Friday, May 20, 2005

The good, the bad, and the cheap side of both

It sucks being cheap. Yes, I know, I just reviewed a Martini I bought, I'm getting to that. I spent so many years worrying about every penny that it's stuck in my mind. I have no idea how many times I've found something I really needed or wanted and thought, "Hmmm, I'll wait a bit and see how money looks in a week or two". And, as you've probably already guessed, by the time I convinced myself to spend the money the whatever was no longer available, or the price had gone up.

I've gotten better about that(hence the Martini) on some things, but on the bills and daily costs of living, I'm still cheap. I'll skip some food item 'until next week' or not do something I need to 'till later'. I'll keep the temperature low in winter to keep the gas bill down, and high in summer to keep the electric bill down. When I bought this house it was the first I've ever lived in that had central heat & air, and it's nice, but the first winter I kept the temp down almost all the time, and the first summer I didn't use the a/c until it was damn hot. And then I finally decided enough was enough; I was tired of being cold in the house in winter and hot in summer, so I started turning it up(or down) a bit.

The new furnace is far more efficient than the old one, which made the psychic pain of the gas bill not as bad as I'd expected; the a/c having been overhauled a month ago should do pretty good as well, so that's not the problem. Right now it's 94 and humid outside with the air barely moving, so damn right I'm using the cooler. And it's nice. I don't have it turned down very far, but just clearing out the humidity makes it worth it.

Part of the trouble on using the stuff is that I like having the windows open. When it's cool enough at night I'd rather have the windows open and a fan blowing than having the a/c running. My job has such hours that sometimes I have to sleep during the day/evening, so it's just not cool enough to sleep without it. In the fall/spring, if I can get by with just using the heater a bit at night, or able to just crack the windows, I'm happier.

Over the last few years I've been able to ease up a bit on the cheapness; I still worry about the money going out, but I feel better about buying something I need/want instead of putting it off over and over until it's not there any more. Only occasionally do I go overboard(see 'Martini').

But I still catch myself- more than I like- looking at something I need and putting it off when I really shouldn't.

Oh well. The last few days I bought insecticide and ant bait because I have a lot of the little bastards in the garage. I sprayed them well, and the next day bought & put out the bait. It says it'll take about a week to really notice a difference in numbers, which is difficult to deal with, because as long as I see the damn things I want to grab the bottle & chemical-attack them again. But if I do that they won't carry the bait away with them, so I have to wait for it to work. Dammit, I bought spray and I want to use it!

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Range report, Martini, additional

I'm adding some to this, tacked on at the bottom

Being too tired today to do anything really constructive, like clean the house, I loaded up after lunch and hit the outdoor range nearest. I wanted to do two things in particular; test the Martini model 12 at 50 yards with different ammo, and check the zero on my Remington 512. So with half a dozen different brands of ammo in the box(Federal Lightning, Federal Gold Medal Match, Eley Sport, PMC Pistol Match, CCI Green Tag, and Aguila SSS just to try out) off I went.

It's hot and humid today, but the wind wasn't trying to blow the target stands down, and was coming almost directly uprange at you. I shot a 5-shot group at 50 yards with each brand first. I've mentioned having had a chance to shoot four various models of Martini, and this one gave no surprise; it shot at least as accurately with the Lightning as it did with the match stuff, and better with it than any but the Eley Sport. The largest group out of any was about 1.5"; with these two a little under 1". I'm not counting the Aguila; out of three shots, two would string vertically and one would tumble. Oddly, the tumble was always vertical, and it hit horizontally right in line with the other two and lower.

Having an almost empty range and the time, I set up targets at 100 yards. If you read the original report on this rifle, you may have gone to this site and read up on Martinis. In the old ad was this:
"B.S.A. rifles are consistently capable, in the hands of a good shot, of
grouping within a 2-inch circle at 100 yards, or a 4-inch circle at 200 yards.
B.S.A. .22 Target Rifles are not allowed to leave the factory unless they
conform to a very high standard based on these performances."

and this:

and they weren't kidding. With both the Fed Lightning and
Eley Sport it consistently shot sub-2" groups at 100. The
best with the Fed was 1 3/16", the best with the Eley 1.5".
And it wasn't one-time luck, with this rifle I could shoot
groups like this consistently. A somewhat abused .22 at
least seventy years old with a relined barrel...
Damn, they made these good!

No, it's NOT for sale, Kim.

