Just some ramblings

Im fascinated at the notion of the North Koreans determining what movies we can and cannot watch. I have a conspiracy theory that the .gov paid Sony to pull the movie and compensate them for their loss in order to avoid the threatened ‘events’ that would take place at theaters in the US that showed the movie. But…thats all conspiracy theory. On the other hand, you can bet right now that industry underwriters are changing their policies to specifically exempt this sort of blackmail in future studio insurance policies.

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For a guy who fancies himself as being somewhat above-average in preparedness and thinking ahead, you wouldn’t think I’d be this far behind on Christmas shopping. And, oddly, its like this every year.

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Ryan linked to an excellent land nav post over at Max Velocity. Great reading and very informative. A worthy read for everyone, even those of us who know our way around a map and compass can use some reminders every once in a while.

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In local news, that was-it-or-wasnt-it ‘self defense’ shooting turned out to be a ‘wasnt’. The kid shouldnt have snuck into the guys garage, but the guy shouldn’t have gone around town telling everyone he was setting up a trap and that he was staying up nights to “kill some f***in’ kid”. No winners in this thing, but its the best hand out of what was dealt.

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I’m looking forward to hearing about everybody’s AAR on their gifts this holiday season. (There are several gift-giving-themed holidays going on this month, so rather than list specific ones I just go with the general catach-all of ‘holiday season’.) And if anyone comes up with some holiday sales on things that are germane to our shared interests, I’d like to hear about ‘em.

 

Savage stock options

Earlier this year I finally got my .22 suppressor. I had a few ideas about what i wanted to mount it on and wound up getting a Savage that really impressed me. The Savage had the AccuTrigger, a fluted heavy barrel, threaded muzzle, picatinny rail and a very nice price. But it had the most useless stock you could imagine. Whats the point of spending the money on a suppressor and a fairly decent rifle if the stock is so screwed up you cant even get a cheek weld. Here’s a crappy picture of the rifle with the ugly stock:

IMG_1984

See, the problem is the comb of the stock is so low that once you slap an optic on that rail your face isnt even going to be touching the stock. So….what to replace it with. Well, I was rather fond of the greenish laminate that came on my Ruger Scout Rifle:

Copy of IMG_1287

So I decided to get something similar. A lot of stuff I read said that the Boyd’s Tacticool gunstock was the way to go. Headed over there and was dismayed to learn that the Tacticool was no longer available. Bummer. A quick call to customer service (more about them later) revealed that the Tacticool was now called the Pro Varminter. Whatever, dude…just put one in a box and get it here.

Now comes the interesting parts. Originally I screwed up the order. I went online and ordered the stock and I thought I ordered the forest camo laminate. Turns out I selected the wrong part number and specified the painted green stock. When the confirmation email came I found my mistake and tried calling them. Closed for the day. Ok, call the next day. The woman at customer service says that its not too llate to fix the error. Sweet! A week later I get the box, open it and theres my stock….in green paint.

*sigh*

Ok, box it up and send it back to Boyds. And wait. And wait. Finally I call customer service again three weeks after UPS shows them getting the stock back. I ask what the story is. The customer service rep tells me that, yes the stock was received, no we havent written up a new order for you yet. Seriously? I paid for this thing five weeks ago, you got the stock back three weeks ago, and you still havent thought to send me a new one? So she promises to get on it and a week later (so it took a month to get them to rewrite and ship the order!) I get the UPS tracking numnber. Stock arrived today. Behold a thing of beauty:

IMG_1983

Is that not gorgeous? And once it was installed, it looked like this:

IMG_1987

Wow, those cellphone pics are pretty crappy, aren’t they? Well, either way, gun looks awesome. That scop eis just something I threw on there for looks (IOR M2 w/ ARMS rings/mount)…Im actually looking at this for an optic. But I am supremely glad to be rid of that worthless cheesey stock.

Ii rather like this stock enough that when Ruger finally makes a ‘tactical’ version of their American Rimfire model I’ll wind up doing the same stock swap.

So…thumbs up on the Boyd’s stock, but a thumbs down on their handling of the order. I accept blame for getting the wrong stock the first time, but once they got back the stock it shouldnt have taken a phone call and three weeks before someone thought “Hey, maybe we should get that guy the stock he paid for.”

Things left to do: decent sling and a stubby little Harris bipod.

Yes, thats a gun in my pocket and Im glad to see you

Clearly the recent events in Australia aren’t real..I mean, after the Port Arthur episode they enacted all sorts of gun control to keep that sorta thing from happening, right?

Interestingly, the places most likely to have a large population of potential would-be terrorists tend to be the large urban population centers that restrict the ability of the citizens to discretely arm themselves. Some slob in Manhattan, San Francisco, or Chicago walks into a 7-11 and starts waving a gun around is far less likely to get a bullet for his troubles than if he had pulled the same stunt in, say, well, most red states.

