March 2007 | APRIL 2007 | May 2007
1438 - Sunday, 1 April 2007: Zzz. Missed the first half-hour of Gun Talk. April Fool theme, Schumer changing sides, .17/.45 wildcat, etc.

From the chat room, Zumbo Strikes Back; NYPD Commissioner Demands National Gun Control. That second one - NY police can't stop New Yorkers from committing crimes, so they want to infringe on my Constitutionally-guaranteed human rights (and yours!) 3,000 miles away. I haven't been mugging anyone in Central Park, how about you-all? And some wonder why I don't like cops.

The radio show is my Designated Cleaning Period (unless I've been using blackpowder or corrosive-primed surplus, which of course demands immediate cleaning). No particular difficulty cleaning up Trail Boss; little fouling, only slightly more than W231 I think. But I think I've collected enough data from it. Sticking with W231 for now. Still have about a pound left from the English Pit score years ago, and the partial jug from the show, and a couple fresh pounds on sale at Bi-Mart last week.

Ugh, not feeling well. Probably my inadequate bachelor's eating habits.

Email still behind.

Later, feeling better. Nearing the end of Off Armageddon Reef. Weber's more-verbose-than-strictly-necessary writing style annoys slightly, but the stories he tells with it grip firmly. Weber has always written to a naval theme; here he's taking it back to the age of sail, for those of you who dig that. He obviously Knows A Lot about naval history generally and the wind-and-canvas-era particularly; if I knew more I'd probably be recognizing bits from Trafalgar, Salamis, the Spanish Armada, etc.

Random gunsmithing thought: last Barberton show I eyed a Taurus derivative of the Beretta. These have frame-mounted Browning-style safeties allowing Condition One carry, unlike the Walther-type hammer-drop on the true Beretta, which I've never liked because of the transition between the first and second shots. Discussing it with Cruffler, he told me that the magazines are not strictly interchangeable with the M92/M9; the Taurus magazine's catch slot is slightly larger, and Beretta magazines thus altered no longer work properly in Berettas. But… why can't one just get a spare Taurus magazine catch and alter it to function with more-widely-available, and coincidentally GI-compatible, Beretta magazines? -Not that I'm prepared to blow ~$400 on a Taurus pistol for the experiment, but hmm.

Email tomorrow, really!

1439 - Monday, 2 April 2007: Zz. Z.

Let's hit the email again. In Nashville, of all places, Homeowners' Assoc. Rescinds 2nd Amendment; in the Presidential race, know the candidates; Yuri 'blogs the blatantly anti-American rally here in Portland; Texas gets stand-your-ground - and so does Oregon! In Florida, a judge brandishes - but I can't carry so much as a pocketknife in the courtroom; JihadWatch.com; in Tennessee, no repeat of New Orleans; Fred Thompson Runs (and he's not covering for Paul Harvey today, who has a definite Cronkite-style anti-war vibe).

Readers' consensus is that I should load my Garand clips with the top cartridge on the right, not least for the thumb-flip thing.

Radio news: Portland police chief Rosie Sizer considers "relaxing education requirements" for new Portland cops - current requirement is a two-year degree, proposal is high-school or equivalent. -Just on the surface that's a Bad Idea, but it becomes much worse when you consider the "quality" of "education" coming out of public "schools" over the last couple of generations. And they're still the Only Ones who should be armed, riiiiight.

EP tips from a reader:

Get some containers (vitamin bottles, drink mix containers, candy tins, ect.) and use them to separate the stuff that might contaminate other items, like the fuel tabs and hand sanitizer. It's a good idea to keep your matches in one so they stay dry even if you get water in the can (or your soup cans burst).

Make your own candles - use the strings from tea bags and dip them in melted wax or make a mold out of a plastic tube of the appropriate size. The thinner cotton string will give almost as much light but burn more slowly, much more slowly. Also, commercial candles often have lead in the wicks.

Get a couple tube of super-glue. Most people don't know it but this stuff was invented as the original "Liquid Bandage", and it kills just about any kind of bacteria known. You can also start a fire with it, I even hear it will stick things together! YOU MUST put these in a container because if one leaks it will contaminate food items, melt plastic and rust steel. I keep mine in a metal container (it held gum originally) and that inside a plastic pill bottle, both sealed with tape.

Cut 1/2 of the sticks off all but one box of matches, this will let you get more matches in each box and save space (or have more matches). Keep the one box full length as you might need the extra length. I use the cheap plastic match cases, but a buddy of mine uses a plastic candy tube with electrical tape to seal it.

Get some stubby pencils and sharpen both ends, they write when wet and you can sharpen one with your knife. Heck the Russians issued them to their astronauts! You can shave the wood for fire making in an emergency too.

Get a small roll of duct-tape and a roll of electrical tape (which will nest one inside the other) and store them in a baggie so the glue won't stick to other stuff.

Dump the caramel, replace them with hard candy. The caramel will either melt into a gooey mess or get hard as a rock with the weather, and turn into rocks when it gets old.

Get some Imodium AD, Benadryl and real Asprin. They all have an important role in an emergency and the store brands are cheap and work just as well (dump the non-psudeophedrine stuff unless you know for sure it works for you, and forget it for serious anti-allergy work like insect stings or poison ivy, the Benadryl is vastly more effective). Some water purification tabs would be a good idea too, just because it looks clear don't mean squat and you cannot carry enough water as you need to last for more than a few days.

You might consider getting a metal flask and keeping some really hi-test alcohol in it (190 proof would be best), it can be used as a disinfectant and even as a bug repellant or fire starter.

Of course my can is Really Full right now, but even what I do have puts me Very Far Ahead of the sheeple. This reader also sends link to SurvivalBlog.

Reader sends photos of and by his father, Edward J. Fortman, in the Korean War. In the barracks:

A leaflet dropped by the communists - reader comments, "This was used on us by the commies, but I think it would be good for us to drop some of these on the UN peacekeepers when they invade the USA."

And one we dropped on them:

And with a souvenir. "Gotta love the grin on Dad's face!"

1440 - Tuesday, 3 April 2007: Seen on Codrea's 'blog, I ordered In Search of the Second Amendment and it arrived very promptly. Watched last night - dry in spots, lacking Flow, but still a useful tool.

To be a match director at my club I must also be a Range Safety Officer. Training is straightforward, simply having a sit-down with the CRSO and going through the manual. Since I'm running the plate match, which is usually held eleven or twelve times a year, I'll likely never be required to put in the four days of regular RSO work; yet I still get the RSO privileges, a key to the place, and use of the range any day of the week. Fair enough.

1441 - Wednesday, 4 April 2007: Zzzz.

Starting on taxes.

Watched 2nd season of Battlestar Galactia on library DVD, didn't suck. Social commentary with relevance to current domestic issues, our war against Islam, and the cost of appeasement. Hmm.

Still some backed-up email; reader sends JPFO's guide to making your own bolt-action rifle from slabs of metal. (The other day I was eyeing a ChiCom mini mill/drill/lathe at Harbor Freight for something under $600.) FBI: Criminals Ignore Gun Laws - can I get a "Duh"? In a special issue of Guns & Ammo, article on enemy sniper operations - some of which might have applications in our next internal conflict, hm.

Reading The Long Twilight, vintange Keith Laumer reissued by Baen & Flint. "The Plague", published 1970, fits right into today's Culture Wars.

Download the April 1957 issue of Guns magazine. In the March issue:

...The Webley company has suffered severely from the Firearms Act of 1920 which outlawed rifles and pistols for civilians in the British Isles. While this law did little to affect the actions of criminals, it damaged one of our principle [sic] British industries. Equally, it left England in a totally undefended state in 1940 when after the evacuation from Dunkirk, we had less than a full division of fighting men properly equipped. This state of unpreparedness was caused directly by the Home Office when the anti-firearm laws were passed.
Later, finished the Laumer. "Night of Delusions" is a complete mind-bender.

1442 - Thursday, 5 April 2007: Zzz.

Ack! Only two weeks to the Yakima Appleseed! Ammunition…. In a pinch I have 192 (193 actually, I picked up a stray at a match) rounds of corrosive Korean. Also 200 of DEN42 but at 65 years I dunno, and that's corrosive too. Better have another chrono session. The 47.5gr load might do. Making ten more to confirm the last session's results, and another ten each at 47.8 and 49.1gr, military brass (LC67/68). Except, my club badge is now out getting upgraded to RSO, hm. I might break my 17-week live-fire streak.

Taxes done, IRS E-file works.

Captured Brits released by Iran as an "Easter gift". Orrrr, they might have been eyeing our supercarrier groups in the Gulf there. The American Eagle's wings are being clipped, but the British Lion has been completely declawed and castrated. Visual aid. And let's not forget that Tony Blair, for all that he is our ally in the war against Islam, is a socialist. And socialism is… now I think tied for Islam as the deadliest philosophy in human history. (By numbers I think socialism still leads, but Islam is working hard to catch up.)

.30-06 loads… last range session I was chatting with the club CMP guy who said he was using WC846, a ball powder. Previously I mentioned that the burn rates of W748 and BL-C(2) are in the range recommended for the Garand. Now I see references to WC846 being equivalent to BL-C(2), and now I recall the CMP guy said something similar as well. Therefore, also making test batches of BL-C(2) at 47.0 and 48.0gr, thrown with an RCBS measure and each charge weighed. (Sierra V says 46.1 for 2700fps and 48.3 for 2800; maximum 50.5 for 2900.) LC brass again, and once the measure was set it metered very nicely and consistently. One thing I've learned - small-base dies are not needed, at least for my Garand. I have not had a single malfunction in my CMP rack-grade Greek-return, except the doubling which I'm morally certain is due to softer Federal primers in Federal factory loads.

In the news, Parents Protest Military Statue - the road trip as planned (only a month away!) won't be going to Colorado and I already knew that gunfolk should avoid Denver. (Here is the SEAL's Navy Cross citation, BTW.) Here are the condescending elitists of the Illinois State Police telling you that armed self-defense is baaaaad, and here is a predictably tragic result of that cowardly philosophy.

OMG! A Good Cop!

