Saturday, July 16, 2005

More words from Mr. Fraser

I mentioned before George MacDonald Fraser, author of Flashman, Quartered Safe Out Here, The General Danced at Dawn and many others.

The Flashman books are fiction; an English officer reliving his participation in various events of the past, where his cowardice(among other things) affected the outcome of history. Funny as hell, and lots of good information; he researched the events thoroughly. Others, like Quartered, are about Fraser's service in the British army. I love his way with words, for instance:

"So we worked away, myself the brutal soldier humming and coo-cooing, and the gentle mother opposite rebuking her daughter in terms that would have made a Marine corporal join the Free Kirk."
"Over yonder, now, trying to hide at the far end of the corridor, that's McAuslan, the dirtiest soldier in the world. In your platoon, by the way. Don't kno what to do with McAuslan. Cremation's probably the answer. Nothing else seems to work."

Oh hell, find one of his books- any of them that I've seen- and give them a read, I think you'll like it.

Commenting problems

I've had problems over the last week or so. Sometimes comments show, sometimes shows '0' but if you click on 'comments' they're there, and now they're gone.

Hopefully, can get this sorted out soon. I like comments.

I repeat, why is it when I hear about someone's 'progressive' politics,

it's usually attached to something like this?

Found over at Michelle Malkin.

Microlon followup

Tanked up today, 142 miles and 2.74 gallons, which works out to 52mpg; slightly less than the first tank, but within margin of error in filling up, etc.
This is 7mpg more than before the treatment. So far, so good.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Carnival of Cordite is up

over at Baboon Pirates, here. Would have had this up earlier, but the info in the previous post had me in a state.

If this is true,

people need to hang. Period.

Read this. This paper has broken a number of stories about the OKC bombing, which makes me think they've actually got something here. There have been lots of bits and pieces over the years, all put together making a plausible case. And now this.

If this proves true and accurate, it means that federal agents, trying to make a big, splashy bust, screwed up and 168 people died, many millions of dollars in damage was done, families were shattered. And then they lied about it.

They lied to protect themselves and their agency, lied under oath in spoken words and written. Then other agents with other agencies lied about it, over and over, to protect the idiots involved in this. And the lies went a long way up in the government.

I am so pissed it's hard to type. See you later.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

I repeat, will and CAN Britain stand up?

A few days ago I was wondering both can Britain stand up, and will it? For that matter, will it be allowed to?

Today I found this and this over at Little Green Footballs. Less than a week after the first suicide bombings in Britain, with all the other stuff I mentioned before, the people in authority are doing this...

It's enough to make you despair.

Ok, Oliver Stone is WORSE than a nutcase

I've generally ignored him, same as I do most actors etc. unless they say something so stupid I stomp around wondering who let them off their leash. Then today I read this. And THIS is the freakin' jackass chosed to direct a movie about 9/11?

One prize quote:
""Does anybody make a connection between the 2000 election"—for the Presidency—"and the events of September 11th?" he asked, and added cryptically, "Look for the thirteenth month!" He went on to say that the Palestinians who danced at the news of the attack were reacting just as people had responded after the revolutions in France and Russia. ..."

And the movie bigshots wonder why they're losing money? And why people- you know, the peasants in most of the country- think they hate this country?

Found this through Instapundit, and it's enough to ruin my morning.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

I'm curious,

does my previous post count as 'brutish flaunting', or just normal gunny posting?

By the way, Kerry made some speech today about 'homeland security for the commoners'; I think this takes care of a lot of that.

Range day!

Today was the first chance I've had in a while to hit the range with no specific testing/objectives in mind, so I loaded up firearms, ammo and targets and headed out. Despite the expected 90+ temps and high humidity. More on that later. On the menu:
M1 Garand

There's been lots of stuff written about this rifle, I'll just cover the basics; semi-auto, fed with 8-round clips pushed into the magazine, .30-06. When I got this one a few years ago the stock was almost black in places with old oil & grease, and dark all over. I gave it the kitty-litter treatment for a week, then sprayed it with a degreaser and rinsed/brushed it to get rid of the litter dust and last of the oil, and oh what a pretty piece of wood it turned out to be! The barrel had been replaced in the '50's from what I could tell and had a salt & pepper bore; I was able to get hold of an apparently unused Danish barrel and had it installed.

I love shooting this rifle, there's just something satisfying about the boom when you fire, though it is a bit distracting at times when the ejected clip lands on your hat brim. Between the weight and the action recoil is nothing to bother about, you know you've fired something serious but it doesn't beat you up. According to the serial number, this one was made late in 1943, so it could have seen duty in WWII and/or Korea; an interesting thing to contemplate as you hold it.