I don’t know whether statistics bear it out or not, but I would think that would-be terroristsĀ  are less likely to to get their jihad on when theres a reasonable chance that one of the folks they’re trying to corral into the walk-in freezer has a Glock in the pocket. Certainly having a little ace up your sleeve isnt a guarantee that youre going to get out of a situation like that, but I’d definitely feel my odds were better with it than without.

Of course, these sorts of precautions aren’t limited to worrying about terrorists. Given the increasingly unstable natures of a large portion of the population these days, it’s a good idea to drop the 640 or the G26 into the coat pocket when you walk out the door.

Here in the quiet hinterboonies the odds of some sort of recent immigrant-who-failed-to-assimilate going nuts and holding hostages in the local WalMart is virtually nil. It’s far more likely to be some low-class loser who just got kicked out of the trailer by his babymomma and figures he and his HiPoint will make the world pay. The proper response and solution to the problem, though, remains the same.

 

Signs

Well, as you may be aware, the big news around here these days is the Kaarma case. As you can imagine there’s a bit of a divide about the whole thing…there’s one camp that beats their chest and thunders that “Anyone inside my house unlawfully deserves to be shot and killed” and then theres another side that says “There wasnt anything here worth shooting anyone over”. I’m mostly in the latter camp. Plus…hunting over bait is usually unethical.

And, as I was walking around doing errands today, I spotted this little jewel that made me feel better:

photo

Not sure what these guys are gonna sell, but whatever it is I’ll at least come in and look around. Come to think of it, Im a little embarassed that I dont already have one of these in the window at my shop.

Old, old man

Well, it was mandated that we return to CrossFit. After a hiatus of a couple years and much pizza.

The notion of climbing stairs or trying to get out of a chair fills me with dread right now. Im so sore. But….its gotta be done. I am not gonna be one of those fat gun guys you see at the range.

But, oy, the pain. I am an old, old man.

I was checking my list of ‘personal records’ from when i was last at CrossFit and that was three years ago. I’d be amazed if I could lift half the weight I used to.

Unfortunately, when the apocalypse gets here the folks who can run faster and longer, carry heavier loads, climb objects faster, and not pass out anytime they have to run a few blocks, will have the advantage over…well…this current version of me. So…back to the pain factory.

Link – 100 Amazing How-To sites

So this has been sitting in my browser tabs for a while:

http://earthweareone.com/100-amazing-how-to-sites-to-teach-yourself-anything/

Man’s primary tool of survival is his mind, we are told. Makes sense to me. No reason not to keep learning. The A-Team and McGyver didn’t succeed on strength of arms, but rather on ingenuity.

Heinlein’s famous quote about “A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly.” comes to mind.

This is, apparently, a literary device….the ‘competent man‘….if you’re old enough to remember Aherns uber-survivalist, J. Rourke, you pretty much know what a ‘competent man’ in the literary sense is.

While we may not have our gear with us or about us all the time, we usually take our brain everywhere we go so we may as well stock it with useful stuff.

Gun show

There was gun show this weekend just down the road so…why not?

It looks like the shortages and shortage-induced prices have mostly stopped…..with the notable exception of .22lr ammo which seems to still be hanging in there around ten cents per round.

AR’s were in good supply and mags were everywhere. Quality name-brand ammo for .223 was still in the forty-to-fifty cent range.

Highlight of the show was a .303 Martini that had been remade into a pistol in some Peshawar garage. Amusing to look at…. And interesting to think about since that sorta thing might turn some heads with that whole ‘making a pistol out of a rifle’ issue. Might explain why the guy wouldn’t lemme take a picture of it.

Didn’t see anything that really jumped out at me. I bought some reloading dies, Two boxes of old Dominion/CIL .43 Mauser ammo, and that was about it. Anytime I get out of a gun show without spending $100 I’m happy.

Just as we’ll….gift-giving season approaches and I’ll need the cash.

New Terminator movie

It seems that in the world of franchised movies these days there’s the notion of ‘resetting’ the franchise by giving some deus ex machina reason for timelines/history to be altered, thereby allowing sequels that can ignore previous movies. Most notably the last X-Men movie and the last two Star Trek movies. Well, it appears the Terminator franchise is headed in that direction:

I’ll go see it, of course, but from the trailer it simply looks like a mashup of T1 and T2 with some better effects and a virtually completely recast roster..(except for dat vun notable excepshun.)

But, really, who doesn’t wanna go see Arnie rockin’ the flattop and making bad one-liners?

Non-Commie caliber = non-Commie manufacturer, Commie caliber=Commie Manufacturer….

As everyone knows, a gun without ammo is just a very inefficient club. Unless you’re on fire, there’s really no such thing as too much ammo.

Personally, I’ve been pulling triggers for just less than thirty years. I’ve shot some really broad varieties of ammo, from lotsa different countries, and from lotsa different eras. When I go to buy ammo I want the most reliable, consistent, affordable, quality-made, ammo IĀ  can find.

