Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A new kind of crazy

Apparently the end of the frickin' world has arrived.  We have naked homeless guys eating people's faces, growling at cops, and shrugging off bullets, and also we have knife wielding psychos cutting out their intestines and throwing them at cops.  Combine this with all the violent mobs and you have the makings of an apocalypse.  And yes, I know violent crime is still on the downswing, but seriously, when was the last time you heard of a face eating guy?  Crazy!

So be paranoid my fellow gunnies.  Stay alert, and watch out for naked people who growl in public!

More AR parts

I received some parts in the mail yesterday from Bravo Company USA (BCM) that I ordered for the AR upper build, and unfortunately I forgot to load the picture of them I took last night.  I went ahead and picked up BCM's own bolt and carrier set so that they're matched; normally I like to keep the bolt the same brand as the barrel, but right now there's not a single Daniel Defense bolt out there.  Reading about the BCM bolt and carrier, they fire one high-pressure test round with the bolt and then do Magnetic Particle Inspection to look for any cracks or flaws.  This gives peace of mind that the bolt won't fail when you need it most, which is worth it in my book for the ~$30 extra you pay for it.

I also picked up a BCM Gunfighter charging handle, the medium latch one, and to say I'm impressed is an understatement.  I will be buying one of these for the little-AR-from-DPMS, and every AR I own thereafter.  Super piece of gear.  I did a comparison by feel of a standard charging handle vs the Gunfighter, and the Gunfighter is much more solid, slick, and really does feel like you're side-charging the gun.  For $44 it's a bargain.  With that said, a Mil-Spec charging handle will do the job, and has been in combat, but the added grip given by the Gunfighter and mental insurance that it has more metal to it and won't break when you're yanking on it is worth it.  Also, if you're running a scope on your AR, it's really helpful to be able to charge the gun from the side vice doing the two-fingers manipulation using your index and middle finger which is a pain.  Go here if you want an in-depth review of the BCM Gunfighter charging handle that includes comparison pictures to a mil-spec one, and here if you want to see visual confirmation of a failed mil-spec charging handle.

Next up is an optic, and then I'll be putting rounds downrange.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Life will not be normal for a few weeks

My youngest son is recovering from his trip down the stairs the other day, and the bone doc told us this morning to expect him to be on the mend for around four weeks.  This weekend was very rigorous, as baby CTone has enjoyed his mobility for some time now, and is not accepting the fact that he is now limited.  What that basically means is that he was held most of the weekend, and the whole time he was trying his hardest to squirm away.  And he's huge, and heavy, for a ten-month old, so when he tries to launch himself from my arms for hours at a time it really wears me down.

Man, I'm tired. . . . .

ETA:  I'll let the little guy explain to you how he feels:

Life ain't so bad!

There's good training, and then there's bad training

Guess which this is?

I cringed too many times to count watching this video, with yayhoos firing weapons past each other and over their heads while spinning. Yikes!  There's a guy in comments defending this shooting school, but I wouldn't go there.

The concept of "Big Boy Rules" and firing weapons over or near someone else is absurd in my opinion, and is an accident waiting to happen. The Marine Corps does live fire with people forward of the firing line, as they would in combat, but those who are forward are not in front of those who are shooting, and even with that it doesn't look anything like this clown show. For starters, there's no choreographed spinning or twisting of the shooters, flagging one another as they transition from one target to the next. And for sure, in real world shootings there are those who have to shoot real close to their fellow Marine or Soldier or Officer, but surprisingly the Marines haven't felt the need to practice that one in peacetime, and it doesn't seem to have effected their lethality. With that in mind I have to question doing it in practice. As far as I know, only a select group or two within the Special Operations community routinely practices live fire with their own down range, and that's because their job description involves shooting bad guys who are in close proximity or direct contact with hostages. I just don't see surgical shooting being a skill set that black-clad mall security needs.

Now I'm going to be all paranoid when I see armed mall security, wondering in the back of my mind if they've been to one of these monkey business shooting schools.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Stairway to the danger zone

About two Hours into my Memorial day weekend yesterday, things took an interesting turn when my ten month old went down a full flight of stairs for the first time ALL BY HIMSELF!!!! YIPPY!!! Afterwords I decided to take him for a fun filled adventure to this place called ER Land. Unfortunately, they weren't offering face painting, but they were offering doses of radiation where they took neat-oh pictures of his bones and brain! Yayyyy!! Fun times. Here's the beast with 3.1 teeth wearing a stylish arm adornament:

Kids fashion these days. . .

The final toll for his stairwell adventure was a goose egg on his forehead, complete with carpet burn, and a broken right arm. Looks like his newly found mobility will be limited for a month. It's Blue Moons and movies for us this weekend. I hope y'all have a great weekend for this Memorial Day! My heart goes out to all the Veterans who did the hard thing, I appreciate your sacrifice!

Friday, May 25, 2012

How boaring

I found a video on an ARFCOM thread of a man shooting a pissed off charging boar with a .45 caliber 1911.  This a strong reminder of why handguns are poor at stopping dangerous flesh-and-blood things.  ***Warning: Graphic.  Lots of blood.*** -- turn it off after the first 20 seconds if you don't want to see blood spewing everywhere, but want to see the pig shrug off half a dozen rounds from close range.

