Thursday, August 17, 2006

Weapon lights

Not a lot of experience here, mainly some observations.

Generally, seems like a good idea; if you're in your bedroom with a gun in one hand and the phone in the other while someone's in the house, or in the extreme circumstance where you have to go tiptoeing through the house to find the bad guy, being able to light up the target without generally lighting the room would be a Good Thing(I'm not talking about outside the house/SHTF stuff here, just home defense). And there's lots of options now; guns with rails either from the factory or add-ons, lights with clamps for the barrel or receiver and so on.

I'd wanted to try some of these out, but I didn't want to spend a bunch on a Surefire or Streamlight setup without knowing if I'd like it. Then AIM Surplus showed up with this 9-led light, bracket & switch. For fifteen bucks, worth a try. So I ordered one, it came in the other day and so far, not bad.

It uses two CR123 batteries(not included) like the Surefire G2. Not quite as bright as the G2 I think, and the light has that blue tint, but quite bright; hit somebody in the face with this in a dim or dark room and they aren't going to see very well for a bit. And with LEDs instead of a bulb, the batteries should last longer. It has a tailswitch much like the Surefire, with a jack in the center where you plug in the switch. The bracket is the simple 'figure-8' type that'll clamp it onto almost anything. Since this was what I'd mostly wanted a light on, I mounted it on the magazine tube of the Benelli, offset to the right:

By the way, for sticking something like this switch to the forend? I had a package of the 3M Command Poster Strips to hang up a lightning-strike poster my daughter gave me; trimmed one to match the size of the switch and stuck it on with that. It's holding fine, and should come off no problem. I hope.

From some messing around the house, I'd say this or some similar rig is a damn good thing for a home-defense shotgun. Light available without taking a hand off the boomer, you can unplug the cord and the light stays on solid if you wish, and bright enough to both make aiming easy and make it less likely you'll have to shoot; bad guy who's blinded and under the gun might be less likely to violently dispute your objection to his freelance socialist ways.

Next time I hit the range I'll take this along and do some shooting, make sure the light will hold up under recoil.

Woohoo! Weekend with Feedel!

My daughter found these

The son has been heard from

About two weeks ago he sent a quick note to his mom with his mailing address, so sent him a letter. And day before yesterday the grandparents got a letter from him. All's well, they've been issued M16A2 rifles, and he noted the DI and basic overall is not as bad as he'd expected them to be.

Considering his usual communications unless it's about a motor vehicle he can hot up or you're sitting on him, this is not bad at all. In any case,
A. He's doing fine
B. Has a new boomstick(new to him at least)
C. Still no "There's been a problem" phone calls or reports of odd explosions from Fort Sill,
so things are well.

Now if I can get the little bugger to write me. I'll have to note in todays letter that he's hurting my tender feelings.

Like he'll believe that.

Some range day observations

I'd read before, and seen some tests at the Box o' Truth that Wolf .30 Carbine ammo was a bit underpowered. I don't know about before, but the stuff I shot, recently bought, had the same point of impact at 100 yards as some Lake City ball I tried, and both ejected the cases about the same distance/angles. On the other hand, some Amerc stuff, while accurate at 50 yards, wasn't even on the paper at 100. All of it fed with no jams, FTFs or other problems. This was both at the bench, kneeling and offhand.

The M/N sniper seems to like both the Czech light ball and the Hungarian I tried the other day; about the same POI on both, and the Hungarian might have been a shade tighter-grouping; on the other hand, the Hungarian heavy ball was bloody awful. The Polish light ball I tried before shot well, not quite as accurate as these. I did notice that the Hungarian and Polish, which have either copper-washed cases or something else of the type were noticeably easier to eject than the laquered Czech cases, especially with hot weather.

The Finn M39 shot the Hungarian heavy ball just fine accuracy-wise; but the POI was damn near five inches higher at 100 yards than the light ball.

I still have the Ranger in my sweaty little hands, so I took it with me and put 50 rounds through. No FTF or FTE this time, as I made sure the magazine was locked in correctly. With the (for me) lousy sights, I could still get about 1.5" groups at 50 yards. The trigger is a bit rough and creepy, were I able I'd find out how to take it down and clean/polish it up a bit. That open-bolt firing is a touch odd; I'm not sure how to describe it, you do notice that something is happening other than the sear dropping a hammer. But if you're not looking for it, or were used to it, don't think it would ever stand out.

