939 rifle, and it works with both.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Bread, Circuses, and Vaginas

Well, it’s now official. The Free Shit Army is in control of this country, and as time goes on its numbers will only grow. It’s only a matter of time before this country is Greece on meth.

Last night’s results pretty much confirmed Romney’s statement that about half the country is more interested in receiving government than in any kind of fiscal responsibility.

We have a government that’s made it too easy to not work, and instead live off the public dole. It used to be that if you couldn’t find work in one part of the country you’d move to where the work is. Moreover, there is no longer any shame in being on the dole. Hell, plenty of people revel in it. Instead, the long term unemployed sit on their bums collecting unemployment, then disability, then welfare, and work that Americans used to do is performed by illegal immigrants grateful to have any chance at a better life.

The election also confirmed that if the Republicans ever want to win a national election, opposition to abortion needs to be dropped from the party’s platform. Dems and the mainstream media masterfully injected the issue into an election that should have been about the economic and foreign policy failures of the Obama administration. But GOP candidates can’t help but offer up juicy sound bites like “legitimate rape” to the MSM when asked about abortion. Most people aren’t political wonks and don’t analyze issues in depth.

If you can shout loud enough at women that Republican men are gonna be all up in their vaginas, the GOP will lose. Like it or not, that drove enough women into voting for big government Democrats to help clinch Obama’s second term.

Likewise, dump the institutional opposition to gay marriage. Why in the hell is this being pushed as a Federal issue to begin with? While gays may be a minority, they are very vocal, over-represented in the media, and have a lot of straight people who agree with them on this issue.

It didn’t help things that the GOP further fucked itself by pandering to Latinos by not enforcing immigration laws. Yeah, Latinos are social conservatives who will vote on those lines. How did that work out?

Compounding all this is a media that with one hand feeds us meaningless pap to distract us from the real issues, and then with the other hand fails to cover the real issues. People are so concerned with bullshit like American Idol that even if they are informed of scandals like Fast and Furious or the Benghazi cover up, they soon lose interest. Forget about justice for our murdered Border Patrol agents, several hundred murdered Mexicans, and the Americans killed in Libya while Obama and his cabinet denied them help in real time.

Welcome to the United Socialist States of America.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Backup Power

Over on Survival & Emergency Preparedness, I've put up a post about my plans for backup power for my home.

Read it here.

Short Range Day

Today I was able to make a quick trip to the range with my Ruger 22/45 Lite and my Springfield XD-9.

I started out with the Ruger. Unfortunately, I accidentally left the Bushnell TRS-25 on the last time I had the gun out of its case, so the battery was dead. I didn't have a spare with me. Annoying, to say the least, especially since my primary reason for going to the range today was to zero the Bushnell.

Anyway, I was able to do some function testing with Remington Golden Bullet .22s by aiming through the dot sight, using only the pistol's front sight. Doing so I was shooting very high, so I aimed at the bottom of my target at 15 yards. I was able to put about 60 rounds of the Remingtons through the gun without any malfunctions. The Golden Bullets weren't very accurate in the other .22s I've fired them in, so once I get back to the range with a functional dot sight, it'll be interesting to see how well they group in the Ruger.

Of note, the GBs have a larger hollow point than most other bulk pack .22 LR loads, so they might be useful for varmint control at close range. (In my other .22s. Semiauto pistols are illegal for hunting in PA.)

My experience today with the Springfield XD-9 was more positive. I brought along 150 rounds -- 100 Brown Bear 115 grain FMJ and 50 PMC 115 grain FMJ. I shot 130 of them at 25 yards, and kept almost all my shots inside the -1 zone on my IDPA target. About half of them were in the -0 zone.

As expected, the Springfield ran like a top. In fact, since I've owned it I probably have close to 1,000 rounds through it and as far as I can remember, I have not experienced any malfunctions. Most of the rounds through it have been ball, but about 100 were Speer 124 grain Gold Dot JHPs. I used it in the 2009 zombie shoot at Langhorne Rod and Gun Club, where it got soaked because it rained all day. No problems there, either.

After I got home and cleaned the pistols, I installed a Tandem Kross stainless steel hammer bushing in the Ruger. In doing so, I removed the magazine disconnector, which prevents the hammer from dropping if you pull the trigger with no magazine in the gun. This make field stripping and reassembly more of a PITA, because you have to drop the hammer at various stages of these processes. It also allows the magazine to drop free when you press the mag catch.

While I had the hammer out of the gun I also lightly stoned the sear engagement notch on the hammer to smooth the trigger pull.

Overall, it was a productive day, even if I didn't accomplish everything I set out to do.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

We Lucked Out

We lucked out in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Our power went out last night but was restored after about two hours. This morning I went outside to check the house and yard for damage. Except for a torn snowblower cover, we came through unscathed.

One of my neighbors has some tree branches down.

We’re still getting 20 – 30 MPH gusts, it’s raining, and temperatures are in the mid-40s. About 1.3M people in PA are still without power, 2.3M in NJ, and who knows how many in MD, DE, NY, and New England.

Of course, many others weren’t so lucky. NJ and NY got slammed especially hard. The Jersey Shore got trashed and Manhattan looks post-apocalyptic, from some of the photos I’ve seen.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Hurricane Sandy Updates

FYI, I will be posting Hurricane Sandy updates via Twitter.

Waiting for Sandy

Last night over on Survival Preps I put up a post about my last minute preparations for Hurricane Sandy. There's not much more to be done but wait.

Stay safe, people.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Improving the Ruger 22/45 Lite

Last night I started the process of modding the Ruger 22/45 Lite to better meet my needs, by mounting a Bushnell TRS-25 red dot sight using the rail which came with the pistol.

The TRS-25 was on my Century NDS-2 AK-74, but I hadn't yet zeroed it, so moving it to the Ruger didn't lose me anything on the AK. I had a spare Bushnell Trophy red dot sight that will go on the AK, using a BP-02 low mount.

Anyway, I think it looks pretty spiffy:

I'm hoping to get it zeroed this weekend.

This afternoon I ordered two Tandemkross replacement hammer bushings, which will allow me to get rid of the magazine disconnect. The second bushing is for the 22/45 Mark III that I bought several years ago. This will make field stripping and reassembly easier because it will allow me to drop the hammer with no magazine in the gun. I disklike magazine disconnects; IMHO they provide a false sense of safety.

Next up may be a Volquartsen hammer, sear, and/or trigger. But I first want to put a couple hundred more rounds through it to see if the trigger slicks up enough for my taste.

And of course, the final accessory will be a sound suppressor. I'm still researching which suppressor I want to buy, and have to get an NFA trust in place first.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Ruger .22 Autoloader Reassembly

Today I field stripped the Ruger 22/45 Lite that I bought yesterday and fired last night. It’s always a good idea to strip a gun, clean and lubricate before your first range trip with it. This helps you get familiar with the gun and if there are any metal shavings left over from the factory you can clean them out.

That said, all I did yesterday before shooting the Ruger was to run a couple patches through the bore and put some automatic transmission fluid on the bolt.

Today I disassembled it per the instruction manual. After giving it a good cleaning and lube I went to put it back together. I noticed that with some ATF on the internals, the trigger pull is better.

