Saturday, March 24, 2007

The things you find

that you can't get here.

I know, that's confusing. Friends who went to Scotland last year had saved one last taste of something for me. Glenfiddich Malt Whiskey Liqueur. Short, black bottle with the triangular shape.

Woof. Dark, smoky flavor, and you don't notice the kick(right away). Good stuff. And they don't export it here.

I need to see if the son can ship the stuff over, dammit, I want a whole bottle.

Things to do on field maneuvers

in Europe when a foot of snow falls overnight?

According to the son, make a six-foot snowball and park it in front of someone else's tent. Which is backed up to a vehicle on the other end.

Always some way to stay busy...

Friday, March 23, 2007

If you were interested in the CMP M1 Carbines

and hadn't heard, the price for the Inland carbines, the first on sale, will be $495 plus shipping.

Compared to what they've been going for at shows that's not too bad, but I wonder how many will actually be available.

Second range report(finally!)

Marlin Camp Carbine, .45acp

This isn't a new firearm, and a lot of people- Kim for instance- have written about it before. But this was the first time I've had a chance to fire one, so...

Specifics first: 16.5" barrel, 35.5" overall, 6.25 pounds.
Unlike the Hi-Point, it uses a hardwood stock with pressed-in 'checkering' and has a much more traditional look; like the Hi-Point, it's a straight-blowback action. Which, in a .45, means a big, heavy bolt.
Sights are a 'U' notch rear and a red plastic front bead. Safety is in the front of the trigger guard like a M1 Garand.
It uses any magazine that will fit a full-size 1911, which is a nice touch.
The trigger pull was not a 'clean break', had a fair amount of motion before it broke(less than the Hi-Point) at about 5-7 pounds.
The top of the receiver is drilled and tapped for a scope base, from what I've read it uses the same one as the Model 336 lever-action.
It has the Marlin micro-groove bore.

I'm tempted to say that this is like the Hi-Point, only more so. Short, light, easy to shoot. Recoil is minimal- at least some of it due to that massive bolt cycling back & forth- and fast repeat shots were easy to do. We fired it with a combination of S&B ball and cast 230-grain ball handloads. It handled all of them without a hiccup, and at 30 yards put them into about a 3" group. Ejection is not 'positive': it's downright robust, throwing most empties a good twenty feet to the right and forward.

We didn't have any hollowpoints to try, so no guesses as to how it works with them. From what I've read, seems to feed them pretty well for those who've tried them.

Bad things
Mainly two. The first is, the sights would suck on a cheap .22; on something like this, they suck bigtime. I think the groups fired would have been a bit better with sights my eyes could pick out better in a not-too-well-lighted lane. I'm told you can get a replacement front post and a rear aperture that mounts on the receiver, which would be good. Probably even better in some ways, it would be real easy to put a red-dot or similar optic on it. THAT would be real nice.

The other is that the .45 version(it also came in a 9mm) has a reputation for the stock taking damage behind the receiver due to A: a weak recoil spring and B: a recoil buffer that tends to break. This one had the original spring and buffer, and I wonder if the felt recoil would be even less with a stronger spring.

Overall, I vote yes. Like the Hi-Point, this would be a good truck gun or home defense firearm, the latter preferably with a good hollowpoint that feeds reliably in it. A stack of McCormick ten-round magazines, and you'd be loaded for bear. It balances well, this one came with sling swivel studs, and points well. Accuracy was quite acceptable, and it fed reliably with both the factory mag and two different 1911 mags I took along, one an old military and one a Metalform.

If I found one of my own, I'd replace the spring and buffer as soon as I could, and do something about the sights. And I'd get the checkering tools out(which reminds me, I need some new cutters) and convert the pressed in texturing to actual checkering. And I'd like to find one of my own. 'Finding' being the key: as Kim has mentioned, there is one other bad thing about them: Marlin stopped making them. So it's find one at a show or in the used rack at a store.

This needs lots and lots of people

to read it and sign it.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Remember the NASA scientist who said he was being oppressed?

That the nasty Bush people were trashing your freedom of speech and not letting you warn people about Global Warmering? Slight problem:
But Republicans told him the hundreds of other interviews he did belie his broad claim he was being silenced.

