Saturday, February 25, 2006

Carnival of Cordite #49

Up at Gullyborg.

Side note: Gullyborg may have to cease hosting the Carnival in the future. MAY have to. Check out the Carnival, and get the details.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Do medical people forget their patients don't know what they're talking about

when they use medical terminology? I mean, for God's sake, you send someone results written in med-school gobbledy-gook and wonder why they call you and ask "Just what the hell does this mean?"

When my back was giving me trouble, the doctor prescribed the two meds and had some x-rays shot. And the radiologist mailed me a copy of the report, with a nice drawing of the spine and arrows pointing to the areas he's noting, and everything is in language that doesn't tell me if I'm just suffering the slings and arrows of time and wear, or something nasty is wrong and what should I do about it?

I took it in to the followup visit and asked the doctor to translate to something a normal human can understand, and she did. Time and wear. She did agree that it doesn't do much good to send someone a report that they don't have the background to understand, and that searching on the internet won't necessarily tell them just how it applies to them.

'Course, then they'd have to deign to translate into english, instead of using all the $3 words they learned in school.

Updated: Cleaning, old greasy guns this time

I originally put this together about a year ago. I've picked up some more information in the time since, so I've updated it and instead of just editing the original I'm posting the new version.

Old military guns in particular. If you've ever bought an old surplus rifle you'll know what I mean. Some aren't too bad, others are awful. Especially British and some U.S. rifles. Many stocks were oiled to help preserve them, and they soaked up oil from the metal. A lot of them soaked up so much that when the wood gets hot from either the sun or shooting, oil seeps out. And then, of course, there's Cosmoline.

Cosmoline is a grease that was designed for one thing: to protect metal from corrosion in long-term storage. And it works, very well. The bad thing about it? Getting it off. It is the stickiest stuff you've ever ruined your pants on, and the British in particular used a lot of it; the climate I would assume. When a rifle was sent back for service/storage they would dismantle it; anything needing work was repaired or replaced; then the bore was filled, the action & barrel greased thoroughly and replaced in the stock; and sometimes the wood was given a coat. When it was placed in the rack or crate, it could- did- sit there for years into decades, well protected from rust. Which means when you get it...

Did I mention that if it has sat long enough, the stuff can harden? Petrified Cosmoline is even worse to get out.

The metal's not that bad. Most any cleaning solvent, including hot water & soap(I've know of people taking one to a car wash and using the engine cleaner spray on it) will cut the grease off; my favorite is either low-odor mineral spirits or a can of carburetor cleaner. Either will cut the stuff and leave no residue behind(yes, use rubber gloves and ventilation). For mineral spirits, first get a wallpaper tray(plastic, $2 or $3 bucks) and a stiff paintbrush. Put the barreled action in the tray, pour over some ms, and start brushing it on. You can do this without taking trigger, etc., off, and you can throw the bolt in also; getting it all off makes it easier to dismantle completely and oil later. This stuff cuts old grease and crud very nicely, and when you're done you can set the metal aside and the ms evaporates quickly. Then you can do complete disassembly with a lot less mess.

I mentioned carb cleaner. It or brake cleaner is good for a number of things, as it cuts grease and oil and evaporates leaving no trace of itself. Unless you want to use a case at a time, it's not good for a really greased-up piece. For light degreasing, and hitting the corners you find you missed with the brush, it's great, as the spray helps cut and blow the stuff out. Same as ms or anything else of the type, use gloves and good ventilation.

One thing you can do if you've got a: a really greasy gun and b: want to get it started but you don't have time for the above right now is make a soaker. I took a piece of 4" PVC pipe about four feet long and put a permanent cap on one end. Pour in about a gallon of laquer thinner, mineral spirits, or kerosene. Take the barreled action out of the stock and lower it action first into the pipe. Slosh it up and down a few times, then let it down to the bottom and slip a cap on the open end and prop it up somewhere securely so it won't fall over. You can leave it there up to overnight, and the stuff will cut a lot of the grease off. Note: I do not know how long you can leave one in this without a chance of rust; some of the stuff will attract moisture from the air(which is another reason for capping it). I do know that I've left a piece in overnight with no problems at all; it depends, I would think, on the humidity in your area. Two more points:
Some will fit inside with the bolt in, some you'll have to remove the bolt and(maybe) the trigger for it to fit inside the pipe.
Second: if you're going to do a number of these things over time, you might consider either building a rack to hold the pipe or finding a place you can bungee-cord it solidly. You might also consider getting piece of steel or iron pipe and having a plug welded on one end; some solvents might attack PVC.