Saw some MagTech Shootin' Size 250rnd packs of handgun ammunition in Sportsman's Warehouse - Even More Expensive than their UMC counterparts. UMC MegaPacks at Wal-Mart are probably still your best bargain in bulk factory handgun rounds at this point, and if you fire anything larger than 9x19mm and anything more than, say, 200 rounds per month, you'll want to reload. Midway has the Lee Pro 1000 in their latest print flyer for $130, BTW. For highpower rifle I still use a single-stage though, for greater perceived precision.

Looking through the RWVA site and forums for tips - ack! Recommended 300 rounds! "400 is better"! And of course they have to be the same load or your POI will be all over. Looks like I won't be testing those Mosin loads for a while, I'll need to concentrate on the Queen. These BL-C(2) loads had better work, the ball powder will meter so much faster. Of course then I'll need more powder.

1443 - Friday, 6 April 2007: Zz.

Looking like no shooting this weekend but I might try after the mysterious Washougal show tomorrow. I will need another bench/chrono session this weekend or next, so I can pick a load for the Appleseed - and then another to get sight settings. All the reports I've read suggest that the Appleseed is a friendly event for people to learn how to use a rifle, but I'd like to have at least some of my act together before I get there.

Meanwhile, the director of the Wolverton pin shoot has proposed an intramural with my plate match, using just the timed qualifying runs from the latter. The way he's proposed it - simply totaling the times from both events - it could be done every month with little or no extra work or special arrangements, just getting people to show up.

Reading McGivern. Very interesting. One must remember that McGivern very deliberately developed the skills to perform his famous feats by expending vast quantities of ammunition - he was no freak of nature with superhuman reflexes, he worked at it.

1444 - Saturday, 7 April 2007: Znrk. Washougal show - Very Small, some of the Barberton crowd. Reportedly this show is just getting restarted after many years' absence. Next such 2 June. Things I eyed: Garand, $650, SA 2.2million, but on closer examination the receiver was rewelded and some of the other parts - like the op rod, the heart of the system - appeared cast instead of forged; Winchester M1895 .30-06, with factory-option Lyman aperture rear sight, $800; Colt Delta Elite 10x25mm 1911, $600; Remington M870, magnum receiver, 18.5" Mossberg aftermarket cylinder bore and 2-shot magazine extension installed, 28" vent-rib RemChoke included, $325; Rossi M62SA (Winchester M1890/M62 clone), pre-manual-safety and slam-fire, .22LR, $150; Central Arms 20ga hammerless double with tang safety, $200 IIRC, might have made a nice Cowboy piece. Met Yuri, fondled what few products there were, commiserated on treasonous local politics.

Political commentary. Oh yeah.

Sis (who has a meat smoker) sends:

Preparing to load Large Quantity of .30-06... as soon as I pick a load and I hope I get good results with BL-C(2) because the old RCBS was throwing very nice charges the other day (unless there's something wrong with my scale). 400 Hornady #3037, check; many CCI #200 primers, check; ~2½lbs IMR4895 if the ball powder doesn't work, check (not buying more BL-C(2) until I get test results, duh); brass... I think I have enough: the old TW5 is the biggest single batch, 150, then Federal civilian, 115; Lake City of various dates (67-72), 125 together; 65 Remington, 42 Winchester, 28 PS Korean (74-75) - but that's all ready for immediate loading, sized, tumbled, trimmed, chamfered, and primed. Then there's the 50 LC from the test batches I can reprocess. And now I'm starting on the ~240 donated LC Match, but that will get special treatment I think.

Need broken shell extractor. Just to be paranoid. Maybe I'll get lucky and find one at Barberton next weekend.

1445 - Sunday, 8 April 2007: Zz.

Something I put on the chat room (the show was a rerun), talking about the antis (not least Pelosi in a headscarf in Syria):

That's the thing - inside they're slaves. They can't stand the idea of others - like us - having something they can't comprehend - like freedom - so they want to make all of us slaves like them.
Recently I've had occasion to explore the guts of a Remington 870 and now feel qualified to comment on its relative merits compared to the Mossberg 500/590. The Remington is a slightly more versatile design, with its open-ended magazine tube allowing extensions and only one location for the barrel attachment point regardless of magazine length, but the Mossberg 590 now has that feature and I've seen M590 versions with 5-shot tubes (see also the M835 3.5" supermagnum). The Mossberg's safety is ambidextrous, but only with a conventional stock; the Remington's button can be used with a vertical pistol grip, and I understand it can be reversed. From a gunsmithing perspective I think the Mossberg is a better design, easier to work on and to get at all the guts of. The Remington's fit & finish are better (a little; the specimen I examined was an Express, which I understand to be their economy line - looked Parkerized, receiver not drilled & tapped for optics) but now that I've been in the bowels of both I still prefer the Mossberg. Not that there's anything wrong with the Remington, it's an even older design than the Mossberg (1950 vs. 1961) and any real bugs have long since been beaten out of both, but if I had to hand-file a replacement part from a piece of scrap metal in a cave somewhere the Mossberg would be easier to install the part in, I think. (For example, the shell stops are staked into the Remington's receiver, and the ejector is riveted (and according to the assembly/disassembly book that's on all versions, not just the Express); in the Mossberg the shell stops drop right out and right back in, and the ejector is held by a very ordinary screw.)

And Remingtons are generally more expensive. Furthermore the specimen I examined had a new plastic trigger group (okay, the Mossberg has always had that, except for the mil-spec M590A1), and a key lock in the safety button (and I don't think that can be reversed for left-handers).

Speaking of Remington, they've been sold. Rumors and apprehensions fly.

Another judge brandishes. You see why I don't want to go to the courthouse - those unstable freaks in black robes might bust a cap on me if I don't roll over and obey their every whim. -What's that? Judges don't like being called such names? Well, hell, they've been calling gunfolk much worse for decades, and lording it over us peasants as though only they are fit to run their own lives or anyone else's. The difference is, in their case the labels are justified by their documented behavior.

Working on the match brass - LC61-65. I find it interesting that some of the flash holes are off-center. Primer pockets do not appear to be crimped.

1446 - Monday, 9 April 2007: Zzz.

Jury duty tomorrow. -You know, the road trip next month - I might not come back. Except to fetch my stuff of course. I can't find a source for it yet but on local talk there's an Oregon Court of Appeals ruling that your front porch is now a "public place" and you can't have a firearm there. On your own by-gods property. Plenty of other property-rights implications to that. Then there's the plan to fit all cars in Oregon with GPS and black boxes to raise revenue and increase fuel taxes - which incidentally would create a downright Orwellian database of your vehicle's movements. Then there's the trial date on 21 May, which they might still subpoena me for, not that they'll condescend to tell me ahead of time if they won't. I must abandon this state!

Meanwhile, Mayor Frank Melton of Jackson, MS, does something that might get any of us peasants summarily executed; SchwarzenRINO leans further left.

1447 - Tuesday, 10 April 2007: Selected for a jury in a civil trial (personal injury suit) expected to end tomorrow. Medical testimony Extremely Tedious. Courthouse "security" still deeply insulting.

1448 - Wednesday, 11 April 2007: Done. A consensus was reached (majority of 9 required for civil trial) and we were out (a little) before 6pm. Got thoroughly rained on hiking back to where I parked. Eh, I needed the exercise.

I'd've been more interested in the process, and more inclined to 'blog my observations of it (for example, I've read Hope by L. Neil Smith and Aaron Zelman, and I cocked an eyebrow at the judge's instructions to the jury - but the nature of the case and my desire to get it over with and depart unscathed made it seem not worth the trouble to raise the topic), if my mind were not burdened with the insults of "security" and disgust with Icky Downtown People. Glad it's over in any case.

Meanwhile, just about finished with Grantville Gazette III. The flavor of this collection was heavily Christian, as in the conflicts between Catholics, Protestants, and subsets of each internally. But hey, Grantville was dropped into the middle of a war, over that subject, which in the original timeline depopulated much of Europe. Kinda hard not to bring it up. In the back of the book, as in previous volumes of the Gazette, are nonfiction technical essays on how the technology of later centuries can be sustained or introduced to the mid-17th. I was particularly enlightened by Rick Boatright's article "Iron" (to include steel), and am looking forward to "Flint's Lock", by Leonard Hollar, Bob Hollingsworth, Tom Van Natta, and John Zeek, "Part one of a series devoted to firearms in the 1632 universe". -Okay, didn't learn much from that which I didn't already know, but it's a good article for those who lack some techno-historical firearm knowledge.

Second sis visiting Friday, first sis Saturday, possible informal practice both days. But I need formal practice, and soon. I'm an RSO now, with a key, and many such exercise the privilege to make use of the range when it is not otherwise open. Calendar says... work party Monday and Tuesday, no shooting; so, Wednesday, the 18th, a chrono session with the latest .30-06 test batches; whip up another batch of the chosen load that evening; back to the range on the 19th (appropriately, Patriot's Day) for sight settings; loading a heap of cartridges that night and/or Friday the 20th; then driving to Yakima. Leaning toward getting a room there Friday night - want to do the whole weekend. Haven't pre-registered, but I could online. All the AARs I've read indicate there's always room on the line but if I'm going to be coughing up ~$75 anyway I might as well do it early and get a guaranteed spot.

1449 - Thursday, 12 April 2007: Zz.

Making the rounds of the net, this Presidential straw poll from the American Family Association, in which Fred Thompson has about as many votes as the next three (of twelve other) Republican candidates combined - and he's not even actually running yet, just exploring.

Email behind again, recovering from the downtown ordeal and gearing up for a crowded weekend.

One of the webcomics I follow - SF of course - recently posted this filler art while the artist concentrates on college. Dig the rant.

Planning the Appleseed trip. Yakima…. Maps I have, and GPS too now, no problem there. Road distance from here appears about the same as to sis' place in Everett, which is about a three-hour drive - but I'd better pad that some. While I'm typing this I'm using the web to get prices for area lodging - nothing much below $50/night, maybe I should drive there Saturday morning and only spend one night. Shoot starts at 8:30am, meaning I should be on the road absolutely no later than 5am, preferably 4:30. I-84 east, US97 north, WA24 east, nothing to it.