A note on the Garand; you start field-stripping it by pulling the rear of the trigger guard back 'till it unlocks then rotating it down; that unlocks the trigger/floor plate group from the receiver/barrel group, letting you both pull the trigger out and remove the receiver group from the stock. What happens over time is the wood tends to compress a bit where the floorplate bears on it. When that happens it gets easier to take apart, but it also affects accuracy because the groups are not locked into place as solidly as they should be. This one was real easy to take apart, so after the last time I fired it I took one of those 'you have been approved' fake credit cards I keep getting in the mail(I have a whole pile, useful for many things), picked one of the thinnest and cut two shims just long & wide enough to fit where the floorplate/stock meet and fitted them in. Much tighter lockup, and better accuracy. One of these days I may inlet permanent shims into the stock, but with the stock appearing to be WWII made, I hate to mess with it any more than necessary.

Next up, and the rifle I used for the current postal match, is a Yugoslav SKS:

Here it is, ladies and gentlemen, in all its glory, with the eeevilll bayonet and even MORE eeeeviillll grenade launcher. 7.62x39mm cartridge, 10-shot magazine, sturdy and simple. I once told my son that this was designed by a Russian officer who was building it for an army made largely of peasant conscripts who had little or no desire to be in the army and thought a better tool was a bigger hammer. This thing strips for cleaning very quickly, and barring bad ammo is about as reliable as a rock. I've fired several hundred rounds of different brands of ammo through it, ball and commercial soft/hollow points, and it has never coughed. Not once. And accuracy was better than I actually expected. With whatever ammo was on hand and with the very basic sights I get about 3" groups at 100 yards on paper, and I've found that on clay pigeons at that range, as long as I do my part, it will break them pretty much every time. With better sights, or a properly mounted scope... hmmm, new project maybe?

Two things about this model. I've been told that the reason for the weight being a little greater than other SKS versions is the Yugoslavs loaded their ammo a bit hotter than standard, so made the rifles a bit stouter. Anybody know for sure? Also, the grenade launcher, though designed/made in a Commie country, was made to fit NATO spec grenades. Which means that a while back when I found a guy selling some Israeli practice grenades, they fit perfectly. With a standard blank they'll go better than 100 yards; actual launcher blanks are supposed to be more powerful and the flip-up sight is marked up to 240 meters. Actually, I need several of the practice ones, that way I could get several shots before I have to run downrange and pick them up.

The other main object of today's enjoyment was the Martini Model 6:

Or maybe the model 12, depending on who you ask. BSA did not stamp the damn things with a model code, and there's no set run of serial numbers to go by. In any case, this is a light sporting/match rifle in .22 long rifle with Parker Hale match sights. This is one of the old school rifles that happily made their way across the Atlantic; idiot socialist schoolmasters and/or government regulations made a lot of schools get rid of the musketry classes, which means the Brit kids don't get to learn to shoot with them anymore and we get to give them good homes.

This one is not as accurate as the model 12 I wrote about before at 100 yards, but it will hold nice tight groups at 50 with a variety of ammo. It's light, handy, and with the right front sight insert I think it'd work quite well for rabbits and squirrel as well as punching paper and blowing up clay pigeons.

One other thing I fired today, a last-minute addition, was the Benelli Nova I bought for BAG day. I remembered I wanted to try it at 50 yards with slugs, so I grabbed it and an assortment of slugs left over from previous tests at 30 yards. I got the best accuracy with three: Winchester Sabot, Speer Lawman and Brenneke low-recoil. The Brenneke hit a bit lower on the target, they and the Speer grouped about 3.5", which from a smoothbore at that range I find quite acceptable. Interesting thing with the Winchester was two of the shots overlapped, with the third almost directly above by about 5"; I'm thinking I pulled this one, so I need to get some more of these to try out.

Second thing about the Benelli is, after Mr. Completely's match a while back, I bought the recoil-absorber rig that fits in the stock, and this was the first time I'd fired it with the new assembly in place. It works. Noticable difference in felt recoil, especially when standing(I went through some 00 buck offhand specifically to try this out). I'd thought about also getting the fancy gel-type recoil pad to go with it, but the damn thing is $80 everywhere I could find it! I'd like to have one, but not that much.

One thing I noticed is that the three-dot ghost ring sights are a: very fast to use and b: tend to make you throw shots high. They do me, anyway. If you sight in carefully using the top of the post, when you snap it up your eye is drawn to the dots(good) which, since the front dot is a bit below the top of the post, causes your shot to go high(not so good). Not horribly so, but it is noticable.