Now you come to the wood. There are all kinds of methods that work, including spray oven cleaner, degreasers and lots of rinsing, etc. However, some of this stuff can harm the wood. And, they only clean the surface, leaving a lot of stuff soaked in; and it WILL bleed out over time, especially when the wood gets hot. The only thing I've found that really 'deep-cleans' the wood is heat and time. My favorite method, is the kitty-litter method; details later.

Let me throw in here, some of this depends on your long-term intent. If you have a really beat-up stock that you plan on refinishing(as in sanding down to remove all or most of the dings), you have more methods open. If you plan in keeping it in as original a state as possible, you're more limited. In either case, you might want to clean the surface to see what's there first. Sometimes there are armory markings and cartouches, individual touches, etc., hiding under all that crud on the surface. For instance, the first mil-surp firearm I ever owned was a #4 Mk1 Enfield; cleaning brought out a row of small 'x' marks on the bottom edge of the stock; apparently someone was keeping count. If I'd started sanding before looking it over, I never would have seen them. You can use a degreaser and water to clean the surface, but that can harm/hide small markings. What seems to work very well at surface cleaning with less chance of damaging the wood is odorless mineral spirits. Use that wallpaper tray I mentioned before. Take all the metal you can off, although you can leave everything except the action, barrel & trigger assembly in at this stage with no problem. Pour some ms in and use a brush to work it all over the surface. Let it sit a few minutes, then use the brush to work it around again. Just keep doing this for a while, and you'll notice the wood looking better and a lot of stuff collecting in the bottom of the tray. When it's clean enough to see all the details, take it out and set it aside to dry, and pour the ms back in the can. By the way, do have a good-sized funnel for this as you can reuse the ms a number of times.

When it's dry, you can look it over and see what's on the surface. You might be surprised both by the markings and by the look of the wood; a lot of these firearms turn out to have some very pretty wood in the stock. On the other hand, it may have no markings at all left; many U.S. firearm stocks were refinished more than once, and all the markings disappeared into sanding dust. If this is the case, sanding it down will harm nothing. Personally, if I do find armory or personal markings, I'd try to preserve them, but that's a decision you'll have to make. If you decide to keep them but still want to sand it a bit to clean up the dings, splinters, etc., you can put your thumb over the marks and sand around them; just keep the sanding light, maybe using #000 or 0000 steel wool only if all you need is a touch of smoothing.

If you've got dents you want to get rid of, steam is your friend. Use a soldering iron or clothes iron and a cloth. Get the cloth wet, put a fold of it over the dent, and apply the iron; the iron boils the water to steam and the only place for some of it to go is into the wood. You may have to do it several times, but you might be surprised how much it'll raise the surface of the dent. When done, let it dry & sand lightly to remove the whiskers.

Ok, you've looked the stock over and decided how you want to refinish it. Even if you plan to sand it down completely, I'd still recommend doing a deep-clean degreasing, otherwise that old crud will seep out and ruin the finish you put on. I mentioned the kitty-litter method, and here it is: Strip the stock to wood only and wipe off any grease that was hiding under barrel band springs, buttplate, etc. Get some heavy plastic and make a bag wide enough to put the stock in and about a foot longer, make sure you seal it well enough to hold some weight. Put the stock in, and then fill the bag with either cheap unscented kitty litter or oil absorbent. Close the bag and lay it out in the sun all day. Next day, put it back out on the other side. Depending on temperature and how much oil/grease the thing had soaked up, a week to ten days should do it. The heat will cause the oil/grease to bleed to the surface and the litter will soak it up. When done take it out and go over it with a brush to make sure you get all the dust out of the holes and inletting. You may want to use the mineral spirits and brush right now; it'll cut the last of the stuff on the surface and get rid of it(you can also use a degreaser and water to clean the surface now, though if you're trying to preserve cartouches and such I'd advise against it). I've seen an old stock come out of this treatment looking almost like new wood. Don't throw the absorbent away, save it for when you spill oil on the driveway and such. Or the next rifle. You can also, in cooler weather, put it in the truck or backseat of your car when it's parked in the sun; just make sure the bag is sealed.