1450 - Saturday, 14 April 2007: Second sis begs off but first sis makes it. She's acquired… this:

"Made in Belgium, Assembled in Portugal." (That reminds me, a story I've heard is that "Assembled in Portugal" means, like, assembled from the field-strip level or even just putting the grips on.) And Pretty ain't the half of it. Magazine disconnect removed (though the pin is replaced); ambidextrous extended safety (probably factory); custom grips of exotic wood; ramp job on the barrel (though looking at the proof mark there and on the frame I think it's the factory barrel) and a pronounced bevel in the rear of the chamber; slight bevel to the magazine well; Trijicon night sights; no-bite hammer; reduced sear engagement; possible enlarged ejection port; and something I've never seen or heard of before - note the two holes in the slide serrations. The forward hole is empty - that's the original position for the sear lever pin. That's been relocated to the rear hole. It's the later paddle-type, the paddle acting as a firing-pin safety; but the rearward relocation of the pivot point increases leverage and reduces felt trigger pull. And the price? $599, before tax. I think she got a steal, on a four-figure pistol. I don't think it's stainless but I could be wrong; might have been refinished with some kind of chrome, the end effect is kinda satin but not like brushed stainless. Oh, one other thing, the bottom of the frame is grooved, parallel with the bore, much like a target trigger would be (this one's (gold-plated) trigger is smooth, BTW), though not as finely, or the backstrap or barrel rib of a modern S&W revolver - I can't see the purpose for grooves down there, which would be mostly covered by the magazine floorplate. A gunsmith's signature perhaps?

And the important question: How's it shoot? Dig it:

I did those, with UMC MegaPack stuff, at 7 yards - the top offhand, the bottom from the bench, with a center hold, slicing the target's diamond in half with the top edge of the front sight. And I was hardly trying. Sis… isn't that good with it yet but I made her buy three full MegaPacks on sale at Bi-Mart before I let her go back to Everett. Only one malfunction (with factory FMJ admittedly) early in the ~100-round session, a failure to feed, solved by a slight jiggling of the slide - probably just needs breaking in. Jealous, me. I have demanded that she leave it to me in her will. Also ordered her to let no one muck with it, including me. That pistol's perfect.

Oh, saw a Fred Thompson '08 bumper sticker at the Barberton show, FWIW.

By now many of you will have heard of NJ Governor Corzine being critically injured in an auto wreck. According to the lists, he was a) not wearing a seatbelt and b) being chauffeured by a state police trooper (who may also not have been buckled). No one's posted yet whether NJ has a seatbelt law. But hey, laws - like for seatbelts, or apprently of physics - are only for us little people, not the only ones. Right? (Corzine's a democrat (meaning socialist) of course....) (And NJ bans hollowpoint ammunition, 'cause it's eee-vill I guess (and what do their blueshirts carry...?).) Now me, I always wear a seatbelt, and require the same from my passengers... but I oppose laws requiring such. (And I load hollowpoint rounds when I can afford the projectiles; the P35 is usually the hovel duty piece and it's always filled with 115gr factory JHP (switching to Remington L9MM1 now that Bi-Mart no longer carries Winchester white-box); the GP100 with 110gr, either Winchester factory or Hornady XTP handloads. Go wet yourselves, anti-freedom lurkers.) Ditto bicycle helmets, back when I was a cyclist, and flotation vests, the few times I've been on small boats. But it ain't government's business if some people are too stupid to live. Quit polluting my gene pool!

Shopping with sis we stopped at Brightwater Ventures, where I prematurely bought two pounds of BL-C(2) powder; then Sportsman's Warehouse where I got another box of Hornady #3037, for a total of 500 loose at present, and another can of One Shot spray case lube, and two new Plano cartridge boxes of a size for .30-06 - olive plastic, with a separately hinged top instead of integral like the MTM or Frankford/Midway/etc. type, and furthermore a little tab on box and lid for a small padlock (shrug?). Actually half a buck cheaper than MTM. Anyhow the empty open box won't tip over backwards, and the lid stays open instead of creeping closed like the one-piece box. I haven't actually used these new boxes yet but I think I'll buy more of them, instead of the MTM. Cartridges can be stored bullet up or down.

Thought: the mutilated Dragoon revolver sits forlornly on the shelf in the cabinet where I store powder and primers, its associations in my mind turning away my eyes and hands. -But how about a cartridge conversion? Since it's a reproduction to begin with, and half-butchered already.... Ah, already available, hm. But, I'm thinking of a full treatment, with loading gate and ejector rod so I don't have to fiddle with the wedge except for cleaning. And that'll cost more than I paid for the Uberti. Ah, but! A little more web searching finds a series of articles in the archives of the Hobby Gunsmith newsletter! I'm onto something here.

1451 - Sunday, 15 April 2007: Zz.

Now comes word that, yes, New Jersey has very strict seatbelt laws. The word "karma" appears frequently in the discussions of Corzine's accident.

Gun Talk live at NRA convention in St. Louis, chat room underpopulated and tackling the Presidential candidates. Interviews - LaPierre, industry figures; Ruger rep says the Mini-14 Target model has barrels made on completely new machinery, the old rigs being "scrapped". But, IMO, the resulting product is no longer a fighting weapon, only a target instrument. Ted Nugent, fangs out.

Whoa - surfed across this:

"If evil men were not now and then slain, it would not be a good world for weaponless dreamers." - Rudyard Kipling [That's from his novel Kim, and I've seen variations in the wording.]
All the LC Match .30-06 brass sized, deprimed, & tumbled - 247 pieces. Normally I trim all my '06 brass to 2.485" as specified in the Sierra manual, haven't done that with this batch yet. Probably won't do any more with this brass until after Appleseed.

Just noticed something that's put me off those Plano cartridge boxes: "MADE IN CHINA". MTM says "MADE IN USA" on the barcode sticker. The Midway/Frankford, which appear to be the same with a different logo, don't say.

1452 - Monday, 16 April 2007: Zzz.

Tax day is actually tomorrow because of some federal holiday. Except they probably can't even be called "holi"days anymore. Anyway mine are all done.

Then I turn on the radio and hear of the Virginia Tech Shootings. No word on perpetrators yet but estimates of 29 31 32 dead. Sudden Jihad Syndrome? Domestic crackpot school-shooters, historically, are incapable of running up such body counts. -And hey, Virginia is Shall-Issue, why didn't anyone shoot back? Or did they and MSM isn't saying? Rush not covering it except in passing, Hannity ghoulishly playing audio from a cell phone, while Lars, more constructively, interviews Kevin Starrett, and earlier, though I missed it, Susanna Hupp. Fox radio news saying little of use. -Now I hear the shooter (who is "deceased" of as-yet-unknown causes) was Asian, FWIW, and something about a girlfriend. Implications that VT's campus is a Self-Defense-Free Zone. One guy, just tackle the bastard! Throw a chair at him! Didn't anyone resist? Did no one fight back? Did they all just lay down and let the goblin kill them? If that's what happened, let me be the first to very cold-bloodedly say that such useless, worthless, 'weaponless dreamers' deserved to be removed from the gene pool.

Email. Michigan sends:

The Remington 870 "Express" models are not Parkerized. They're bead-blasted and blued. My gunsmith says he won't Parkerize them, because the receivers are only spot-hardened and spot-heat treated, which causes any Parkerizing to have weird looking light and dark spots and stripes, which in turn cause customers to complain. The only finish he does that looks decent on them is Gunkote, which is spendy.

Oh, and the "foaming bore cleaner" sold either under the "Gunslick" or "Outers" brand names seems to work pretty well. Spendy, though, and despite what the label says, if there's a non-trivial amount of fouling present it will take several applications, and I would be in favor of pushing a few patches through the bore dipped in acetone or wet with carb cleaner after each application to remove any residue and letting it drain and evaporate between applications of the foam. It still requires much less effort than scrubbing with a bronze brush, though. I wish it came in larger containers. And while I know it does very well on copper fouling, I have no idea how well it does with lead.

Also sends link to affordable AR lowers, followed by this detailed treatise on ARs:
Some BCGs are better quality than others. Avoid DPMS (bad machining, bad dimensions, sometimes bad heat treatment leading to catastrophic failures in the field, though the AR is well enough designed that this does not lead directly to injury to the operator), Olympic (far from milspec metallurgy and finish), Model 1 Sales (rejected parts Colt and Bushmaster wouldn't use), M&A Parts (ditto). Good brands of BCGs include Colt (spendy but probably the best quality control of all the big brands), Bushmaster, RRA, Lewis Machine & Tool, Continental Machine & Tool (these two are OEMs and you are starting to see their parts sold under their own names), Young Manufacturing (expensive, but the fit and finish are always excellent, and they make superb hardchromed BCGs too--spendy, though), Les Baer (VERY expensive).

Use oil and oil alone on an AR, never grease. LSA is the best if you can get it, CLP is very good if you can't, and in a pinch motor oil will do. Keep the bolt carrier wet and it'll keep running for far longer than you'd think.

Something very important to remember if you want to get into ARs is that there are many many brands but relatively few manufacturers. What I mean is that Colt hasn't made their own receiver forgings or internal parts for twenty years, if not longer. Neither have most anyone else. Almost all the AR bolts, carriers, trigger groups, and what have you come from either Continental Machine & Tool or Lewis Machine & Tool. Olympic makes their own in-house, but they're castings and the metallurgy is suspect, so they're actually of dubious quality (Olympic AR parts are very far from milspec in every respect and I would question the quality of just about anything from them). DPMS supposedly makes their own bolts and carriers in-house, and they likewise have a poor reputation for things like bolt locking lugs that shear off at less than 100 rounds due to bad heat treatment, or bolt carriers that have to be ground down on a lathe before they'll fit in the upper receiver.

CMT and LMT have contracts with Colt to allow Colt to cherry-pick the best parts from many of their production lots - best in terms of dimensions, fit, and finish. Bushmaster usually gets second choice, and sometimes first choice if Colt hasn't called dibs on that particular batch. Everyone else buys their parts after the big boys cherry-pick the nice ones, with varying levels of care. RRA's quality is uniformly excellent; their bolts and carriers may be as good as Colt's, and their bolt gas rings are beautifully made and fitted (by whom I know not). DPMS-branded lower parts kits are only serviceable, not great (but better than their bolts and carriers). Model 1 Sales and M&A Parts are the bottom-drawer AR parts vendors and they sell parts from lots rejected by Colt and Bushmaster, and/or buy from production batches at the very end, when everyone else has picked out all the nicest parts. Some people get lucky with parts kits from M&A or Model 1 Sales (which calls itself "Ranger Sales" at gun shows in the Midwest). Some have nothing but problems with everything from out-of-spec parts that won't fit together (which is probably why they were rejected) to missing springs and pins to assembled uppers that weren't correctly assembled, etc.