A buddy and I once walked up on a huge boar in a field one day next to a jobsite; I had my 1911 in my hand and was aiming at it's head while it walked up to us within about six feet, curiously. After it got a gander at what we were, it wandered off back into the woods from where it came from, unimpressed, and I swear I heard it snort "Pffft! Sissies don't want nonna this!"

You've probably heard that .45 ACP knocks grown men clean off their feet with one shot up hill in the snow both ways, but that's clearly not the case even if you don't believe in physics. Keep shooting the beasty until it drops!! And when it comes to large, dangerous animals prone to charging, I would stick with rifles or arms that fire projectiles measured in ounces!

And sorry about the lite posting.  I spend about six hours in traffic today, and there may be much more of that in my future.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

A bit bulky for combat, but whatever

A .454 Casull with 30mm under-barrel grenade launcher.  Might be good for stopping bears.

It's not safe for either side

Whether you are an average Joe just trying to have a civilized argument with your girlfriend or you're a homeless dude with a bitter streak, it's a dangerous world out there for the both of you.
Later in the evening, Jett said, the two men returned. The one who had asked for the dollar went to the driver’s side window and tried to stab the man with a knife. The driver got a gun from his console and shot the knife-wielding man in the chest.

Up until about eight to ten years ago, there were no homeless people in my area to speak of.  I don't live in Stafford, but I spend a lot of time there, and the amount of panhandlers and homeless camps here and in surrounding counties like Spotsylvania (Really?  There's a place called Spotsylvania?  Creeeeeepy!) has spiked dramatically.  The cops have been arresting them right and left, and my guess is because they've been getting more aggressive, but I can't confirm that.  It's just my opinion. 

I think that as more and more people fill the homeless camps and more people are panhandling on the side of the highways outside shopping centers, things get very competitive and the natural tendency is for aggression to go UP.  The more desperate people get, the more likely it is that they will resort to violence.  On the flipside of this powder keg is Joe and Jan Schmucketelli who just want to shop for discounted bulk diapers at Costco without getting knifed in the ribs over forty three dollars (Why do I suddenly hear Hank Jr?).  In this day and age, a quality reliable pistol with highly advanced ammunition can be had for less than a good DVD player, and they can be readily carried or stowed in the console of your Tahoe.  In the end you don't know who to trust these days, and any friendly window-side encounter over a few bucks can transform into something else entirely, so be cautious.

Stafford county, Virginia is not a "dangerous" or violent place, but bitter people are everywhere.  This thread is not for bashing the homeless -- indeed, it wasn't very long ago when a homeless man close to here did a very honorable thing, and that should be commended.  I'm more or less pointing out that there is danger in both camps.  The tightwad guy with no patience or tact who's loading azaleas into the back of his Honda -- he may be armed, so don't come back waving a kitchen knife in his face because he didn't hook you up with a five-spot.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Dropping the case

The Marine Corps and Army are developing new caseless and case-telescoped ammunition that, when partnered with a new light machine gun also in development, could significantly cut the burden on troops in combat. And perhaps more significant than that, in the coming years this revolutionary ammo could drive production of the Corps’ next service rifle.
With modern technology, caseless cartridges don't look like they're far off.  Unfortunately, in order to get the Service buck$ to fully develop it, they have to run the gauntlet and survive the slayer of programs: a.k.a. the Acquisition Wall Chart.  Folks can whine all they want to about the cost of weapons systems, defense spending, and how icky contractors are pissing away US dollars, but it's my firm opinion that the atrocious wallchart of death is to blame for the inefficiencies, and it was created in a university and has been lovingly nurtured ever since into a dollar-eating leviathan.  The wallchart of doom is a mire of acronyms and techno-terminology that nobody can possibly understand, but they all act like they do just the same, and it swallows programs whole.  I hope new small arms programs survive the beast and grow into something beautiful.  I really do.

Back to the story though, the concept of caseless ammo is not new, and the challenges associated with it are well known.  First thing to understand is that when a brass cased cartridge (or plastic shotgun hull) is fired inside of a chamber, it seals off the expanding gasses at the chamber end which aids in velocity of the projectile down and out the muzzle.  Caseless ammo has to overcome this hurdle.  Secondly, when the case is ejected, it takes heat with it -- which it's good to expel the heat and all, but it also is mechanically complicated to have an ejection system in the first place, which is a major cause of malfunctions.  So that part is a double edged sword.  You may have heat problems (almost certainly), but you should have a huge boost in reliability since there's no expended case to eject, and less moving parts in the system.  The remedy for the heat issue may be in the use of a modern propellant, and I have no idea on how they would tackle the gass-sealing issue.