The reassembly process is why I didn’t do it yesterday – in my experience reassembling Ruger .22 semiauto pistols is a major pain in the ass. You have to do things in the exact correct order and it also helps to keep the piece oriented correctly, as described in the manual.

One thing that helps is that nowadays, you can go to YouTube and find disassembly/reassembly videos for many guns, especially if they are popular. The Rugers are no exception. This one and this one are pretty good.

Thankfully, aside from the gyrations you need to go through to put a Ruger .22 autoloader back together, they are really well designed pistols. They are very reliable and it is not necessary to field strip them after every range trip. What I do is clean the bore, especially the chamber, clean the breech face, bolt face, and under the extractor.

I also make sure it’s well lubricated, probably more so than recommended in Ruger’s manual. .22 rimfire ammo is dirty and keeping the gun well lubed will help flush out unburned powder and fouling.

Note that if you live in a dusty environment like the southwestern US, keeping the gun slathered in oil may not be an option. I’d be interested in hearing from readers who have experience keeping Ruger .22 autopistols running in such locales. Please leave a comment.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Saturday Night Range Report

This afternoon I went over to Surplus City in Feasterville, PA and sold my PSL and Norinco Type 84 AK. Both are nice rifles but have been gathering dust and taking up space. With some of the money from the rifles I picked up a Ruger 22/45 Lite.

The Lite version of the 22/45 has a thin 4.4” steel barrel surrounded by an aluminum shroud. Combined with the Zytel grip frame, it weighs only 22.8 oz. But what’s perhaps most interesting is that the end of the barrel is threaded 1/2”x28, for the express purpose of mounting a sound suppressor (AKA silencer). From the factory, the threads are protected with a knurled aluminum nut with the same diameter as the barrel shroud.

The Ruger came with two 10-round magazines and a optics rail which allows you to mount a scope or a red dot on the gun. It also comes with a padlock so you can lock the bolt open to prevent unauthorized, and a pistol rug. Overall, it’s a nice package.

After getting the Ruger home I ran a couple patches through the bore, and lubricated it with a generous amount of Castrol automatic transmission fluid. (ATF makes a great gun oil and is a decent cleaner in a pinch.)

Along with my dad I took the Ruger to the range tonight. We put 150 rounds through it. The first 100 were CCI Mini-Mag 40 grain solids. In our experience if a .22 autoloader won’t run on Mini-Mags, it has problems. As expected, it ran perfectly with them.

We also put 50 rounds of CCI subsonic hollowpoints through the Ruger. We experienced two failures of the gun to fully go into battery with the subsonic loads. I’m hoping that if I run a couple hundred more high speed rounds through it, it’ll be sufficiently broken in to offer similar reliability with the slower, quieter ammo.

I noticed after about 50 rounds the the front sight blade on the Ruger, which is held on with one screw, came loose. I noticed before it fell off and tightened it back up with the small screwdriver on my Swiss Army Knife, but tomorrow when I clean the gun I’ll put a drop of Loctite on the screw to keep it in place.

The one thing needs attention is the trigger pull. It’s heavy, with some slack and take up. I’m going to look into something like a Volquartsen trigger to reduce the weight and make the pull more crisp. Aside from the trigger, I’m pleased with the Ruger 22/45 Lite.

Of course, the other accessory I am seriously considering is getting a suppressor for it. My first step with be to form an NFA gun trust, then decide which can I want to buy. For more information on such trusts, check out David Goldman’s blog.

Dad mostly shot his Ruger 1911. He’s had it since shortly after they came out but this was my first chance to shoot it. I have to say that if I was looking to buy a 1911 the Ruger would be right near the top of the list. It is very reliable, has a good sights, a great trigger and if you aren’t shooting one-hole groups at 7 yards with it, it’s your fault. The only modification I’d make to it if it was mine would be to add an ambidextrous safety, because I am left handed.

We also put a 50 round box of PMC 9mm 115 grain FMJ through my Radom VIS-35. Dad bought it when a batch came in from Russia several years ago, and last year he gave it to me. What a neat pistol. If spare parts weren’t uncommon and expensive, and original mags over $100 a pop, I’d shoot it a lot more. (Several years ago Dad bought an aftermarket mag at a gun show but it didn’t work. Luckily, when he took it back the next day he was able to get his money back.)

My VIS was made after the Germans conquered Poland but before they started cutting quality in the latter days of WW2. It was probably made around 1943 or so. It has a good trigger pull but the sights are atrocious – typical for the period. Still, it’s really nice to shoot and if I had to go back in time and go behind German lines, it would be my second choice in a sidearm, second only to a Browning High power.

All in all, a fun night.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Echoes of 1979

History doesn't always repeat itself, but it frequently echoes.

Back when it seemed inevitable that Obama would win the 2008 election, I commented to several people I know that Jimmy Carter, Part II would be a best case scenario. It's looking more like 1979 than ever but even though I think Romney has a decent chance of winning, I don't believe he'll be as good a president as Ronald Reagan.

During the past four years we've seen significant inflation, energy shortages, and a worldwide decrease in national prestige. (Yes, it started under Bush, just like for Carter it started under the previous presidents. But it accelerated under both.)

On top of that we've seen Obama exhibiting weakness towards radical Muslims, and ever worse, outright antipathy towards Israel. At least Carter met with the Israeli prime minister and saved his anti-Israel vitriol until after he left office. Instead, Obama snubbed the Israeli PM at a time when Israel is in far more peril, due to the Iranian nuclear program. If we are serious about preventing a second Holocaust, it must be stopped.

Now, on the anniversary of 9/11, radical Muslims -- probably with ties to Iran -- have attacked two American embassies in Arab countries. This time four Americans are dead, including an ambassador. If you believe that two such attacks in different countries on 9/11 are coincidental, I have a bridge for sale.

Note that the proximate reason the radicals have free reign in Libya and Egypt is American and Western European intervention in the "Arab Spring." Mubarak and Qaddafi were totalitarian scum, but they were secular totalitarian scum, with whom we could deal. As usual, Western attempts at nation building, in the form of regime change, have resulted in outcomes that the proponents didn't foresee because of their rose colored glassed. Now we're dealing with savage religious zealots and the only way we can deal with them is to kill them, or forever be plagued by them.

And what was Obama's response to these attacks on American sovereignty? A "strong condemnation" polluted with an apology, AN APOLOGY!?!, for an American who exercised his First Amendment rights. The US government should never apologize to anyone for allowing an American citizen to voice his opinion, as offensive as it might be.

The film which allegedly precipitated these attacks has been seen by hardly anyone, let alone the savage mobs which carried them out. But the fact that Obama saw the need to apologize for it demonstrates his own anti-American worldview.

Imagine the sorry state this country would have been in had Carter been reelected in 1980. Now imagine what this country will look like in 2016 if Obama gets reelected.

Scary indeed.

Friday, September 07, 2012

Quest Rogue Compound Bow

I was considering getting a crossbow for deer hunting on some private land that I have access to. A friend owns the land and bought one last year from Cabela’s Bargain Cave. I got the chance to shoot it earlier this year and was impressed with how rifle-like shooting one is.

