Saturday, June 04, 2005

The effect of gunshots

As far as someone flying backwards, through a window, etc., it's crap. Always has been.

What brought this to mind is an episode of 'Mythbusters'. They took a pig carcass, hung it up on a balanced mount, and shot it with various firearms to see if it would be thrown back. Nope. Not with a .308, not with a burst from an MP5, at the end either a 12-guage slug or 00 buckshot transferred enough energy to make it fall off the mount, but that's all; it did NOT go flying backward, not a bit.

Peter Capstick, in various of his books and articles, explored the idea of 'knockdown power', finding it to be crap. Bullets just don't work that way. A bullet penetrates, so the energy is used in pushing it through the target and(in the case of soft tissue) damaging the tissue. If you took the energy tied up in a .357 Mag bullet and put it into a steel plate, say, a foot square, striking a man it would be able to knock him backwards, but that's a whole 'nother thing. Capstick said that in his experience he'd never seen any animal of a size greater than 40lbs actually knocked over/back by any cartridge, including big express-rifle stuff.

I think that if you were talking about a shotgun hitting somebody at close(a few feet) range, that might be able to physically shove the target back, but that might be equally from the press of expanding powder gas as well as the shot. And it would probably have to be shot; a slug would penetrate, shot would be more likely to transfer its full energy to the target.

This is one of the reasons I don't really like L. Sprague deCamp. He's an author. I originally didn't like him because he 'edited' a lot of the Robert E. Howard 'Conan' stories, and his 'editing' often involved rewriting the damn thing. Then, he wrote some short stories collected in a book called 'Rivers of Time', about a guy running safaris back in time. In the first story the character Rivers is laying down the law, saying that if you want to go back and hunt dinosaurs the only rifle you'll be allowed to carry is a .600 Nitro Express, because it's the only gun that can knock a dinosaur down. Which is followed, in at least one of the stories, by description of a dinosaur being knocked off it's feet by the impact of a shot. Besides messing up the stories for anyone who does know anything about guns, it spread bad information(done by a guy who's supposed to be serious about science).

Oh well. Now I can just wait for the next 'investigative report' from some idiot journalist who doesn't bother to find out that 'assault rifles' aren't any more powerful than anything else. Oh well.

Let the peasants decide? NEVER!

Smallest Minority has a piece on the attitudes of a lot of the bureaucrats and EU 'elites' towards the public voting on the EU constitution. Some very revealing comments, including:
"Referenda are in fact pure gambling. There is no guarantee of a positive outcome, unfortunately".
Got that? If you vote as they want, it's a 'positive' outcome, if you disagree it's a bad thing. Never mind that what the people decide is what's supposed to count, it's what the government thinks that's important.

A few years ago we had a measure shoved through in OK that flat infuriated the politicians and suckups. A petition was started calling for a special election, the measure in question stating that taxes could not be raised unless there was a vote by the people, or a supermajority in the House and Senate. You'd have thought it called for disembowelling a politician at every third full moon from the screaming. "We can't run the government this way! We can't take every tax increase to the people! This will make things fall apart!", etc. And the more signatures the petition got, the louder the screaming and the worse the predictions got. The measure passed, overwhelmingly, and what happened?

Nothing big. State government continued, with the change that the politicians couldn't raise taxes any time they felt like it; they had to either get a vote from the public, or get far more than a simple majority to do so. People showed they were willing to vote for an increase if convinced that it was necessary, but they had to be convinced. Some politician still has a fit on a regular basis, something along the lines of "because that Measure is in effect, we cannot do our jobs properly" because they can't simply raise taxes to pay for whatever.

What got me was the attitude that "since we were elected, we shouldn't have to ask the PEOPLE if we can do something". And it seemed to be worse with politicians who had been in for multiple terms. Sooner or later this tends to catch up to them, it just takes too long or doesn't happen often enough. A district in eastern OK had a U.S. Representative named Mike Synar years ago, who basically began ignoring what the folks back home thought and doing what the Democrat National Committee wanted. His last election he lost in the primary to a guy who's big expense was handing out cards that basically said "I'm NOT Mike Synar". And he lost big. And when he lost? He immediately moved permanently to D.C. Surprise, surprise.