The main reason though for caseless ammo consideration is a reduction in weight.  This also is a double edged sword because, as veterans will attest, a reduction in weight in one area translates to an increase in weight in another.  Guaranteed.  You read it in articles all the time about "reducing combat weight for the poor overburdened Soldier," but that's all just a bunch of bullshit in reality.  Somewhere, in a secretive and non-descript room in a huge five-sided building, some heartless yayhoo with an evil laugh has a magic number bayoneted to the wall that shows the total average weight an 18 to 20ish American male in good physical condition can carry for four days without dying from exhaustion, and they approve a certain amount of weight above that number.  The upside is that you get to tell the Warrior that the reduction in weight will be filled with a corresponding increase in killing potential -- that will go over well, or at least much better than telling him or her that the weight will be made up for with sandbags or some other equipment -- batteries -- that won't be as useful for slaying enemies.

I'm all about caseless cartridges.  In fact, I'd kinda like to try my hand at reloading them, considering my addiction and all.  Instead of resizing brass cases until my fingers bleed, I could be molding my own rounds out of putty-like propellant on a miniature pottery wheel. . . . like in Ghost!  It would definitely be better for my nails!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

82nd Airborne in Afghanistan

About 80 high resolution photos of the 82nd Airborne kicking ass in Afghanistan at theBrigade.  (***Graphic: blood)  There are about a half dozen photos of a Soldier carrying a suppressed Remington MSR with a Premier Reticles scope.  While I think it would be fun to shoot that rifle, I don't think I would want to carry it.  I've handled a suppressed one before, and it's a beast.  There's also a M110 sniper rifle in there, and I can't help but to laugh at the massive Trijicon ACOG on top of a M240 machine gun, with a huge reflex sight mounted on top of that.  It's like something from Doctor Seuss; the reflex is at least six inches above the bore, and closer to eight inches.

Assembling an AR-15 Upper

The 11 day shipping on the carbine length gas-tube finally ended yesterday so I got to put together my AR upper.  Total time for assembly was just over two hours, but that was with constant interruption from the beast with two (now 3.1) crowns and the beast who torments with the Corn Popper.  Dinner time was also in there, so my guess is that without interruption the build would have taken about 40 minutes. Don't be intimidated to assemble one yourself; ARs are basically legos for grownups, and each part snapped or bolted on holds on another part. Here's a blow-by-blow with pictures on how to put one together. The forward assist is held in place by a roll pin. I use roll pin punches (from Brownell's) because they don't mangle the pin.

The forward assist goes into the big hole, and the roll pin goes into the conspicuously sized small hole there on the top. If you don't have three hands, get the roll pin started first before pushing the forward assist in (push it in as far as it will go before driving the roll pin all the way in). Some AR uppers don't have a forward assist, but they don't really add much more cost and you would be surprised at how useful it can be to quietly chamber check while in the woods and know that the bolt is seated. I bought the forward assist with spring and roll pin for like a whopping $16.

Next up is to install the ejection port cover. The ejection port cover pin has a small C-clip on it (one on the right) and you can see the notch where it goes (one on the left):

The C-clip side of the pin points towards the front of the receiver -- it just slides right in. As you're looking at it in the below picture, it goes in from the right to the left.  The C-clip is on the right side of the pin.  Start it through and then add the port cover, with the spring going in the gap. Putting the cover on takes about ten seconds total; you just have to be sure that the long tab on the spring goes against the door and the short tab goes against the receiver (looking at the spring in the picture, the long tab of the spring is on the left side and the short tab is on the right just below the ejection port):

On to the gas block and gas tube. There's a single roll pin that holds them both together; take a moment to slide the gas tube into the gas block to see how it works; there's two holes on the end of the tube that correspond to two holes in the gas block -- small holes align for the roll pin, and the larger holes align to allow burned propellant to flow through them and operate the bolt.  ***Notice the gas port on the gas tube is facing towards the bottom of the picture.***  When you assemble this beast, that gas port faces down towards the barrel:

Before I install the gas tube with the roll pin, I measure the center of the big hole on the gas block and scribe a line to help me line up the gas block on the barrel (the side that faces away from the receiver, towards the muzzle). It just has to be a visible mark, and you can use a pencil or sharpie instead of a scribe:

You'll see the reason to add that index line in a few minutes. Unless you have five hands, it's best to find a way to secure the gas block while you drive the roll pin through:


This part can be a pain in the ass. Here's a pro-tip: while you have the gas block clamped down (be careful not to crush it!), push the gas tube in until the roll pin holes are aligned (be mindful of the ***gas port on the tube -- you want it facing the gas port on the inside of the gas block (as you can see it in this picture, it will be facing LEFT)) and then mark a line with a sharpie right where the tube enters the gas block. When you start tapping on the roll pin the tube will slide in and out, and it's a bitch to get things lined back up without an index.

On to the barrel installation. It's best to have a receiver block to secure the piece in a vice for assembly. I've gotten away without one before using two pieces of wood and a vice, but I don't reccomend it because if you're not careful you can crush your receiver. It's also not very stable. Either way, once you have your receiver settled in the vice, grease the threads (ONLY THE THREADS!! -- DO NOT get grease inside the receiver where the barrel extension goes!!)