Overall, just a nice hot day at the range.


I've been thinking about this for quite a while. Not exactly a pleasant subject. And some of the words being thrown about after the revelation that the Pakastani authorities may have used it to get some of the information used to cut off the airline-bombing plot are, let's say, intemperate.

Torture is not a nice word, describing things that are about as nasty at they get. Let me make something clear, I am NOT speaking of coercive interrogation, NOT speaking of loud music or sleep deprivation; an awful lot of people have expanded the definition to include anything including hurting someone's tender feelings. I am talking about the deliberate infliction of pain and bodily injury on someone. Burns, torn skin, cuts, chemicals, broken bones and all the other ways of causing pain.

This is one of those situations in which you may find yourself with no 'good' choice. If you don't use it and something horrendous happens because you didn't get the information to stop it, how do you deal with that? And if you do it, and get the information and stop it, you have to deal with what you did to get the info.

Put me in a situation where I know I'm dealing with someone who has the information to stop a plot like this. If we don't get the information, hundreds to thousands of people may die. You do get it and stop the plot, you've stained yourself with something that won't wash or wear off. I've been thinking about it, and put in that situation, with no time for anything else?

I'd do it.

Not saying it lightly. I'd be sick as hell afterward, and I'm not sure how I'd deal with what I'd done. But with that choice; stay in the rules and don't get the information and many die, or break the rules and ruin another human and save those lives, I'd do it.

I've known people who truly believe that violence is always bad, no matter what. That using violence to defend yourself against attack makes you as morally wrong as your attacker. I think they're either deluded or nuts. And the blanket statement that torture can never be used no matter what the potential cost is equally so. No, I don't like it. No, I don't want it to be done. Yes, in extreme circumstances I agree to see it done.

And please don't play games with 'extreme circumstances'; I know what I mean, and I think everyone else does, too. Boils down to, I am not willing to salve my conscience with "We stayed the high course" to excuse not doing the nasty things when nothing else will stop the bad guys.

Not as a routine thing. Not because we're in a hurry; if you've got time(and the idiots stay out of the way) standard interrogation can usually get what you need. In extreme situation, yeah.

And no, I don't like saying that.

About Murtha and the 'cold-blooded murder' statements,

and his defense on them. It had been reported that he made the statement after being briefed by the General Hagee. Well, Ace points to this at Patterico, who had checked on the matter. More specifically, on the reports from the L.A. Times.

It seems that the General's office specifically says the General DID NOT brief Murtha until a week after he spewed on that news show. And after being shown the proof, the paper insists the story was accurate.

I always thought that honesty and professionalism insisted that errors be corrected. You could say especially on such a matter as this. Apparently not.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

And speaking of critters,

a friend sent me this, found outside a town north of Amarillo, TX

That is one freakin' HUGE diamondback

At least my kids never found these lost critters

"Papa, look at the kitties!"

Whining and threats from hoplophobes,

and answers to them.

This is one of those 'this took me here which led me here' things. The Pistolero had this response to one gun-fearing nanny-state type who, besides hating guns, hates that freedom of speech allows people to tell her to go to hell.
A link there took me here, which led me here. This last piece is from 2000, a response to a piece at calling for all firearms to be banned from peasantcivilian ownership. Apparently the shrieking starts with 'ban handguns' and quickly turns out to be 'ban guns'. Which isn't a surprise; that's what most of the GFW types mean, but so many don't have the balls to say outright.

I remember seeing the Salon article years ago, but I haven't gone there in a long time; they went to a 'registration' to read their stuff that was far too intrusive for my taste. If you want to read it now, Codrea has a link at the bottom of the page.

Hopefully, the enviro-argument is over,

after the last few e-mails from that friend. They had asked why I wasn't willing to 'see the other side'; I pointed out I'd read a lot of stuff, and pointed out that, among others, Bjorn Lomborg, who had quite good credentials as both a scientist and enviro-type, had pointed out lots of progress had been made, etc. This brought a response that caused me to throw up my hands and give up. Friend had contacted the environmental science student daughter for information, and daughter had sent her the information on ONE of the hearings on Lomborg. The one where he was derided as a phony, of course(can you say 'PC Science'?); no mention of the later hearing where he was exonerated and the first board chewed out royally for their methods.