Rambling a bit here, but the point stays that more and more politicians don't want the people to 'bother' them while they're at work. Never mind that they're supposed to be doing the people's business, and the people are SUPPOSED to have a say in it. It's a real problem here as well as in Europe, and we'd better stay on it. Or else.

Friday, June 03, 2005

I give you the Kimber Compact

That's what they called it when I bought it; now I think the comparable model is the Pro Carry. Shorter barrel & grip frame than the full-size, with the factory magazine it carries seven .45's; with Chip McCormick mags it carries eight, seven in the mag & one in the chamber.

This one is the aluminum frame, picked over steel because it weighs loaded what the steel frame version weighs empty, and since it was picked as a carry gun weight mattered. I don't know who originated the idea, but instead of a barrel bushing in the front of the slide, the barrel is cone-shaped at the end, fitting directly to the slide. It came with an extended thumb safety, beavertail grip safety, and low-profile Novak sights. The barrel is supposed to be match-grade, and it has a match-grade trigger. Those features were also considerations in choosing it.

This was only the second 1911-pattern pistol I'd ever fired. The first one, a full-size, had impressed me enough to want the style, and in .45acp; if I ever had to use it for real, I wanted something that would do the job of stopping the fight. Preferably by sight, in the extreme by having sufficient power to make the bad guy either stop fighting or run.

So how's it shoot? Very well. I've never had a problem that could be blamed on the firearm. It has always gone bang when you pull the trigger, and I suspect it's capable of greater accuracy than I am. The trigger is all I could expect, a touch of creep(hard to notice unless you're looking for it) with a clean break at around 3 lbs, I think.

I repeat, no problem that I could blame on the firearm. It has digested all factory ammo I've tried, ball, truncated cone and hollow points, without a burp. The only ammo it hasn't worked with was semi-wadcutters, and that's a common problem in 1911's that haven't had the barrel throated to handle them; since it was designed as a self-defense pistol I don't consider that a problem I'll worry about.

The only other problem I had was when I put in a Cominolli Frame Saver, a recoil-spring guide with buffers that mount on it. I'd read that aluminum-frame pistols like this could get the frame beat up over time where the slide hits it, and I read that this system was good, so I got one. And promptly started having fails-to-feed. It turned out that the buffers, under pressure, expanded out enough to rub slightly on the bottom of the barrel and the slide, and that added just enough friction to slow the slide enough to cause the problem. So I trimmed the buffers down to flush with the edges
of the guide, and no more problem.

The one other thing I'll mention is the recoil spring. In a pistol of this design the spring takes a battering, especially when shooting full-power ammo, so (at least at the time I bought it) Kimber recommended you replace it about every 1500-2000 rounds. I've done it about every 1500; Kimber sells it as a set of recoil, hammer and firing pin springs so you can replace all at the same time. I've measured the firing pin and hammer springs and found them to have taken no 'set', so I think Kimber does it that way just to be on the safe side.

My opinion is pretty much covered by this: I still carry it. There are times I have to go with something smaller, but when situation/clothes allow, this is what goes on my belt or in my vehicle. I've mostly used either Hornady XTP 185gr. HP or Speer Gold Dot 158gr. HP ammo, for normal self-defense I think they'll do the job if needed.

I handload a lot of my practice ammo, mostly cast 230gr. ball with 3.9 gr. of Hodgden Clays powder; it's an accurate load that's worked well for me(NOTE: this is a load I use in MY pistol; that's no guarantee it'll be wonderful in yours; check the manuals), lighter recoil than the carry loads so it's easier on my hands in practice. I think I could go to 4.0 or 4.1, it'd still be well within the safe range listed in my Lyman manual, and I've had an occasional fail-to-feed from the slide not coming back quite enough and that would solve that. Again, this is something with the load, not the pistol. I haven't changed the load partly because it shoots so nicely, and on the(rare) occasions it's happened, I've used it as a clearing drill- better at the range in practice than for real.
Lee will make custom bullet molds, what I'd like to do some day is take their 230gr. truncated cone and shorten it enough to cut the weight to 200 and have them cut a mold to throw that bullet. It'd be accurate, a good weight, and if you had to I'd have no problem using that bullet as a defense load.

