Saturday, July 06, 2019

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Fishing With A Dirt Cheap Rod

Last year when I started to get back into fishing I became aware of Tenkara, including some very inexpensive rods imported from Asia. By inexpensive I mean that I saw them for $5 with free shipping from China when bought on eBay.

Earlier this week I ordered a very similar cheap rod made by uxcell from Amazon, for the princely sum of $10.47 on Prime. Uxcell offers them in several lengths. Since my good Tenkara rod is 12 feet long, I decided to go shorter and got a 2.5M / 8.2 foot rod. I figured it might be easier to use when there are a lot of overhanging branches. That's common along creeks in Southeastern PA.

Actually, based on what I read on tenkarabum.com, this might be more properly classed as a "keiryu" rod due to the lack of a cork handle.

The fit and finish of this rod are nowhere near as nice as my Wild Water Tenkara rod, but it was about 1/9th the cost. Before I took it out I added a couple layers of plumber's Teflon pipe tape to the threads on the base plug, because it seemed a little loose. I also added a couple drops of super glue to where the lillian attaches to the tip. Then, I added a lanyard of day glow line to the cap to make it easier to find if I drop it in the woods. Finally, I added a line winder from the 3-pack I got a few weeks ago. I much prefer this type to the foam disks.




Collapsed, the rod is 15-3/8" long. Weight of the rod itself without the line or winder is 59g / 2.08 ounces.

Closeup of the markings:


I was pleasantly surprised to see "Made in Japan" on it.

As a proof of concept, I decided to try something different. Instead of rigging it with a Tenkara line, tippet, and fly, I attached about 10 feet of #18 tarred bank line terminating in a swivel. Tarred bank line is intended more for catfishing but I had a hunch that it would work OK in lieu of level line, especially if using the rod with bait. Bank line is very popular with bushcrafters and I thought it would be interesting to try the new rod with something that many bushcrafters will already have on hand.

When I got to the Wissahickon Creek tonight after work, I attached a snelled and debarbed #6 hook and put a piece of a Slim Jim on it. After I got the hang of casting with the rig and getting several nibbles, I pulled out a decent sized sunfish.




After awhile the fish stopped showing interest in the bits of Slim Jim so I switched over to wet flies. To do so I left the swivel on the end of the bank line and attached a few feet of tippet to it, then tied on a fly. (I don't know the name of any flies except for Killer Bugs, which I was out of. I have some more being delivered tomorrow.)

Anyway, after a few casts this little bluegill took a bite:



Because I used debarbed hooks and neither fish swallowed the hooks, I was able to release both of them easily.

The uxcell rods are a good way to try out Tenkara / Keiryu type fishing on the cheap. They are inexpensive enough to leave in your car, bugout bag, or get home bag.

Sunday, June 09, 2019

The Surprisingly Solid Mathematical Case of the Tin Foil Hat Gun Prepper

This piece from last year is well worth reading.

As gun policy discussions unfold in the wake of mass shooter incidents, they routinely end in three buckets. There’s the “tyranny can never happen here” bucket, which the left has mostly abdicated in the wake of Trump winning after they called (and still call) him a tyrant. There’s the “you can’t fight the army with small arms” bucket, which is increasingly unsound given our ongoing decade-and-a-half war with Afghani tribal goat herders. And there’s the “what the hell do you need an AR-15 for anyway?” bucket, which, by its very language, eschews a fundamental lack of understanding of what those people are thinking. I am not a prepper. But I know a few. Some of the ones I do know are smart. They may not be doing as deep an analysis as I present here, on a mathematical level, but the smart ones are definitely doing it at a subconscious level. If you want to understand the perspectives of others, as everyone in my opinion should strive to do, then you would do well to read to the end of this article. To get where we’re going, we will need to discuss the general framework of disaster mathematics.

...

If we look at raw dialectic alone, we reach dismal conclusions. “Do you think the United States will exist forever and until the end of time?” Clearly any reasonable answer must be “no.” So at that point, we’re not talking “if,” but “when.” If you don’t believe my presumed probability, cook up your own, based on whatever givens and data pool you’d like, and plug it in. The equations are right up there. Steelman my argument in whatever way you like, and the answer will still probably scare you.