As an aside, my friend’s property is packed with deer and they get into his garden. So, he and his wife want the population kept in check. It’s almost a culling operation but I won’t say that I’m guaranteed a deer. Frankly, I’ll be perfectly happy with a doe. I love venison chili, and you can’t eat antlers.

So anyway, on Wednesday night I went to French Creek Outfitters in Phoenixville, PA, and handled an Excalibur Axiom SMF crossbow. It turns out that I didn't like how it felt. So, I asked the salesman at the archery counter if he had any compound bow packages in the $500 range. I wound up coming home with a 2012 Quest Rogue.

Per the specs on Quest’s website, the bow should be capable of launching an arrow at around 300 FPS. I’m getting less than that because I have a short draw length, only 26” to 26.5”. The shorter your draw length, the shorter the power stroke, resulting in lower velocity. With that said, it is by far the fastest bow I’ve ever shot.

It came as a package which included the bow, Limbsaver stabilizer, kisser button, Trophy Taker drop-away rest, sights, D-loop already installed on the string, sling, and a quiver. I also got a hat. The package was $499. I added a half dozen Gold Tip 5575 arrows with 100 grain field points, and a Tru-Ball Stinger release. After the arrows, release, and PA sales tax, it worked out to $614.

I've been shooting a lot of traditional archery this year. The last time I shot a compound was probably sometime in the '90s, before I sold off my old Bear Whitetail II. Going from one of my horsebows or my longbow to this is like going from a flintlock to an AR-15. Holy cow.

Here's a closeup of the riser with goodies:

The cylinder sticking out of the sight is an LED illuminator for the pins.

I put 30 shots through it last night, starting at 10 yards then moving back to 15. This is my final group of 6. (Point of aim was the black dot over the deer's back.)

Once again, holy cow.

I shot it again tonight at the same 15 yards and got similar accuracy. Tonight, however, I picked different spots on the target for about half my shots, to minimize the chances of hitting my arrows.

This morning I bought an archery tag, because with this level of accuracy I feel confident that I can take it into the woods and make a good shot for a humane kill. Aside from the tag, I also ordered from Amazon a half dozen Muzzy broadheads, practice blades, a broadhead wrench, and storage box.

Finally, I placed an order with Gold Tip for another dozen arrows, which should hopefully last me awhile.

The only downside to all this is that I’m now planning to put up for sale one of my rifles to pay for it.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Chinese Horsebow, Part 2

I was able to shoot the Chinese horsebow again yesterday. I used the same arrows but this time was at a friend’s house, and his “yard” is about 8 acres, so we were able to shoot at about 28 yards. I am even more impressed with the bow now. We put about 50 shots through it at his crossbow target that’s about 3 feet square.

Twenty eight yards is further than I’ve shot a bow in over a decade, and I was able to keep about 2/3 of my shots on the target. The bow shoots very flat out to that range and hit with a pretty authoritative thump. Arrows which missed the target but hit the ground next to it skidded 10 yards or more up the hill behind it.

If I get to 1,000 shots with the bow without it showing any damage, I’m going to consider it to be a heck of a bargain.

Friday, August 24, 2012

New Chinese Horsebow

Ever since I got back into archery at the end of 2011, one class of bows which has fascinated me has been the Asian composite bow, AKA "horsebow." The first bow I bought upon resuming the hobby was a 40# Magyar-style horsebow made by Istvan Toth in Hungary. I purchased it online from Seven Meadows Archery. The modest draw weight of the Toth bow allowed me to get back into archery and eventually make my way up to heavier bows.

In April I picked up a 50# Samick SLB-II longbow at Lancaster Archery Supply. This has been the bow I've shot the most in the past few months.

Recently, I became intrigued with horsebows made in China and available at low prices on eBay. After hemming and hawing, I decided to give one of these a try. So, I purchased a 50# Chinese-style horsebow from eBayer "handmadebow". It seemed appropriate to buy a Chinese-style bow from a Chinese bowyer.

For what I guess are marketing reasons, the auction was titled as "USA Handmade Flagella MAGYAR Reiterbogen Recurve Horsebow 50 lbs". It's certainly not a Magyar-type bow. It's more of a Manchu, Chinese, or later Mongol style. For example, Magyar bows and early Mongol bows did not employ string bridges like this bow is fitted with. the I clicked the "buy now" button on 8/16/12, it was shipped from Anhui, China the next day, and it arrived today, 8/24/12. The cost was only $109.99, which included shipping.

The bow arrived in good condition. The packaging could have been better, had it been roughly handled the bow might have been damaged. As it was, the bow came packed inside a well made black nylon bow sock, with some newspaper taped around the ends, and inside of a cardboard box.

My initial impressions were favorable, especially given the very low price of the bow. The overall fit and finish is OK but definitely not as nice as my Toth or Samick bows. The pigskin covering seem to be glued on securely, and the twine wraps are neatly executed, with the ends tucked under and doubly secured with glue. The wood has some kind of a varnish or oil finish.

Some specs:
  • Draw weight: 50# at 28"
  • Bow length: 148 cm or 58.26"
  • String length: 142 cm or 55.9"
  • Construction: Fiberglass, pigskin leather, beech wood, nylon (?) twine wrapping the joints, and a multi-strand nylon string. (The auction listed a "tendon" string which may or may not be a translation error.)
Here are some pictures of the bow. As you can see in the first pic, the siyahs point almost directly away from the belly when unstrung, and the limbs also arc away. (You can see full-size versions of these pics here.)

Safely stringing the bow requires either the use of a stringer or an assistant. I don’t have a stringer that will fit this bow, so I had my daughter Amanda help me. While I bent the bow against my knees, she strung and unstrung it for me.

Here are some closeups of the upper siyah. The first shows how the string bridges hold the string away from the belly of the bow. When shooting, the bridges give the string a little “pop” at the end of the power stroke, improving speed.

Here are the only markings on the bow:

My initial shooting impressions are also very favorable. The only thing I did before shooting was wax the bowstring. The draw is smooth, and the pull weight feels constant throughout the draw, without feeling like it's stacking at my draw length, about 26" to 27". It feels lighter than my 50# longbow but part of this is due to the presence of the siyahs, which act as levers to give the archer some mechanical advantage. It almost feels like there's a slight letoff when the siyahs reach a certain point in their arc.

As shown in the accompanying pictures, there is no arrow rest so you must shoot off the knuckle. I find doing so without a glove is painful, so I use a leather shooting glove which covers my right thumb and index finger (I shoot left handed). To protect the fingers on my left hand I use a leather shooting glove rather than a tab. Originally, these bows were shot with a thumb release using a horn or metal thumb ring. That is a skill I haven't even begun yet to master, however.

I shot the bow 48 times tonight using the same Port Orford Cedar arrows I shoot in my longbow. They have three 5" helical fletches and are tipped with 125 grain bodkin points. ('Cause you never know when you'll need to take down a marauding armored knight.)

The bow does have some hand shock and vibration but it's really not too bad. It's a bit noisier than the Toth horsebow but that's not unexpected, since it has string bridges. I'm planning to add string silencers which should reduce both the noise and hand shock.