The finish is getting pretty worn, so one of these days I'll have to either send it to somebody or refinish it myself. Kevin at Smallest Minority once mentioned this Moly Resin finish that can be put on with a airbrush and cured in the oven; it looks good, so I may have to get a bottle. And if I have the bottle, there's a couple of other things I could try it on...

I wonder how it'd work as a blade finish?

This was brought to mind by something I read over at Mad Ogre, and that's customer service. My only experience with Kimber customer service was an e-mail I sent them with a question- which they didn't answer, which kind of pissed me off; how hard is it to answer the damn question? But from what I've read at Ogre's place there are a lot of people who have had problems with Kimber in repairs. Some of them bad enough that Ogre says he'll never buy one, especially since Springfield makes a fine series of 1911's and has a very good rep for taking care of the customers. It may be that they've cleaned up past problems, but I personally do not know either way; it's something to keep in mind and check out for yourself.

Carnival of Cordite #16 is up

Over at Gullyborg.

Gullyborg's place is a good one even without the Carnival, so while you're there check it out.

Ok, I HAVE to put this up

From over at Free Market Fairy Tales:

Incidentally, I ended up stood behind a typical Pleb Precinct shopper in Tescos at the weekend. The tracksuit-clad slapper had a complaint – and so did the rest of the queue as her three brats Shiraz, Carsophagus and Chanel No 5 laid waste to the check-out displays.
She was brandishing one of those disposable barbecues and complaining loudly to the poor check-out girl that … wait for it … there were no burgers inside as pictured on the packaging. "Just effing coal."
To be fair, the girl explained the situation as tactfully as possible, offering the screaming harridan a full refund if she wasn't happy. It was then that she noticed the detail of the receipt.
"But you bought three of these," she told the Bardsley in front of her. "Have you brought the other two back as well?"
"No," said the tattooed troll. "They're in the freezer at home."

Further on why I don't trust the U.N.

The situations in Darfur and in Zimbabwe have some things in common; the U.N. wants to blow hot air and do nothing, and the people being starved/raped/murdered have no effective way of fighting. Note the excerpt:

"There hasnÂ’t been any revolution so far because the potential rebels cannot get guns. No one is willing to arm the dissatisfied majority, and over two thirds of the population lives in poverty. . . . The government seems determined to starve its enemies to death, secure in the knowledge that the victims are unarmed, and the government forces have lots of guns."

And here's another place where the U.N. and the EUrocrats come in. Remember the treaty to end the 'trafficking' in small arms they're pushing? Two things about it; one, they consider any firearms 'small arms' that should be banned frompossessionn by mere peasants and two, they very specifically don't want anyone to be able to rebel against an oppressive government. They want everything to be controlled by the governments and by the U.N. controlling the governments; there's no room in there for a bunch of uppity commoners to do something themselves.

Make no mistake, a civil war is just about the most nasty kind of an essentially nasty business, but there are worse things. Like the Mugabe government planning on starving people into submission, and killing them if that won't seem to work. Like the people in Darfur being systematically murdered and raped and starved and taken as slaves. Actual in-chains do-as-you're-told-or-die SLAVES. While the U.N. blathers and wastes and steals and rapes.

Instapundit says some SpecOps trainers and a bunch of AK-47's would work wonders, and I agree. And if we do it(I wish we would) we'd better be ready for the screaming from the offended elites. We'd be 'assisting civil war' and 'undercutting the U.N.' and 'trafficking in small arms' and 'racists helping people of color kill each other', and so on. These 'elites' would rather the slavery continue, and the starvation and murder and so on, rather than see a bunch of peasants armed and standing up for themselves.

It would be profoundly messy, no question, but what's the alternative? Trust the U.N. and E.U. to do something? Stop dreaming. Barring a miracle, make that a series of miracles, Africa is going to continue down the path it's walking until it's either completely trashed, or until something happens to change the governments in most of the countries there. Maybe, just maybe, a lot of armedcitizenss with a bit of guidance and an ideal of a free society could do the trick.

And, quite frankly, if it didn't work out as we hope, how would they be worse off?

