Saturday, March 12, 2005

Oh, man, I just heard about Rob's mother

She died early Saturday morning.

Even when you know it's coming, that's hard.

Go over to Acidman's place and leave some words.

New on the blogroll

Just added Og over at Neanderpundit. Family, hunting, general opinions and some interesting things to say about idiots on the highway with cellphones a lack of attention.

Another barrel cleaning method

Shooting a lot doesn't just mean powder fouling in the bore. Shooting cast bullets can leave lead fouling, and jacketed bullets-especially in rifles with their higher velocities- will leave copper fouling behind. If a bore is a touch rough, only a few shots can cause a problem, while a well-finished, polished bore may take a lot to become fouled.

Now comes the real fun part, getting that crud out. There are lots of different solvents, from the old Hoppe's No. 9 to some very fancy new stuff. Lead being relatively soft, it can be a lot easier to get out. My favorite cleaner for it is called Blue Wonder. It's a thin gel you use with a bronze brush, and it works.

Copper is a different matter. It's a lot harder than lead, and it's a pain to remove. Most of the really good cleaning solvents for it stink because they contain ammonia(which attacks copper). They work, some of them quite well, but they can involve a lot of scrubbing. There is, however, an easier way.

The easier way is Outer's Foul Out. It's an electroplating system. You degrease the bore, then put a rubber plug into the breech to seal it. There's a steel rod that you slide some o-rings on to insulate it from the barrel and slide in. Then you fill up the bore with the cleaning solution- one for copper, one for lead-, hook up the unit and turn it on. It actually pulls the fouling off the bore and plates it onto the rod. Lead comes off pretty quickly and just wipes off the rod; copper takes a lot longer, and has to be sanded off the rod when done. The nice things about it are: a. it actually does work, b. you can set it up and do something else for a while as it works, and c. it doesn't wear on the rifling as lots of scrubbing can. It ain't perfect, but it can really help.

One piece the Foul Out really helped on was a SIG Trailside pistol. It's a .22 semi-auto made for target shooting, and wonderfully accurate. This one had a bad problem, in that by the time you'd fired 100 rounds the bore was so badly found accuracy was lost. For a couple of reasons I didn't like the idea of scrubbing this bore with solvent and a brush to get it all out, so I set up the Foul Out and let it work. It cleaned the bore down to bare steel. Side note: I then treated the thing with Microlon Gun Juice, which took care of the problem, no fouling problem since.

There's a lot of cleaning stuff out there. Brownells now carries a stuff called Copper Melt that's supposed to work very well, I haven't tried it myself(at about $30 a bottle, it'll be a while). For the bad copper for now, I'll keep using the Foul Out.

.22 rifle bargains? Sometimes

One thing that happens to these little rifles a lot- especially semiautos- is they don't get cleaned. Not just the bore, the whole action gets absolutely filthy. .22 ammo is bad about leaving granules of unburned powder in the action, and over time it builds up. Combined with too much or the wrong type of oil, it can make a horrible mess that causes all kinds of problems.

I once worked on a Marlin rifle that had the worst case of this I've ever seen. The bore looked ok; dirty, but no rust or pitting that I could tell. But the action was bloody awful. There was gray sludge all over the inside, and the bolt felt gritty when you worked it. I suspect the seller was getting rid of it cheap because it wouldn't work well, and either didn't think to or didn't want to take it apart.

Once home I detail-stripped it('field stripping' is the minimum takedown needed to clean a piece; 'detail-stripping' means taking it down to parts as much as possible). It was, without question, the nastiest modern firearm I've ever worked on. A lot of old military rifles/handguns are greasy, but they don't generally have all the other crud mixed in. I used denatured alcohol(use gloves and ventilation) to flush the crud out of the bolt, receiver, and works. A few patches & solvent down the barrel showed it to be spotless. Once clean I oiled everything properly and put it back together, and hauled it to the range. It worked flawlessly, and accuracy was very good. It had just needed a thorough cleaning to put it right. And it's still giving good service to the owner.