...

Read the whole thing.

Monday, June 03, 2019

Fishing

I've never been a big fisherman, my brother held that title in my family. However, in the past year my younger daughter has really gotten into it. I've gone with her several times and mostly used either a Zebco 202 spincast setup, or a Zebco Dock Demon spincast rod.

I've always liked spincasting reels because I wound up getting fewer tangles. My brother and daughter like spinning reels, while my brother also has some bait casting and fly fishing rigs.

Last year I learned about Tenkara fly fishing and the simplicity appealed to me. Tenkara rods have no reel. Instead, the line is attached to a short piece of cord attached to the end of the rod, called a lillian. The line is about the same length as the rod. A lightweight leader, or tippet, is then tied to the line, and a fly is then tied to the tippet.

Last Fall I bought a Wild Water Fly Fishing Tenkara Starter Package. However, I didn't get a chance to try it until last Saturday when I took my daughter fishing in a local creek. Using a "Killer Bug," I caught my first fish ever on a fly. It was a small bluegill but it was a neat experience.

I like the WW Tenkara package a lot as it includes pretty much everything you need to get started. However, I don't like the line winders they include, which are of two types. First is a foam disk that slips over the rod. It's easy to use but prevents the rod from fitting into the storage tube. The other type is two doohickeys that are held on with O-rings. They weren't very well made, one of them broke, and in any event, they are a major PITA to put on the rod.

So, I got this Seaquest set of 3 clip-on line winders, lines, and tippets, which came today. You can see one of the line winders on my rod below, with the other two laying next to the rod on the right. On those the green is foam which is there so you can stick a fly into it.



You can also see the Killer Bug fly I put on tonight. It is stuck into the foam part of the line winder.

Also shown in the pic is the day glow green paracord I added to the plug for the telescoping rod. The main reason for that is to make it harder to lose but it also makes it easier to pull out the plug.

Setup as shown it fits nicely into the dark green storage tube so that I can just grab it, held to a local creek, and start fishing immediately.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

CZ Scorpion Improvments

Today I installed a few parts from HB Industries in my CZ Scorpion.

The first and easiest was an extended charging handle on the right side. Installation required drifting the handguard pin to the left, sliding in the new charging handle, and returning the pin to its original position.




As you can see, the new charging handle provides a much larger gripping surface.

The second part was an extended paddle magazine release. I'm really glad that HBI included a spring with it because I managed to drop and lose the OEM spring.





Finally, I installed HBI's reduced power trigger and disconnector spring kit. This required the most work but I had it done in under a half hour. While I had the trigger pack apart I took the time to polish the engagement surfaces with hard Arkansas stones. I also put a bit of Teflon-bearing Superlube grease on the contact points.

Incidentally, HBI has some very well done instructional videos on their YouTube channel.

As it came from the factory the trigger pull was at least 9 pounds. Now it's about 5.5 pounds and much smoother.

These are small changes but should make shooting the gun better.

Sunday, May 05, 2019

CZ Scorpion EVO 3 S2 Micro

A gun I got interested in when it was first announced over a year ago is the CZ EVO 3 S2 Scorpion Micro with telescoping PDW-style brace*. This is a shorter, lighter version of the Scorpion carbine and pistol.

CZ's web page for the "pistol" is here.  A good video overview is here.

In light of ongoing leftist violence and especially after the recent Poway, CA Chabad shooting, I decided that having a PDW that'll fit in a laptop bag might be a good tool to have. The Scorpion Micros are still hard to find but I found some on Gunbroker and decided to get one. They are still selling for about MSRP and I don't expect that to change until supply catches up with demand. I took delivery from my FFL last Friday.





I have an old Dell laptop briefcase. The gun fits in it with a 32 round magazine inserted.



Fit and finish on it are excellent. Field stripping is easy. By pretty much all accounts, the larger Scorpions are extremely reliable guns. I'm expecting this one to be as good. What makes it a "Micro" is just a shorter barrel (4.12") and handguard. The action is the same as the larger models.

It came in a cardboard box with manual, warranty card, pull-through bore cleaner, gun lock, two 20-round mags, and an Allen key.