Colt doesn't even make AR barrels in-house any more. They subcontract with E. R. Shaw to make chrome-lined AR barrels for them, and most Colt AR barrels sold since approximately 1990 are chromed in the chamber only, not the rest of the bore, to save a few cents. Model 1 Sales also sells Shaw chrome-lined barrels, but theirs are chrome-lined end to end, as you'd expect. Go figure. Model 1 Sales also sells assembled AR match uppers with Krieger stainless match barrels - which are said to be of excellent quality (the barrels, anyway). Again, go figure. Bushmaster still makes their own chrome-lined barrels in-house, though. Lots of other brands of AR have a chrome-lined barrel made by companies that might not be familiar to you--CMMG, Sabre Defence, and others, military contractors who also subcontract for Armalite, RRA, and many many others to make barrels for them which will usually be sold under someone else's brand name.

And there seem to be only two big manufacturers of AR upper and lower receiver raw forgings right now--three if you count the FN plant in South Carolina, but under the terms of their contracts post 1993, at the insistence of Hillary and Janet Reno 100% of their production is for military contracts and none of their parts is supposed to get into the hands of peons like us, ever (anything from that plant not meeting specs is supposed to be destroyed, not sold as surplus, though one does notice FN-marked upper receivers and FN-marked barrels for sale now and then, and one can only assume that they fell off a truck). Look at the right side of the front sight base of an upper receiver, or the place below it on the rail if it's a flattop. If you see a keyhole logo, it's from Cerro Forge. If you see a sort of crooked triangle (actually it's supposed to be a cardinal's head), it's from Cardinal Forge. Both of these are large-scale manufacturers of brass, aluminum, and iron products, and gun parts are a tiny sideline for them. CMT and LMT supposedly make a very small number of upper receivers in-house (and LMT is beginning to sell complete ARs using mostly their own parts under the "Stag Arms" brand name) but I can't remember what they stamp on them - they're kind of rare. Olympic, a relatively small scale manufacturer, makes their own raw aluminum receiver forgings in house, which are marked with a fractured capital A on the right side of the rear sight base. The same mark was also found on their cast receivers, and in either case they're not milspec in their dimensions or their metallurgy, and have long had a problem with cracking in use, whether cast or forged.

There are lots and lots of forge markings, historically, you'll find on AR uppers, from C or CMP (Colt, 1960s-70s) to FN (self-explanatory) to all manner of alphabet-soup letter codes for various 1970s and 1980s subcontractors, to little pictograms indicating one or another aluminum foundry; there are Web pages with long lists of the codes and their meanings. These days, though, it's unusual to find anything other than the Cerro Forge mark or the Cardinal Forge mark on an upper receiver of recent manufacture, or very rarely the fractured A (Olympic upper receivers are normally sold as complete upper assemblies, though, very rarely as bare receivers). If something happened to them, it'd throw a pretty big monkey wrench into the war effort.

Michigan also says sis's new P35 was probably hard chromed at the factory, which finish didn't sell well. Also says the grooves in the bottom of the frame are a factory feature to signify cast or forged, but he can't recall which.

Follow-up on the Navy SEAL's statute - it'll stand, with his weapon.

Reader sends legislation to create the Department of Peace and Nonviolence. A very brief web search shows that this is for real. I feel ill.

Aaand, most of you will have seen The USMC Rules for Gunfighting but there's a handy link.

A while back I posted a link to an online article from Guns & Ammo's Combat Arms on enemy sniping tactics, and at the time I commented that we might learn some things which we might have to use against Queen Hillary's thugs. Now, inspired by Yuri mentioning that the actual hardcopy - on newsstands now - also had an article on the Mossberg M590 (which I really must get around to replacing), I got a copy and in the editor's column I see the following:

Current events do not bode well for our nation. In a recent humiliation, a group of armed smugglers came up out of Mexico and encountered troops of our National Guard, who, on orders, promptly ran away. [This was on the lists and talk radio a couple months ago, IIRC.]

This small incident should send shivers down the spine of every decent citizen - realizing our own leaders are preventing the troops and federal officers we pay to defend us from doing their jobs.

Unfortunately, incidents such as thisadded to the cowardice (treason?) of many elected officials, forces us to read these pages with an eye to education more than entertainment.

Well. I'm encouraged that I'm not the only one thinking that way. Many of the articles in this 2007 Combat Arms are written by recent sandbox combat veterans giving first-hand accounts of their own actions. Go buy a copy.

President Bush speaks on the VT shootings... briefly and neutrally, which is about the best we can hope for from the RINO.

Uh huh - self defense prohibited on Virginia campuses. See also - "In June, Tech's governing board approved a violence prevention policy reiterating its ban on students or employees carrying guns and prohibiting visitors from bringing them into campus facilities." And how did that work out for y'all? -I've also heard the murderer chained doors shut to prevent escape or rescue - sounds like planning to me, which is more interesting combined with a bomb threat there a week ago. A caller to Savage points out that if the killer had been a white Christian CNN would have a full crew at his grandmother's house by now... but this one is "Asian" and that's all anyone publicly knows at this point. Uh huh. Meanwhile, from the lists:

Bowers v. Devito, 686 F.2d 616 (7th Cir. 1982): "But there is no constitutional right to be protected by the state against being murdered by criminals or madmen."
Later, some commentary (from what may qualify as another Good Cop) on weaponless dreamers. Also later, listened to Larry Elder, bumped some hours by a local talker and no longer live in Portland, interviewing John Lott.

I expected that VCDL would have something to say, even so soon, and here it is. And a little more.

1453 - Tuesday, 17 April 2007: Zzz.

More aftermath from VT. Some really disgusting sheeple-ism. I won't 'blog all the details as they come out, but it seems Cho was Not From Here, hm. And, he had a history of instability, stalking, and arson - yet was still running around loose. Also on anti-depressants, as have been many other perpetrators of such mass murders - pattern there. As for the high body count, which I questioned earlier, now it appears the Eloi helped up the score by obediently waiting to be slaughtered - but not quite all of them.

The greatest danger from this is long term: that the antis will ride it to more restrictions on the right of real people to defend themselves; and in the resulting defenseless environment the next such attack, and the next, and on, will be even deadlier. Likewise actual terrorist attacks (such as postulated by Tom Clancy in The Teeth of the Tiger, which author proved eerily prescient with Debt of Honor (a 747 being kamikazed into the Capitol Dome), published before 9/11/01). Go read Ringo & Evans' The Road to Damascus too.

-Second hand, it sounds like O'Reilly, to whom I don't listen, is also going anti. To his credit, Lars pushing RKBA as the solution. -Copycat threats closing parts of universities in at least three states.

Terrorism… you know Al Qaeda and the like are following this. Brace yourselves for a string of American Beslans (and I'm not the first to say that). Students, if you can, carry; parents, if you can get your children out of the politically-correct deathtraps of public schools, do.

Constructive commentary.

A Nation of Cowards.

Radio news says Gov. Corzine's SUV (eee-vill!) was speeding (with a NJ state trooper at the wheel). Triple-uh-huh.

Savage fangs-out on the whole system, from professors to Prozac.

Another reader says sis' latest is a MkIII in factory hard chrome, and the grooves in the bottom of the frame are to obliterate cosmetic defects from an investment-cast frame. This reader and Michigan both say the ambi/extended safety is factory. This reader also critiques a bit of my story - the reloading sequence - which will get a rewrite.

Meanwhile, the antis are already wailing to make the rest of us as defenseless as Cho's victims. Everyone, stockpile everything, now. Private-sale arms, bulk munitions, magazines, components and reloading tools, cleaning supplies, everything - before it's all outlawed. Anyone who doesn't have a .22LR rifle and a couple bricks on hand is underequipped - and you can get a used .22LR bolt-action for under $100 at nearly any show or pawn shop in America. With such, and ancient guerilla tactics, you can upgrade, if it comes to that.

Lars refers to this prescient essay on self defense on a Virginia campus. Thomas Jefferson must be spinning in his grave.

Huh - more constructive commentary, from something resembling MSM.

1454 - Wednesday, 18 April 2007: Znrk.

Range day! A brief one - cold and a little wet. Very few people there, which suited me fine.

DRAT! CURSES! AND HARSHER LANGUAGE! Misfires and hangfires with CCI #200 primers! And all my processed .30-06 brass has those installed already, except the match stuff which hasn't been trimmed yet. Chatting with another shooter, these primers are apparently becoming known for this - first I've heard of it, and the first trouble I've had with these primers, but it did happen. Even doubled once - that might have been my trigger technique, though I've been trying to follow through and hold the trigger back. Two actual misfires, several clickBANG hangfires.

Anyhow. Chrono data:

.30-06 test loads
150gr Hornady FMJBT #3037
CCI #200 primer
Once-fired LC 67-68 cases
Lee Factory Crimp Die
M1 Garand
Published Sierra data
Every charge weighed
Round#47.5gr IMR489547.8gr IMR489549.1gr IMR489547.0gr BL-C(2)48.0gr BL-C(2)

Round #8 of string #4 misfired, as did round #10 of string #5. Rounds #1 & #2 of string #5 doubled, in a 2-round clip. The rest of the string was fired from an 8-round clip with no malfunctions except the misfire. Round #5 of string #3 partially ejected a partially-loaded 8-round clip; there were no other feeding problems. Most of the hangfires were in strings #4 and #5; I think there were a few in string #3.

Two SLEDs, one 2-round, one 5-round, and one 8-round clips were used to determine there was no significant change in POI between the various clips, or between single-loading and repeater-loading.

Note that I started with the last load I chrono'd, 47.5gr IMR4895 - I wanted to see if I got the same results, and I did, near enough. Scientific method, reproducibility and all that good stuff.