Tried the Benelli out with different slugs

Since it looked like it would be a while before I could get to a 50-yard range, I finally took it and the collection of slugs to the indoor range where I do most of my handgunning. Their rifle side has 30 yards, so I settled for that. Other reason I had wanted a different range for this was there's no real bench, so it's not as steady as I'd like for ammo testing.

I had Winchester, Brenneke, Remington, Federal, and some Remington Managed Recoil. The Managed Recoil stuff hit about two inches lower than the others, otherwise the results were almost identical with all; two shots touching- some overlapping- with the third a little off. That consistently with all of them I blame the one to the side on me; the Nova is a short, light, handy scattergun, which means that with these loads it hits hard on both ends.
My shoulder was a bit sore when I got home.

By some miracle I wound up with a little money left over from last month, so last night I went to Brownell's and ordered the recoil reducer setup for this shotgun. I read a review of the gun once where a guy said that the setup should be standard with this piece; may well be right, but since it isn't, I've got one on the way.

The last time my dad qualified before retirement, one of the stages had a total of either 50 or 100 rounds(don't remember which) of mixed buck and slugs at different ranges. Their shotgun was a Remington 870, and most of them were getting a slip-on recoil pad and adding it on over the factory pad; most of them still had sore shoulders for a week after that stage. If there'd been a way for them to add something on to theirs, someone could have made some money that day.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005


Old style, that is, leather and horn and metal and cloth, with not a thread of kevlar to be seen. I got interested in the subject back when I was playing in the Society for Creative Anachronism. At it's best it's a group of interesting people researching and spending weekends living somewhat like the middle ages were like(at it's worst, it's pretty bad, but let's skip that for now).

Yes, at one time I, among other things, made armor and made weapons like swords and spears out of rattan and used them(formally 'heavy weapons combat'; more commonly 'hitting people with sticks'). And, since I had then- and still have- a serious regard for the idea of keeping my body in a fairly undamaged condition, that meant learning something about armor.

There were many kinds, basically broken down into types:
Chain mail, linked metal rings
Scale, overlapping pieces of leather or horn or metal(like the scales on a lizard)
Plate, actual pieces of sheet iron or steel shaped to fit various parts of the body. No, not those, dammit.
Quilted, pieces of heavy canvas with wool or something similar in between and stitched together.

Over time I used all of these but plate and quilted; I wasn't interested enough in hitting people with sticks to spend the time to learn and make plate, and it wasn't in my time period anyway, and quilted just didn't seem like enough to me. Though I did come damn close to a plate breast and back at one time. A friend and I took a bunch of the steel straps(about 1/2" wide) used to hold bundles of brick and such and wove them together, then stuck some foam on the back for padding; some more pieces, riveted together at the ends and fanned out in the middle/foam-backed also/ made the shoulder pieces, and I will tell you that was tough. You couldn't get a real- as in sharp- sword through it with a cut, and unless someone caught a seam exactly right penetration in a thrust was very limited. Big drawback to this was stiffness, it had no give at all when you moved.

The best armor I used for SCA fighting was leather scale. A tunic of light leather, loose enough to wear a padded gambeson under it, with leather scales about 2x3.5" laced on. I soaked the scales in wax to stiffen them, and this stuff was a treat. It would move with you fairly well, and you could take a hit hard enough to actually make you stumble sideways and not get hurt. I made a piece for my left(forward) leg with the same construction, and used it until I gave up fighting. Last time I saw the guy who bought it, he'd taken the scales off("It was too heavy and hot for this climate" he said. Idiot)

Mail is interesting stuff. Most was/is made in a pattern called '4-through-1', meaning exactly that; every link not on an edge has four others linked through it. It's marvelously flexible, and could be made with the ends of the rings overlapped and riveted(the best) or just butted together(cheaper). Usually worn with a padded tunic(gambeson) under it, it beat the hell out of nothing, and did a fairly good job of stopping cuts, but something like an arrow with a narrow point could punch right through, and a spear could do the same if hard-driven.