The other way to do this is much faster, but only works if the stock is short enough to fit in the oven. Prepare the wood as before. Take a roll of cheap paper towels and stuff the receiver area, barrel channel, etc. with them, if it's got a butt trap stuff that, then wrap the entire stock with at least two layers. Wrap the whole thing in aluminum foil, stick it in the oven and turn it to 'low'. Please make sure the stock is not touching the coil or right on the bottom above the burner, whichever. Leave it there for at least an hour, pull it out/yes, it will be rather warm/ and unwrap. Throw away the paper, which will be soaked, repack & wrap the stock and put it back in. It does the same thing as the litter treatment, it just does it faster. For smaller pieces you could probably either use a metal pan full of litter, or a length of metal tubing; put the wood in, cover with litter, seal the end of the tube and bake.

Another thing that works well on smaller pieces is to make a mix of one part ammonia to three parts water, get a soft brush and start brushing that over the piece. My understanding is the ammonia converts the oil/grease to a form of soap which the water can wash away. This works well on pistol handgrips, handguards & such. You may not want to use this on pieces that are very thin, as it can cause warping. The piece will then need to dry thoroughly before you can refinish it. I can attest that this will get crud out of a piece of wood that looks clean, used on an oily pistol grip or handguard it can be amazing how much stuff winds up in the bucket.

Theres a forum here that specializes in this subject(their home site has lots of interesting forums), there's a lot there on both cleaning and refinishing. Some of their methods I've never tried, some I wouldn't. I keep using the kitty litter method because:
A. I'm lazy
B. Once it's set up and heating, I can do something else
C. Again, If there are, or you suspect there may be, markings of interest on the wood, this method will not damage the surface as some others might. I have to stress might; people on the Milsurp forums swear by some of the other methods. You makes your choice and takes your chances.

Whether you're just touching up an old stock or completely refinishing, you'll find that, even after a good degreasing, the sandpaper will clog up fast. For just touching up, no big deal, you're not doing that much. For complete refinishing, it is a big deal, you'll go through a lot of it. So if you're taking all the old finish and surface off, I will suggest using a scraper.

A scraper will cut fast and clean, and won't clog; at most you'll just have to wipe off the edge every so often. You can buy commercially-made scrapers at woodworking shops and suppliers, or you can make your own. Two ways to make them.

DISCLAIMER: the first method yields a good scraper that will, if you're not careful, slice you worse than what you're working on. Use gloves and be damn careful, and if you start hemmoraging don't blame me.

The simplest, cheapest way is to use glass. Get something like a mayonnaise jar, wrap it in something and break it, or break a piece of almost any piece of glass. The edges will be VERY sharp, and if you're not careful will slice you as you work, so use gloves and BE CAREFUL.

The other way is to make it of metal. What was recommended to me some years ago was an old hand-saw blade. Use a Dremel and cutoff wheel, or a grinder with said wheel, or just use the corner of a grinding wheel to cut a groove along which you can break a piece off. Then grind the edges you cut square, and as smooth as possible. Here a sanding drum or belt sander works very well. You also want to touch up wth sides, to the edge is square a smooth. Now comes the tricky part. For a very fine cut you can use it as is, but to take off material fairly quickly you need to forma 'hook' along the edge. The way I was shown was to clamp the piece in a vise, take a screwdriver with a round shank- the smooth part of a round file, basically anything rounded, smooth and hard enough will work- and push and pull it along the edge, tilted toward the edge you're forming the hook on. It forces the corner to curl over a bit, giving you a very aggressive cutting edge. You can do all sides if you wish, I'd suggest only hooking the edge or edges you plan on using, so you don't have to worry about cutting yourself on a fresh edge.