I have had good success so far using Castrol wheel bearing grease and applying it with a Q-Tip.   The barrel extension fits into the big threaded hole in the receiver.   Here's another pro-tip that I have independently verified that works great for maintaining accuracy when the barrel heats up: it's good to "bed" the barrel extension to the receiver.  Benchresters use shim-stock, but you will probably have to order it; I use locktite, and it works fine and has improved my groups when the barrel warms up.  Here's how it works:

The outside diameter of the barrel extension on this barrel measures a clean 1.000", and the inside diameter of the hole where the extension is going to rest for the next 50+ years measures 1.002"

As far as AR receivers go, this DS Arms receiver is machined pretty tight. Some are not. The Les Baer receiver and barrel extention that's in my MK12, for example, was machined to tolerances my calipers couldn't even read to, so it didn't need to be bedded.  When the steel in the barrel and extension heat up from firing, and when the aluminum in the receiver heats up, the metal expands, which can make your groups shift.  By filling in the available space with Locktite or shim-stock, you're taking away that option.  My group SIZES will still open up some when the barrel gets hot, but the point of impact does not shift. 

With that said, I did bed this barrel extension, but you don't really have to if you don't want to.  No biggie.  To bed it with Locktite, you slather the outside of the extension and inside of the receiver where it contacts (I prefer blue Locktite for this), using your finger to get it even:

Now, WHILE THE LOCKTITE IS STILL WET, slide the barrel extension into the receiver, making sure to line up the indexing pin on the extension with the notch on the top of the receiver where the threads are. Hand tighten the barrel nut:

Tighten the barrel nut with an AR-15/M16/M4 barrel nut wrench; you want to do this three times to mate the threads together. So you crank it down (40 to 90 foot pounds if you have a torque wrench); loosen it up; crank it down; loosen it up; then crank it down tight again. I don't use a torque wrench because you have to line up one of the notches in the barrel nut to allow the gas tube to go into the receiver (you'll see in a minute), which means you may have to loosen the nut a bit to find a notch. I go by feel, keeping in mind that the receiver is made of aluminum and you can strip it or wring it off. I weigh just over 200 lbs, and I put about a 3rd of my weight into it WHILE SUPPORTING THE RECEIVER WHERE THE BARREL AND RECEIVER MEET with my left hand. I basically torque the end of the wrench downward with my right hand with most of my strength. The reason to support the barrel/receiver is so that you're not torquing it downward; the pressure from the wrench should only be going into the nut and the threads in a clockwise direction. If the end of the nut wrench is thin like a butter knife, or if you're a girl, you can hang a large wrench onto the end of it to give you more leverage:

Once it's Gutentight, try the gas tube to see if it lines up okay. If it doesn't, then you loosen or tighten the barrel nut until the closest notch lines up. You want there to be a little side to side play at the hole where the gas tube goes into the receiver. That's important, because the bolt carrier key slides over the end of that gas tube inside the receiver, and if it doesn't have room to wiggle a bit the bolt carrier will chew it to pieces and your accuracy will suck:

This is a good place to stop, take the receiver out of the vice, and clean out the still wet Locktite on the inside of the receiver where it squished out from under the barrel extension.  Use a Q-Tip or something to that effect.  If it has dried, try some rubbing alcohol or mineral spirits.

Now to install that gas block/gas tube assembly (hereinafter "assembly"). To make sure the gas port on the barrel is aligned with the gas port on the assembly, I scribe a line on the barrel to index with that handy dandy index line I scribed on the gas block. Don't scribe too deep (or use a pencil or sharpie):

That last picture is not the best, but the two scribed lines line up. I've never had a problem lining them up this way. The gas tube now runs down the barrel and runs into the receiver like the picture three pics up. There's room for it to wiggle and everything is grand, so at this point I Locktite the two screws on the bottom of the gas block and tighten them to 20 inch pounds. Not all gas blocks are the same, so I skipped on the pictures on how it's secured. It's a Troy brand gas block and it has two hex screws that hold the thing on.

Moving on to the flash hider. There's all sorts of flash hiders, flash suppressors, muzzle breaks; I don't have much problem taming the fierce recoil of the mighty 5.56 NATO, but I'm also not planning on competing with it. I opted for the $20 standard issue A2 "birdcage" muzzle device thingy, and to install it you need a crush washer. The crush washer is shaped like a cup, and the concave part faces the muzzle threads and the A2 thingy screws down onto it:

I'll admit that this part can be terrifying; a crush washer is called a crush washer because it crushes when you wash. . .er. . .tighten a barrel device against it. Isn't that clever? It takes quite a bit of effort to do it, which makes it feel like you're about to wring the end of the barrel off. It's purpose is to properly "time" the muzzle device; that is, to make the slots/ports at the end of the muzzle device point up, which leaves the closed portion of the muzzle device pointing down. On mine, once I screwed the A2 flash hider down hand tight, it needed a full 3/4 of a turn to properly time. I would crank it down hard, then loosen it a bit, then crank it down hard again. You can feel the washer crush as you do this (it feels like the threads are stripping, but they're not), and you'll notice the A2 will turn a bit more each time. Support the muzzle with your left hand while you tighten with your right so all of your effort is going into turning the muzzle device, and not bending your barrel.  Stick a popsicle stick (or a small red-handled file) through the flash hider to give you an indicator of when it's level:

Good to go. Lastly, I installed the rail system and folding sights. The sights are a bo brainer, and for the Troy rail just follow the directions. It's a two piece design that free floats, and it mounts over a standard AR barrel nut with a clamp that uses five screws:

Looking at the above picture, the barrel nut sits down into the top half of the rail, and then the bottom half of the rail (it's facing the wrong way in the picture) snaps into the top half.  You can see that the bottom half has little index tabs on both sides that fit into corresponding slots on the top half.  Once they line up, the bottom half slides towards the receiver about 3/8", which locks the rail's tabs.  There's a strap (it's in the instructions!  Read the instructions!) that runs around the bottom of the barrel nut, connecting the two sections.  I used the maximum recommended torque specs of 60 inch pounds, and it's solid. This rail has an anti-rotation design that fits against the receiver to keep it from turning. It's also not a gazillion dollars like a Knight's Armament rail. Here's a glamour shot of the finished product sans optic, which I will be ordering shortly. It's mounted on my DPMS lower for the
 time being until I build the lower:

The rail is not as long as the rifle length rail on the little-AR-from-DPMS, but it will work great for its intended purpose:

The advantage of using a longer rail on a carbine and putting your front sight way out there is that it gives you a longer sight radius, which translates into more precision available at range. There's also more rails for you to mount kitchen sinks to at that fighting-rifle class you're attending. All in all, putting an AR together is easy. It's also therepudic (if you don't have interuptions, then it's a clown-show). Give it a try sometime!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Open Carry continues to be a non-issue

One individual's account of trying out Open Carry (OC).  There are of course the tactical ninja folks that pooh-pooh not concealing your weapon for one reason or another, but I've always been a big fan. 

The greatest advantage (for me) is comfort; IWB holsters are not nearly as comfy as a leather belt holster, and it's a pain in the ass to wear a jacket all the time.  And it's not only faster to draw from OC than from concealment, there's also less to go wrong with the draw.  Raise your hand if you've ever done concealed draws on a range and had your weapon snag on your clothing or bind up in your hand?  I have, plenty of times; and if you haven't, then you may not have spent much time on the range.  Or maybe I'm just a klutz.  That's a possibility too.  Another bonus is that lots of shooting academies teach from an open holster, not from concealment.  It blows my mind to read after action reviews of some academy where the shooter spend five days and 5,000 rounds shooting from a thigh holster made for Afghanistan operations, and not a carry holster made for WAWA operations. If you're going to war, then by all means, train for war.  If you're going to the mall, then train for going to the mall.

Also, draws and shooting should be practiced from non-traditional and non-static positions, which is easier if you don't have to sweep a jacket out of the way or rip up a shirt to get to your heater.  I'm going to call myself out as a hypocrite on this for the time being because I don't practice what I preach due to time constraints and other stuff, but I plan on getting into a realistic training tempo shortly.  It's important though to know that attacks on people don't generally look like what they do on the CCW shows on TV.  What few fights I've been into never started or ended with me facing an opponent at 7 to 15 yards, giving me time to think; actually, I can't recall a single time where I wasn't on the ground and already the recipient of several blows before I even knew I was in a fight.  This is exactly the argument against OC though, in that a scumbag(s) will take your gun before you know they're there, but I tend to disagree on the likelihood of that happening.  I was far less paranoid back then and had no sense of my surroundings, which is paramount to maintaining a good defense.  I think carrying a weapon necessarily makes me conscious of what's going on around me, and much more so when I'm OCing.

One day in near future I hope to have some realistic training under my belt that includes both CCW and OC.  I'm thinking of something more hands on than what's offered at a traditional range, something resembling this:

I don't plan on ever fighting a drug dealer in the car, specifically because I don't allow drug dealers in my car and am not a LEO, but it is realistic to train for fighting in close quarters.  Training to draw on an approaching scumbag at a mock-up ATM is good too, but there are other areas to improve on.  I also think that those who have never OCed before owe it to themselves to try it out at least temporarily so that they may learn something.  Again, OC makes you think all the more about what is going on around you, and that's more valuable to your defense than any shooting you might do, and you may be surprised that no one around you even notices you're armed.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Myth busted

I've often heard that big ol' honkin sedans from the 50s through the 70s are far safer than the plastic fantastic cars of today because the oldies have so much metal in them and will withstand a collision much better.  My gut feeling from seeing piles of multi-car accidents in this day and age where everybody comes out unscathed tends to disagree with that statement, and without even looking I find some evidence to support my gut: lots of slow motion footage of a 59 Bel Air hitting a 09 Malibu head on.

One of those crash test dummies took a direct hit to the dome-piece by the steering column which would surely have been fatal to a flesh-and-blood driver, and the other dummy looks like he would have made it out okay had he been real.  I'll stick with modern safety standards, thank you very much!

200 miles from nowhere

A sad but neat story about RAF Flight Sergeant Denis Copping who went Missing In Action in 1942 who apparently crashed his P-40 Kittyhawk in the Sahara, 200 miles from the nearest town.  It's deducted that his fate was wandering off into the desert until it claimed him, which is brutal.  There are excellent pictures of the aircraft at the link.