Note also that the same ammunition in different rifles may give different velocities, as noted in previous chrono sessions with another Garand shooter doing chrono work on the line. And, different brands and types of projectiles, of the same weight with the same powder charge and primer, will also give different velocities, as noted with Nosler Ballistic Tip vs. Hornady FMJBT. Your Mileage May Vary. But, there's some actual chrono data from actual live rounds fired in an actual Garand, FWIW.

*&^%$# primers…. With the bullet puller I recovered the components, but now I've got two primers that may be live in cases I don't want to lose. I'll get a Lee universal decapping die later, SW stocks it - I'll not worry about two pieces of brass at this point. Goggles and muffs when the time comes.

And groups, sandbags, 100yds, SLEDs & clips kinda random throughout:

So. I'll make another 50 of the 48.0gr BL-C(2) tonight (because it will meter so much easier than the IMR and there's nothing wrong with the powder in this load) and get sight settings tomorrow, conditions permitting. Using the same primers, already installed in my processed brass - hoping for the best. In the worst case I can put WLR in the Match brass and reprocess the 50 each (ordinary LC) from today and tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Cruffler sent a somewhat unprintable rant on the AR treatise above. Now another reader sends, more concisely:

I've read the notes from Michigan about ARs with great interest.

I've got an Olympic AR and would like to dispel some of his mis-information.

Oly made some of their receivers as castings, but the vast majority are milled forgings. You can find out how to tell the difference from their website, with pictures even.

About them being "far from milspec in metallurgy and finish", I can't speak to that due to not having a shop or the ability to test metal specs, but AR-15.com calls Oly receivers "good quality".

About Oly's being of dubious quality, I've only had mine for about 14 or 15 years, and only have about 2k rounds through it. I did have the charging handle latch pin shear, causing the charging handle to become broken and jam up the works something fierce. But replacing the charging handle assembly fixed that issue. I'm just one owner, so don't go by just my experience.

Oly claims to make their own receivers and barrels, as well as most of their small parts.

My understanding from reading around the net is that the problems were with some of their early cast receivers.

Ah, my upgraded cardkey in the mail, good.

Another test: not cleaning the Queen before tomorrow's session. Not expecting any problems with the rifle.

Later, reader sends a Michelle Malkin rant on VT and defenselessness. While there I saw this (unrelated) tale of bigotry in Rhode Island.

Another reader comments on ARs:

Myself and a close friend are also proud Olympic AR owners. We both owned Bushmaster rifles (and were issued Colts and FNs in the service) before purchasing our Olympic ARs, and found that only finish was sacrificed for the lower price. Olympic makes barrels for Bushmaster. Aesthetics never kept anyone alive on the battlefield; so do go on and purchase that Olympic AR lower if you plan to build a black rifle.

You get what you inspect, not what you expect.

And hey! Tennessee behaves logically!

1455 - Thursday, Patriot's Day, 19 April 2007: Appropriate that I should practice with my battle rifle on the 232nd anniversary of the first American resistance to confiscation of weapons by government. 50 rounds of the 48.0gr BL-C(2) load chrono'd yesterday, on full-sheet SR1s all the way out to 300yds. Lower velocity than I kinda want, if I'm simulating M2 Ball, but the Queen functions with it and accuracy seems adequate.

This is the first time I've visited my club on an off day, using my new RSO status - carrying the RSO handbook in my range bag. (Boy am I glad I won't have to pull regular RSO duty, since running the plate match counts. I don't envy those guys.)

…A mixed session. Good hits at all three distances (L-R: 100 (inch grid), 200 & 300yds (SR1), sandbags, SLED & clips):

On match targets the 300yd hits would be 10s and the 200yd, Xs, so nothing to complain about there. (Love this rifle.) Every round I fired (that fired) today was minute-of-JBT, anyway, at those distances, even with the hangfires. Repeatable sight settings recorded for this load (two targets at each distance), but of 39 rounds placed in the rifle, one misfire and 28 clickBANG hangfires. On off days, it appears the Cast Bullet Association folks are usually on the line being obsessive with their benchrest rigs, but benchrest or not they know lots about handloading and I gathered what lore I could. Things I was told: ball powders known for hangfires (and it was BL-C(2) powder that caused this dramatic photo); possibly I'm sizing too much and setting the shoulder back far enough that I have a headspace problem, causing the firing pin's impact on the primer to be cushioned. The first suspected cause was that my primers were not fully seated but I read about that before I even had a Garand.

What to do? What I have done is get a brick of WLRM and a Lee universal decapping die. What I think I will do is gamble on the WLRM, use the Match brass (trimming only where necessary, and to about the middle of the length range, between published maximum and trim-to - no time for special treatment now) and reprocess the LC brass I used today and yesterday - that should give me something over 300 rounds which I hope will be enough.

Later, I'll experiment with CCI #250 primers, 400 of which I got on sale at Bi-Mart today, and compare those to the WLRM, standard WLR, and CCI #200 for velocity, reliability, and point of impact, documenting of course. But right now I'm in a hurry. I could go to the range with test batches again tomorrow (I'll be increasing the charge of BL-C(2)) but I need to load Lots of Rounds Now, the load I have doesn't suck except for the ignition problems, and I think the Corolla needs new brake pads besides, which I should probably attend to before driving to Yakima. If the WLRM does change POI, I'll just sight-in again because the Queen has the best rear sight ever put on a general-issue fighting rifle.

Yeah, I procrastinated. I could have been at the range discovering these problems on one of those days I was zzz-ing. Anyhow I'm 'blogging it all for the next guy.

Oh, here's a little thing - I got the label-maker (heat-transfer, not embossing) on clearance for $5 at a Target store (and I read the manual, for tricks like symbols and two-line printing):

And it's easily peeled off and replaced when I change loads.

Savage plays a bit of Cho's recorded manifesto and my first impression was of the same kind of antimaterialistic, redistribution-of-wealth rant we hear from tax-raising socialists. Meanwhile some candlelight vigils are being held… with 33 candles, to include Cho. And that's just sick.

In the mail, check for $24.80 for jury duty.

I'll 'blog this and see if anyone has another tip before I actually load cartridges tomorrow, but I'm trimming and chamfering and getting everything ready. Still over 300 pieces unprimed, if someone makes a compelling case to use or not use CCI #250, WLR, or WLRM. (Or maybe I'll use the IMR after all.) First, with eye and ear protection, decapping the three misfired cases. Already recovered projectiles and powder, nothing seems wrong there… but the primers appear to have been fired and there's typical residue in the primer pocket, which I always brush out for rifle rounds. Hmm. So probably not a headspace or primer-seating problem. This may imply that the primers are all right but insufficient to ignite this charge of this powder. Another experiment to add to the list - more, proven, IMR loads with CCI #200 primers, and of course increased charges of BL-C(2).

Well. Nothing wrong with the rifle.

Libertarians... as I've said, have some very good ideas. And some ideas that just won't work in the real world. Anyhow, here is one handy place to start making up your own mind. A sample, which I would apply widely:

Anyone who believes guns are evil should be sure to request a response by an unarmed policeman during any 911 emergency. (Hardyvillians, please note: Out of respect for cultural diversity, neighbors are asked not to use firearms to defend the homes and lives of people who have philosophical objections to the possession or use of guns.)
Ooo, Gadsden stuff.

Yep, at least eight more test batches, possibly twelve; two powders (47.8gr IMR, I think) and four primers, and an increased charge in BL-C(2) (49.0gr, which Sierra says should be around 2,850fps, but the last batch averaged about 100fps slower than what the book said). A 120-round chronograph session. SCIENCE!

Today's session continues to prey upon my mind. I note that yesterday's, with 47.8gr IMR, had a) a decent group and b) about the same POI at 100yds as 48.0gr BL-C(2), but a higher velocity, probably meaning a flatter trajectory and different sight settings for longer distances. As noted previously a reader says magnum primers are required in his experience to reliably ignite BL-C(2) - well, now I have two kinds to choose from. Will WLRM be prone to slam-fires? CCI is supposed to be less sensitive, which is why I chose #200. Evidently the #200s are firing but not igniting the powder so there's probably nothing wrong with the few hundred cases I still have with #200s installed, except with this charge of this powder. Will the identical load with #250 primers have a different POI or a different trajectory from #200? Argh. Now I'm leaning toward #250s for the 48.0 BL load.

Random gunsmithing thought: while drooling over sis's fabulous new P35 last weekend I found the weapon's only defect: the relatively long trigger reset. Now, looking at my own P35 and grokking how the parts interact, I'm contemplating shortening the trigger lever. I also have a spare hammer (somewhere) on which I might butcher the sear for reduced engagement as I saw on sis'. But I'd need a duplicate trigger lever first; I will not alter the existing parts which are working properly, and if I butcher the duplicates I can drop the existing guts back in and be right where I started.

And then I'd need another trigger lever to alter to install in sis' pistol. :) But when I gave her my Mosin 91/30 it included the bayonet. :) :)

1456 - Friday, 20 April 2007: Z.

PayPal donation for the 1911 Fund!

Radio - O'Reilly's Talking Points - demanding Orwellian databases of anyone who ever had mental-health treatment - phooey. Which is why I stopped listening to him long ago, every other sentence out of his mouth seems to be "Congress Must Intervene" or "Government Must Take Action"!

Car first - remove wheel, look, yes the front brake pads are thin. (My impression is that the rear are largely, if not only, for the parking brake, which hasn't given me any trouble.) Deposit check, buy pads, swing by library to pick up Hell Hath No Fury, sequel to Weber & Evans' Hell's Gate, which appears to be the story I hoped Turdledove was going to write but never did; then while I was out driving around, to a Harbor Freight store for a solar battery charger I saw on sale in snailspam ($12) because I'll be leaving the Corolla here for the road trip next month. Yes, nearly everything in HF is made in communist China, but this was less than half the price of the one at Schuck's, which was probably also made in China, and the multimeter tells me it works.

Okay, brake pads, I've done this before - Haynes manual - great big C-clamp - road gunk all over everything - at least I have a better jack now.

Done in about half an hour, that makes it 12:30. Check email for reloading tips - nuthin'. Going with CCI #250 and crossing my fingers. -If I ever see a (used, cheap) Lee Loadmaster at the right convergence of time/space/money I'll probably have to get it.