Generally, with glass or steel, you want a piece with a curve to the edge, which will let you work around the curves in the stock better. Hold the scraper(Carefully, I said!) with the working edge trailing your hand; you're not pushing it into the wood, you're dragging it across the surface. A little trial and error will show you the best angle, that varies according to the wood and the tool. Drag it a ways, see how deep and wide it cut, make the next pass and observe; you'll find the best angle to work the piece at. You'll also produce lots of fine shavings, and in the case of an old gunstock you'll be removing the crud at the surface along with the wood. You can work the entire piece, or just in an area that needs serious cutdown.

When you're done, you'll have a stock with a much cleaner, smoother surface, ready for sanding. And you'll have much less trouble with the sandpaper clogging.

Finishing up depends on whether you're trying to keep the finish historically accurate or just get a good-looking finish that will protect the wood. You can use boiled linseed oil, you can use shellac, you can use Birchwood Casey's gunstock finish, there are lots of possibilities. Do some research and give something a try. Personally I don't use linseed anymore for two reasons: first, on old wood it can actually soften it, and second, it darkens the wood; a LOT. If you want it real dark, that's fine, but it can actually darken enough to hide the pretty grain you found. One thing I'm trying is a method recommended by the Fulton Armory site for M1 rifles; degrease, do any sanding, etc., then give the wood a coat of Minwax Natural Stain(no color, it just seals the surface) followed after appropriate drying time by a coat of Minwax Tung Oil Finish. I've got a stock I'm trying it out on, 'trying' still because NOBODY around here has the Tung Oil Finish. However, using the Natural Stain on an old walnut stock looks wonderful; the wood looks new, and seems pretty well protected from moisture. I'm keeping it clean, and as soon as I find the finish(probably have to order it) I'll apply it and update this with the new info.

Ref the kitty litter method, if you'll be cleaning a number of stocks, you might want to make a sturdier container. I recently bought a 5' section of 5" diameter stovepipe for one. Cut it to 50" long, then mashed it into an oval cross-section, then made two plugs out of 5/8" plywood. One's screwed and caulked into one end, the other uses two screws to hold it in place. I also drilled a hole in the removable plug and set an eyebolt in it to make it easier to pull out. Then I painted the whole thing flat black. To use, pour a couple of inches of litter in, set the stock in, then fill it up, insert the plug and lock in place, then lay it in the sun.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Yeah, I worry about tomorrow

And the day after, especially for my kids. Primarily because I worry about the outcome of the First Terrorist War if we don't do this harshly. And I has to be harshly, because the fascist idiots we're fighting will see anything else as weakness. We stomp them hard enough, long enough, the really stupid ones will die and the others will get the idea that trying to force Mohammed the molester down our throats isn't a good idea.

I wrote once before that what may have been a mistake on our part was prosecuting this war in such a 'clean' fashion; 'clean' in that we've spent so much time and effort trying to keep the innocent out of it. Overall I cannot regret it, but the fact is the assholes see it as weakness to be exploited. If they've thought of it, I don't think the actually believe that the West, the U.S. in particular, has the balls to say "Screw it, we're tired of this" and really, really stomp them. No big surprise when the 'clams' as Jeff Cooper calls them(Congressional left, academia, media) keep wailing about how we're at fault, and the terrorists are not to blame, etc. And lots of brainless, bigmouthed celebrities praise them as 'minutemen' and such bullshit. And if they do push it to that point, they'll be in the mindset of the rapist whose intended victim shoots his balls off and is wailing that it's not fair, she shouldn't have done that, etc. Someone said, I can't remember where, that what he really feared was the Islamists would push us to the "Fuck it" point and make us do things we would later regret; I worry that it's coming. Right now we've got CAIR and idiots in mosques here in the U.S. calling "death to America" and all the usual crap, and if you so much as flip them off they start screaming "Hate crime! Bigot" and so forth. I really wonder if they've actually considered what'll happen if their little pets actually do dump some anthrax or smallpox into the air, or set off a nuke in a major city? The feds and co. will be the least of their worries; people will remember who was calling for jihad against America and calling for death for the infidels, and they'll do something about it.

Which is another reason to be pissed that the law enforcement people seem to do so little, largely out of fear of being called names and sued, about these clowns; if people think, truly believe, that the authorities won't take care of self-professed enemies of this country, they'll do something about it themselves, and it won't be pretty. Or nice. Or neat.