Notes: if you're going to detail-strip something, find some instructions first. Some can be tricky, especially on reassembly. J.B. Wood's books on firearms assembly-disassembly are very good.
I should note that this piece shot very well with ammo it liked, getting back to the 'try different types/brands' situation. There were some that gave fair accuracy in it, but would not cycle the action reliably.
There are specialized gun-cleaning solvents that work quite well. However, for some things there are less expensive things to use. Denatured alcohol can work, but now I use low-odor mineral spirits. For something with a lot of old crud in it, you can go to some auto parts stores and buy a can of spray carburetor or brake cleaner for about a dollar, and it does a good job of cutting the junk loose. But do use rubber gloves and a well-ventilated area. And make sure you take out any plastic/synthetic parts before you use these; I know of one case where a guy hit a dirty Marlin with carb cleaner, and it melted the plastic recoil buffer in the receiver.

Friday, March 11, 2005

And following the horrible incident

is the weenies trying to use it. In this case, the murders at the courthouse in Georgia. Some mutant got a deputy's sidearm and killed some people while making an escape. So what happens?

In Oklahoma, we have a bunch of people hollering that "this shows the need for better courthouse security". Hey, people, he took a DEPUTY'S sidearm! A weapon that was SUPPOSED to be there. If you said this showed the need for more or better training in handling dangerous suspects, fine. Trying to use this as a lever to get more money is disgusting.

And, sadly, expected.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Avian Success!

I noticed earlier that the featherheads in the Front Yard have finally noticed the feeder itself. ("Dude! You know that thing waving over the seeds that appear on the ground? There's FOOD in it!") The birds in the back keep fluttering back & forth from feeder to bush to ground as long as you don't breathe too hard or something else disturbing, but the ones in front flap off in a panic when you come in sight. But over time they may calm down a bit.
In any case, it gives the cat something to watch.

This is Politically Incorrect evening

Due to a combination of tired and wanting out of the house, I said to hell with it and headed out. The evening beginning with meat.

Barbeque, that is. Slow-smoked animal parts. And fried potatoes and fried okra on the side. There's a place in northwest Oklahoma City called Oklahoma Station that has all you can eat ribs on Thursday evenings. Good stuff. Happily, on this occasion I stopped before they had to pull out a dolly to remove me from my seat and move me to the truck. Good stuff, Maynard.

And from there to the range. H&H is a nice place, and I took the Remington 33 I wrote about before, and that Star pistol I've been testing. I had stripped the Star down and took out the Dremel, polishing bobs and compound and attacked the feed ramp. Once I had shined the surface I found that the ramp was pretty rough, with some machining marks across the face. It only took a few minutes to remove most of them(Disclaimer: I'm not a trained gunsmith, so do not take this as expert advise. It's just what I did. If you've never done work like this or you're unsure about what/how, take it to someone who knows. If you try it yourself and screw something up, don't blame me). With a nice bright finish I worked some dummy rounds through, and oh, you could feel the difference. So tonight I shot some more of the Speer Gold Dots through it, all without fail or problem in any way. I also tried some Remington 117 grain hollow points; they also worked without fail.

I put a little over a box through the .22 at bullseyes at 25 yards. A few years ago I took some card stock and drew a grid of 1" squares all over it, with a corner at center. I left a bit of the upper left blank and typed in spaces for date, gun, ammo info. I kept that as a master and made a bunch of different targets by copying the grid and adding in whatever. So I've got hollow squares for sighting in scopes, different size black bullseyes, and whatever else strikes my fancy. Ok, ok, it's just a phrase, my fancy hasn't been struck in quite a while now. Anyway, the targets tonight were 2" black circles for the rifle. I used silhouettes for the pistol.