So today I sent a link to that and said didn't want to argue this any more; would be happy to talk about and dispute other things, but not this. Remember the saying "Don't try to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and annoys the pig"? That's where this was at, and I ain't wasting any more time on it.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Ranger 34A .22 rifle

Here it is in all its 70-year old glory:

Please ignore the toes in the bottom of the picture

Blued steel, walnut stock, polished bolt & charging handle. 22" barrel, 41" overall. Has the standard for the time front bead and rear notch sights, the notch being a wide, shallow v. Take a closer look at the receiver:

Bolt closed, you can see the magazine and takedown bolt. Hard to see is the magazine release; in the floorplate even with the rear edge of the mag, it pulls to the rear to release. Safety is a lever on the left side, push forward for safe, pull back for fire. Now to get to a couple of the more unusual features of this thing.

If you're not familiar with semi-auto .22's, they generally work like this: you insert a loaded magazine; pull the bolt back and release it. Pulling the bolt back either cocks the hammer or compresses the firing pin spring, and the recoil spring drives the bolt forward where it strips the top cartridge out of the magazine and drives it into the chamber, the extractor snapping over the rim in the process. You pull the trigger, the hammer or spring drives the firing pin forward to fire the cartridge, the bullet goes down the barrel and the recoil energy pushes the bolt back. As the bolt travels back the extractor pulls the fired case out, it strikes the ejector which throws it out. That's basically it for every semi-auto .22 out there, pistol or rifle. Except this one and a very few others.

You'll notice the bolt is locked back; this is cocked. As I mentioned before, it fires from the open-bolt position. From what I understand very few firearms were made this way outside of automatic or select-fire stuff. If you expand the picture, see that bright spot in the ejection port? That's the ejector, nothing more than a pin extending in from the sidewall and fitting into a groove in the bolt body. Speaking of the bolt,

The hole in the side is for the charging handle. Two big things here are a: there is no firing pin. See that ridge along the bottom front? Can't really tell from the picture, but it extends into a ridge machined into the face of the bolt; when the bolt falls this ridge strikes clear across the base of the cartridge. If this won't fire the cartridge, nothing will.

Now, notice anything else about the bolt? Like something missing? There's no extractor. Which freaked me out at first, especially since the Gun Parts catalog shows a 'old-style extractor'. Which I could not figure out because there's no place for one to go on the bolt or fit into the breech face; apparently there's a different version that does have one. On this one, when you pull the trigger it releases the bolt. As it moves forward it strips the top cartridge out of the magazine and drives it into the chamber; as the rim seats in the chamber the firing ridge strikes the rim and fires the cartridge. Recoil then not only drives the bolt back, it drives the fired case back out of the chamber, it following the bolt until the left side strikes the ejector pin which throws it out of the ejection port. Elegantly simple.

Take a look at the trigger:

It has a resemblance to the design of the K31, doesn't it? In this case the housing is dovetailed into the bottom of the receiver, and instead of the vertically-sliding sear of the K31 the sear pivots down to release the bolt. No, I did not take the mechanism apart.

Everything else about taking it down is simple(see the picture here). The receiver bumper plug screws into the back of the receiver; pull a screw in the bottom of the receiver to unlock it and it unscrews. Remove it and the recoil spring comes out, followed by the balancing block. Pull the bolt to the cocked position and the charging handle pulls out to the right, then turn the rifle breech down and shake a couple of times and the bolt comes out, and that's it.

There's a hole in the back of the bolt the balancing block fits into, and a smaller hole in the bottom of that one where one of the pins on the block fits; it extends far enough to fit into a groove in the charging handle, locking it in place.

I know, neat though the mechanism may be, how's it shoot?

I'll admit that shooting this made me nervous at first. Images of standing at the firing line using a rod to knock stuck cases out of the chamber came to mind. So I loaded one round only the first time, lined up and pulled the trigger. The empty ejected perfectly, not as far as many others but with no problem. So I loaded fully(the magazine will hold seven, but the last one is a bitch to get in; I stuck with five after the first load) and continued. This was just resting the forend at about 20 yards for general trial, not a serious accuracy test. Between the lousy(for my eyes on a slightly dim indoor range) sights and the bolt slamming forward during the shot, I didn't expect much. This is, as I recall, 25 rounds:

Once I got used to the idea of this thing working with no extractor, it was just as fun as any other .22. I didn't notice much difference in firing, though the open-bolt setup did give it a different feel.