Two things I thought I'd mention. This rifle(almost all of them)
have peep sights. The rear has an adjustable aperture with six
different size holes, and the front is a 'tunnel' sight. It's a
tube with inside threads at the back, a male portion that screws
in, and a vertical slot about halfway down its length. You back
off the male section to open the slot,then drop in whatever
insert you choose. They come in a variety of shapes, most being
either different diameter rings or different thickness posts.
One thing you can run into is that new inserts like the Shaver
inserts from Brownells are very precisely cut; change from one
to another, your point of impact should be the same. A lot of
the older ones are bent a little off- center, either from when
made or from being dropped or bent, so if you change one of them,
you may well have to re-zero.

Also, of the half-dozen of these I've seen, two of the front
sights were not very tight in the dovetail; so you'll want to
check that and tighten it up if necessary. And I think that
about covers it.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Ever try to kick a door open?

I did, once. What brought this to mind was an episode of Mythbusters where they built a doorway and worked at breaking it in. So now, the story...

One summer when I was visiting my grandparents I decided to give it a try. They lived in a very small town in southeast OK, and when visiting I could spend a lot of time hunting and fishing, and when not doing that running around in the woods near their house with a BB gun. There was an old house near theirs, all the window glass & frames gone but the doors still there. So one day, while I was setting up targets in the rooms and practicing popping up and shooting through the windows, I decided this would be a fine thing to do: lock the door closed and, pistol in hand, make what I would later learn is called a 'dynamic entry' and shoot the can taking the part of barricaded Bad Guy. So I set up a target, and since I had no key for the lock, I found a piece of, as I recall, pine 1x2" to wedge under the doorknob. Even after all the years the door was still solid, and the roof had protected the inside pretty well so the 1x2 was strong. I note, this was not a 'white wood' piece like you generally buy nowadays, this looked like yellow pine, hard and strong.

So I wedged it under the knob and went out a window. On the front porch I cocked the pistol, placing a lethal Daisy BB in the barrel, and readied myself. I'd been told that if you kick a door, hit it right next to the knob or lock. So I stood back to the wall next to the door, took a breath, stepped out to face the door, cocked my leg and slammed my foot into the door right next to the knob.

And it bounced my skinny ass clear off the porch.

By the time I stopped moving and absorbed what had happened, my first thought was, well, he knows I'm coming now! So I walked back up to the porch, got set solidly, and kicked the door again.

I didn't bounce quite as far, but the door didn't move at all. So I climbed in the window and examined the board, and it showed no stress at all(neither did the door). Yes, by this time it was sinking in that this wasn't quite as easy as it looked on tv.

I finally had to cut halfway through the 1x2 before I could kick the door open. No, I didn't try hitting it with my shoulder; I'd been advised by someone who'd done it for real that that was a good way to hurt your shoulder, so I didn't try that. Probably a good thing, as the door would probably have sent me to a doctor.

Now, had it been the door lock only, I'm pretty sure it would have broken the jamb and opened, but with just that 1x2 bracing it I couldn't do it. I learned something about securing things from that, happily without getting bounced off a tree. I also found out that busting through a door and finding and hitting a target ain't as easy as they make it look, either.

So if I hadn't thought it before, I really started thinking about how full of crap movies and tv were after that.

Ref the 'flushed Koran' story and Andrew Sulllivan

Well, we all know about the story. You know the one NewsWeak published just because they wanted it to be true? And I heard some of the press conference with a bunch of pissy 'reporters' bitching at the White House press secretary("How DARE the President and his minions criticize the PRESS?"). The followup is on the whining of Andrew Sullivan.

There's been a couple of times I've wanted to weigh in on Sullivan, mostly from disappointment; he was one of the first bloggers I ever read, and watching him change into the jackass he's become has not been fun. So I rarely read him anymore. So when he started his current 'torture' bullshit, I thought the time had come. Except that Ace beat me to it. Dammit. I do have to quote the following:
"Now, I grant you, some terrorists died in captivity.

And I can't tell you how much that saddens me.

Well, I could tell you. But I'd be lying."

Amen, brother.


Apparently the government there decided to take a page from the People's Republic of China and massacre people who were protesting.

And I haven't heard a thing on the news. I may have missed it, but you'd think the media would look on this as a Big Thing. Which it is.

Pretty good roundup of link info over at Instapundit.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

The guns I'd choose

Earlier I wrote on the question 'If you could only have a few guns, what would you grab?'. I broke my choices into five categories, and of what I own or is quickly available, here's what I'd choose.