It still strikes me how nice the trigger is on that rifle. It was an inexpensive .22 for a kid, capable of hunting the elusive tin can and putting squirrel & rabbit on the table, nothing fancy about it. And yet it's got a trigger action you often have to either pay through the nose for in a high-dollar rifle, or pay a gunsmith to fix for you nowadays. Clean break at about 3 pounds I'd guess. Only thing it would need for serious use would be something to keep the trigger from moving back after the break, it does have a bit of motion there. For once I think I'll leave something the hell alone.

And just to make the evening complete, the folks in the next lane had two submachine guns, a Uzi and a Mac 10. Both with suppressors.
(Brief note. There are silencers and suppressors. A silencer makes the shot as quiet as possible, in the process slowing the bullet down some; used with sub-sonic ammo where the bullet is moving below the speed of sound, they can be amazingly quiet. Suppressors leave the bullet velocity alone, they just quiet the sound of the shot down quite a bit. This is my understanding of the difference)
I've fired a Mac 10 once before, without a barrel extension or suppressor, but I'd never fired an Uzi, so when the guy offered I grabbed- uh, happily accepted the offer and put a magazine through it. Firing that thing semi-auto there's virtually no recoil, the weight damps down a 9mm cartridge nicely. In short bursts, it was easy to control. No, I'll never get one unless I win a lottery or something, I can't afford to feed it.

So it worked out to be a nice evening. I'll clean the stuff tomorrow, I'm tired. Thank God for modern ammo where you can put it off.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Random thoughts

Ever used Rain-X? You put it on your windshield correctly, and it glazes the glass or something so rain just rolls off. Pretty good stuff. I just recoated all my truck windows and the mirrors.

My ex and kids have three ferrets. They're pretty neat creatures, although one of the little bastards bites everyone except my ex. Yes, the kids too. One of them has an absolute fit when anything gets moved in the living room. I mean ANYTHING; trash, furniture, if he liked it where it was you better not move it. A while back on a nice day they took the three-level cage outside and hosed it off. When I came by about an hour after they had it cleaned & dried & back in the house, he was still going. Running, jumping, bitching and chasing the cats.

Ferrets are cute, but I wouldn't have one myself. Besides having to have a room they can't get out of/not as easy as you might think/, they get into EVERYTHING. I mean it. Drawers, shelves, boxes, jackets, everything. Some of them learn to work zippers so they can get into bags and purses. My daughter once got halfway to school when she felt her backpack move. Look inside to find a weasel curled up snoozing. For a ferret, everything has to be explored, preferably repeatedly o. And if something is in reach and closed, THAT is a violation of the natural order of the universe, and cannot be tolerated. They'll work at it until either they get in or you move it out of their reach.

They also steal things and will demonstrate their unhappiness with something by crapping beside the litter box. Preferably while looking at you to make sure you see just how displeased they are.

Sondra K. got her camera, which is good. Downside of this is she's no longer selling her as- er, selling space on her ass. In her thong picture, I mean. Or does she actually paint/print the stuff on, or have someone do it? Sondra, sweetie, could I?... Never mind.

Steve is ticking off cigarette smokers. I have to disagree with him on one thing; every cigar I've ever smelled had the light aroma of burning rope. That had been laying in the yard. Where the dog does business. I have to admit I occasionally smoke a pipe, with a blend called 'IQ140' from a shop in Norman. I hate the smell of cigarettes, but some pipe tobacco smells pretty damn nice.

Kim has a link to a story about how Britain and Canada and Australia, after highly restricting/banning those nasty firearms, have all had continuing increases in violent crimes. Surprise, surprise. They're also places where everything else the MEEB's* consider 'dangerous' is restricted, including self-defense.

If you've never looked in on Curmudgeonly & Skeptical, you should. This link is generally work-safe; this one isn't.

It's March in Oklahoma, which means the weather goes from lows in the 30's & 40's and highs in the 60's & low 70's, back to 20's & 30's for lows & 40's for highs in the space of a couple of days. Whenever Ma Nature feels like it. So one day you can ride a bike around with a jacket and light gloves, and the next you may need a snowmobile suit go get around on two wheels.

More specific thoughts later.