Plate armor is a lot like the weapons of the period, in that it wasn't as heavy as people tend to think. Tournament armor was one thing; you weren't expected to move around a whole lot in it, so it could be made seriously heavy. Some late-period breastplates were nearly 1/2" thick, you got on your horse and then put it on. Actual fighting armor was another thing. About ten years ago I saw a show on the History Channel(I believe) on plate, some researchers went through some private and museum collections and used a small ultrasound probe to measure the thickness of pieces, and it was very consistent; breastplates averaged about 2 millimeters, leg and arm pieces about 1mm, helmets about 3mm. More vital areas had heavier metal, less vital lighter pieces. If I remember right a suit of full plate- again, actual battle armor- weighed about 60 lbs, well-distributed over the body so it could be moved in. A mail hauberk(the jacket) and pants and a good helmet would weigh about the same, but it was not as well distributed; the weight was mostly borne by the shoulders and hips.

Of course armoring came to a crashing halt(literally in some cases) with the introduction of firearms. Somewhere in one of the British museums is a beautiful set of plate with a hole about .65 caliber in the chest to illustrate why. A crossbow with a good angle could put a bolt through it, and a longbow could do the same(points made for war were often either four-sided with a blunt point, or actually shaped like a chisel), but once they figured out how to make firearms in quantity armor was through. Until that odd stuff called Kevlar and Spectra came around, and ceramic plates that'll stop an armor-piercing bullet.

We're still using helmets, too, though of different stuff the patterns often look familiar. Last helmet I had was a modified spangenhelm(sp?). This was a pointed top(sometimes a downward stroke, if a little off-angle, would glance off it), sides and back extended down to cover the sides and back of the head and neck, and a visor in the front to cover down to a little below chin-level. I made it with a hinged visor; easier to get on and off, and if I ever got really hurt I wanted it to be as easy as possible to get the damn thing off. The guy who bought my scale also bought it, and aside from putting a horsetail on top, it stayed the same. If I can find it, I'll try to take a picture of the pattern I used to make it and post it. Lots of riveting there.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

I'm getting tired of writing these words,

but I don't know why I didn't mention this before.

Over at Babalu Blog, Val put together some t-shirts to raise money for the Cuba Nostalgia Convention. Shirts here; lots of other information about the convention above.

I know, I know, this is waaaay late. I get to going 'round & 'round and I forget things. It gets any worse, I'm going to be making crop circles.

Anyway, my check for a shirt is going out today. I know just the people to wear it around, too; same one's who're pissed off by my Nation of Riflemen shirt.

Heh, heh heh.

Interesting thing during the press conference

Had the radio on during the press conference this morning, and someone- I didn't catch who- asked the President if he thought the recent increase in killings in Iraq meant the 'insurgency' is gaining strength. But he didn't say 'insurgents' at first. It went something like "-the terr- uh, insurgents-".

Interesting. Started to call the terrorists terrorists, then caught himself and changed it to 'insurgents'.

I guess it's not politically correct to call Islamist mass-murderers terrorists. Which tells me a lot.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Drinking in the heat

While Steve, the bastard, was out fishing while I was stuck inside at work, he reminded me of something else. He mentioned he didn't understand the idea of drinking out in sun & heat like that, 'cause you'll dehydrate. Which brings up the story...

A few years ago while my son was in the Civil Air Patrol, his unit was helping out at a big air show. Mainly crowd control, but also parking planes, etc. Weekend over, he told me about all the drunks they had to deal with. Happily none were hostile, but take a hot sunny June day and people drinking beer, and you get drunks. The prize of the bunch was a guy standing in a taxiway with a camera held to his eye; they were trying to get him to move and he kept muttering "Almost got it" as he stood there waving back & forth. Since there was nothing across the runway but crowd they had no idea what he 'almost had', but he HAD to move; there was a B-17 a hundred yards away waiting for them to get him out of the way so they could take off.

This guy was so far gone they finally had to pull a golf cart up beside him and tip him over into the back. He went to the medical tent, and the bomber finally took off, and my son now had a real understanding of why Grandpa the state trooper hated dealing with drunks so much.

At least the drunks at the airport weren't driving around the place. Though the trip home for some of them...

It being Memorial Day,

I give you the M1 Garand rifle. There's been lots of stuff about the M1 lately(picture, for instance, found at Countertop and stolen without hesitation), so I won't go into a lot of detail. Service in WWII, Korea and early in Vietnam. Fires the .30-06 cartridge, pushing a 150 grain bullet to about 2700 fps. Strong, reliable, and accurate.