Found at Ace of Spades HQ

Tactical litter receptacles

LINTHICUM, Md. — A BWI airport official say a canister of pepper spray left in a trash can near a checkpoint was to blame for the evacuation of two concourses.
Incidences like these don't surprise me at all.  I've had to ditch all kinds of tactical doodads in airports over the years just because I forgot I had them on me, only noticing while standing in line at security.  I don't recall tossing any pepper spray, which isn't to say that I haven't, but I've ditched lots of pocket knives and several pistol mags in the past; a SOG Trident in one unnamed country and about five Beretta M9 mags in another immediately comes to mind.  If one were to rifle through those trash cans without drawing suspicion they would find some cool tactical gear, no doubt.  Think of all the Service men and women who realized that they still had their Gerber multi-tool on their belt and threw them away at the last minute.

It's really shameful if you think about it.  That's why I don't travel anymore.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

I got 99 parts but a gas tube ain't one

My AR parts arrived from Brownell's yesterday, but the gas tube that I ordered elsewhere did not.  I'm not kidding you when I say that there's an all out run on gun parts right now; just browse Brownell's, MidwayUSA, or Bravo Company and you will see that everything is in the red.  Too bad I still need a bolt carrier.  Last night I started fiddling with this build, but it was against the will of my two youngest sons who screamed at my feet the whole time.  All I got done on it was the installation of the forward assist, and I also reminded myself why you shouldn't coat the barrel with anything before you assemble it: the gas block was essentially painted on, so I had to do a little sanding and tapping with hammer and block of wood to get it off.  I took a teaser pic, but forgot to upload it to my Photobucket account this morning.  I'll see if the wife will upload it for me and I'll post it at lunch.

***Update: The daggone gas tube is in Washington!!  UPS really screwed me on this one.  On their tracking system it says that it should be here by the 21st, which will be eleven days after I ordered it, and having worked for UPS in my youth I can expect it to be bent when I get it.  I'm going to try to find one elsewhere in the meantime.  Ridiculous.

***Update:  A dear friend is bird-dogging a carbine length gas tube for me this week; failing that, he may be able to find one at the Richmond gun show this weekend.  I've been doing more intensive research on an appropriate optic for this beasty, and I've narrowed it down to two choices: an Aimpoint PRO or Burris MTAC.  The Aimpoint comes with a mount, and would be great for 300 yards or closer shooting.  The MTAC is a 1x4 power scope, and would give me slightly lesser close range speed but give me range out to 500 yards.  I have a 30mm Bobro mount already, so that is also tipping me towards the MTAC.  However, I'm not kicking in doors for a living, so any speed gained by the Aimpoint is kinda moot, but I have to consider that I already have a carbine AR that shoots tight out to 500 yards and beyond, and the whole premise behind this build is for a fighting rifle that I can practice with.  I'll make a choice here soon enough.  Until then, some teaser pics:

The lower in the bottom pic is from the little-AR-from-DPMS. Its green motif doesn't match the dark lord operator earth or whatever color it's called, but considering this upper is a mutt I find it a good match. I'll build the lower before too long that will match.  And no, the muzzle pointing at General Patton's head in the picture on the mousepad was a total accident.  Sorry Sir!!

Won't BUFF out

Old NFO has a couple of videos and some information of the B-52 doing its thing.  I've always been in awe of this aircraft not only for its longevity, but also the massive payload the thing can deliver.  Whereas a F-16 can carry up to a dozen MK82 bombs, the B-52 can carry over 50, which is a whole lot of hurt to be delivered on target.  To give you an idea, here is 9 JDAMs being dropped at one time.

Monday, May 14, 2012

A picture is worth a thousand words

Well then, I have a priceless treasure for you.  I'm a big fan of the Chive, so you'll see these posts every now and then.  Looking at these pics, when you get to number 31, you should have an idea of the environment the Marine Corps M16A4 has to operate in, and why the "sand tests" you see internet fanbois putting their M4geries through don't reflect reality.  Also, pic #52 shows the terrifying M1 Garand Assault Clip that you hear so much about.  Lastly, for the martial artists in the room, the GIF from #22 in this pic thread shows the devastation that a kick can do when it connects properly.  I can't stop watching it; it's like a train wreck.

No AR build yet

The parts for the upper build didn't make it here this weekend, but allegedly should be here today.  All I got done with it yesterday was to hit the barrel and upper receiver with Brownell's Alumahyde II coating; the parkerized barrel got a parkerized grey coating, and the receiver got a dark earth coating.  I coated the barrel so that it wouldn't rust under the handguards.

I'm going to be super pissed if the parts don't get here today.  I paid for 2nd day shipping to get it here Saturday, but I guess that was a waste.

Friday, May 11, 2012

It can only be JAREhhh. .eh. . UPITER!!

A man hand forges his own wedding ring from a meteorite.  I guess when you're rockin' the space metal, there's no need for a tinfoil hat.  Cooooool!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Quick like a bunny!

WhoooooooooDoggie!  Order AR parts at the end of lunch and twenty minutes later Brownell's drops an email saying "It's on the truck, hoss!"  That's fast!

Picture time this weekend as I assemble an AR upper!