I'm not quoting any special groups today, both because of the fun-day mood and because by the time I was halfway done the heat & humidity was getting to me. 90 degrees with a little breeze is no big deal; 90 with about 60-something percent humidity is miserable, especially with little to no wind. So I was not shooting at my best as the end neared.

I will add one thing. To the people who were there in the previous days, thank you. Thank you for leaving all your crap laying there. Thank you for taking the trouble to haul two computers, a crt, a freakin' power strip, numerous spray cans and a God-cursed kids toy car- the ride-in kind- and a window air conditioner all the way out here just so you could blow it up and then leave all the pieces laying there. Thank you for coming to the place where I taught my kids to shoot and leaving your damn trash all over the place!!! Thank you for making the place look like a bunch of fucking slobs are the only people who use it. I only had one trash bag in the truck, so I filled it and pulled all the big crap I could together so when the rangers come to clean it'll at least be in one spot, but thank you for all your consideration for others and for the fine place to shoot you seem to delight in trashing. Screw you, one and all.

Otherwise, it was a very nice day.

Monday, July 11, 2005

New Postal Matches!

Due to pressures of time and other matters, Og has stopped holding the matches. However, Mr. Completely and the Analog Kid have decided to take it up and continue them.

Link to the pre-match information is here; link to the first match is here.

I plead guilty to not making many of Og's matches, mainly due to time for getting to a range for the longer stuff, 50 yards and up. I'm going to try to make more of these; I enjoyed them, dammit!

Here's a chance to participate, folks, give it a shot.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

#1 Mk III Lee Enfield

Also known as the SMLE, for 'Short Magazine Lee Enfield', short meaning it was shorter than the rifles it replaced. After seeing the take on them from Les Jones in Carnival #20, I thought I'd put in my 2p worth. Here's a shot of mine, with the bayonet it came with:

This beast was, as I recall, the first designed for smokeless propellant rifle in British service. The .303 cartridge began in 1888 as a black powder cartridge pushing a 215grain bullet. Along came cordite, giving much greater velocity and less fouling, but they still used a 220grain round-nose bullet. Then in 1910 the adopted a 174grain spitzer bullet at about 2550 feet per second, and with, I think, one change to the bullet it stayed in active service until 1957.

This model of the rifle stayed in production clear through WWII, being produced in Britain and Australia primarily. The later #4 MkI used the same cartridge, the big difference between them being the sights and bayonet attachment design. I believe the woodwork is a bit different between them, also.

Les Jones did a nice rundown on the rifle, and in connection with something he mentioned- the speed of the action- I'll ask you to take a look at the relation of the bolt handle to the trigger. Nice & close, right? Close enough that you could work the bolt handle with thumb and index finger while pulling the trigger with the middle finger. So you could rapid fire while never losing your grip on the bolt. Set a few chargers, five rounds each, close to hand for reloading and practiced troops could fire 20 shots a minute easily; good ones, or someone in a tearing hurry could fire up to 30. Not as accurate as slower fire, but there are recorded cases of German troops in WWI thinking they were under machine gun fire due to the speed and accuracy, when what they were facing was troops with this weapon.

In case you thought that bayonet looked a little odd, here it is closer:

Yes, it is double-edged, from what I've read the last bayonet of that type used by the British. This one is dated 1905, made by Wilkinson.

For some first-hand words about it, I give you George MacDonald Fraser. Interesting guy. Service in Burma in WWII, author of books both fiction and non. Right now, I'm reading his book 'Quartered Safe Out Here', about his time in Burma. Among his recollections is this:
"…the most beautiful firearm ever invented, the famouse short Lee Enfield, either of the old pattern with the flat backsight and long sword bayonet, or the Mark IV with the pig-sticker, a nine-inch spike with no cutting edge. The old pattern, which I carried, was the great rifle of the First World War…
"...and one German general told of how his division had been "shot flat" by its disciplined fire. It held ten rounds with its magazine charged, and another up the spout, had an extreme range of close to a mile, and in capable hands was deadly accurate up to four hundred yards.
"She’s a museum piece now, but I see her still on T.V. newsreels, in the hands of hairy, outlandish men like the Mujahedeen of Afghanistan and capable-looking gentry in North Africa, and I have a feeling that she will be loosing off her ten rounds rapid when the Kalashnikovs and Armalites are forgotten. That’s the old reactionary talking: no doubt Agincourt die-hards said the same of the long bow.
"…but I doubt if the standard of marksmanship is what it was- it can’t be, except at short range- and I wonder what happens if, say, a bridge has to be blown from a distance, because there’s no fuse, and someone has to hit a gun-cotton primer the size of a 10p piece at two hundred yards?(A Sapper lieutenant did that in Burma, with a Lee Enfield, one shot.)"