If you have a chance, put some rounds through one of these. If you want one, there's gun shows, there's the CMP program, there's places like Fulton Armory, and if you want a new one, Springfield Armory is again making them(in both .30-06 and .308). They're fine rifles, a pleasure to shoot- between the weight and action the cartridge ain't bad at all to shoot- and you can get from good to very good accuracy out of them.

A lot of them out there went through some part of war, and are still in fine working order. Yeah, they've almost all been rebuilt to some extent(considering what they've been through, are you surprised?), but they still have the feel of a tool that's been and done the job it was designed for. Definately, give one a try if you can.

Note: if you check the Fulton Armory site, in the Garand info pages it has, among other things, how to smooth out the trigger. I've used their method, and it worked very well.

Memorial Day

I hate writing about this. Depending on what crap I've read from various MSM sources and what I've seen on various blogs, I get either really, really pissed off or teared up(guess which causes which?). I've written before about my great uncles who served in WWII. I've had friends in military service, and some of the officers who ran my son's Civil Air Patrol unit went repeatedly to the Balkans and the sandbox. Makes me feel useless for not being able to go and do something. So, partly as reaction, I rail and piss and moan about the crap on the news and idiotic statements from Amnesty International and really stupid comments from places like Democratic Underground. I simply cannot understand how people who depend on the freedom of this society to speak and write and dress and read as they please can take every opportunity to crap on the people in uniform. It ticks me off, and makes me despair.

The people in academy who look down on the armed forces? Piss on them. A couple of years ago a college professor wrote of the reactionss when it became known that his son had joined the Marines; the local citazens looked on him as the parent of another man in uniform, while the 'elites' at the university and local upper classes wanted to know 'what went wrong' to make a boy from a 'good family' do something so improper. He wrote of the difficulty he had dealing with this nonsense, and it's still going on.

Despite the crap, there are still lots- I think most- who both support the troops, and for that matter would take up arms to act in defense of this country. Note that I say 'this country'; not a particular place in it, but this Country. I think that's where the big difference is coming from. A lot of the 'elites' think that this is a bad, or 'uneducated' view from people who don't know better, whereas those who would do it consider the 'elites' to be overeducated fools who've stopped listening to/paying attention to anyone not of their 'class'. And it IS a class problem, though not the usual one of who has money. It's a big problem, and it'll probably get worse before it gets better, and God knows what'll happen in the process. Howard Veit wrote here about the situation in Singapore with the British Army, and what class disdain/hatred did to them. Happily, though there seems to be a lot of 'class' crap from some Naval Academy and West Point grads toward the troops, it's nothing like the crap that happened there. And it's one of our strong points. I think that, in the end, we'll get through this, but I don't know how bad it'll get.

And we'll owe a lot to those in uniform who maintain their oath the Constitution.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

If you haven't, you've got to go there

to Hog on Ice. Steve is a number of things, including a very damn good writer. I can't remember where I first hit a link to him at his old site, Little Tiny Lies, but I loved it. I followed a link to his original site, Little Tiny Wit. His columns on motorcycles and school and the bar association were worth it all by themselves(Steve? Put the damn things back where people can read them). And then he began putting together a cookbook.

I've got a copy of 'Eat What You Want and Die Like A Man', and it's both funny and good tasting(the recipes, not the book, dammit). For that matter his posts about the recipes as he put them together were great. And of course, you learn about Marv and Maynard, the feathered pair who enrich(fertilize?) his life.

Lately he's been concentrating a lot on Huffington's Toast, also worth checking out, but he's got some stuff this weekend back on two of his best subjects; heaping scorn on Democratic Underground weenies, and brewing beer. I'm glad, his method of referring to the DU dorks is wonderful on it's own, and along with beer posts? Wonderful, so go there and enjoy.

Carnival of Cordite #14 is UP!

Over at Countertop Chronicles, so take a look; Memorial Day, M1 Garand, girls with guns, serious gun stuff, even a shot of a classic guy-with-gun for the ladies.

Late, but for good reasons, and worth the wait.