*MEEB's: those who Mind Everybody Else's Business

I'm so glad I don't live in MA

mASS BACKWARDS has the current story on the dirtbags who forced their way into a house and murdered a 61-year old man and threatened to kill his wife.

Two quotes that really get me:
"The 61-year-old disabled retiree, who had emphysema and had suffered multiple heart attacks, was hit in the abdomen and died later at St. Luke's Hospital. It was New Bedford's second homicide this year.The trio's defense lawyers and their families said the shooting was in self-defense. They said that Murray lunged at Ramon Geliga with a knife." and

""I know they're innocent," said the Gilegas' mother, Darlene Sanchez. "He [Murray] went at them with a knife. What are you supposed to do? He was going to put it through him."

Let's see, you break into someone's home- armed- and claim you acted in self-defense when you murder the homeowner? Bullshit. You are a murderer, plain and simple. And your mother is an idiot for making such an argument. Oh, and your lawyers? They're scum of the proper type to associate with you.

In OK, if someone breaks into your house you can shoot them. Period. Too bad the People's Republic of MA doesn't think the peasants should be allowed the means and freedom to protect themselves, home and family.

Finally: " The two brothers sobbed in court as they were ordered held without bail by New Bedford District Court Judge Bernadette Sabra." Hey, genius, what the hell did you THINK was going to happen? You murdered someone, did you think that the judge would release you into momma's custody?(they might have thought so, this being in MA). And get used to being in confined spaces and ordered in every aspect of your life; you should be dealing with that for a long, long time.

A few years ago I saw one of the saddest things I can imagine. A kid had just been arraigned for murder. I say 'kid', I believe he was 14, but he had a life of crime behind him. Literally. Past arrests for assault, robbery, rape or attempted rape(can't remember which), and he'd always been put on probation and sent home. And now, finally he'd murdered a man during a robbery. Apparently he'd been expecting the usual; but this time, the judge said "No more, we're going to see if we can try you as an adult, and you're staying behind bars this time". He was being taken away, in cuffs, by two deputies, and he was screaming and crying and hanging in their hands, absolutely scared to death. Apparently for the first time, he was facing serious consequence for his acts, and he was terrified. In a case like this I do blame the local society for the situation: if he had been hammered after the first offense, been actually punished for it, it might have made an impression, made him think that doing things like this wasn't a good idea. But everyone was worried about his esteem, and punishment is such an old-fashioned idea, and we'll be nice and take care of you, and the end result of all that modern 'concern' was a man dead and this kid probably nothing more than a threat to others for the rest of his life.

By the way, note in the story that two of them went in, the third was a lookout. These little bastards planned this, which makes it premeditated, which means that in OK they'd be facing a needle in the arm. And fuck the Supreme Court weenies, these little monsters should be facing a death penalty.

Partial avian success

Some of the featherheads have discovered that seed has somehow begun to appear on the ground under the feeder. However, even though they fly near/around it, it hasn't occurred to them to land on the damn feeder and get the food directly.

It's been ten days, if I remember correctly. I've never seen birds take more than three, maybe four days to start hitting a feeder before. Maybe, within another day or two, they'll finally figure it out. I mentioned before that since some of these birds have to be some of those eating at the feeder in back, why aren't they hitting this one? Unless...

Do birds segregate? Are there 'backyard' birds and 'front yard' birds that don't mingle? "Get away from him, Daphne, do you know where he eats?" "John, dump that woman, she hangs around in fr0nt!"

Now I need a little paintball gun, so I can mark birds. Purely for scientific interest, of course.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Don't miss the Carnival of Cordite!

Will probably be a new one in a few days, in the meantime

Carnival the First
Carnival the Second
Carnival the Third

Links found over at AnarchAngel

Oh, and John McCain is as crooked as can be

I had forgotten about the Keating 5, of whom Senator 'we need the money out of politics' McCain was one. As Captain's Quarters points out, there's a bit of a resemblance between then and now.