Let Me Be Clear: the only proper response to an attack, like Cho's, like a mugger on the sidewalk, an intruder in your home, anywhere, any time, is instant and unrestrained retaliatory violence. In the sandbox, many of our armored vehicles have reactive armor; explosive packets designed to disrupt an armor-piercing shaped charge projectile before it can form its penetrative jet. This actually works (though I imagine it's rough on the supporting infantry, and on your personal gear stowed outside the hull). The basic philosophy should be adopted in our personal lives: anyone who initiates violence against us should get vastly more in response. We should not be victims! We should blow up in our attacker's faces and leave them incapable of attacking us or anyone else ever again. Where was it… ah:

January 1975 - "One bleeding-heart type asked me in a recent interview if I did not agree that 'violence begets violence.' I told him that it is my earnest endeavor to see that it does. I would like very much to ensure - and in some cases I have - that any man who offers violence to his fellow citizen begets a whole lot more in return than he can enjoy." - LCOL Jeff Cooper, USMC (ret.)
And while I was digging through the .PDFs (where it wasn't) I saw a reference to author Barrett Tillman, referred to by the Col. as a family member in connection with the 1911 chapter of his Medal of Honor book I reviewed here a while back. I thought he was Our Kind; now I see he's more such than I am.

Okay, I'm busy loading (336) rounds and packing the car, email will be behind until at least Sunday night! -Ack! Out of powder at 280 rounds. Off to Bi-Mart, where it happens to be on sale. And on the drive there the right front wheel makes a Noise. Just the new brake pads settling in, I think, but since I'm not an oblivious cityfolk cretin I actually look at the wheel when I reach the parking lot and all four lugs are loose. Fortunately I keep all my car tools in the car's trunk so I could tighten them right there, but that coulda been interesting out there along the Columbia River somewhere.

Finally, about 5:30, with some other procrastination, all the rounds are loaded and now need only crimping, which I can do while my webcomics are loading over my dialup connection and I can probably get to bed at a reasonable time. Gah. Except now I'm gambling that magnum primers will solve the ignition problem without significantly changing the sight settings I collected yesterday, and I used three different jugs of powder, all with different lot numbers (adjusted the measure for each, for 48.0gr by weight) so that may also change POI. Well, it's a learning experience. And one lesson is to not procrastinate.

Yuri has another good idea: he's on the Brady Campaign mailing list, to keep an eye on the enemy, and they've requested a $32 donation in memory of the 32 dead at VT. Yuri suggests donating $32 to your favorite RKBA org. Mine's going to OFF.

1457 - Sunday, 22 April 2007: The trip was worth it. Details later.

Ow. Details later.

Been There!

Done That!

Got the T-Shirt!

And the bumper sticker too. Okay, one note: I have not (yet) qualified as a Rifleman. On the AQT the maximum score is 250 and Expert is 210. In five attempts - Day 1: 160, 152; Day 2: 187, 196, 188. So you can see I did learn something and I can see that I can make Rifleman by Fred's standard. Now I have to figure which Appleseed I can reach next and plan for that.

1458 - Monday, 23 April 2007: Huh, reckon I should get a haircut….



Oh yeah, here's something I saw in the back window of a pickup on Thursday in the parking lot near Harbor Freight in Gresham:

Unions. Phooey.

All righty, here's my somewhat rambling after-action report. About 4:45am Saturday I hit the road and arrived in Yakima about three hours later, with enough time to get checked in at Motel 6 ($46.16 including tax). No trouble finding the Sun Valley Shooting Center, there's not much else out there on Hwy24 past Moxee. It's a nice facility, with many firing lines including at least three 25y/m bays, at least 300y for rifles, skeet/trap areas, a couple more handgun lines, and what looked like apparatus for Cowboy Action and Practical shooting too. (They don't appear to have a website though.) Signup about 8:30 - $70 for both days of the Appleseed, $10 guest fee for the host range. Chilly spring morning, intermittent rain but never very heavy.

Nearly the entire event was fired at 25m:

Some shooters brought their tactical gear. Some were military or police veterans. Of four instructors (two a married couple), at least two were veterans, at least one USMC. Two shooters were from Canada, where things are Even Worse. All were dedicated patriots seeking to improve their skills and do something about the decline of our society, otherwise they likely never would have heard of the event. A little over two dozen total, and as far as I could tell all stayed for both days. (At the end of the event Sunday, the lead instructor pointed out that last year, the first time they'd used this range, every participant had promised to bring two friends and they were going to have 80 people. And there was disappointment. Looky, I got out of bed, both days, drove a long way, spent lots of money on ammunition and fuel and a motel room and whatnot. And I'm lazy. And unemployed!)

The only complaint I had about the entire experience was that the line was too crowded, as you see above. In matches I'm used to having twice as much room, or more, between shooters, giving me plenty of room to swing my body over for a good prone position. That was a problem here. This was the first bay; I was in the second, which seemed even more crowded:

You can see the Queen on my pad, with the chamber flag sticking up, just past the FAL. (That FAL was wielded by a reader of this journal!) In the foreground is a box-fed .22LR autoloader, a CZ I think; just the other side of the Queen are a pair of 10/22s, with father & son seen standing just aft of them. (These two were local, from Wapato, down US97 south of Yakima.) A couple other parent-offspring pairs too, including an instructor's daughter.

The course is built around the M14/M1A, or rifles with detachable magazines and MOA/click sights, but if your sights are adjustable and your magazine holds ten rounds - and more important, if you know how your weapon operates - nearly any rifle can be used. One shooter was using a BLR22; another a 77/22. I saw three or four M1As, about as many ARs, and two Garands besides the Queen. With a two-round match clip (or an odd-round loading process I discovered this weekend and which I'll be 'blogging presently), and familiarity with your weapon, Garands can keep right the heck up with anything on this course of fire.

This is the first formal firearm instruction I've ever had. Bear in mind that the point of this exercise is to begin to make you a combat-ready rifleman by giving you the basic marksmanship skills: the ability to hit a 4MOA target out to 500 yards with a fighting rifle from field positions under time constraints. But if you're not in at least some kind of shape, you probably won't make it: throughout both days we were diving into positions from a standing start with the clock running - 10 rounds in 50 seconds for sitting/kneeling (I learned a new position there, BTW, pics presently), 10 in 60 for prone. Ten seconds is a long time; if it takes you more than that to get into position without hurting yourself you probably won't gain anything from an Appleseed. Once we started a good 20-30 meters from the firing line, with our weapons on the line, and in a "Monte Carlo" start we sprinted to the line, grabbed our weapons, got into position, and put rounds on target on the clock. I don't think anyone slipped and fell on the gravel….

Back to signup. Host range liability and safety rules; RWVA liability waiver; contact information including email for alerts and updates. Packet included practice targets to photocopy (at the end you also get a few larger ones on target paper); range procedures and etiquette; the Pledge of the Rifleman; Fred's Plan to Save America; the steps of firing a shot; common firing line errors; list of upcoming events w/FAQ & registration sheet; 6-o'-clock sight picture diagram - I always use center hold, and both were discussed carefully throughout the course.

Presently there was an introductory talk from the instructors, starting with Why We Are Here. This is the Patriot's Day event of course, that anniversary being two days earlier, but mention was also made of the VT event and the implications for the future. The idea here is to get people active, writing representatives and newspaper editors, 'blogging like this, and spreading the process like the old story of Johnny Appleseed, so that we might peacefully turn the rising tide of socialism and statism before we have to shoot the bastards - the skills being developed are to be used in the final resort, with redcoats or blueshirts or Blue Helmets coming to take your stuff and rape your children. There is also a deterrent effect: if those who would grasp power know that they are outnumbered by ticked-off individuals (brief mention was also made of individual action and leaderless resistance) who can drop them at a quarter-mile with a rack-grade rifle ("Kill more Japs"), they're more likely to keep their hands, and their thugs, to themselves.

About 9am, to the line! At least one shooter (the Canadian!) made Rifleman by the end of the first day, but starting out Saturday I had what seemed to be an unfair advantage over many: my match experience. I had Done This Before. This advantage slipped away during the weekend though, as I got tired and the others gained skill. The first live-fire exercise was slow-prone on the "redcoat" target, with "tombstone"-type silhouettes scaled for 100, 200, 300 and 400yds, and a rectangle representing a 250yd head shot. That head shot, in this first string, was the only time I used a SLED all weekend:

So I started off warm and fuzzy. As stated, that didn't last, but I know why and what to do about it. Next we started the first of Many 1" squares, to get sight settings - shoot square X, go downrange to look and discuss, go back uprange to adjust sights appropriately, shoot square Y, repeat:

Above you see an instructor demonstrating finger placement on the trigger. Here you see her husband using the Queen to demonstrate the use of the sling (I cocked an eyebrow at the lack of slings on several weapons, which had not even a simple carrying strap; some didn't even have swivels):

I've since reversed the Queen's sling so it can be used as a loop if desired, but I used the Hasty sling throughout.

I started using my 100yd zero with my current handloads (which work, by the way, though I did have one hangfire out of 333 rounds during the weekend - but I want a little more load development, and if I win the lottery I'm getting a big pile of surplus while it lasts (or an electronic powder system so I can make a huge stockpile of IMR loads) and about midmorning I had this:

You can see how I was starting to get tired and sore and my technique was getting sloppy. I had Done This Before, but not this much of it! As marked, the first four spots were shot prone, again with the idea of adjusting your sights; the center right was fifth, in a new kneeling position:

(That reminds me: eyeglass retention strap, especially for prone. I carry one in my fanny pack and dug it out during the course.)

Competition and this course both allow the shooter to choose sitting or kneeling for that stage. This new position seems to get the best of both. Note the sixth spot, center left, which I fired from my old cross-legged sitting position, and which sucked mightily.

Stretch before getting into position! Limber up some first, really. Especially if you're closer to 40 than 30. The new kneeling position is also uncomfortable, especially if you have joint or circulation issues (which I seem to have inherited), but it gave me 66% hits on a target that represents a JBT's torso at 500yds. With prone, my biggest problem is the floating rib on my left side, which feels like it's grinding right through my skin even with that relatively thick pad I use. My idea at present is to get lots more dry practice and build up a tolerance. (As soon as the bruises fade….)