I was impressed with the speed of the bow. Since I don't have a chronograph I can't say just how fast it shoots, but it's much faster than the lighter Toth bow and on par with the Samick. The arrows zip downrange and make a satisfying "thump" on impact. For a good archer this bow should have plenty of power to bring down a whitetail.

I'm going to try to keep records of how many arrows I shoot with this bow and see how it holds up. Initially, the only thing I plan to do is add a nocking point to the string to ensure that I'm nocking arrows consistently. If this bow holds up to use, it’ll be a real bargain.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Voter ID and the Real Racists

Opponents of voter ID laws claim that they are intended to disenfranchise poor and minority voters by imposing unduly burdensome requirements on them.


Here's a non-exhaustive list of common activities that adults of voting age engage in and for which government issued ID is required.

1. Buy booze.
2. Open a bank account.
3. Cash a check or money order.
4. Board a commercial airplane (heck, you need it to just get past the TSA).
5. Get a loan from a bank.
6. Apply for welfare.
7. Buy a gun from a licensed dealer.
8. Buying pseudophedrine.
9. Securing employment.
10. Renting a place to live.
11. Buying a home.
12. Buying tobacco products (if you look like you may be under 21 years old).
13. Driving a motor vehicle.
14. Buying a hunting or fishing license.
15. Rent tools from a place like Lowe's or Home Depot.
16. Attend college.

Democrats don't seem to find the ID requirement unduly burdensome to minorities for these activities. Why all of a sudden is it such a burden then when voter ID laws are enacted? Do they really believe that poor minorities don't engage in any of these activities and have ID?

If so, then they are the real racists.

Solar Walk for iOS

Yesterday when I had iTunes open I ran across the iOs app Solar Walk by ViTO Technology as a recommendation. It looked neat and was on sale for only $0.99, so I grabbed it. I'm glad I did.

Solar Walk is a 3D virtual tour of the solar system. The graphics are simply gorgeous, the user interface is very intuitive, and it presents a lot of information in an easy to digest format. I showed my 9 year old daughter the app and she almost immediately grabbed my iPad away from me and started playing with it. She has the UI down pat in a couple of minutes and had I not told her to shut it off around 9:00 PM, she probably would have been up until midnight playing with it. I've never seen her so excited about a computer program or website.

Solar Walk will run on iPhones and iPod Touches, not just iPads, so we'll be getting it for the girls' iPods.

ViTO Technology has a couple of other interesting looking iOS apps, such as Star Walk and Geo Walk, which I'll check out as well.

If any reader knows of a comparable application that will run on Android tablets, please post a link in the comments.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Linux Mint 13 - Not So Fast

Last night after my previous post about Linux Mint 13 I started having problems streaming YouTube videos again. This seems related to the Flash plugin. While Flash seems to work fine on Windows or OS X, it's buggy in Linux.

What a PITA. I'll be glad when Flash dies.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Linux Mint 13 XFCE Edition

Last week in a fit of geekiness, I setup my PC at home to dual boot Linux Mint 13 XFCE Edition alongside Windows 7 Pro 64-bit. Although I've had various Linux distros running inside VirtualBox VMs, I wanted to run Linux natively.

I selected Mint since based on prior experiments, it's easy to install and provides a good selection of apps. I specifically chose the XFCE version because I like it as a desktop environment, being stable and light on resources. (The PC has a Core i5 and 8 gigs of RAM, so it's got plenty of horsepower, but I prefer simpler desktops anyway.) Ubuntu is most commonly suggested when Linux noobs are looking at potential distros to try, but IMO its current desktop is horrid. Unity is an ugly POS better suited to tablets than PCs, and I didn't want to mess with changing it. There are official variants of Ubuntu with other desktops (Kubuntu, Xubuntu, etc.) but I wound up with Mint.

Overall the install went smoothly and everything works, after a little tweaking to fix a problem streaming media. Specifically, the audio would frequently stutter when I streamed YouTube video -- something I do a lot. After doing some googling, I discovered that it's due to a bug in how PulseAudio interacts with some drivers, including the one for my RealTek sound card. I found the fix here.

The fix requires a slight config chance in the file /etc/pulse/ As root or using the sudo command, open the file in a text editor.

Then, find the line which reads:

load-module module-udev-detect

and modify it to read like this:

load-module module-udev-detect tsched=0

Save and quit the file. You then need to restart the pulseaudio service. You can do this either via a reboot or finding the process via ps ax | grep pulseaudio, killing it, then restarting it.

This was kind of annoying. The sound card I'm using is built into my PC's Intel motherboard, so it is a very common sound card and this sort of thing should be found before software is released.

Aside from the sound issue I haven't run into any other problems, and Linux Mint 13 XFCE Edition has been pleasant to use.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Romney, Ryan, and Churchill

So on Saturday Mitt Romney announced that he's picked Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan for his running mate. Of the available choices I think he was a good one. Ryan is known for his work as the chairman of the House Budget Committee, and this signals that Romney wants to focus the campaign on out of control Federal spending.

I've seen plenty of posts online over the past couple of days lamenting the choice, however. E.g., this will lose Florida for him, or basically that it didn't pander to some demographic -- women, Hispanics, or 3-legged paraplegic black lesbian transexuals. Whatever.

The Obama campaign has dossiers on all of the people who might have gotten the nod. I have zero doubt that regardless of who Romney picked, Zero's minions would have unleashed a torrent of hateful, mendacious invective.

One of the first rules of a fight -- whether a gunfight or a political campaign -- is that you have to "run with what ya brung." Just as a general on the field of battle has to fight with the army he has, not the army he wishes he had, we have to run with the candidates we have. The time for bemoaning the Republican choice of nominee is over. Now is the time to gather together as one and focus on firing Obama and Biden in November.

For those of you dismayed by our choices, I commend to you some of Sir Winston Churchill's wisdom:

Never give in--never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.

Churchill uttered these lines in 1941 when Britain still faced the very real threat of Nazi victory and all the horrors that entailed.

The Fat Lady hasn't sung and it ain't over.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Thoughts on Organized Shooting Ranges and the RKBA

Over at the PA Gun Blog, Sebastian put up a thougthful post regarding the state of affairs at organized shooting ranges. If you're fortunate enough to have enough land of your own to shoot on, or live out West and can go shoot on public land, you may not be familiar with the restrictions us folks who have to shoot at a club must put up with.

In particular, many clubs have restrictions on how many rounds you may load in a gun, what types of targets you can shoot at, and how fast you can fire. Some clubs even restrict you to shooting rifles from a benchrest, with something overhead limiting how far you can elevate the barrel, in order to ensure no round passes over the berm. So much for offhand practice.

One of Sebastian's laments is that clubs with onerous rules and an aging membership will die out. This may be the case with some clubs, but of the two which I currently belong, to, their is a huge number of people clamoring to get in, many of whom are new shooters.