One thing he mentions that might confuse is 'boiling out' the rifles after use. At that time much of their ammo had corrosive primers, so one thing every British unit would have somewhere was a funnel with a rubber hose; pull the bolt, set the rifle muzzle-down, put the hose in the chamber and pour hot water into the funnel. The water would dissolve and flush out the salt deposits from the priming, and the heat would dry the bore quickly. Pull a couple of dry, then an oiled patch through, and the bore was clean.

All in all, a very nice rifle with a lot of history behind it. Surplus ammo is not as common as it used to be, but new stuff is easy to find, and it's a simple piece to reload for if you choose to. One thing about reloading: the Enfield uses locking lugs at the rear of the bolt, so it's not as rigid as the front-locking Mausers, so the brass tends to stretch more in firing. This makes it well worth buying a neck-sizing die for the cartridge. Standard sizing dies reshape the entire case, which works the brass more and in an Enfield tends to shorten the life of the cases; a neck-sizing die resizes only the neck. Since the body is formed to the chamber of that rifle it's best to only use neck-sized cases in the one firearm, but they'll last much longer. No, I won't tell you my loads, if you choose to roll your own you'll have to check out the manuals for yourself. And, among others, this site has a forum dedicated to the Enfield rifles, good information to be found there.

There's my take on this fine old battle rifle. You can still find it in use as both a hunting and fighting rifle in many places for the three reasons you find any rifle still in steady use after this long; power, accuracy and reliability. If you get the chance, try one out, I don't think you'll regret it(the money you spend buying your own, maybe, but you won't regret having the rifle).

Addition: at one point in this book he is remembering a tight situation involving some deserters and some of his men wanting to shoot them out of hand. He says this:
"If you think that atrocious- well, it is, by civilised lights, but they don't shine, much, in war-time. (They mustn't, or you'll lose.)"
An interesting thought, wouldn't you say?

The 'Violence Policy Center' is full of crap

In more ways than one. Over at The Ten Ring found this; it seems that the VPC is classing the God-cursed Nazis as a 'Pro-Gun Special Interest'.

Ok, it's not good enough to speak general lies about gun owners, and quote proven-false studies, they now overtly associate us with Nazis.

Among other things/people, I've got a great-uncle who'd be interested in this crap. He spent a government-paid tour of parts of Europe killing nazis, and seeing what the bastards had done, and I think he'd be less than pleased to be associated with them because he owns guns.

Excuse the language, but fuck the VPC, I'm sick of their lies and crap.

Microlon, first followup

This was easy, because although the bike has a gas guage, I always set the tripmeter to zero when I fill up, so tracking mileage will be simple. Yes, always. I don't trust the guage that much, and I'm used to watching miles after filling up.

My original idea was to run this tank as close to empty as possible, to make sure that all the Microlon put into the gas went through without being overly diluted. Also, since it's a solid that might settle a bit I set the tank on 'reserve' until I got to well below half a tank. If you're not familiar with this, every bike I've ever been around has a valve where the gas line attaches to the tank, and the tank has three positions: off, run or normal, and reserve. Run feeds from a small pipe that sticks up a ways above the bottom of the tank; reserve from a pipe much closer to the bottom. The idea is that with the valve on 'normal', if you run so low that the engine dies you can switch to 'reserve' and have, depending on the bike, anywhere from 10-20 miles to get to a station. I trust that, because unlike the guage it's a simple mechanical device with no gremlins waiting to dance on your nose as you sit by the side of the road.

On this bike, combined city/highway riding has gotten about 120-125 miles before having to go on reserve; once only got 112, but that was on a highway fighting a nasty headwind. So when I hit just over 100 miles I switched the valve to 'normal' and kept going. And hit 120 and kept going. And 125. 130, and kept going.

I got to 147 miles and still hadn't had to go to reserve. At that point I decided to go ahead and gas up because a: it was enough of a difference that it made me wonder if the gremlins had moved to the petcock and I was stuck on reserve, and b: if it hit reserve this morning on the way to work I'd have to take the time to fuel up then. So I filled up to the same point I had before adding the stuff, which took exactly 2.7 gallons. Which works out to 54.a bit mpg, which is about nine per gallon more than before.

I'm a little shocked by that. A couple miles per more I kind of expected, but this seems a bit much. I'm happy, understand, just surprised. And pleased. Of course, this could be largely because of the stuff being in the system; if it continues to give the increased mileage over time, that'll be the proof. So far, it looks good.