Before 9/11, Arizona had a recall effort going on McCain, for a variety of reasons. After the attack, they decided to pull the petition since there was a war on. From the looks of things, they should have kept after the bastard. Start at the link above, and scroll down for multiple posts.

Who'da thunk it?

Gee, a communist reporter lies about what happened at a U.S. roadblock? Why, however could that be?

I hadn't said anything before about this because it seemed pretty simple: if she'd been subjected to a "rain of bullets" from armored vehicles, she'd be dead; and if, by some miracle she survived, the car would look like something out of a 'Lethal Weapon' movie after the shootout. Well, we now have pictures of the car, and what do we have? Possibly four bullet holes. Not much of a 'rain' of fire, is it?

If I'm not mistaken, the machine guns on a Abrams tank are the tank commander's .50, and the other is a .30 caliber. Either one would turn a car into scrap with a single long burst. The damage in the pictures is, from the looks of it, small-arms fire, probably from trying to stop the vehicle.

Gee, a commie reporter lied. Surprise, surprise.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Jeff Cooper ain't always right

If you're not familiar with the man, he's got quite a history. Retired Marine, service in WWII, masters degree in philosophy if I remember right, has had a HUGE influence on the development of modern defensive handgun theory. He started a school years ago that has trained everyone from ordinary people to SWAT and military special ops types in advanced use of handgun, rifle, shotgun and sub-gun. Also the official creator of the 'scout rifle' concept. The man has a lot of experience and is worth reading and paying attention to.

That does NOT mean that everything he says should be accepted flatly as the Truth. I'll state myself that he has far more experience in many areas than I do. However, there are some things on which I disagree, strongly in some cases. Here's three.

He has said that unless you're in contact range(muzzle almost touching the target) you should never point-shoot; you should always bring the piece up to eye level and use the sights. Strongly disagree here, for several reasons. First, with practice point-shooting or hip-shooting, call it what you will, can be both fast and quite accurate. Second, at close range it keeps the weapon closer to you and further from the target. And third, it teaches that you can shoot accurately without using the sights, and in dim light or other bad conditions that can be a very good thing. A man named Bill Jordan once wrote a book called 'No Second-Place Winner' on the subject of gunfighting. He was himself a veteran of WWII in the Pacific and many years in the Border Patrol. Check it out, it's worth reading for many reasons, and it lays out his reasons for hip-shooting at close ranges. I'm prejudiced on this point because this is the way my father was trained to shoot, and the way he taught me when I began learning handguns. And it works. Note: on pages 94-95 he illustrates his shooting positions; except at the closest range, I always used two hands, and tend to hold it out further than he illustrates. It's something you have to experiment with a bit.

Shooting sticks. This can be either a single stick or a pair that can be used as a walking stick, and is used as a rifle rest when shooting at game. Cooper basically says that if you properly train to shoot offhand, they're a Bad Thing and unnecessary. Other side of that is a: I've read of many comments from experience hunters and fine shots as to how handy they can be, and b: I was always told that if there is any way to do it, you ALWAYS use a rest when shooting at game. You may not like sticks yourself, but apparently they work very well for a lot of people.

Scout rifle. This is basically a very simple concept: a rifle of minimum weight and length, chambered for a serious cartridge- he prefers .308- with a three-point sling and a forward-mounted scope. It's a nice idea, and can work quite well. My problem here is that anything other than the Steyr Scout Rifle with the built-in bipod and spare magazine holder and fold-down backup sights just doesn't cut it according to Cooper. Now, the Steyr is without questions a finely-made firearm, but the damn thing costs about $2500. Savage used to make a Scout that came with a forward-mount for a scope, a ghost-ring rear sight and a synthetic stock, and I think it came with three sling studs, for about $600 new- I've seen them for $350-450 used- and it's a fine rifle. Ruger is making one that they call a Scout, has the sights and scope mount and sling studs, and if you have to pay actual MSR price, it's about $800 I believe. Both of these are quality firearms capable of fine accuracy, at a hell of a lot less money. I think I can put up with no integral bipod and spare magazine in the stcck for, oh, $1500-2000 difference.