As Sebastian has pointed out in many of his other posts, we won the culture war, at least when it came to the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. I've been actively involved with the RKBA struggle for about 20 years, and cognizant of it for many years before that. I'm 44 years old, and for the first half of my life gun owners were made to feel like pariahs. Things started changing in the mid-90s. Several things contributed to this:

  1. The Clinton administration was very anti-gun and got a lot of people who otherwise may have sat on the sideline involved.
  2. The general realization that gun control laws are bullshit non-solutions to violent crime, and only result in unilateral victim disarmament.
  3. I can't point to any hard figures, but based on my personal observations, I believe the "Counterstrike Effect" is a contributing factor. Specifically, we've now had a generation of (mostly) guys who've been exposed to military guns and who developed a fascination with them via video gaming, and who as a result have gone out to buy AR-15s, AKs, and other military-style rifles.*

Nowadays you have shows like "Top Shot" and "Sons of Guns" on major cable networks. It's a refreshing change.

I posted a reply to Sebastian, which I'll copy here:

I belong to two clubs in the Philadelphia metropolitan area. I was on the board of directors for a year at Club #1. 
Club #1 went from about 800 memberships (a "membership" may be a family, so it may be more than 1 person) to about 1300 from 2008 to the present. At the same time, the types of rifle most predominantly seen on the ranges changed from traditional sporting rifles to military-style rifles, like AR-15s and AKs.** 
Additionally, we went from getting a handful of new members each month to getting 50 or 60, until we capped it at no more than 30 new members per month, and have since gone to requiring sponsorship. AIUI, we will not be accepting any new members after August until January at the earliest. 
Club #2 (which I recently joined) changed its membership rules in an effort to keep it from expanding beyond the range's capacity. They now require new members to be sponsored.
When both clubs were built they were in the country, but "progress" has resulted in homes being built nearby. In the case of Club #2 there are large developments of McMansions within a quarter mile. As a result, both clubs restrict rapid fire and strictly enforce shooting hours, due to noise concerns. Club #1 was actually shut down for a couple years by the township while the issue was litigated.
As I mentioned in my post, I was on the BOD at Club #1. Board membership is a pain in the neck and one of the most important duties you have as a director is handling stupid members who don't follow club rules. But if you belong to a club and are dissatisfied with some rules, don't just complain about it on the Internet. Get involved and bring about change from within.

* I hate the term "modern sporting rifle" that some shooters have bestowed upon AR-15s, et al., in seeking to come up with a politically correct euphemism. It kowtows to the belief that only sporting arms are protected by the Second Amendment, when in fact, it protects arms suitable for use by members of the militia. See United States v. Miller, 307 U.S. 174 (1939), and see 10 U.S.C. Section 311 for the composition of the militia. Further, some state constitutions explicitly recognize that the people have the individual right to keep and bear arms. E.g., Article I, Section 21 of the PA constitution reads, "The right of the people to keep and bear arms in defense of themselves and the state shall not be questioned."

**If you go into most gun shops, significant rack space will be devoted to semiauto, military-style rifles like AR-15s and Kalashnikovs. In handguns the M-1911 semiauto -- as made by many gun manufacturers and still going strong after 101 years -- and more modern designs like the various Glocks, S&W Military & Polices, and Springfield XDs dominate. Revolvers take up a much smaller amount of valuable shelf space.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Remington with Kirst Konversion Range Report

I just realized that I never posted a follow up range report on the cartridge conversion 1858 Remington I built last month.

For those of you tuning in late, last month I took a Pietta 1858 Remington percussion revolver and with the help of a Kirst Konverter and my Dremel tool, converted it to fire metallic cartridges. .45 Colt in this case.

So far I've had it out a few times and put 100 rounds total through it. It's working like a champ. Ammo was Black Hills .45 Colt loaded with a hard cast 250 grain LRNFP bullet at a sedate 750 FPS. At 7 yards it shot a couple inches high but into one hole. This Pietta has a heavier trigger pull than my other 3 Pietta Remingtons which makes it harder to shoot accurately. I'm going to look into a trigger job.

Recoil is noticeable. It's not painful by any means but the gun has a good deal of muzzle flip with this load. It'll be interesting to try with 200 grain loads, maybe even .45 Schofields. Since you cannot safely run hot loads in these conversions, I may as well go with light loads.

The .45 Colt cowboy loads are low pressure and don't require you to use the ejector rod to extract them if the chambers are clean. During the first range trip, in which I put 40 rounds through it, I was able to get many of the empties out of the gun by elevating the muzzle then tapping the revolver's butt on the carpet-covered shooting table. Any that didn't come out this way could be easily pulled free with a fingernail. Because the loads are low pressure, the cases don't obturate and seal the chambers very well, so they do end up getting sooty. Once this happens you need something to eject the rounds.

I brought the Remington with me on a camping trip back at the beginning of July where my friends and I did some plinking with it. A .45 Colt bullet will send an old hard drive flying. :-) I also put a couple of the Black Hills rounds through a pine log that was about 10" in diameter, from about 10 - 15 yards. The bullets penetrated the wood and were found under the bark on the far side of the log, showing no deformation other than rifling marks. Remember, these are considered light loads for a .45 Colt.

Recently, I saw somewhere online a passing comparison of .45 Colt cowboy loads with .455 Webley ball. It turns out that the reduced loads intended for cowboy action shooting with .45 Colt are similar to the .455 Webley cartridge used by the British army from the 1890s through the end of WW2. For example, the Black Hills 250 grain .45 Colt load at 750 FPS gives 312 foot pounds of muzzle energy. In contrast, the .455 Webley propelled a 265 grain bullet at a plodding 600 FPS for a paltry 212 foot pounds of muzzle energy. Despite these unimpressive numbers, the .455 had a reputation as a good round for fighting handguns.

Overall, I am really pleased with the Pietta and the Kirst Konverter. The combo gets two big thumbs up from me.

SkyDrive for Mac Issue and Resolution

I have been using Microsoft's free SkyDrive cloud file storage and synchronization service for a couple of months now, and up until last week it ran very smoothly. I've been able to easily sync files between my MacBook Pro running Mac OS 10.7 Lion, and my PC running Windows 7 Professional 64-bit.

Last week the service stopped working on my Mac, and I kept getting an error about having to choose my SkyDrive folder. When I tried to do so I encountered an error complaining that SkyDrive cannot use a folder on a case-sensitive volume.

I double-checked my Mac's hard disk, and sure enough, it was partitioned as a single volume, using the "Mac OS Extended (Journaled)" file system. This is not case sensitive. Repairing permissions didn't fix the error.

After much googling, I ran across several other folks who've encountered the same error message, one of which indicated that running Apple's Software update resolved the issue. Specifically, there is a Mac OS 10.7.4 Supplemental Update, the description of which is

This update addresses an issue where certain new APIs for file access are not present on some systems.

So, with SkyDrive uninstalled from the Mac, I ran Software Update and installed this patch, along with several others. When it finished I restarted the system just to be on the safe side.

After getting back to my desktop I ran the SkyDrive installer and it was able to complete without issues.

So, if you start getting weird error messages from the Mac SkyDrive client incorrectly complaining about a case sensitive file system, run Software Update from the Apple menu.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Rossi 92 Range Report

Today I got out to the range and shot the Rossi 92 I bought last Thursday for the first time. I ran 150 rounds through it: 100 Sellier & Bellot .357 Magnum 158 grain JSP and 50 Winchester white box .38 Special +P 125 grain JHP.