Centerfire rifle My choice would depend on conditions; whether it's a possible combat situation or simple survival. For fighting, I'd pick my Yugo SKS. The cartridge is adequate for the purpose, and with a couple of pouches of loaded strippers, you can reload fast. You can also use it for medium-size game like whitetail deer(with good soft-point ammo preferably) also. If I were primarily worried about survival stuff, it would be an 8mm Mauser. The one in question is an old Turk 1938 that's had some work done on it. It'll reach out a long way, and if you wind up facing something large it'll take care of that too(depending on where you are in the region, you can find anything from black bear to wild boar to deer to elk to antelope). And with some of the military surplus ammo, you can just about shoot through a car lengthwise if you had to. If I had to choose one of them quickly, I'd probably grab the SKS, much as it pains me to say so. It doesn't have the range or power of the 8mm, but if a fight develops, it'd be the better weapon.

Rimfire rifle Remington Model 512. This is a tube-magazine bolt-action I mounted a 4x scope on years ago. With the right ammo it's spooky accurate, it'll handle any .22 shorts, longs or long rifles that you can get hold of, and if something happened to the scope the iron sights are zeroed at 50 yards. One nice thing, a lot of these old Remingtons have very good triggers, which definately helps the accuracy factor.

Centerfire pistol Much as I like the 1911 .45, I'd probably take the S&W Model 57 .357 Magnum. Sturdy, accurate, reliable, and you can use two cartridges in it, .357 and .38 Special. Especially with some quick loaders you can recharge it fast, with magnums you can take deer or hogs out to 50 yards, with light .38's you can take small game without destroying them. The .45 would be my choice for a fighting pistol, but for general use, the revolver would get the nod.

Rimfire pistol Either a Ruger Single Six, or a Sig Trailside. I'd lean toward the Ruger; it comes with two cylinders, one for LR and one for Magnums, and with the magnum cylinder it'd be a nasty beast for defensive use. The Sig has a scope that can be mounted in less than a minute, and it's very accurate; for small game it'd be better because the scope helps out my eyes. And since the primary use for it would be small game, it'd be the Sig.

Shotgun Benelli Nova Special Purpose. Short, light, ghost-ring sights. Mine's 12 guage, and with slugs I've tried it's quite accurate to 50 yards; with buckshot out of that short barrel effective range would be 30 yards max, but what more do you expect? With slugs or buckshot I'd be confident against anything in North America within it's range, and with birdshot you've got birds and small game for hunting. Combat use? If you find someone who's happy about facing a shotgun at close range, you know crazier people than I do.

Those are my choices, as to the stuff available to me. Add in the 'what would you go buy?' option, and things open up a lot. Maybe a M1A for the centerfire rifle, a .41 Magnum Smith or Taurus revolver... Lots of possibilities.

What would you choose?

And in Japan?

Check this out. Ace of Spades is a nice blog, and this covers some things in Japan I'd not heard of. But the 'Russian Roulette' game...

From anywhere, that's just goofy. At least.

Meanwhile, across the pond in Old England,

I found this over at Castle Beelzebub. It seems that the numbers show "a 10 per cent rise in gun crime from 10,080 in 2003 to 11,082 recorded offences". And the brass are blaming it on an increase in crimes committed with BB guns("We've got all these gun control laws, so they couldn't be real guns, oh no. So things aren't really worse after all, you see?") And their answer? Why, NEW LAWS, of course, new bans/restrictions on those nasty, eeevil BB guns!

That'll take care of the problem! Won't it?

Monday, May 16, 2005

If you could only have a few guns

what would they be? As Kim said, if someone says you can only have one, you shoot the bastard. This is a little different. If you could only have a few, having to bug out or whatever, what would be the minimum you'd want?

I figure five, broken down as follows with some notes at the end:

A centerfire rifle. What caliber would depend on what your primary perceived need would be and what part of the country. Primarily a combat arm, a semi-auto would be better; primarily hunting, another action type would be as good or better.(a)

A rimfire rifle. Ammo is cheap, which means you could carry a lot for little cost and weight. For hunting or varmint control you get accuracy with low noise and recoil, and long term it gives a way to practice without using the heavy stuff.(b)

A centerfire pistol. This could serve both for defensive use and, depending on type/caliber, hunting use.(c)

A rimfire pistol. Same reasons as the rimfire rifle. And, if you're with someone who can't handle something heavier, it beats nothing for a defensive arm.(d)

And last, a shotgun. This is, probably, the most versitile arm you could have. With birdshot take small game; with buckshot and slugs large game; and with all of them it's a serious defensive weapon.(e)

With this combination, you'd be able to take care of just about any problem to arise.

(a) Type, of course, depends on use, caliber is much more subjective. A combat arm could be done in .223, or .308, or 7.62x39. But if you're also/instead thinking of hunting, it gets more complicated. Over much of the country a .30-30 would work fine(as well as easy ammo availability), or an old 6.5x55 Mauser, but if you live in a place where shots might be longer or you might have to deal with bears/moose/elk, a heavier cartridge would get the nod. I remember once reading of a man who was setting up a moose hunt, and when he told the guide he was bringing a .375 H&H Magnum, the guide almost teared up at someone bringing a cartridge he could trust as heavy enough. Yeah, a .308 will take just about anything if the shot is perfect and if you can do it under whatever conditions; however, most of us don't have the shooting skill and nerves under stress of W.D.M. Bell.