"We have over 1,400 opportunities that you've availed yourself to, and yet you call it, you know, being stifled," said Rep. Darrell Issa, California Republican.

[NASA spokesman George Deutsch] said Mr. Hansen was prohibited from doing the interview because of his prior refusal to notify NASA officials when he was granting interviews, not for political reasons. Citing what he called his "constitutional right" to give interviews, Mr. Hansen admitted violating NASA's press policy but defended his actions.

Don't you just love it?

New shooters and revolvers

Couple of days ago I'd taken a friend to the range, and it reinforced something that's been said by a lot of people: that the perfect handgun for someone a: new to it and/or b: who won't shoot very often is a revolver.

Background: Friend was divorced some years ago, and one of the things the ex left behind was a S&W Model 13. It had been sitting wrapped up in a rag for years, until- due to some happenings in the neighborhood- she decided she wanted to learn to use it. Enter I, stage left.

If you're not familiar with the Model 13, it's basically the lovely old Model 10 with a heavy barrel and chambered in .357 Magnum. Once I'd cleaned and lubed it, I told her she couldn't have a better piece for the purpose; the .357 with good loads has one of the best 1-shot fight-stop records of any cartridge, and .38 Special ammo with premium hollow points is not far behind.

Since she'd not fired anything other than a .22 rifle in years, I started her off with a .22 revolver, then on to hers loaded with .38's. Problem: she decided that the .22, being so much quieter and so much less muzzle flash, would be a better choice. Yes, I pointed out the problems of a .22 for self-defense, but hell, I'm just the guy teaching her, what do I know?

I told her I'd look around, and since good-quality double-action .22s are hard to find at less than $400 or so, I had her try out a Ruger Mk II semi-auto. Which is where the reinforcement came in, because at that point she handled revolvers pretty well, but had real problems remembering everything with a semi-auto(magazine, chambering first round, safety, etc.). She wasn't comfortable with it, and I was not comfortable with the idea of her keeping a semi for self-defense; I knew she'd never go to the range on her own, and I couldn't take her often enough and drill her enough that she'd be comfortable and safe handling the semi-auto.

To repeat: a good revolver can be loaded and put in your storage place and not worried about: no magazine or firing pin spring under tension, no slide or bolt to work in a moment of stress, no safety to accidentally push on or off at the wrong time. It's there, ready if you need it.

I like the 1911, and it's my carry piece. Glocks, the Springfield XD pistols, lots of good semi-autos out there, but the fact is they require more training and practice to handle well and safely. Fact is, I'd have no problem carrying a good revolver with a speed-loader or two in case needed, and for someone like this lady a good revolver is the best thing she could have. And that goes for a lot of people.

Oh, she finally got used to the .38's; it was kind of amazing. This last time we went shooting they didn't bother her at all. She shot up what I'd brought along and went to the desk and bought another box and shot it. And decided that it was probably better than a .22 after all. To my great relief.

Got busy this evening,

so can't do the other range report. About the time I finished dinner friend said "I think my car is leaking gas, can you take a look at it?". So there went part of the evening.

Happily, not much as this turned out to be a simple fix. She'd mentioned it was also making a hissing sound so had her start it. And it not only hissed, it idled with somewhat less smoothness than an overloaded tumbler. So I dug around and found the vacuum hose that'd come off, pushed it back on and the engine hesitated, almost died, then smoothed out. Pair of pliers to compress the lock and slide it back into place, and done.

The gas smell? I think it was blowing from somewhere and she just thought it was her car; it's been blowing like standing in front of a hurricane machine and it could have come from another car or a gas station. No sign, either sight or smell, of gasoline where it shouldn't be.

Speaking of gas. I made fried chicken, garlic-rosemary roasted potatoes and milk gravy for dinner, and-while very good- I'd forgotten the way milk sometimes works through my system. By the time I got home I'd started producing enough gas for Algore to accuse me of being a Gaia-threatening source of methane. Which seems to have about run the course, so I won't have to worry about blowing the covers off tonight.

I know it's not all that fascinating, but I've got to write about something. And my (temporary) ability to produce enough flammables to drive my truck to work tomorrow is definitely 'something'.

