Mags, summer outages

You know I love you guys, right? Thats why I share.

A few minor things of interest. The new Sportsmans Guide ‘Shooters’ catalog arrived. A couple highlights:

AK-47 mags, $79.97 per dozen (that’s around $6.66 ea) #HX6A1-107016 you can’t have enough AK mags. Buy ‘em now before the next election. And for those of you with nice shiny quality AK’s and nothing but crappo 5-round mags (you know who you are) – do it now.

In addition to a swell deal on AK mags, they also had, believe it or not, a 40-rd drum for your 1911, Glock 21 or Ruger P90. $59.97… just the thing for making your Marlin Camp Carbine look like a PPSh 41 … #HX6A1-106853… (-852 for Ruger 10/22, -854 for Glock, -855 for Ruger)

I was going to say a 40-round drum for your 1911 is rather gimmicky but then I recalled that I have an MP5 mag pouch full of 33-rd Glock 9mm mags. Still, considering that a “hi-cap” single stack 1911 mag can be about a foot long, I guess its an improvement. Not terribly practical out of a pistol, IMHO, but it might be fun out of a carbine.
Summer is here and with it comes the usual increase in power demand sparked by air conditioners and the like. As Im sure you’ve seen in the news, parts of Queens NY was without power for several days…parts of California under under constant threat of blackouts/brownouts due to heavy usage. So, as you can see, it aint just terrorist attacks and winter storms you have to worry about. Moral of the story – check the batts in those flashlights and be ready for power outages.

FAL probs an solutions, JFPO DIY KT AR, CZ wants, bicycle stuff

I’d been having on-and-off problems with my FAL and I think Ive ironed them out. The problem was that sometimes I’d have the bolt ride over the next round in the mag, stopping the bolt halfway in its closeward travel and putting a nice gouge in the case that was unlucky enough to be under the bolt. I thought perhaps it was an issue of gas system adjustment…perhaps more gas was needed to cause the bolt to travel more enthusiastically …it sorta helped but not completely. I then decided it might be an ammo problem…maybe the overall cartridge length of my reloads was not long enough to assure smooth feeding – so I loaded everything out to 2.800” and still had a few probs. Magazine? Maybe…but it happened with other mags too. Then I figured it out (I think). The mags I use are the used $5 mags from DSA. DSA started sending extra mag springs with them when you order them. Could the mags have weak springs and thus the cartridges are not being fed up through the magazine with sufficient force to put them in the ready position for the homeward-bound bolt? Certainly, it would mean the problem is more likely to be encountered when theres only a couple rounds in the mag rather than when the mag is full. But, theres an easier tell…it’s the same one you use to tell when its time to change the recoil spring in your handgun – compare an old spring to a new one. If your old one is significantly shorther than the new, swap it out. So I pulled the mag springs and compared them against the extras sent by DSA. Sure enough, they are at least a coil shorter. Swapped springs, took the mag out and loaded it with 20 rounds…boom, boom, problems. Tried a few in a mag that I hadn’t swapped the spring out..boom, boom, nada… aha!

Im pretty sure that’s the problem…especially since DSA is sending extra springs with the $5 mags. Tells me theyre aware of the problem. So, I now need to pull apart 40 magazines and compare the springs in all of them. However, I’ll be glad if that’s what the problem is. The FAL’s have a reputation for reliability and I was getting worried my Springfield Armory FAL was a lemon.

Before anyone asks, I have no idea what the gas regulator is set numbers on mine. But I did do the usual ‘turn gas off and open one step at a time until the bolt locks back on empty, then go two more notches.”
While we’re on the topic of guns, the recent Shotgun News has a fabulous article on the JFPO selling DIY AR-15 lowers. The ‘lowers’ are four pieces that are unfinished enough to not be considered firearms. You drill some holes in the conveniently placed starter indentations, thread ‘em, and bolt them together and you have an AR receiver…with absolutely no history or paper trail. Perfectly legal since the feds do allow you to make firearms for your own personal use.

At least, you did until the ATF raided the guy who was making these things for JFPO – KT Ordnance here in Montana. Apparently, ATF knew a good thing when they saw it and couldn’t have us peons with paperless AR’s.

I admire JFPO for its ‘in your face’ end-run around the feds. Anyone can say they’ll fight gun registration but how many actually go far enough to start selling DIY AR kits that don’t require paperwork? Another reason I like these guys better than the NRA.