When cycling the gun empty at home  the action felt pretty smooth. However, once I loaded it up it became evident that there were some burrs in the action. In particular, the S&B .357s were hanging up when trying to load them into the chamber. There were a couple burs on the breech face, alongside the ejector slot. After about 20 shots I took a needle file and knocked them down a bit. I worked through 50 rounds of .357 plus 10 rounds of .38 (which fed smoothly). After about 60 rounds the gun was noticeably smoother and I was able to do rapid mag dumps.

The S&B .357s were loaded with a truncated cone bullet, while the Winchester .38s had bullets with more of a curve to the ogive, basically a RNFP with a hole in the tip. The gun seems to feed better with a more rounded bullet profile so I'll try to use that sort of ammo in the future.

I am going to have to tweak the ejector a bit. Ejection of .357 brass was positive but when trying to eject the last .38 in the gun, the empty case stayed in the receiver every time.

When shooting .38s I also experienced one time when the cartridge on the carrier ejected from the gun along with the empty.

After about 60 or 70 rounds I noticed the bolt pin stop screw on the left of the reciever was loose. It will get some Loctite.

AIUI, it's not uncommon for the Rossi .357s (or Marlin 1894s in .357, for that matter) to experience issues with the shorter .38 rounds. As long as it works 100% with .357s I don't mind the occasional bobble with .38s.

The trigger is good. Probably about 5 or 6 pounds and crisp, with very little creep.

I shot the gun at 50 yards, mostly with my arms rested on a shooting bench. The gun will group into about 3" with the loads I shot today. With the rear sight set on the lowest position it shot a few inches high and about 2" left. Since it was pretty close I didn't adjust the sights today, concentrating more on functioning.

Aside from making sure the ejector is not binding on anything and is properly shaped, I plan to strip the gun and polish the wear points to slick it up (but I will NOT be touching the locking bolts, which set headspace). I will also probably replace the plastic magazine follower with one made from steel, and replace the ridiculous bolt-mounted safety. Finally, I'll be giving the stock some attention to make it look nicer. Whatever finish Rossi uses on their wood comes out really dull.

Overall I'm pleased with the Rossi. It's a light, quick handling rifle in a useful caliber at a reasonable price. With a little "fluff and buff" it'll have a really slick action.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Rossi M92 .357 Carbine

I recently joined Langhorne Rod and Gun Club. It looks like this going to be hazardous to my wallet because it's very close to the shop, Surplus City, where I get most of my guns. I stopped there yesterday after going shooting and he had a couple Rossi 92s on the shelf. One blued .357 and one stainless .44 Magnum. Continuing the cowboy gun kick that I've been on, the .357 came home with me. $459.95 OTD.

Back in the days of the Old West, having a rifle and pistol both chambered for the same cartridge simplified logistics for people out on the frontier. The most famous pairing was a Winchester M-1873 and a Colt Single Action Army sharing the .44-40 WCF cartridge. Winchester continued the trend when they introduced the Model 1892 in .44-40, .38-40, and .32-20. The concept fell out of favor for a few decades but regained popularity in the 1960s and nowadays, the most common pairs are in .357 or .44 Magnum. The .45 Colt has been made available in leverguns in the past 15 years or so, and even the .44-40 has become popular again with the growth of cowboy action shooting.

Aside from logistics, lever action rifles chambering what we now consider pistol rounds make a lot of sense for many modern shooters, especially the carbines in .357 Magnum which can also shoot .38 Special.

.38 Special and .357 Magnum are widely available and relatively inexpensive. They are very easy to handload for and have mild recoil. Many indoor ranges will allow you to shoot rifles chambered in them, but not rifles in “real” rifle cartridges. This is important in our increasingly urban society.

Out of a rifle barrel the magnum handgun rounds pick up a lot of steam. E.g., the bullet fired from a 20” .357 carbine will gain several hundred FPS in MV, compared with a revolver, and will have approximately as much energy at 100 yards as one fired from a revolver will at the muzzle. (See the tables near the bottom of the page, here, for example.)

In the late 19th/early 20th Century, the lever action rifle was one of the premier choices for a defensive weapon. Even today, with AR-15s and AK clones easily available, leverguns fill this role well.

A .357, .44 Mag., or .45 Colt lever action carbine is light, handy, and can be stored with a full magazine and empty chamber, but is very fast to get into action. As noted above, the magnum rounds especially get a real boost from the rifle length barrel.

For several decades the Brazilian gunmaker Rossi has offered a copy of the Winchester Model 1892. Several years ago I had one imported by EMF, an 1892 Hartford Model Short Rifle with a 20” octagon barrel in .357. It was a nice shooter and I’ve been kicking myself for trading it off.

The Rossi I got yesterday is the basic carbine model (R92-56001), with a 20" barrel, 10 + 1 capacity, and weighs in at a whopping 5 pounds.

The wood is nondescript but is fitted well.  My dad owned a Browning B92 .357 when I was a teen, and it sure doesn't look as good as that, though.

This is a view of the safety that Rossi came up with. You can also see the Taurus integral gun lock on the back of the hammer. The two silver colored pieces are the locking bolts.

I find the safety ugly and obnoxious. With proper gun handling it is unnecessary.

After I confirm that the rifle works properly, I'll order a plug that's made to replace the safety so that the gun is closer to the way that John Moses Browning designed it. An alternative is an elevation-adjustable peep sight that takes its place; windage is adjusted by drifting the front sight in its dovetail. Steve's Gunz sells both items.

The peep sight paired with either a fiber optic or a large bead front sight should make a good combination for fast sight picture acquisition.

The action is already pretty smooth. As long as the Rossi functions OK I don't think I'll do any tuning on it, except by working the action and shooting it.

Two or three years ago Rossi was bought by their fellow Brazilian gunmaker, Taurus. Since then, the Rossi 92s have incorporated a gun lock built into the hammer, originally designed for Taurus’s revolvers. As with the safety, I'd rather not have the gun lock, but IMO the Taurus design is one of the better ones. It's unobtrusive and I haven't read of any cases where it's been accidentally activated. That said, I'm going to put a drop or two of boiled linseed oil on it to make sure (BLO is nature's Loctite).

I plan to pick up some Watco Danish Oil in medium walnut color. I saw the before and after pics of what a single coat did to a similar Rossi stock, and it was incredible. The wood went from very "meh" to really nice looking.

The only other addition I plan to make is a set of sling swivel studs so I can attach a quick detachable sling when needed.

After I shoot the Rossi I'll post a range report.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Cartridge Reloading

Over on Survival and Emergency Preparedness, I've put up a post on the topic of cartridge reloading which you may find of interest.


I had planned to comment on the Supreme Court's Obamacare decision yesterday but had to attend a funeral. I now feel like I should say Kaddish for the United States of America.

I am disgusted. This is results-oriented jurisprudence at its absolute worst. Roberts' opinion rewrote the law, which its backers insisted all along was not a tax. Now, it's the largest tax increase in the history of, well, ever.