A little earlier was looking at 'ShrinkWrapped' and found this and this, about time running out for moderate Muslims, and the long-term consequences to a lot of countries of radical Islam. Virtually no progress in the sciences or arts in countries they control, living off the sales of oil, and trying to destroy what progress has been made in the latter; how the fascists are pushing the moderates out in the former. One of the things he notes is that, discounting what we'll do, is that "The rest of the world is not as “nice” as America has been," and will, if anything, be even nastier when it comes to it. Assuming they decide to act in time. Hell, France rammed and boarded boats, and sank one with a bomb just for annoying them about nuclear tests and that worm president of theirs has already spoken of using nukes if he thinks necessary; do the islamists really think that- especially considering past history- France would have a problem with nuking them? Or that Russia will be restrained in action of the idiots do something sufficiently bloody?

And speaking of the extremists taking over, he notes something I wrote about before, that while so many countries are living almost entirely off oil sales, western countries are working on other energy sources and more efficient uses for oil. What happens when someone actually produces a really efficient solar cell that's worth using in numbers? More efficient ways of synthesizing oil, and/or using organic waste to make it? For that matter, not counting cold-fusion research, building more nuclear power plants? Oil and gas demand drops, and the economies of those countries go in the toilet. When the kleptocrats who run many of them can no longer pay their army enough to suppress the people, or buy off the imams to go somewhere else to spill blood?

We may be reaching a tipping point of our own, the point between being able to stomp the bad guys and prevent the Big Bangs, and the other side of massive, no-shit War with all that entails. One way is messy and upsets the 'elites' but may fix the problem as much as it can be fixed; the other will fix the problem, and leave a very, very big mess behind. The islamists have themselves convinced we don't have the balls to decisively act, and if we don't prove them wrong early, they'll call down the wrath on their heads, and a lot of innocents will get hurt in it.

But then, the innocents don't count to them, do they?

Additional: thoughts about stuff 'appearing from Mars' here.

He who dies with the most ammo,

didn't go shooting enough

How much is enough? How much for which gun? And so forth.

A couple of years ago a friend of mine was over in Wales, and at one point discussion turned to firearms. Friend mentioned the several Enfields he owns and someone asked how much ammo he had for them. He thought a bit, then said "Only about 200 rounds right now". Shocked silence for a moment at the very thought of such a mass of ammo. Short time before a couple had been arrested and their firearms and ammo confiscated; the newspapers were aghast at the 'arsenal' of a couple of rifles, a shotgun, and almost two hundred rounds of ammunition! The firearms and ammo were legal, mind you, and they hadn't done anything illegal with it; it was just the opinion of the authorities that nobody should have such a collection of potential mayhem.

His description of the shock, etc., started me laughing. At the time I had about 400 rounds of .303, and enough stuff total- counting .22's to 8mm- to give Scotland Yard a hernia and the galloping trots just thinking about it. And on a few things, I thought I was running short. Ah, one of the wonders of this country; I buy a 400-round can of .30-06, or a 440-round can of 7.62x54r, or- as was the case one day- a case of 1140-rounds of 7.62x39(already on clips, don't you just love it?) without any hassle other than carrying it out. When the kids were small and I could finally afford it, I tried to never be at less than 2000 rounds of .22's(have you ever seen what two kids can do to a brick over a couple of hours?!?), and when I started messing with military surplus('milsurp' for short) rifles, let's see, a sealed 440-round spam can of 7.62x39 for $34.95 plus shipping here, 500 rounds of 7.62x39 for fifty bucks here(when it's back in stock), and so forth. And the stuff you can sometimes find at an Evil Loophole Gun Show, Oh, the Wonders!

Last year at the big Tulsa gun show I got three cans of .30-06(one for Dad), friend got a 440-round can each of 7.62x54r and 8mm, and some smaller boxes of various stuff, and they even dollied it out to the truck for us!

No, I did NOT take up a chunk of the evening counting everything. I do know that I'd like to have more 6.5x55 Swede, some of the Wolf 150-grain 7.62x54r to try out in the Mosin, and some more of those Winchester sabot slugs in 12guage to try out, and so on. More .303, of course, it's getting hard to find in milsurp anymore. I've got one old .50 caliber can full, but I don't really want to shoot it; I unsealed the can it came in and found that every box was dated 1942. I did take one box to try out, and it shot beautifully through my Enfield. But I felt like I was using up pieces of history, so the rest is stored.