American manufacturers:

Rattle of the big brands off the top of your head – Federal, Winchester, Remington, Hornady, Speer… if you buy this stuff you are pretty much guaranteed to be getting good ammo. Sure they have recalls once in a while, but I would take a box of Win White Box 9mm or Federal American Eagle 9mm over a box of Wolf any day of the week. The ammo from the large American companies is usually exactly what Im looking for.

Now, there are, of course, smaller manufacturers and some who are actually reloaders rather than manufacturers. Outfits like MagTech, Black Hills, etc. I used to shoot Black Hills ammo way back in the day…remember those 50-round American Flag boxes? It was usually ‘good enough’ ammo but accuracy was sometimes not as good as one might expect. Pricing, however, was good so if the weekend called for a day of busting rocks that was the ammo du jour.

Locally, we have the old Hunting Shack (HSM) ammo and BVAC (Bitterroot Valley Ammo Company). The nicest thing I can say about Hunting Shack ammo is that usually it goes ‘bang’ every time you pull the trigger. They had the local contract for practice ammo and results were…uninspiring. BVAC, which has/had an interesting pedigree as an offshoot of HSM, is slightly better but the company has had some fluctuations in QC and I’m just not willing to stockpile ammo I don’t trust.

Summary: Buy ammo from one of the big US makers and be confident you got good stuff.

European manufacturers:

I’ve been pleased with Sellier & Bellot, Fiocchi, Norma, Lapua, and Hirtenberger. Lapua is probably the best ammo in the world but expect to pay for that. S&B has been very good and reasonably priced. I use them for my 12 ga. needs. A couple drawbacks to these brands is that they just aren’t represented very well. Find something you like and its very possible it may be unavailable at a later date.

The Russians:

Ammo of last resort. If I’m shooting a Commie gun (AK, Makarov, Tokarov, SKS, 91/30) then I go with the spam cans of ‘surplus’ ammo. The guns are designed around those steel cases. Although they now offer other calibers like 9mm, .308, .223, .45 ACP, etc, they are all steel cased and, in my opinion, usually pretty dirty to shoot. You can point me to all the FAQ’s on arfcom but I am not running steel cases out of my AR…or any of my other non-Commie-caliber guns. The only exception I have is I wouldn’t hesitate to run steel .223 out of a Mini-14.

Wolf has tried, with some success, to clean up their image these days but, to quote Big Bang Theory, you’re trusting the technology of a country that couldn’t catch Rocky and Bullwinkle. When the apocalypse comes and I’m down to my last mag of M855 I’ll grab the packet of Wolf steel cased .223 thats offered to me…but I’ll have misgivings the whole time. On the other hand, if I’m using my AK then I’ll take the Wolf 7.62×39 and feel just fine.

The Chinese:

You don’t see much of this anymore since Slick Willie banned it from import, but it isnt hard to figure that it’s a grey-market product that probably turns up in the US. The Chinese move it to the Russians or other Eastern Block countries, they repackage it as their own, and move it to the US. FIlthy, inconsistent, unreliable stuff in any caliber other than 7.62×39…..then its just inconsistent and filthy. I recall one particular batch of ammo (and ‘gunpowder’) that came into the US that was loaded with what was essentially fireworks powder.

The Koreans:

PMC is actually, in my experience, pretty good stuff and I have no qualms using it. When youre just a short-range missle-launch away from North Korea you take your ammo making fairly seriously.

Misc. Surplus:

Used to be you could get South African, W. German, and other surplus ammo in good quantity at decent prices. (I’ve a dozen battle packs of .308 S. African that I paid something like $20 ea.) It turns up rarely, but when it does I have no problem with it if it’s from a country whose national airline you’d feel safe flying on. I’ll take South African .308 ball over Pakistani .308 every time.

These are all personal preferences. Im sure there are folks who’ll tell me they regularly compete and win in their IDPA division using steel cased .38 Super from Glorious People’s Tractor Factory #54 in China but that’s between them and their guns.

For my AR’s and PTR’s, Glocks and Rugers, its brassed case commercial ammo made in non-Commie countries. For my SKS and AK’s, its Russian or Chinese 7.62×39. If I were to check the stockpiles in the bunker right now it’d be Chinese and Russian 7.62×39, Federal .223, S&B and Rem. 12 ga, Federal .22, South African and PMC .308, Win. 9mm, and a hodgepodge of .357, .38 and .45 ACP (but American manufacturers).

Your milieage may vary, of course, but if someone was to ask me which to get, Federal or Winchester 9mm versus Wolf or Armscor 9mm…..well, you’ll get less of the Federal for your money than you would of the Wolf but I’d feel more confident with the Federal. Or, put another way, when you’re standing in front of your family-owned jewelry store in Ferguson MO and the cops are nowhere in sight will you be thinking “Wow, Im glad I saved nine cents a round on this steel cased Russian 9mm ammo”? Don’t underestimate the value of having faith and confidence in your ammo.