In reading up on the Scorpions, I found complaints about three things: the trigger pull, that the safety lever interferes with one's trigger finger when shooting, and the grip. The trigger pull on mine is creepy and over 8 lbs., so I've ordered an HB Industries spring kit and will do a trigger job. Maybe it's my small hands but the safety lever seems fine to me, as does the grip.

I also ordered from HBI a paddle mag release and extended charging handle, which will go on the right side, since I'm a lefty. I also plan to put a red dot sight on it.

When I ordered the Scorpion I also ordered two Manticore Arms 32-round magazines from Prepper Gun Shop. They arrived the day before the gun.

Today I got it to the range despite the rain. Thankfully, my range has a covered firing line. The crummy weather let me have the place to myself, which was really nice.

A pic of the gun with the factory and Manticore magazines:




Closeup of the feed lips of the Manticore (L) and factory (R) mags:




First 10 shots at 25 yards:



I moved the rear sight 13 clicks to the right to center the POI. After it was zeroed I used up the rest of the ammo banging steel on our 25 yard plate rack.

All told, I put 180 rounds of CCI 9mm 115 grain FMJ Blazer Brass through the CZ. There were no malfunctions. As a lefty, I find that a lot of straight blowback operated guns will send gun schmutz into my face and the CZ is no exception. It's not bad and something you get used to, but it reinforces the need for eye protection.

The sights are a bit low to come up naturally, and like my stocked Mauser C96, seeing the front sight can sometimes be difficult with 50 year old eyes. The gun will definitely get a red dot sight.

The outside of the faux suppressor got only slightly warm to the touch.

I ordered more of the steel-lipped Manticore magazines. Speaking of which, a Maglula is recommended for them unless you have strong thumbs. I found that once I got to about 22 rounds in them, it became very difficult to load more.  https://amzn.to/2VhcE3a

Overall, I'm very pleased with the Scorpion Micro. It's going to be both a fun shooter and a serious defensive tool.


* PDW = Personal Defense Weapon.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Report from a member of the Poway Chabad Synagogue


I’m sure that you’ve already heard about the shooting at the Chabad synagogue yesterday in Poway, CA. For those unfamiliar with Chabad, it is an orthodox Jewish movement engaged in outreach to other Jews, especially those who’ve gone adrift, so to speak.

Members of Chabad also tend towards the conservative end of the political spectrum, are often Republican and pro-Trump.

One of the members of the Poway congregation is a member of AR15.com, his screen name is “Drsalee” (he’s a dentist). He started a thread about the shooting yesterday and posted this comment on page 11 yesterday:

"This congregation is armed.

"Lori’s husband had a wheel gun hidden safely in a cabinet. Only a few congregants knew about it. The Rabbi is also armed.

"The perp parked out front, walked in the open front door. Shots were fired immediately, I’m not sure exactly who was hit first. The Rabbi had a few fingers shot off. Lori took one shot to the abdomen and died instantly.

"When husband heard the commotion, he retrieved the wheel gun and tossed it to the BP guy who was praying. There was another ex-military congregant accosted the perp, screaming at folks to get down. The perp panicked and ran to his car. The BP fired several shots into the car, blowing out the back window and possibly hitting a tire. The perp surrendered to local LA a mile down the road.

"The perp had multiple mags. A huge massacre was prevented by the presence of that wheel gun."

Link: https://www.ar15.com/forums/general/Shooting-at-synagogue-in-Poway-CA/5-2215936/&page=11?fbclid=IwAR2yRuoFlR3pIR72hrOiKODwwIhAZbpb7Mt5LeMrYzJZCD7RBViTOencLpQ (Scroll down toward the bottom.)

(Note: Wheel gun is slang for a revolver, for those who don't know.)

Once again, the only thing that prevented a massacre was the presence of a good guy with a gun and the guts to use it. I am posting this because I doubt it’s going to be reported in the MSM. It goes against the narrative that guns aren't useful for defense.

I also want to note that I've read the perp's manifesto. Aside from being an antisemite, he's also anti-Trump, largely because he sees Trump as pro-Jewish and a Zionist. So, before anyone claims this is a result of Trump encouraging antisemitism or racism, stuff it.