Anyway, here's another reason to tell people like Schumer and Feinstein and Boxer and Clinton to go to hell; the freedom of being able to pick up a whole pile of ammo on sale without having to get approval from some minion of government to do so.

Including the two bricks of Eley Sport I ordered for the Martini. Thanks, Britain, for at least not putting Eley out of business, you GFW weenies.

Monday, February 20, 2006

The complications of life

In a number of ways. There's been a lot printed, electronically and on paper, about how modern communications has changed things. 'Things' from talking to friends to sending mail to ordering a product to spreading news and on and on. Someone can whip out their phone and take a picture of something and send it to friends; someone in a newspaper makes a claim and people can check it out, and spread the word if it's not true or inaccurate, as fast as the paper put it out(sometimes faster); and news that many major media types don't want to report travels around the world at roughly the speed of light. It makes for lots of information getting out faster, and in some cases getting out at all- or at least spreading faster- than ever before.

Instapundit had a link to this from the PRC; a guy not only got information out without it being censored, but it spread far faster than the reaction of the PRC government could try to chase it down. Big changes in China, changes that, like the genie, cannot be put back in the bottle, enabled and fueled by this marvel of tech. It's happened and is happening in other places, too.

Speaking of stuff the major media doesn't want to deal with, let's move to the cartoons and other stuff dealing with Islam, fascist and otherwise. How many western papers and magazines and networks have refused to print or show the cartoons? Most. Lots of excuses: 'respect for Islam', 'do not want to inflame the situation', and so on. They'll report endlessly on the 'grievances' of muslims and how we should be 'understanding' and 'tolerant', while not demanding the same tolerance from the idiots burning and rioting and murdering in the name of their prophet and deity. Tim Blair has a post up on this mess, and has a quote from one as to why he published the cartoons:
"Has Jyllands-Posten insulted and disrespected Islam? It certainly didn’t intend to. But what does respect mean? When I visit a mosque, I show my respect by taking off my shoes. I follow the customs, just as I do in a church, synagogue or other holy place. But if a believer demands that I, as a nonbeliever, observe his taboos in the public domain, he is not asking for my respect, but for my submission. And that is incompatible with a secular democracy."

Exactly. Big difference between saying that religeous values are a good thing, or to be tolerated, and saying "You will be ruled by my beliefs, no matter what you believe". As the picture shows:

The freedoms of speech and expression this clown places no value on is why he can run around with his little sign and show his comtempt for us, and he sees those freedoms as weaknesses to be used to help destroy us.

I mentioned once before that I've been reading about Islam, and if you're going by the writings and teachings then a religeon of peace it ain't; it's a religeon of submission, and to the devout and nutcase levels who go strictly by the Koran and hadiths, it's a case of ALL must submit or be destroyed. I understand the 'moderate' muslims being scared of the nutcases, but they're going to have to stand up to them anyway. Someone once wrote that in a guerilla war all the locals had to do to be on the side of the guerillas was 'nothing'; not speak of them, not report them, simply do nothing to oppose them whether they agreed with them or not. Well, if the moderates do that, we have to see them at least somewhat as being on the side of the enemy. No, that doesn't make me happy to say; I doubt they're happy to be looked at that way. But unless they do at least speak out against them we have to see them that way; and the more people go out of their way to avoid 'offending' the jerks, the harder it is for the moderates to speak out. We ALL have to speak out, which includes refusing to be censored by their demands that we live/speak/think according to THEIR demands.

Further thoughts from TigerHawk and sisu

And while the French are rattling nuclear sabres, they're also refusing to call hate crimes what they are. At least in some cases.

For further commentary from less, er, 'reputable' sources, go here.

Range report

Also known as "Crap! I can't believe I did this!"

This is one of the reasons having a C&R license is a mixed blessing. You get lots of sales flyers with lots of neat stuff to look at, and sometimes buy. Which can cause you to wind up saying "Budget? What budget?"