Nearly as bad as the decision are comments from Republican pundits casting this either as a master Machiavellian move by Roberts to make Obama and the Congressional Democrats look bad by having implemented the largest-ever tax increase, or that Roberts was fearful of having the Supreme Court being seen as a partisan political instrument. To those pundits: Please STFU. Only morons are buying your spin.

Fine, the Dems think that despite their prior protests that it's sufficient to justify Obamacare as a tax. I say that once the Republicans obtain control of Congress and the White House, we pass the following legislation:

1. 26 USC Section 53 et seq, the National Firearms Act of 1934, is hereby REPEALED.

2. Title 10 USC Section 311, Militia: Composition and Classes, is hereby ammended:
(c) Each member of the unorganized militia is required by this act to purchase and maintain in proper working order
(i) a rifle of the pattern then currently in use by the United States Army (heretofore "service rifle", and
(ii) no less than six magazines or ammunition feeding devices compatible with the service rifle, with a capacity of no less than twenty cartridges, and
(iii) a maintenance kit for the service rifle, and
(iv) no less than five hundred cartrdiges for the service rifle.
(d) Each member of the unorganized militia who fails to comply with Part (c) of this section shall be taxed no less than $1,500.00 for each year not in compliance, and such tax shall be collected by the Internal Revenue Service.

{Hat tip to Arfcommer "NagOrzo15-1" for the idea.)

Bad idea? If justifying Congress's forcing the individual mandate down our throats under the guise of a tax is acceptable, why not this?

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Marlin 1894 and Century NDS-2 Range Report

Today I was able to get to the range and shoot the Marlin 1894 that I traded for last week. I was also able to get a 25 yard zero for the Bushnell TRS-25 red dot sight that I mounted on my Century NDS-2 AK-74 last month.

I setup an IDPA target with a 3" orange dot in the center at 25 yards. Shooting with my arms rested on the bench but the rifle otherwise unsupported, I fired a 5 shot group. It was a few inches low and slightly to the left. Getting the point of impact to coincide with the point of aim required me to raise the rear sight two notches on the rear sight elevator.

To adjust windage you need to drive the rear sight to the side in the dovetail. To move the POI right you drift the rear sight to the right, and vice-versa. This isn't a precise process, and requires you to use a non-marring mallet, or a hammer and a brass or nylon punch. I had a nylon faced mallet and gave the rear sight base a couple taps to the right. I wound up going a little to far and had to drive it a little bit to the left. For now, it's shooting dead on at 25 yards.

I tried two kinds of .44 Magnum ammo in this trip. First was some of the Federal American Eagle 240 grain JHP that I bought when I got the gun. This ammo shoots OK and groups well, but does not feed smoothly. I really had to muscle the action when shooting it, which gave me some cause for concern. Having read some complaints about Marlin's quality since the Remington takeover and move to Illion, NY, I was bit worried that it might need a trip back to the factory.

However, when I switched to some Remington 240 grain JSP loads the Marlin's action worked a lot more smoothly. I figure that the Federal cases vary in some small dimension that the Marlin doesn't like.

I've picked up a good supply of the Remington ammo so I'm set for awhile. I plan to start handloading for the Marlin so I can afford to shoot it. Also, I intend to load down the .44 Mag to .44-40 velocities, which will make it more pleasant to shoot. The Marlin has a rubber butt pad but even so, after 70 rounds of .44 Mag in a 6.5 pound rifle, my shoulder was feeling tenderized.

Overall I'm pleased with the Marlin 1894. The .44 Magnum is a versatile round, the rifle is nice, compact, and quick shooting, and of course it's got an all-American cachet. I will be adding an aperture sight at some point for faster target acquisition and better accuracy.

I took a break from shooting the Marlin to zero the red dot on the NDS-2. This is the third rifle I've put a Bushnell TRS-25 on and I've come to like the design a lot. Sure, it can be considered an Aimpoint micro-dot knock-off, but for a range toy that's not a problem. The Bushnell generally goes for about $100, about 1/5 to 1/6 the cost of an Aimpoint. That said, many folks have found the TRS-25 to be a very good value, in that it tends to hold up to abuse very well, including being mounted to Ultimak rails on AKs, where it can get very hot.

My TRS-25 is mounted on a low BP-02 mount which attaches to the AK's receiver rail, and places the optic centered over the bore. I bought the mount and sight from Primary Arms, who gets two thumbs up for good pricing and fast shipping.

The TRS-25 required about 30 clicks of left windage adjustment and 30 clicks of up elevation to get POI to equal POA at 25 yards. I'll fine tune the zero later at 100 yards.

The ammo I used in the NDS-2 was Silver Bear 5.45x39 60 grain FMJ. I put 90 rounds through the AK with no problems, just as expected. I may use this combination in this year's Contagion 2012 zombie shoot.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Now He Owns It

In claiming executive privilege today, President Barak Obama took ownership of the Fast and Furious scandal. He can no longer claim that he didn’t know of it until he learned about it from a news story. If that was the case, there wouldn’t be a need to claim privilege.

For over a year, Representative Darrel Issa has been leading the Congressional investigation into the Obama Administration’s back door attempt to build domestic support for gun control, in which it ran guns to known Mexican drug cartel members. During this time the president has feigned ignorance of the operation, and the attorney general has stonewalled Congressional requests for information.

Heretofore, the administration has spun Operation Fast and Furious as a rogue operation run out of a regional office of the BATFE. In essence, they’ve pleaded, “We were too incompetent to keep control of an operation which funneled weapons to foreign criminals, resulting in the deaths of two Federal law enforcement officers, and hundreds of Mexicans.”

When pressed for documents, Holder has repeatedly claimed that the dog ate his homework.

Things finally came to a head today, when in the shadow of a vote to hold the AG in contempt of Congress, President Obama invoked executive privilege as an excuse to continue withholding them.

I guess Holder can now claim that Obama ate the dog that ate his homework.

Executive privilege is a leftover from the days when we were ruled by a king. It should be invoked only in the direst circumstances, such as when releasing information could endanger national security. It is not appropriate to invoke EP as a means to avoid being held accountable for criminal malfeasance. By doing so, he’s taken ownership of this whole sordid mess.

Obama has shown by his past conduct that he is not averse to throwing others under the bus if it advances his own interests. Take, for example, his pastor of two decades, Reverend Jeremiah Wright. I have no doubt that if indeed Fast and Furious went no higher than Holder that Obama would hang him out to dry in a heartbeat. Today’s action invoking executive privilege raises the strong inference that Obama knew about Fast and Furious while it was happening, if not from the get-go.

In the words of Senator Howard Baker, “What did the president know and when did he know it?”

Operation Fast and Furious is being called “Obama’s Watergate.” In truth, it’s far, far worse than that. Watergate involved a burglary and a coverup. Fast and Furious involved the United States government running weapons to foreign criminals and the deaths of hundreds of people.

Under common law, if a person is a major participant with others in the commission of a felony, and someone is killed during the crime, he can be convicted of felony murder.