I put about 75 rounds through it, with no failures to eject. I had one fail to feed; it seems that you can get the magazine in at a slight angle from the proper position, which will cause this.

Of the last ten, I fired five at about fifteen yards offhand and got this(circled) group

which with these sights and my eyes I was quite happy with. So for the last five I ran it out to twenty yards, and got this:

which made me very happy.

Hopefully, I'll get a chance to shoot this again, with a solid bench to see just what it can do at longer ranges. Overall it's a fine old rifle with an unusual action that still works quite well. And considering this was made at least 70 years ago, it's in beautiful shape; very little wear on the bluing, and the stock hardly has a mark on it. Definately something that would be worth running across.

Can't pass this one up, either

Another from Babalu Blog

Sunday, August 13, 2006

The real 'press release' in Cuba

will be when feedel's body is staked and burned.

Not a sad piece of official crap like this which Val reported on.

Meant to put this up a couple of days ago when 'Where's Feedel?' was being played along with 'Where's Raul?' Denny found Feedel:

'Course, from the look of things Feedel will currently class more as either 'anchor' or 'bait' than 'oarsman'.

That .22 I asked about the other day?

Kevin and a guy at Rimfire Central and a guy at The High Road all came up with similar info: it appears to be a rifle made by Marlin for Sears. It was sold by Sears, Roebuck from 1931 to 1935, and Marlin made it under their own name as the Model 50.

And that is ALL the information available. I just spent an hour running searches, and the only thing I could find was an old post at a shopping board on a guy looking for a magazine and a place selling them.

In a day or two I'll be able to put up some personal findings; after begging and pleading for a while asking nicely, I was allowed to take it to the range today and try it out. Which of course called for taking it down and cleaning it. Found out a couple of more odd things about this firearm. Right now, with my connection, it'd take all bloody evening to get the pictures posted, so I'll hold off until I have access to a faster line.

About it being made for Sears, this was done with a LOT of firearms over time. There were shotguns and rifles of all types sold under the Sears, Roebuck name which were nothing more than a different name & model number stamped on someone else's product. I remember seeing what appeared to be a standard Winchester Model 94 with the Sears name & model on it when I was a kid. KevinPaul provided this link(good thing because I didn't think of checking this) to a cross-reference chart; go take a look at this piece of the past.


There's a post listed in the Carnival on cleaning, I thought I'd throw in a couple of things. I may expand on this later.

First thing, cleaning rods. There's a couple of steel rods pictured in the post, and they do work. I've got one of those sectioned ones in the cleaning kits in the butt trap of my M1 and 03A3; but I will not use them for cleaning unless I've got no other choice, especially on a firearm that has to be cleaned from the muzzle. It's too easy to ding the rifling at the crown, and that is a Bad Thing.

Some of the best rods out there are steel, either small enough diameter to reduce the chance of rifling damage or coated with something. And there are the sectional rods; I've got one of those in my range servant Just In Case. You want to start an argument? Go to one of the gunboards and say you just got a new three-piece aluminum rod; you'll be told all about its drawbacks, and an argument will get started about bare steel vs. coated, and so forth. There are choices, which brings me to my current rods.

About a year ago I was pushing a tight patch down a bore, and the push got a touch out of line, and the damn rod bent. Not flexed, bent. It was a good-quality stainless rod, which I could never get completely straight again. Frustrating as hell. Part of the problem was that with a long barrel you need a longer rod, and that, combined with the small diameter, did it. So I looked around, and at a store found one of the Tipton carbon-fiber rods. Different diameters for a range of calibers, different lengths, solid rods(not hollow). I've been using it since, and got another one for the .22's and up. And they will NOT bend. Flex, yes, but they return to straight when the pressure comes off. And they've got the best swivels I've ever used. If you've cleaned many, rifles in particular, you know about pulling out a rod with a bare end because the swivels on the rod didn't and the jag or brush unscrewed. Or it falls off when it exits the bore. I've never had one come loose on these rods.