Since I have no confidence in the 2008 election producing a pro-gun (or gun neutral) president, and am pretty certain it’ll put in a Democrat (usually a defacto anti-gunny) my personal strategy is to start socking away AR lowers at an alarming rate. AR parts will, I think, generally always be abundant and the AR is probably a lot easier to gunplumb on your own than, say, an AK. FALs might be nice but stripped FAL receivers don’t seem terribly common and the rest of the parts necessary are usually only available from one or two sources…and only really one domestically.

Needless to add, if I think it’s a wise idea to stock up on receivers before the election in 2008 you can bloody well believe I think its an even better idea to stock up on mags.
Speaking of boomsticks, since I have reached the point that I am confident and happy with my CZ550, its time to shift from load development to ammo production and to getting all the necessary support gear for it…and one of the first things that I want is a Pelican case to protect my little tackdrvier. And spare mags. I currently have just two. I need about five more. And a nice dedicated bag to carry all the gear in…something with attachment points to be carried with other gear but with straps/sling points to be carried by itself. Something that can hold ammo, cleaning kits, maybe a spotting scope, and all the other gear-driven goodness that you need when putting the sneak on something 600 yards away. I likes my .308, I do.
Got the new rack and bag for the mountain bike today. Also picked up a foot-powered pump. Additionally, I need to pick up a more compact pump to carry with the bike and I also want a 12v pump for use at the house. (Which can be used for several other things…like inflating those funky little inflatable guest beds, filling vehicle tires and pressurizing homebuilt flamethrowers.) Still need a fair amount of support gear for my bicycle but it’s a fairly low priority at the moment. The basic gear will be fine for now…I’ll get a spare wheel, spokes, chain, etc. at a later date. With gas around $3 a gallon it just doesn’t make sense to jump in the truck to go pick up the mail or a 12-pack of Coke. Plus, as local cops have opined, guys on bicycles are harder to catch than guys in vehicles…and me, Im all about the options. Still wouldn’t mind getting the frame powdercoated though……….

Delayed posts, bicycle gear, salvage wood, stoarge food

Life continues apace. I usually write entries at work and then bring them home on a USB drive….but when you see a week go by without posting you know Ive been forgetful and haven’t gotten the saved posts and the USB drive in the same place at the same time. On the other hand, it means that when I do get my ducks in a row the backlog of posts gets dumped as one long post. You lucky people.

CostCo emergency food product

Was wandering through CostCo and, much to my surprise, found this:

Interesting. The label on the bucket wasnt too helpfull so a quick trip to the manufacturers website ( gave me a bit more info. First off, CostCo is pimping these things for about $110 versus the $200 theyre asking on the website. Contents? Mostly vegetarian items…including ‘Ala King’..yes, thats Ala King by itself. Not Chicken Ala King, not Shrimp Ala King…just ‘Ala King’. That creeps me out..sorry.

They do offer a sampler pack for twenty bucks off the website.

Im going to keep an eye open and see if this stuff winds up getting marked down any further. I’d rather stick to my Mountain House and other munchies but for a hundred bucks this might make an excellent secondary or tertiary food backup.

The $3 gun safe

Here you go:

These bad boys are 120mm ammo containers. (The120mm refers to the projectile, not the container.) These things are the shiznits for storage. It has all the properties of your average ammo can – nigh indestructability, waterproof, airtight, rugged, subdued color – along with one extra feature: can be locked securely with a padlock. The locking mechanism uses an eccentric cam to force the gasketed lid into place…seals tighter than a virgin on prom night.

I’ll save you a trip to get your tape measure: AR, Ak, and other pistol-grip rifles will not fit without removal of pistol grip. An SKS will fit but you’ll have to take it out of the stock. A 10/22 will fit will most combat shotguns.
Specs: •Large Ammo Storage Tube 120mm Mortar •Excellent Condition 44-1/4”long, Inside 40” deep, •Inside diameter 6.75” w/air tight seal cap weight: 21lbs

These things are from Natchez Shooters Supply, located in Tennesee. Shipping weight is 21#. You can trot over to UPS’ website to calcualte shippingt o your area.

I cannot recommend these things highly enough. A 10/22, couple bricks of ammo, a dozen mags, cleaning kit, and all that support gear will fit inside and be pretty much nuke-proof. Toss it under the floorboards of your cabin, in a culvert, up in the rafters or some other easy-to-hide place and it’ll last forever. Sadly, a stack of #10 cans of Mountain House will NOT fit..although if they did it would be uber-coolness.