Which for some reason reminds me that I need to find a habenero plant for the garden, hopefully one a little hotter than those I found the last two years. I really like the flavor these give to things.

Aye, well, the day's done and I'm tired.

Range report

Hi-Point Model 995

These things have been around a few years now, but this is the first chance I had to shoot one. So let's get the specs out of the way:
5.75 pounds
32.5" long
This one is chambered for the 9x19mm cartridge(also make a .40S&W model), and has the sling mounted

First things first: yes, it's ugly. Not cover-your-eyes-and-scream ugly, but attractive it's not. The stock is black plastic; the camo version they now make is even uglier.

The action is a straight blowback, just like a .22 semi-auto rifle or pistol. Which makes it very simple and inexpensive to manufacture: no unlocking mechanism, no link, just a big heavy bolt and a recoil spring. The trigger is much like that of a Mosin Nagant or some old .22 autoloaders, you just keep pulling 'till it goes bang. The magazine(ten round single-stack) fits into the grip, mag release on the left much like most pistols. Safety is a up for safe, down for fire lever also on the left and just a little too far forward for my thumb to reach without adjusting my grip. The charging handle is on the left side of the receiver, ejection port on the right.

The front sight is a tapered, flat-top post inside a ring which can be moved up or down in the housing for gross elevation adjustments

And the rear is a ear-protected aperture fully adjustable for windage & elevation.

That thing sticking out on the left is the charging handle; to lock the bolt open pull it to the rear and push the knob in.

The whole rear sight assembly, ears and all, comes off and a Weaver-type base(that comes with it) screws on, allowing you to mount a red dot or other optical sight. The night I fired this, just as we were leaving some guy came in with one of these with what looked like a 3-9x scope mounted: it was half as long as the carbine.

We fired it that night with both CCI Blazer and some Monarch brass-case ball- no hollow-points available- from ten to twenty-five yards. Reliability was excellent, not any type of FTE, FTF or jam. Accuracy at 25, from a none-too-steady rest gave about 3.5" groups. The sights are not bad at all, with the aid of a bit of paint on the front post easy to pick up in the low light and- as apertures tend to be- easy & fast to line up. The trigger will not win any awards, but gave no problems and was entirely predictable. Recoil was 'barely', most of what you felt was the bolt cycling back & forth.

I have to say, this thing was fun to shoot, and would work pretty well for introducing someone to a light rifle more powerful than a .22. Assuming it works as reliably with a good hollowpoint as with ball, you could do much worse for a home-defense gun. And it can be had (in this area at least) for less than $200.

Bad things? If you like 'classic' appearance it just might make you a little queasy, trigger without a clean break and parts of it say 'cheap'. Somewhat loudly.

Short, light, handy and reliable. And, for someone on a budget and/or uncomfortable with a handgun, a good home-defense piece. You could keep the mag loaded and chamber empty and simply pick it up and pull the charging handle to be ready. Overall, I'd have to say worth having. And as a bonus, especially with some type of optic on top it looks nasty enough to give Chucky Schumer a case of the damp drawers. What more could you ask for?

More boom stuff coming, I promise!

I had a chance to shoot a couple I'd never tried out before, and I'll report on them, hopefully tonight. Just haven't gotten through everything else to do it.

Next time Mikey Moore calls the terrorists 'minutemen',

will whoever's standing closest kick him somewhere appropriate?
A US military official has said children have been used in a bomb attack in Iraq, raising fears that insurgents are using a new tactic.

Gen Michael Barbero said a vehicle stopped at a checkpoint was waved through because two children were seen in the back, but was then detonated.

Militants were changing tactics in response to tighter security, he said. ...

Gen Barbero said there had been also two adults in the car. They parked it near a market, abandoned it with the children inside and apparently detonated it.

The two children died, along with three civilians in the vicinity, officials said.

Yeah, George Washington and Company had a long record of using children to carry out terror attacks on civilians.

Well, not really, but Mikey & Buttmonkeys say so!

Some Europeans haven't drunk the kool-aid

and will talk about the enviroweenies.