If you're cleaning something that must be done from the muzzle, use a bore guide. There are different designs, some for specific firearms, and they keep any rod from touching the crown. And on clean-from-the-breech rifles, you really should use some kind of guide to keep the rod centered. They range from the one I linked to to caliber-specific ones to homemade. I made one for the Enfield by taking a fired case, drilling a hole through the base and soldering a few inches of copper tubing on. Fits very nicely. I'm going to get a piece of small-diameter tubing and make one for the .22 rifles; I think if I work carefully I can grind off the base of a fired case- leaving the rim- and attach the tubing. We'll see.

Cleaning solvents
These range from basic stuff like Hoppe's #9 to newer non-toxic and good-smelling types, some for powder fouling only(despite what the label may say) and some that'll guarantee to strip your bore to bare steel atoms. Here's what I've been using:
Blue Wonder is a gel that comes in a tube. Outside of the FoulOut I've mentioned before, it's the best remover of lead fouling I've ever used, and cleans out powder fouling nicely as well. I don't think it works as well on copper fouling, a problem primarily of medium- to high-velocity rifles. It seems to do a pretty good job on the plastic fouling you get in shotgun barrels. It will also, combined with some fine steel wool, do a marvelous job of removing rust from steel.

Sweet's 7.62 is more specifically for cleaning copper fouling. It works. Be warned, it also stinks strongly of ammonia(which most good copper solvents do). Good stuff.

Ballistol is a water-soluble oil. Pretty good general cleaner, not as good as the above at lead & copper removing. Where I really like this stuff is cleaning after corrosive-primed ammo. Mix it in the proper proportion with water(1 to 9 if I remember right). I've got a small bottle of the mix in the range servant. When I'm done shooting I shake the bottle, run two or three patches damp with the mix through the bore, a couple of dry ones, then an oily one. Seems to do a very good job of flushing out the salts, and if I can't clean soon after I get home, no problem. It may very well be that this would be enough all by itself; I'm paranoid about rust, so I do my usual cleaning with Sweet's at home.

So far, these three have taken care of everything nicely.

Lube and protectant
You have places that need oil, places where a grease is better, and places that may not need lube but do need corrosion protection. Three products I mainly use.
Eezox is interesting stuff. It's a cleaner-lube-protectant that goes on wet, and if you leave just a very thin layer after cleaning the carrier evaporates leaving a dry film lube which does a very good job of protecting from rust. I use it on the outside of guns, and on the pivots of folding knives since it won't attract dust.

Corrosion-X is primarily a lube. It stays wet, is heavier than water so rain or whatever beads up on it and rolls off, and is a very good lube.

is my grease of choice. Comes in a tube, easy to use, and seems to do a good job of bonding to the metal and staying in place. Pivot pins and such inside actions, bearing surfaces of trigger/sear and such, it's good stuff.

There are a LOT of cleaners and lubes out there; many of them are good, some better than others. Tetra makes lube and cleaner besides the grease, but I have no experience with them. Same for some other copper-solvent cleaners and lubes. These seem to work very well. Hoppe's came out a while back with a new solvent that's supposed to be non-toxic, smell nice, and still do a good job of cleaning, for instance; Hoppe's is a good brand, and I'll probably try it one of these days.

One other thing I'm trying is Kroil. This is, from all reports, the slickest penetrating oil around. Something about the formulation breaking the surface tension of the stuff, so it can seep into the tiniest of cracks and crevices. I haven't had anything frozen to check it on, but I will say this; you can put a drop at the junction of nut & bolt and the stuff seems to disappear. I can see lots of uses for that.

I now have to go move the hose to try to keep some of the rest of the garden alive. I may touch on the subject of brushes and jags later, you lucky people.

Carnival of Cordite #69, and I ain't arguing it any more

up at Gullyborg.

Friend mentioned before sent more e-mails last night. Various references to the '3 or 4' real scientists who are the only ones who don't think man-caused global warming is happening, if I would just read the REAL research and the information from the UN, and some various 'we shouldn't be in Iraq' notes thrown in. I'm just going to drop this- didn't even complete reading the last one- and hope friend drops it; this is at the point of teaching a pig to sing, and I ain't got the time or will for it.

Now for the weather. It's partly cloudy outside, temps in the high 80's as of 10 a.m. and humidity high enough to frizz Cher's fake eyelashes. Supposed to be a chance of rain, and God I hope so.