Check your equipment, and other gunnish things

I"ve temporarily postponed the Savage 7 WSM build in favor of another 16" AR build; my reasoning is that my current little AR is a diamond in the rough, its barrel is far too accurate to use as a carbine, so I'm going to build another carbine and save this one for more prestigious, accurate fire.  I'm going in the opposite direction of Andy's former AR dilema: since I have a 1/9" twist barrel already that shoots bugholes, I bought a 1/7" twist barrel from Daniel Defense to take advantage of heavier bullets that are all the rage these days, with a chrome lined bore and chamber.  My plan to build the entire gun, and then continue on with the Savage 7 WSM build changed last night:

I was researching all the parts I needed for the AR build and suddenly got the hankerin' to fondle an AR, so I start cleaning the little-AR-from-DPMS and noticed this:

One of the gas rings is ate up.  There's no visible damage to the inside of the bolt carrier, and I can replace the rings, but I'm glad I found that before hitting the range again.  Now my home defense gun for the zombie invasion is red-lined, so I pressed the MK12 Mod 0 into service until I can stuff the new DD barrel and bolt into the little-AR-from-DPMS:

The MK12 is much lighter without the scope attached, but the loaded magazines feel way heavier than 5.56 mags.  These hold 25, but I wasn't able to seat the mag unless I downloaded 2 rounds.  If ninjas attack, I don't know what I'll do with such a huge handicap in firepower. . . . hopefully the extra millimeter of bullet size will even the odds!  It's actually the first time I've loaded those mags, having kept them in plastic for the end times in the back of the safe.  For bench work or hunting, the 10 rounders work better and are less cumbersome, and they don't scare the natives as much.

My strategy now is to buy all the parts to assemble an upper with the DD barrel, and I'll re-assemble the little-AR-from-DPMS as it was before with the Burris 2x7 for close to mid range coyote work.  The DD will get either an Aimpoint, or more likely a Burris MTAC 1x4, and will be used for less elegant close range and high volume "marksmanship."  And after that the Savage 7 will get my attention once again.

Sorry about the light posting as of late; I have a whole barrel of monkeys on my back, but I have faith that it will all let up real soon.

Monday, May 7, 2012

It's gonna happen! Cooooooool!!

Awhile back I noted the thread concerning the idea of what would happen if a Marine Expeditionary Unit went back in time and took on the Roman Empire.  I still stand firmly on the idea that it would be over within a few days if the Marines focused on taking out senior leadership and not trying to kill each and every Roman Soldier. 

Well, as it turns out there's a movie in the works on this very scenario.  I really hope they don't make it suck.  My guess is it'll be geared towards the viewing pleasure of the audience and less towards what would actually happen, which means there will be a scene or three where the Marines try to hold a line and fire rifles into the full mass of Romans, and not much in the way of a couple of forward observers annihilating the Romans with an artillery strike or two.  The latter is the tactic that would be chosen if this became a really real reality, to be followed up with a nightime raid by a few good Marines ricky-reconning into the bed chambers of the Roman Emperor and other leaders and killing them softly with Ka-Bars and suppressed rifles.

It's all in good fun, regardless!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Predator, me and Hornady

The wife is down with the sickness, it's raining outside, and I'm taking advantage of the ebb in the mayhem of this house by passionately loading sweet sweet booooolits while watching Predator.  I was trying to explain the humor in the Predator post from the other day to my wife, but as it turns out she had never seen it.  I thought it went along nicely with bullet making today:

Here I'm just finishing off the 123 grain Hornady AMAX bullets that I had left over, stuffing them into once fired Lapua brass (for fun, try saying "LAPUA" like Arnold: "LAH-POO-AHHH!! GET TOOO THE CHOPPPAAHH!") Next up is to kick out about 200 loads with the Nosler Custom Competitions in new brass. Fun stuff. I also have 200+ rounds to load in .380 ACP, and I have the equipment now to start progressively loading lead target ammo for 9mm. Too bad I don't have time for all that at the moment.

Friday, May 4, 2012

I'm a super dork

So I was reading the bible story the other day about David and Goliath, and right off the bat some things stood out that didn't make any sense.  My view about many bible stories these days is that, while I don't have any evidence to doubt that something didn't happen specifically the way it's written, it all falls well behind the message, which to me is not only paramount, but timeless.  I don't see the story of David and Goliath as being about them, or that David was better suited as king than Saul, nor do I see it being about Israel or kings or time-periods for that matter, because all of us fight our own Goliaths each and every day, and that has application right now; in essence, it's a parable intended for every generation and not a historical fact.  What conclusively tells me that about this story are the weapons, armor, and tactics that are named; and as it turns out I'm not the only one who picked that up.

I'm a big dork for all things military, and when I'm told that a dude was frickin' nine feet tall (for reelz!  It says so!), who is a champion fighter trained from birth to kill for a living, that despite it being the iron age he's wearing bronze armor and an iron spear (that oh by the way is humongous for no apparent reason), I have doubts.  Not really doubts, because the whole thing is totally nonsensical.

To start, he's wearing a bronze helmet, and from my previous knowledge and recent research probably covered his forehead specifically to prevent the outcome mentioned in the story.  Goliath was an infantryman, a dismounted one, so his helmet would most likely have covered his face and nose.  Having picked a career where other savage guys swing edged weapons at your face all day within bad breath distances will definitely make you consider armoring the places on your head where you're vulnerable.  So how does a stone from David's sling find its way to the squishy part of Goliath's dome-piece?  Weird.