Case in point. Interordnance had been saying for months that they were going to get in Mosin Nagant PE and PU snipers, and then... they did. And sent me a flyer. And the next day I called, and asked some questions, and decided I'd find a way to rearrange my non-existent budget(please I hope I get a refund this year) because I'd been wanting one of these for years, so...

I present the Mosin Nagant 91/30 PU sniper

in, as Kim puts it, the manly 7.62x54r cartridge, a rimmed design that is still in use by the Russians, both in the SVD sniper rifle and in machine guns. This design was used WWII and after, and was supplied to Soviet client states into the 1970's.

The PE was the earlier version scope, phased out early in WWII; the PU was the replacement, issue starting in 1942. It fits into a side-mount that can be removed from the base and replaced without changing the point of impact.

It's a fixed 3.5x scope, and has no provision for adjusting focus; if your vision is not either naturally perfect or corrected, you will be looking at blurry images. The mount holds it high enough that the iron sights can be used, and the short straight MN bolt handle was replaced with a long, turned-down handle. That leather strap and cup you see is my homemade lens covers, copied from an illustration I found.

Here's the other side of the receiver and the scope assembly

That big screw you see at the back is what locks the mount into place in the base. Back it out, and loosen the top elevation screw, and the mount/scope lift out:

Not visible are the elevation adjusting screws top and bottom; they're in the base above/below the rear of the mount where the lock-screw bears and they're important. Important because while the scope does have elevation/windage turrets, they move the reticle itself in the field of view, so if you need much adjustment you can wind up with the reticle way over to one side and high or low, which is not good. So you center the reticle, and adjust elevation by using the screws to tilt the mount; raise the back to raise the point of impact, lower it to lower POI. Trial and error, but it works quite well. Windage adjustment? Well, no screws. Instead, here's the rear of the mount:

See those two extensions on the right? If, with the mount locked down, the POI is off to the left, you'd file or grind those down just a bit, then mount it back up and test fire, working off just a bit at a time until it's dead-on. If the POI is off to the right, you'd shim it, adding a thin shim between the extensions and the base to bring it over. Normally, these two adjustments were done at the armory by an expert, and the bottom screw was often punched to lock it in place. The top screw has to be left free to turn if you want to be able to remove the mount. There's a very good description of the process here, and the main site has history and other information on the MN rifles.

The scope reticle is a sharp-top vertical post with two horizontal arms

Not the best for bullseye type shooting, but said to be very good for field use, and the Soviets and client states made very good use of it. The elevation turret is calibrated for the 7.62x54r cartridge, and I've read that it works quite well for range adjustment. They're not click-adjustments, just a smooth rotation, and a little bit of turn goes a long way.

One thing to note, you have to consistently place your eye in line with the scope; being a little to one side or up or down will cause the POI to shift.

The rifle itself was turned out in the millions, from the original 1891 model to the revised model in 1930(thus the 91/30), and the 1938 carbine version(which had no bayonet) and the 1944(which had a bayonet hinged to a permanent mount on the barrel). There are a lot of 91/30 rifles and later versions out there, haven't seen many of the 1891's available. Many were restored at the arsenals after WWII and can be had in what amounts to new condition(the Soviets apparently never threw anything away, just cleaned it up and stored it; so now we get to buy the things at very good prices). It's a pretty simple, very rugged design, and the trigger pulls range from long and rough to long and smooth to a pretty decent two-stage to single-stage, depending on the particular rifle.

This one has a somewhat rough, heavy first stage, then a light, clean second. The action is typical Mosin, with the extended bolt handle giving more leverage than the short, straight standard one. Long 29" barrel with a hooded front post sight and a notch rear.

The scope optics are sharp and clean, the adjustments smooth and positive. The reticle took some getting used to, having never used anything except crosshairs before.

So we get to the range. I used some Czech silver tip ammo, which has a 147 grain bullet, FMJ of course. I've read descriptions of this as match-grade, but most sources say the silver tip simply identifies it as light ball. In any case, I started out at 50 yards to make sure the POI would be roughly where I wanted before moving to 100. Then put about forty rounds through, taking my time. Note: you have to lock the mount down solidly, and check it after a few shots; it will work loose if you don't, and your POI will start shifting. Which I read about, but snuck up on me anyway. And once the elevation screws are set to your liking, use some threadlocker on the bottom one; if it's left free to move, it WILL back out as you shoot, and let things shift just a touch...