By invoking executive privilege, President Obama has cast in his lot with criminals responsible for the deaths of hundreds of innocent people. He doesn’t belong in the White House, he belongs in the Big House.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Pietta 1858 Remington with Kirst Konversion

Caveat: Without getting too deep into legalities, converting a percussion revolver into a cartridge firing breechloader is legal in my jurisdiction. Before you undertake a similar project please familiarize yourself with all the relevant laws.

Last week I did my first cartridge conversion of a percussion revolver. Such conversions were common in the years following the Civil War as the use of metallic cartridges became widespread, but there was still a large supply of percussion wheelguns left over from the war. Both Colt and Remington performed these conversions, as did plenty of indpendent gunsmiths. The Colt 1872 Open Top was not much more than an 1860 Army modified to use metallic cartridges. Remington even shipped New Model Armies with a .46 Rimfire cylinder and a percussion cylinder from about 1868 through 1875 or so.  With the rise in popularity of cowboy action shooting, cartridge conversions have become popular once again.

This revolver started life as a Pietta replica Remington 1858 New Model Army. As it came from the factory it was a percussion arm, taking separate powder, ball, and cap. To do the cartridge conversion I bought the cylinder, backplate, and Remington factory style ejector from Kirst Konverter

After getting the parts and reading through the instructions, I broke out every home gunsmith's favorite tool, a Dremel.

I got this Dremel and I ain't afraid to use it!

Note: Wear safety glasses when you're grinding away with the Dremel. You don't want metal shavings, sparks, or grit in your eyes.

First, I cut out and glued to the inside of the frame a template provided by Kirst. Then, I masked the frame with a few layers of duct tape to protect against the inevitable skips. Next, I used a grinding wheel and sanding drums in the Dremel to cut out the loading port in the right side recoil shield.

I also needed to slightly sand down the feet on the bottom of the cylinder backplate because they were too high, causing the cylinder to bind. This is mentioned in Kirst's instructions. I used 600 grit emery paper to polish the cylinder base pin, and some cotton patches with Flitz metal polish to slick up the center hole in the new cylinder. I also polished the front of the cylinder with the 600 grit paper, but even so, the barrel/cylinder gap is very tight.

The next major step was to cut a notch in the loading lever to fit the "flag" on the end of the ejector rod. Unlike most single action revolvers which have a spring loaded ejector, the Remington factory design is a simple rod retained in the open position by the original loading lever. To use it you need to drop the lever. Obviously, this is much less convenient than a spring loaded ejector.

I used a hacksaw to rough in the notch, then finished it with a flat and a square needle file.

Once all the parts were fitted I polished the areas where I'd cut and then touched them up with Birchwood Casey cold blueing solution. All told, I have about 8 hours invested in the project.

[B]One thing that's very important to note is that any of the cartridge conversions are rated for black powder or factory cowboy loads only, and lead bullets only,  with a MV of under 1,000 FPS. The guns are built for use with black powder and soft lead bullets. The forcing cones are not designed to handle jacket bullets. Running hot loads, or God forbid Ruger-only .45 Colt loads runs the risk of catastrophic failure.[/B]

I'd hope to take it to the range today to try it out for the first time, but I had to work on my washing machine instead. {grrr}

I’ll post a range report after I shoot it.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

What is best in life?

To crush the progressives, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of the Democrats!

Well done, Wisconsin!

It will be interesting to hear the spin from the left today in the wake of their failed attempt to recall WI Governor Scott Walker. We're already hearing that the only reason Walker prevailed was that the Republicans outspent the Democrats. Nevermind that (a) Walker did not accomplish several major goals which he campaigned on the first time around, and (b) in light of the amount the Dems spent in the 2008 election it's awfully ironic for them to bitch about campaign spending.

Last night also points to the continued strength of the Tea Party despite MSM protests to the contrary. First, the Tea Party helped unseat Dick Lugar (RINO-IN). The the Tea Party also had a hand in last night's win.

The productive people in this country are sick and tired of the Free Shit Army mooching off of us. We need to maintain this momentum through November.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Saturday Night Range Report

Tonight I was able to get out to the range with my dad and get some pistol shooting in.

Dad brought his Beretta M-9 and S&W Model 67. He got the M-9 pretty recently and so far its proven to be a pretty good pistol. The trigger on it is awful – heavy and the DA pull is long – but it’s been reliable and is quite accurate. To me it has all the ergonomics of a slightly rounded off 2x4, so I’m not a fan.

The Model 67 is the stainless steel version of S&W’s classic Model 15 Combat Masterpiece, built on their K-Frame. There are few handguns nicer to shoot than a K-Frame loaded with .38 wadcutters, IMHO.

As for me, I started off with my Ruger LCP, which due to it’s light weight and thinness, has become my main carry gun. I shot the 6 rounds I had loaded in the gun, Federal .380 90 grain FMJ, then put a few magazines of CCI Blazers through it. I’d wanted to try the Blazers because they are the cheapest American made .380 ammo I’ve seen. As long as the gun worked OK with them I planned to buy a few more boxes for practice. I also wanted to try the extra magazine I bought for the LCP.

As expected the new magazine and the Blazers worked fine in my limited testing. Because the LCP is so light, it’s no fun to shoot. Once I put about 3 magazines through it in one session I get shaky due to the recoil. Tonight I ran 3 mags full shooting left handed and 1 mag shooting from the wrong side. No malfunctions tonight.

Incidentally, the reason that I carry FMJ in my LCP is because penetration with .380 ACP jacketed hollowpoints is marginal. If a manufacturer develops a .380 JHP that can penetrate 12” in ballistic gelatin, I’ll reconsider my choice to carry ball.

Pietta .36 Remington

Much more enjoyable to shoot was my Pietta 1858 Remington “New Army Police” .36 caliber percussion revolver, shown above. I put the model name in quotes because Remington never made such a gun. Rather, they did make .36 revolvers during the percussion era, but they were referred to as a “Navy Model” and built on a slightly smaller frame than the .44 caliber New Model Army. Pietta builds the NAP on the NMA frame, which results in a really beefy gun.

I loaded the Pietta with 28 grains of Swiss Schuetzen FFFg black powder, a lubricated felt wad, and a .380 cast lead ball from Rush Creek. Ignition was from Remington No.10 caps.

I put 30 rounds through the wheelgun, pulling the cylinder pin after 18 rounds to put some more Ballistol on it to keep the cylinder turning easily. The Pietta suffered no malfunctions in this range session. I’ve found the Remington replicas to be much less prone to cap jams than the Colt repros.

Accuracy at 7 yards was pretty good with most of my shots in one hole a couple inches across. Unlike most cap and ball sixguns it shoots a bit low, so one of these days I need to bring a file with me to the range and take a little off the front sight, to raise the point of impact.

One thing which has continued to impress me is just how good the Swiss black powder is. I remember back in the 1990s when Elephant brand black powder was imported from Brazil, and people complained about how weak and dirty it was compared to Goex. Well, comparing Goex black powder to the Swiss stuff is like comparing Elephant to Goex. It burns much, much cleaner and is also more powerful than Goex, almost on par with Hodgdon Triple 7. I took me only four patches wet with Windex to get the Pietta’s bore clean after firing 30 shots. Unfortunately, Swiss BP is about as expensive as Triple 7.

Overall, it was a nice Saturday night.