These things are also excellent truck boxes for smaller items you dont wanna leave in the bed of your truck unattended.

Seriously, these things are great. Heres the link..get ’em while theyre marked down from $13.95. by the way, the printed catalog says $3.99, so order online for additional savings.

Korean missles, Glock breakage, bicycles, storage

A little hiatus from posting. Mostly because my civilian life has been pretty full and when I have time to write I’d rather use it for sleep. Still and all, I figured I’d better post …..
The news has been on-n-off over North Korea’s on-n-off missle launch. For those who came in late, the North Koreans are supposedly going to test a missle capable of reaching the continental US. Let me take a few minutes to say I told you so. I told you so. Several times. This is a surprise to who exactly? However, lets be practical. North Korea is a communist third world basket case that makes Cuba look like Canada. The people are starving, theyre isolated from the world economic community and they have absolutely nothing to bargain with. Then they see the US and the rest of the world making a deal with Iran to give up their nuclear ambitions in exchange for all sortsa goodies. The North Koreans, not being complete idiots despite being Communists, figure they may as well try and get the US to pony up some goodies in exchange for the DPRK dropping its nuclear plans (which they probably couldn’t get to work anyway). Problem is, it appears no one is taking the bait and the North Koreans now have to put up or shut up and get that missle in the air.

Threat to me and my well-being? Minimal. Interesting from a socio-politcal standpoint. Bigger threat to the locals in the region then they are to me. Let ‘em starve.
Girlfriend had a minor hiccup with her Glock the other day. Trigger return spring broke. This is an old second-generation Glock so theres no telling how many rounds have been put through it. The functionability of the gun remains..still shoot, fire, shoot, repeat….just means that ‘staging’ the trigger becomes an issue. For combat shooting, it’ll get the job done. The part is a $2.50 part and I have four of them on order so swapping it out shouldn’t be a problem. In fact the girlfriend already had a spare spring laying around so she simply replaced it herself and is back up and running. Nonetheless, the moral of the story here is: spare parts.

Its worth pointing out this is the second part she has had break. The recoil spring guide on her G19 broke, another mishap that did not render the gun unshootable but was more of an inconvenience for disassembly. Now this. Aftermarket recoil spring guides are available that appear to be far more sturdy (metal vs. plastic) and perhaps there are some aftermarket springs out there that are also a bit more durable as well. Gotta look.
Speaking of spare parts, I really need to get a few goodies for my bicycle. Absolutely nothing, short of something with an internal combustion engine, is as good for getting from point A to point B. As Ive mentioned before, you can be sure there are a lot more people in Manhattan these days with mountain bikes just waiting for the next time all vehicular traffic is halted and the only way off the island is by foot…or bicycle.

I need to get a few things…good foot pump, a smaller pump for carrying with, patch kits, extra tubes, chain, chainbreaker, wrenches, spokes, spoke tools, extra wheels, etc, etc. On the bright side, shouldn’t come out to too bad a price and I know someone in the biz so maybe I can save a few bucks there.
Of course, storing spare parts means having to have a place to store them. Additionally, some things have particular storage requirements. Take ammo, for example, it has to be stored in such a manner as to be dry, protected, accessible and easily man-portable. Fortunately the answer to this problem is, unsurprisingly, the ammo can. Other items are not so fortunate. Almost everything needs to be stored to protect from water. Never know when something is going to be exposed to a broken pipe, flooded basement, rainy night in the back of a truck, or just heaved across a muddy yard. Some stuff is easier to find containers for than others. And good luck with the really heavy stuff like the full water containers (eight pounds per gallon can add up in a hurry) or the bulky stuff like bedding and clothes. Things that cant fit in ammo cans (and there aren’t many considering the huge variations in ammo can sizes) get vacuum sealed and then put into heavy plastic or cardboard containers to protect the sealed bag from puncture. In this manner, the desired level of protection is achieved although not the desired level of durability.

Naturally, theres also a trade-off of accessibility vs. protection. First aid kits are a good example. When you need to use one you usually need it in a hurry, but the contents must be protected from damage and environment at all times for them to be useful. Whats needed is high levels of protection with equally high levels of access…esp. if using only one hand. Kinda makes planning more interesting when you have to start taking that kinda stuff into consideration, don’t it?