Cooper is a very interesting man, and his writings, either in his books or his columns(found here) are definately worth reading. I do not mean to take anything away from him, I simply point out that there is room for disagreement on some things.

What started me on this was I read his current column in Guns and Ammo magazine, and he went off on shooting sticks. Again. So I thought I'd speak my piece on this.

Personal note. I had an old Mauser rifle I'd fixed up that shot wonderfully, and after reading about the scout rifle idea, I thought that would be nice to try. So I went to an Evil Loophole Gun Show and found an old Turkish Mauser that with some argument I bought for $65. Kind of beat-up on the outside, but mechanically sound and the bore looked good. So I did the following:
Cut the barrel to 20".
Cut the stock down to match and refinished, and put on a recoil pad.
Put on a post front sight and a Williams receiver sight(the less-expensive model without click adjustments).
There's a hole in the front of the trigger guard for I know not what reason, so I ground that area thin enough for a quick-release sling swivel to hook on there, and put standard swivel studs front & rear.
Made sure all the trigger bearing surfaces were polished and gave a nice, clean break.
Into the original rear sight base I stuck a B-Square scope mount for a long eye-relief scope.
When all this was done, I had a pretty good rifle. It was a little heavier and longer than the Ideal, but quite handy none the less. It had the three-point sling. The rear sight didn't fold down out of the way, but it worked nicely. So for less than $200 in cash and some careful work I had a short, light rifle in 8mm Mauser that would take care of any game I could conceivably run into. And after careful cleaning, the barrel justified my trust; at 100 yards it'll shoot 1 to 1.25" groups if I do my part. A scope did run the price up over $200 but still less than $300. I can't guarantee someone else would get equally good results from the project(no guarantee, mileage may vary as Kim puts it), but if you like to work on things it might be worth a try.

Just how stupid are birds?

It's been a friggin' week, and they haven't found the new feeder yet!

Carport maintenance & Italian journalists

No, they're not connected. Other than both being a pain.

When I got this house one of the things I liked was the carport. I still do, but I've been trying for a while to clean out the drain channels. One pair I could stick a gutter-blaster hose attachment into in places and blow some of the stuff out, but the other two channels are covered in such a way that there's no damn way to wash them out. Leaf litter would be bad enough, but the big problem is all the gravel from the old roof. After a year of trying various things, I finally gave up and did the drastic thing; since the corners couldn't be opened up, I got out the hole saw and cut holes in two corners. With the holes there, I was able to blast most of the crap out them, and when leaves blocked it could use a wire to pull the plug out and continue. It looks like I've got the worst of it out, and when I'm fairly sure I'll cut two plugs out of sheet aluminum and stick them in with silicone sealant. Should make drainage a lot better.

The Italian journalist in question is the idiot who got shot approaching a road checkpoint at high speed and is now claiming the troops were intentionally trying to kill her. Hey, stupid, if they'd wanted you dead, you'd be in a box instead of flapping your gums. Instapundit has lots of links on this. I like the comment at Wizbang:
"On her way out, our forces shoot 300 to 400 rounds at their car. And the result of all that firepower? One killed, three injured -- none apparently very seriously. Then they treat them and send them home.

Obviously all that money we've spent on training and equipment has gone to waste if our forces are performing that poorly."

'Nuff said.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Oh, and just to cover it, FEC?

You can kiss my ass.

Bill Clinton sucks(as well as inhaling)

With the problems with Iran, including but not limited to the governments support of terrorism and working to build nukes, at Davos Bill Clinton made comments about how wonderful it is in Iran. Including:

" [It is] the only one with elections, including the United States, including Israel, including you name it, where the liberals, or the progressives, have won two-thirds to 70 percent of the vote in six elections: two for President; two for the parliament, the Majlis; two for the mayoralities.
In every single election, the guys I identify with got two-thirds to 70% of the vote. There is no other country in the world I can say that about, certainly not my own."

Found at Little Green Footballs.