Pads for elbows, and to a lesser extent knees, are also a good idea. With the weather I was using my old M65 jacket, and it's a little tight. It's a good jacket but I might-should go up a size or seek a new product. Otherwise I was wearing jeans, high-top hikers, a flannel under the jacket and a t-shirt under the flannel, and stuck with that outfit for most of the course, even when the weather improved mid-Sunday. I brought surplus BDUs (woodland) (which I think still fit) but didn't try them; first I want to get consistent hits, then I'll add gear and such.

In prone I've always used what Cooper illustrates as the military style, with both legs straight, but here they were teaching what Cooper calls the Olympic style, with the strong-side leg bent to raise that side of the body. I think I still prefer my way but I'm not (yet) seeing a dramatic difference between the two on targets. That rib hurts either way.

Half-hour lunch break about noon, then back to work. This course was full of good instruction with lots of hands-on and live fire. Here an instructor demonstrates a double-feed in an AR:

The class then set up such situations in their own weapons and practiced clearing them. The Garand (and M14) appears to be not really susceptible to this particular kind of failure (the M14 even less so since, IIRC, the bolt can be manually locked back with a non-empty magazine in place, requiring fewer hands to clear the failure), but I discovered that it's possible to get the extractor groove of a cartridge stuck under the rear lip of the ejection port, just forward of the rear sight, and that is a bad thing with more cartridges pushing up from below. Dummy rounds are already on the list. Know your weapon!

Next was another classification target, and more than one of them, for practicing each position, stretching and squishing your body to get a consistent Natural Point of Aim - which I'm still fighting. For example, offhand (and here the sling is allowed - it's against match rules, but the idea here is to fight with your rifle and "if you ain't cheating, you ain't trying"):

The idea of NPoA is to find a position where, ideally, you can completely relax your body and keep your weapon on the target. This I still struggle with, in all positions, though I think I'm making some progress in prone and the new "sneeling" position.

About 2pm we shot our first actual AQT, this the Quick & Dirty version where only 10 rounds are fired on the 400yd stage and that score is doubled. First are five sighters, slow prone, in the small 200y equivalent on the half-inch (2MOA) grid at top right, and if your sights aren't adjusted by this time you fix it now - then the large top target, simulating 100y, 10 rounds standing in 2 minutes; stage 2, simulating 200y, load with 2 rounds, start from standing, go to sitting or kneeling, fire two at one target, reload with 8 (obviously a holdover from the Garand), fire three at the same target and the remaining five at the other, in 50 seconds; stage 3, simulating 300y, load with 2, start standing, enter prone, and fire 3, 3 & 4 rounds at the three targets in 60 seconds; stage 4, simulating 400y, starting in position loaded with a maximum of 10 rounds, 2, 2, 3 & 3 on the four targets in 5 minutes. My first result, 160/4V:

At some point in the weekend I went up two clicks but I can't remember when. But when I did I was then using the exact same sight setting I got from the bench for 200yds, at 25m, exactly as the instructors were telling me.

The idea here is to be a field rifleman, not a benchrest boss. Here's an exercise, mentioned above: on a five-point star target at 25m, we started with empty weapons on the line, then moved back quite a ways. First a photo from a white truck, showing the line and the targets (you can just barely see my light green pad next to the man in the checked shirt):

Then from our actual starting point by a red truck, showing the position of the white truck, so you get the idea:

Yes, I'm using lots of smileys, I know some of the Enemy are lurking here. This is about half the class, the other half being in the other bay in the background, doing something else at that moment.

Now, from here we have, IIRC, 90 seconds to reach the line, get in the position of our choice, load the weapon, and get as many rounds off as we can at a ~1.5" star. I think I hadn't yet gone up those two clicks:

But you can see that at 200, maybe 300yds, I'd've been hurtin' some JBTs, in a hurry, after a run. With a 55-year-old rifle, surplused from two nations, with issue sights. So I feel pretty good about that.

During the weekend I didn't receive a lot of individual instruction, but that's probably because they saw my starting targets, figured I wasn't a complete disaster, and spent their time with people who needed it more. One thing I learned: this rifle will shoot 4MOA on purpose. (But I knew that.) The rest is my job.

Then we shot another AQT. By this time I was getting tired and sore, and still hadn't gone up those two clicks I think, and actually lost 8 points from my first disappointing performance (though I still made Marksman) for 152/6V:

In stage 2 I took too long and the Cease Fire command came with two rounds still in the weapon. Also I just sucked. You can see one shot nicking the right side of the paper. In stage 3 one of my first three shots was way low, and in stage 4 I was all over, though I finally settled down for the last target (I usually shot the AQT left-to-right, from habit, which is the opposite of the instruction, that right-handed shooters should engage right-to-left as it's easier to adjust the NPoA that way).

Oh, dig the Gadsden hoody:

More 1" practice, some ball-and-dummy drill, more instruction, then cleaning up about a quarter to five. That evening the group went to El Rincon in northern Yakima and had interesting discussions on a variety of topics from bugout bags to battle-rifle optics to local and national politics. (Now, demographic warfare aside, I've never much liked Mexican food, but arroz con pollo is usually a safe bet.)

Back to the motel, clean the Queen, count rounds (145 fired the first day), watch TV. Some distracting views around Yakima:

And if you look just to the left of the Shell sign you can see some Expensive Housing:

The following morning started cold and wet again, though it turned quite nice by early afternoon:

The Sun Valley Shooting Park is dropped amid some fine scenery:

Nothing like that around Portland. Lots of farming, the range seems surrounded by farms. All that supermarket stuff has to come from somewhere and most people's heads can't stretch around how modern agriculture and infrastructure works.

Day 2 began with the same redcoat target to see if we learned anything. Rested, and with a hot shower behind me and an Egg McMuffin in me, yet sore from the day before (especially that rib), it seems I neither gained nor lost:

Then back to the 1". Longtime readers will remember that I've used a lot of these myself over the past few years and it's a very good training tool. Nearly any rifle can hit a 4" object at 100yds; geometrically this is the same when placed at 25 yards or meters. Again I started off decently - the two misses were entirely my fault, as evidenced by the three lovely hits:

But then I started getting sloppy:

And sloppier:

I think it was about this time I finally went up two clicks, for the same setting I got from the bench on Thursday. About 11am we started another Q&D AQT and, despite the fatigue and pain, and with confidence in my equipment, I started making real progress:

That's a 187/5V, mid-range Sharpshooter, and IIRC better than I did on my own the last time I tried an AQT on my own time. Especially in slow-prone I'm starting to develop the habit of getting into a minimally-stressed position where my body and the sling keep the rifle on target with as little use of muscles as possible. And that's when we got our first Rifleman of the weekend (I think there was at least one more), the Canadian (I imagine Fred's SGN column will make much of that):

We then did another AQT and I improved more, getting my top score of the day, 196/6V:

And another, 188/3V:

At this point I conserved what ammunition I had left for the only long-range shooting we did during the weekend, but I took some more pictures of the line while the others got more practice on 1" squares from various positions:

Here an instructor demonstrates the prone position:

I wasn't the only one to drop out at this point, due to fatigue or ammunition shortage, though I wasn't done shooting yet. Waiting my turn at the 200yd line I watched more instruction and practice:

In time my turn at the long-range line came and we hiked up there as the last group was hiking back:

The view from the firing point:

They appear to do, or have done, metallic silhouette here, hence the multiple berms. In the previous photo, left of the other shooters and about even with the second berm, are the backstops for the 25m bays we were using. The big yellow canvas tarp on the first berm is where we shot from, and way out at the next-to-last berm were five targets with 8" round blacks.

Now by this point I knew there was nothing wrong with my rifle, and nothing to speak of wrong with my ammunition (or at least I hadn't had cause to give it much thought). And I knew that I was using the same sight setting I got from the bench, for the same distance here in the field. And I knew I could hit a 4MOA target more than half the time if I didn't screw up.

So I screwed up:

I'm blaming fatigue and assorted pains, especially that rib but also elbows; this is the longest and most intense shooting session I've ever had, on either day alone, never mind both together. At this point we went back to the tarp for sight settings and such, and were told that if we didn't have three of five in the black we'd go back to 25m for more practice and instruction. I left the Queen alone, confident in my rifle, ammunition, and sight setting. Next string, I concentrated on my technique and did better:

I had three in a group and good windage this time, but I still threw away two and all were low. At this point, if I hadn't such confidence that my rifle was sighted in properly, I'd go up two clicks, but what I think was happening was that the 8" black circle at 200 actual yards was harder to see than the 1" black square at 25 meters, and to compensate I was subconsciously using a 6-o'-clock hold - which, if true, would put my shots exactly where I found them. (On Thursday I got that sight setting on the bench, on a larger black, with no one watching.) Still, that would have been five dead or badly wounded JBTs at 200 real yards.

So back to the 25m line with the 19 rounds I have left. One last live-fire exercise for me - teaming with another Garand shooter (who at the end gifted me with a big pile of Greek HXP brass) we had a game with the 1" squares: Starting from standing, with 60 seconds, every team was required to make one hit on each square, then the team with the most hits on the top left continued on. And my team was the only one to qualify!

But by then I had only 3 rounds left, and though my partner in this exercise offered some HXP, the POI would be different in my rifle so I declined and began packing the car. (Next time, 400 rounds or more.)

By now it was past 2pm and the weather was turning quite nice. Here you see an overview of the Appleseed area - in the center is the first 25m bay, to the left the one I fired in, and in the center distance another small group on the 200y line. Nice facility here:

But the event wasn't over. For those with ammunition left, who could still ambulate, the exercises continued. Over in the first bay they did more of the running thing, with the group split up and down the road on either side of the firing point:

More photos, and I wasn't the only one taking them:

I also followed another group to the 200y line:

Just to be clear what we were shooting at - the targets, from 200yds, with optical zoom on the camera:

And here's the Canadian Rifleman again with three hits at 200 yards!

And he was using South African surplus rounds, too. Sure, he's got a four-figure rifle, but he knows how to use it. Which is what we were all out there to learn.