The – so called – climate change and especially man-made climate change has become one of the most dangerous arguments aimed at distorting human efforts and public policies in the whole world…I am convinced, however, that up to now this scientific debate has not been deep and serious enough and has not provided sufficient basis for the policymakers’ reaction. What I am really concerned about is the way the environmental topics have been misused by certain political pressure groups to attack fundamental principles underlying free society. It becomes evident that while discussing climate we are not witnessing a clash of views about the environment but a clash of views about human freedom.

As someone who lived under communism for most of my life I feel obliged to say that the biggest threat to freedom, democracy, the market economy and prosperity at the beginning of the 21st century is not communism or its various softer variants. Communism was replaced by the threat of ambitious environmentalism. This ideology preaches earth and nature and under the slogans of their protection – similarly to the old Marxists – wants to replace the free and spontaneous evolution of mankind by a sort of central (now global) planning of the whole world.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

As The Englishman says,

"Sometimes national stereotypes are too easy a target"

A FLUFFY polar bear cub called Knut, who has become a media celebrity, should be given a lethal injection according to German zoologists, who say he has become too dependent on humans.

That little bastard! How dare he live?!?

“Hand-feeding is not appropriate to the species and is a grave violation of the animal protection laws,” said Frank Albrecht, an animal rights campaigner. “Legally speaking, the zoo should kill the baby bear. Otherwise it is condemning the bear to a dysfunctional life and that too is a breach of the law.”

A bear cub. In a zoo.

The question is whether Knut’s offspring would be capable of independent life or whether they too would be dependent on human support.

So apparently if you keep a cub alive, and it grows up and sires other cubs, they'll magically be too dependant on humans. 'Course, seeing as how the polar bear population has inconsiderately continued to grow, causing much gnashing of teeth among those who need them to be disappearing to help prove globular warmering, would someone please explain to me what the big damn problem is with having this cub grow up in the zoo? This one or some other?

Next time New Orleans floods,

not a damn penny of other people's money should be sent there. Instead, let's import alligators and water moccasins. Because so far we've sent X-billions of dollars there, and- along with the other crap that's been documented- we now get Ray Nagin(Cowardly Jackass/NO) saying there's a 'government plot' to keep blacks from coming back to NO.

Couldn't have anything to do with an incompetent like Nagin(Brainless Twit/NO) being in charge, could it? Couldn't possibly have anything to do with some people, having moved to other places, finding the living better, could it? Etc.

Well, if Nagin(Generally Stupid/NO) wanted to ensure his place in the Race Warlord Poverty Pimp* Hall of Fame, this should do it. Assuming the crap coming out of his mouth before this wasn't enough.

Take on this from RNS
*thanks to Denny for the label

Monday, March 19, 2007

Wheee! This stuff works in strange ways

The next step in the FPS story

Took a friend to the range this evening, and after the teaching was done took the opportunity to try the .45 again. After a bit of research on the 'empties bouncing off my forehead' problem, I'd adjusted the extractor just a touch to give it a bit more tension.

Now, out of 25 rounds of S&B ball, one case bounced off, and all the Gold Dots properly flew off a bit to the right.

I repeat, this stuff is weird.

For Patrick's Day, just a little late

because I just saw it today

In honor of St. Patrick's day, I thought I'd take the time to share a few items that I made turned up while researching the Emerald Isle:

* Ireland was founded in 432 AD by a group of masochists who actually ENJOYED leading bleak lives of hopeless despair. Many of their descendants would later emigrate to Chicago and become Cubs fans.

* In 1998 Danny O'Malley of Dublin created the first internet search engine to specialize in Irish-related information: Alcohoogle.

* Currently, every search term entered returns the Guinness home page.

* To prevent illegal immigration into the country, Irish Border Patrol members guard the country's beaches by hurling empty whiskey bottles at swimmers.

* The Irish possess the most unstoppable Special Forces in the world, which are capable of successfully invading any nation with at least one distillery.

* According to noted zoologist Jonathan Swift, the Irish - unlike rattlesnakes - really DO taste like chicken.

* Ireland has long been famous for the irritable temperament of its inhabitants. It used to be called Angerland, until St. Patrick realized that "ire" was a much more sophisticated-sounding word.

* The national symbol of Ireland is the shamrock. Which used to be called the "samrock", but the new pronunciation quickly took over, since that's how a liquored-to-the-gills Irishman would pronounce it, anyway.