(b) The main contenders here would be the .22LR, the .22 Magnum, and the .17 Hornady. All will work; the magnum and .17 will give longer effective range. The .22LR has the advantage of being able to use shorts(the others can't) which can be very quiet and effective on small game up close.

(c) Pick your main use and choose caliber from that. While a semi-auto is generally better defensively, there's not a thing wrong with a good revolver.

(d) See (b). One nice thing here is that some revolvers come with two cylinders, .22LR and .22 Mag, so they have a bit more versatility; the mag cylinder can make it a nasty defensive arm.

I'll note that you could combine the centerfire and rimfire pistols by having a semi-auto centerfire and a .22 conversion for it.

(e) Semi-auto or pump or double or single-shot or bolt, in a fight no handgun ever made can equal the close-range stopping power of a shotgun. With buckshot or slugs the range reaches out further, with some shotguns with rifled barrels and the right slugs giving rifle-level accuracy out beyond 100 yards. As long as you work within the range of your piece, you can take any game animal in North America(and many other places) with one, and with practice a pump can throw shots about as fast as a semi-auto.

There's my selections as to type. For particulars, I'll be adding that later. This'll take some thought.

Muskogee Ren-Fair

Short for Renaissance Fair. If you've never been to one, you should give it a try. They're not to everyone's taste, but they definately have their good points. For the ladies there are gentlemen in fine attire who will kiss your hand and compliment you outrageously(and most women seem to like it). For the men, busty wenches and corsets with bold attitude(and if you don't like it, shame on you). For everyone, singers and dancers and magicians and artisans. If a good time isn't had by all, you ain't trying.

Just for a taste of things for those who haven't been, check these out:
Heather Alexander, singer. Check out the audio samples, if nothing else go to the Midsummer album for March of Cambreath. If that doesn't make your hair stand up...

The Bedlam Bards, sometimes the two guys and sometimes with others, but the core is always there.

There's lots of other performers. And merchants, including Aerie Books. A wonderful couple of sublime wit and generous hearts, with a fine selection of books(And they let you sleep on the floor and got you into the fair and- Shut up) Jewelers and clothesmakers and weapons and armor merchants and, and, and so forth.

And food. Don't forget the food. Meats and cheese and bread and fish and drink... oh, there's some good stuff to be had.

Oh, I nearly forgot the Bilge Pumps. Pirates with a musical bent(are you sure that's all that's bent? Shut up, I said). A recording's nothing like a live performance by a group like this, but it gets the idea across.

The first one of these I went to was the Texas Renaissance Festival, more years ago than I care to think about. Now there's at least one fair in every state, I think. You don't have to be one of the people who never misses a weekend to enjoy one, but it helps to get into the spirit of it. Face it, a village with a 'Save Our Brothel' campaign ought to be seen at least once.


Having been sick, and then being out of town doing non-important things like seeing people I hadn't seen in a while, and relaxing and having fun, I wasn't up on this mess. So when I started checking news today I heard about it.

I'll admit that my first thought was so what? If someone burned or flushed a Bible or a Torah in front of me, it'd be the same. Oh, if it was an old Torah or other text with historical value I'd be upset, but not over the book itself; if you believe in the words of a holy book, it's because of the meaning of the words, not the paper they're written on. If a bunch of idiots riot over the story and kill and injure people, that's their fault for being idiots. That's if the story is true.

If it's not?

Michelle Malkin has been rounding up information on this pile of fertilizer that NewsWeak has dug itself into, including this link that sums it up very well. Like Dan Blather and various others, these idiots got a 'story' that was just too good-to their way of thinking- for it not to be true, so, "Screw the consequences! Screw not having corroboration! Publish it!". And so another group of media idiots with grudges screw themselves over, and this time also have a hand in getting some people killed.

But bloggers have no ethical standards, right?

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Home again, home again

Just got back from spending the weekend at the Castle at Muskogee Renaissance Fair. Friends of mine have a bookstore, and for helping them out they got me in and gave me a space on the floor to sleep. More on that later; right now I'm tired and dirty, and hitting the bath and bed. Nice weekend.

The pup grew in the two days I was gone. In the morning I've got to feed critters, gather laundry and wash it, and if the yard dries out soon enough mow some of it. We finally got some storms with a lot of rain the last part of the week, and with the sun coming out after, the grass will be growing fast.

See y'all later