When I did my part right, this was typical:

The circled group was fired , the one low and right was the fourth shot after I'd taken a minute to look through the spotting scope, etc. The lockscrew had loosened just a touch. After adjusting the windage just a touch, and finding the elevation had shifted also(damn screws), fired the next two, the top group:

Adjusted the turret down a touch, then fired the second pair, at which point I left things the hell alone and just did some more shooting. At this point my shoulder was calling me names(firing the Marlin .45-70 I mentioned a few days ago beat me worse than all the shots fired from this), so I broke for the day.

Overall, quite impressed. The trigger could use some smoothing, but the second-stage break is clean and that makes up for the heavy, rough first stage. The scope is, as mentioned, sharp and clear. I can see this would work very well at causing severe heartburn to the enemy. I consistenly got very good groups with this standard ball ammo; with true match-grade, or handloads tailored to it, should be even better. I had several fliers on shots that felt like should have been right in the group, while I may have shifted it may also have been the ammo.

This particular setup? The flyer said they were in excellent condition, and some of the scopes 'may be post-war production'. Rifle made in 1943, scope marked 1942, and they are indeed excellent, the rifle having a bore that looks almost new. And the bolt matches the rifle, no force-match. The mount is marked with the rifle serial number, and the extensions showed marks of having been cut down to zero it, so if it is a later replacement it was properly matched to the rifle. The rifle has the high left sidewall on the receiver, and from that and the markings I believe it is an actual WWII sniper, not a later-modified rifle. The particular scope and mount may not be original to the rifle, no way to tell(I don't think the Soviets matched scope serial numbers to the rifle, and even if they did a damaged scope would have been replaced with another), but the rifle and scope both date to the war, which makes me very happy. Especially since I looked at the Interordnance site the other day, and the price has gone up.

So this goes on the list as something that I shouldn't have bought, but I'm damn glad I did.

Remember the ATF / VA gun show hearing that was coming up?

Uncle has a post on it, linking to this article at CNS news. Very worth reading. And it was worse than I originally heard.

It seems that they seized firearms from at least 50 people, and "African-American and female gun buyers in Richmond, Va., and Pittsburgh, Pa., were profiled based on their race or sex and some in Pittsburgh were threatened with arrest by ATF agents for alleged actions that are not violations of law." Now think about that; apparently if you were black or female and bought a gun, you were assumed to be a straw-buyer(of course, the agents couldn't imagine a black or a female making a legitimate purchase of a firearm). At another show, ""When I asked them what their criteria was for the people that they collected the 4473s on at the Pittsburgh show, the answer I got back was, 'If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck it's a duck. That's all we need,'" McComas continued. "Translation: Under 30 and black, period. That's all they were looking for. Anyone who meets those criteria, they're doing a follow-up on."

Want to bet that the agents doing this crap are some of those who bitch the most about people not 'cooperating' with them? If you knew somebody was treating you and your customers this way, would you want to 'cooperate' with them?

And the final bit: "ATF representatives present at Wednesday's hearing reluctantly identified themselves by raising their hands when asked to do so by Coble. They would not respond to the new allegations raised in the hearing, but referred questions to their press office." At a Congressional hearing, they referred questions to the 'press office'?

I've said it before: every time a bunch of jerks- and I include the supervisors who thought of/approved it- carry out a mess like this, it makes it that much harder for them or anyone else to do a legitimate investigation because it gives people reason not to trust them. Legitimate law enforcement work isn't being done because people are busy doing crap like this. And the usual suspects will probably be heard soon, defending these 'noble federal agents' from these 'horrible attacks on their integrity'.

Maybe if the defenders had more integrity themselves, that'd carry more weight, but it'd still be crap.

More from earlier articles here by Publicola

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Ok, it's been busy

What with babies being born and such. I've got some things in mind, but they'll have to wait for tomorrow, when I've slept and I'm thinking straight(er). In the meantime,

a nice piece on the relation between homicide rates and racial groups and background at Smallest Minority.

A possible piece of real, first-class police-state BS noted at the Geek's place.

And this picture from a protest in Pakistan; interesting the sign's in English, isn't it?

That's all for now