* Another important symbol of Ireland is the hardwood cudgel known as the "shillelagh". Which used to be called a "salay", but changed for the same reason as the samrock.

* In a fight between Aquaman and Ireland, Aquaman would die messily when his dolphin "mysteriously" exploded, with the IRA claiming responsibility shortly afterwards.

* The Irish are a clever and inventive people who are popularly credited with inventing several different types of bar soap. None of which they've been able to sell to France.

* Which really sucks, because France is upwind.

* Before switching to the Euro in 1999, the Irish had a dual currency system, where both Guinness bottle caps and whiskey labels circulated freely alongside each other.

* There was also a brief experimental period with British currency, but - like most things in Ireland featuring the Queen's portrait - the bills quickly became too spit-soaked for practical usage.

* Although the Irish claim to have their own language, it's actually just a form of English that they picked up from watching Lucky Charms commercials.

* Even though Ireland thinks it's better than the US, I think the fact that Americans can dance AND use their arms at the same time proves them wrong.

* While Ireland DOES have a President and a Parliament, the true power rests in the hands of Bono and his mysterious Leprechaun Council.

* Despite the impression given by the Notre Dame mascot, not all Irish are obnoxious, chrome-domed troublemakers. Just Sinead O'Connor.

* Ireland is a country blessed with vast, verdant grasslands. Plants grow well there because of the soil's incredibly high content of organic minerals - a result of the Irish peeing all over the place as they stagger from pub to pub.

* Much like the fabled elephant graveyard, the Irish have a secret bog where they go off to die when they become too feeble to lift a glass.

* In Ireland, starting a fight by punching someone in the face is considered a friendly greeting. Starting a fight by throwing your drink in someone's face, however, is grossly insulting, wastes precious alcohol, and carries the death penalty.

* Only one Irishman has ever won the Tour de France (Stephen Roche, 1987). Although this SOUNDS pathetic, I'm actually quite impressed that they found someone sober enough to sit on a bicycle without toppling over.

* Irish pop band The Boomtown Rats recently scored their first hit single since 1979 with their War on Terror ballad, "I Don't Like Mohammeds".

* Like the US, Ireland's constitution guarantees its citizens the right to free speech. It doesn't do them any good, though, since the only difference between Irish speech and incoherent drunk-dialing is the phone.

* The Titanic was built by the Belfast shipbuilding company, Harland & Wolff. Although the company was eventually cleared of negligence charges for its part in the ill-fated ship's construction, they WERE convicted of giving Leonardo DiCaprio career options beyond "pretty man-whore".

* The first Irishman in America, Paddy O'Tatertot, was also the man who built Notre Dame college and started its legendary football program. This caused the mass immigration of the Irish to America in the late 1800s, as they all wanted to see this union of the two best aspects of their country - devout religion and open-field brawling.

* Ireland's 1996 Olympic Gold Medal swimmer, Michelle Smith, was banned from the sport in 1999 for substance abuse after her urine sample was found to contain enough alcohol to qualify for a proof rating.

* Sad thing is, that last one was completely true. Personally, I don't think it's fair to test the Irish for alcohol. It's like testing SpongeBob for seawater.


Sunday, March 18, 2007

Yes, I'm still here.

Yesterday had pretty nice weather, so the day went to a bit of grocery shopping, a bit of boomstick looking, and putting some sweet peppers and tomatoes in the garden. And a new blackberry along the fence.

I'd had two blackberries, one planted year before last, one last year and both looked dead. However, while the one from last year was most definitely deceased, the other had one cane growing and new leaves on it. So I've still got two. Putting the new one in earlier than I did last year may help it root in well before summer.

Last night was spent at a wedding reception for a couple of friends. Despite threats to the bride I did not show up in woad, which probably contributed to my warm welcome(I presented her with a bag of freshly-made fudge, and the both of them with a bottle of Celtic Crossing which I trust will be properly disposed of). And there was drinking and music and dancing, and a good time was had by all.

And no hangover this morning, either; those of us with a clear conscience need not fret about such things. So there.*

And today was helping a friend in the yard a bit, and mowing mine, and cleaning up outside and in. Now I shall pour myself a taste, and get ready for bed.

*Dammit. I'd trade a touch of hangover for something to feel guilty about at times.