Next, he's wearing bronze coat of mail -- or scale armor, which is more likely.  I think that if I were the ruler of a rich country who's ready to stake the future of my kingdom on a single fight to the death with my prized ginormous champion (he's ten feet tall!  Seriously!), I'd have him in mail made from iron, considering that technology was fairly mature in that time period.  But that's just me.  Same goes for his greaves and for his sword or javelin, depending on the variant of bible you're reading.  From what I've read, the word for sword varies from the Hebrew and Greek language, and can mean both weapons.  Most likely it was a sword because David took it and cut Goliath's head off with it.  The reason the sword/javelin thingy is so important is because of Goliath's spear: a spear is usually not a throwing weapon because it's not very suited for it like a javelin is.  Spears are more suited as a handheld weapon used to kill outside of the range of the sword, and it makes no sense whatsoever to have this massively heavy spear unless it's intended to be used as a projectile.  It also makes no sense to throw your medium range weapon at an enemy and then get in all close to him and hope he isn't more skilled than you with the sword.  That would be stupid.

Standing back now for clarity on Goliath's armaments, you have a guy who's a veteran fighter, a so-called champion, who's just this massive specimen (twelve feet tall, I tell ya), and he's outfitted with the same outdated armor as everyone else.  It makes no sense.  His sword (here we'll consider it over the javelin) is made of bronze as well, instead of much stronger iron -- bronze swords lasted longer when used as thrusting weapons than as slashing weapons, and here's this big somebitch with one trying to pick a fight with another champion with a weapon he will presumably break with the first strike against his opponent's armor.  Again, it makes no sense.  And to top it off, he has a spear that's so friggin' huge as to be cumbersome, instead of the easily manipulated weapon that it's supposed to be.  It's sounding more and more like a tall tale to me (pun intended).

As for tactics, it was common for a champion, knight, noble, or other esteemed fighter to have a shield bearer or squire to haul all his shit around.  He may be a big man but somebody else can carry it all when he's not dismembering his enemies.  Where it goes off the rails is where the shield bearer is pressed into the fight, or kinda shoved out in the middle of the fight with it.  To an infantryman, the shield is almost as much of a weapon as the sword, and you want me to believe that the thirteen-foot professional fighter would give it to a regular sized guy and trust him to stop an attack?  How big was the shield?  If I were forty two feet tall, I'd want a shield large enough to match the distance between the greaves on my legs and the chin-strap of my helmet, you know, for that total coverage thing that keeps me alive while others poke spears at me.  The only way I can see having someone else bear a shield for a soldier in combat would be for an archer, and only because they have to use both hands to use their weapon.  In the case of infantry, they have that shield firmly attached to their left arm so they can instantly stop a blow.

In conclusion, either Goliath was incompetent as a warrior, or Samuel or whomever had a poor sense of memory, or perhaps a big imagination.  On the latter point, there's a ton of correlating evidence that suggests that a Homeristic approach was taken to the story.  Correlation is not causation, but it is what it is.  The intended message is still loud and clear, and in my mind doesn't deduct at all from the scriptures.  But being the realist that I am, I have to raise the BS flag on that battle going down like it did.


KINGMAN, AZ - The Mohave County sheriff's office says a former gun magazine editor has been arrested in the death of one of his friends
Sheriff's deputies found 39-year-old James Patrick O'Neill dead of a rifle shot to the chest.
They arrested 53-year-old Richard Erick Venola of Golden Valley on suspicion of second-degree murder.

Venola was also on Guns & Ammo TV and did the torture test stuff at the end.  I didn't realize it had been two years already since he was a gun writer.  Bizarre.

Plot holes

They're everywhere.  Here's a blatantly obvious one that was overlooked:

There's plenty more where that came from here. My fav's are JAWS and Pulp Fiction -- hilarious.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Fit-testing your ammo

In an update at Mike's Spot on his Citadel 1911, Mike casually notes something of much importance that many folks may not have ever tried before -- fit-testing your ammo.  I'll admit to not always doing this with defensive ammo, but curiously will do it with reloads for plinking, which is backwards.  Having a jacked up round not fire on the range isn't as big of a deal as hearing a "click" when you need a "bang" in a moment of great need, and so checking each and every round that you would potentially stake your life on is a good idea.  In Mike's case, he even found out that his barrel was out of specification and needed the attention of the manufacturer's machinery to make it right, which would be a catastrophe to find out in a gunfight.

To fit-test your ammo, field strip your pistol like you would for cleaning and while you have everything clean and pretty, take your barrel and drop each round of your defensive ammo into the chamber and see if the cartridge seats well; what you're looking for is the case head (bottom of the round, for the layman) is even-steven with the barrel hood.  I really need to snap a few pictures of this to give you a visual.  While you're handling each round, check to make sure the primers are seated properly and that the round looks serviceable.  I've found jacked up rounds before in both target ammo and premium self defense ammo.  Stuff happens with massed produced things and it's your responsibility to make sure your weapon is compatable with the ammo.