At the end of the event we reviewed what we had learned and the reasoning behind it, and were urged to recruit others - except in my case I'm having trouble thinking of anyone who wouldn't require medical attention before lunch on the first day (sorry friends). Then we got our t-shirts, practice targets, bumper stickers, etc., and I spent another $20 on a one-year associate membership in RWVA, and I drove back to Portland.

Oh yeah, one last thing:

I need to do at least two more Appleseeds - one to make Rifleman, and another to make Rifleman again to prove it wasn't a fluke. Examining calendars.

Email will remain backed up for a couple days I think.

1459 - Tuesday, 24 April 2007: Zzz.

More miscellaneous ramblings:

Definitely knee and elbow pads next time.

Yakima Appleseed After-Action Report.

I'm hoping to make the Medford event in July and Yakima in September, except the latter is on the same weekend as the plate match. But, I'm already intending to conscript deputy directors as I was drafted, and that's plenty of lead time. Then Medford again in October.

Starting dry practice, working especially on the prone position. Reader sends critique of "sneeling" - not the position but my particular use of it. Remembering the instructor urging "turkey neck" on the stock - cheek weld was another of my problems. In prone, getting that strong-side leg up does help with the rib, if I have enough room to swing my body over - my weight is then spread across several ribs on my left side instead of focused on the bottom one. Considering using a loop sling (which can be done with the nylon strap the Queen presently wears).

Word racing through the net that CMP is out of Garands! But more are expected later this year.

One of the things that came up in conversation at the restaurant Saturday night was the Amega forward optics mount for the Garand, and the lead instructor pointed out that under sustained fire - as I experienced this weekend and as would be experienced in battle - the heat buildup would likely change the point of impact. So that's out.

Another problem I had all weekend was the butt slipping off my shoulder after nearly every shot, especially in prone. A replacement buttplate might help, the one the Queen wears now is worn smooth.

My goal here is to be a deadly threat to any enemy of Liberty within a quarter-mile. I reckon I'm about halfway there.

The only trouble the Queen gave all weekend was the premature ejection of clips, and that's probably individual clips, which I'll have to track down and discard (or make SLEDs of). Otherwise every one of the 333 shots fired, extracted, ejected, and fed perfectly - I never had to fight my rifle except for the clip, and that only happened three or four times and was easy to fix. The rear sight stayed put under recoil since I tightened the locking screw months ago; now windage is very hard to adjust but evidently doesn't need to be. The gas plug was still tight after the first day, but a little loose when I took it out for cleaning just now, meaning I didn't get it quite tight enough in the motel room Saturday night. No discernable movement in the gas cylinder and I'm not taking it off.

Again I see the Garand runs clean compared to other gas-operated weapons in my experience. True, there's residue in the gas cylinder and the op rod channel, and on the op rod itself, but very little on the bolt and receiver. Takedown and reassembly is plenty easy with a little practice, and I just saw how well it ran all weekend. The M14 has a different gas system but all the differences appear to be at the front end.

I would like to have an M14/M1A, but you can't find used ones under $1,000. I repeat that the CMP Garand is the best battle-rifle bargain there is. Former military are already qualified; one also gets a CMP certificate from an Appleseed; my club and many others hold CMP matches, with loaner Garands even, the completion of which also makes you eligible.

My shoulder is a little sore but that's the least of the aches I brought back from Yakima and doesn't interfere with movement of that arm; the M1 is a pussycat in recoil compared to the Mosin and Mauser I started with. Also most of the soreness is from placing the butt incorrectly, missing the pocket, toward the neck and onto the collarbone.

Hm. Better add an RWVA logo-link to the front page.

343 pieces of HXP66 brass! And one live round got in there somehow too. Doesn't look like I lost any LC or Match either. 100-odd stray rounds and leftovers to dispose of, then more test batches and chrono work, then if I can afford components a big handloading session. -I think I'll need another can of One Shot lube. Or two. Range tomorrow or Thursday maybe.

And an 8lb keg of BL-C(2). A little more powder, for better velocity and use of case capacity; magnum primers, yes; this powder works in the Garand and is far easier to work with than the usual IMRs. The one hangfire seemed exactly like the ones I was getting with #200 primers; the other 332 rounds, with #250s, ignited perfectly as far as I recall.

Call Sportsman's Warehouse - out of BL-C(2) in all sizes. Bi-Mart carries it and it's on sale (through tomorrow), $2 off, but in single pounds only and they can run out too. Better grab it while it's cheaper, might have to clean out all the area stores. I'll want a more economical source for projectiles, hm, must study shipping rates vs. shelf prices - the Hornady #3037 hasn't disappointed me but SW usually only has a couple-few boxes on the shelf; my club's CMP guy was telling me about some kind of surplus (?) 147gr.

Now if I had a ~$1,200 M1A I could use the cheap South African 7.62x51mm surplus - in fact I have a little on hand, from the abandoned experiments with the Ishapore and FR8. I'll buy more CMP LC at the match in May, certainly, but the meager resources won't last forever. Evidently there's nothing wrong with the Greek HXP that CMP sells, I saw it give good service over the weekend.

Continuing Weber & Evans' Hell Hath No Fury, an epic SF opera with a fascinating blend of high, medium, low, and indistinguishable-from-magic technologies. Weber, in the parts obviously written by him, still uses too many words and the occasional bit of gratuitous and/or awkward dialogue, but nothing like Turtledove - and nothing like Turtledove for plot and character either.

Huh, the guy who gave me all that HXP brass may not have returned the 2- and 5-shot clips I loaned him, and I forgot to ask. Well, I have duplicates, and for all that reloadable brass it's a fair enough trade. Oh yeah, the loading technique - with the bolt locked back on an empty Garand (safety on, on principle), drop a standard 8-round clip into place loose:

Then, insert live rounds under the clip's feed lip until you have as many as you want, lifting up on the loose clip as necessary (this isn't a speedloading technique - if you're in a hurry you use a full 8-round clip and if you don't have a heap of those what are you doing with a Garand?), ideally with the last round on the right side:

Finally, press down on the clip & top cartridge as though you were loading a full clip. Keep the edge of your hand hooked on the op rod handle and restrain the op rod when the op rod catch lets go - in my experience the clip latch doesn't work until the op rod catch releases. So, you don't really need specialty clips for match or bench shooting - in matches particularly, where the Garand is involved, you load with two and reload with eight and no one cares how the two get loaded. (The SLED is nice for bench and slow-fire match work though, as it doesn't musically eject after every shot.) The reader will see that any number of rounds less than eight can be thus loaded, and that the Garand can be loaded with seven rounds with an empty chamber, if such a thing is desired. I've heard of techniques for more quickly loading odd numbers of rounds by crossing the cartridges in the clip, but I do still have one each 2- and 5-round, and if I ever take the Queen to battle I won't care about such tricks.

Another event flyer that was handed out during the weekend (the Appleseed counts as a beginner's course):

1460 - Wednesday, 25 April 2007: Zz.

Stockpiling BL-C(2) while the money and the sale price lasts.

It's official: Regular over $3/gallon at local ARCOs. (On the drive back from Yakima, outside the cities, many stations were in the $3.20s.) I'll pay. The privately-owned automobile is on a par with the rifle as an instrument of individual freedom.

Hitting the email. Vin vents; bigotry against self-defense; local commentary. I think I'm caught up on the personal correspondence.

Finishing HHNF. Epic. Cliffhanger ending! Gah! And no sign of the next volume! Now on The Billion Dollar Boy by Charles Sheffield.

1461 - Thursday, 26 April 2007: Zz.

Okay, off to the range to burn up stray rounds, free up the brass, and practice positions. -A little progress in prone maybe; also fiddling with the nylon GI sling to use as a loop (the quick-release clip is on the butt end now). Also, from the bench, some experiments with what I had left - same POI between CCI #200 and #250 primers with all else the same; one round of HXP had the same windage but was way higher than my own loads. The last ten rounds of Federal red-box had perceptibly heavier recoil and far more violent ejection - they were single-loaded, so there were no doubles, but as 'blogged this stuff doubled a few times previously. Anyhow I still think it's prone to such in Garands, and it's probably a little too hot for the gas system besides. Won't be using it again.

Looks like I now have no live Garand rounds except corrosive surplus - which means it's time for more test batches. (Unfortunately it seems I have over 500 pieces with CCI #200 primers… but nearly 800 empty, counting the HXP still being processed and the Match being reprocessed.) I'm inclined to abandon the IMR for now and develop the BL-C(2) - 30 rounds, Hornady 150gr FMJBT, 49.0gr powder, ten each with CCI #250, WLR, and WLRM (the #200s will get used up in bolt-action loads eventually I guess). (As stated, other rifles are seeing little daylight since the Queen arrived.) Probably chrono those after plates Saturday.

Several revenuers on the freeway on both sides of the river today. Near the end of the month, quotas due. "Quotas are illegal, sir." Right, pull the other one. City, county and state budgets figure on certain amounts from traffic tickets. Also sis tells me that in Washington state at least, they're writing tickets for people who cut across the merge strip.

Reader says CMP is out of sorted Garands, as they've been spending manhours on sorting the Carbines that came in, and there is still a "ten years supply" of Garands. Also says the cheap South African 7.62x51mm is gone and the Indian surplus isn't very good - but I have .308 dies and civilian & military brass.

The Billion Dollar Boy is a Jupiter novel, a series launched by Charles Sheffield and Jerry Pournelle and reminiscent of the Heinlein juveniles. Decent hard-SF stuff, I've also read Higher Education, which I think was the first in the series. -Done with that, now The Cyborg from Earth, obviously later in the series.

Another Good Cop! Notice he's not cityfolk...

1462 - Friday, 27 April 2007: I notice that Sportsman's Warehouse sttocks a Browning Everdry dehumidifier, 18" for $24.99, comparable to the Goldenrod and a little cheaper. The Remington absorber requires recharging far more often than the package said, but that may be the hovel's fault; OTOH the Everdry or Goldenrod would be a constant addition to the electric bill. -Hm, appliance timer maybe….

Just when I was about to procrastinate on more Garand test loads I remembered the Garand match next weekend, and I need rounds because I don't want to use corrosive surplus. So, four batches; 49.0gr BL-C(2) under Hornady 150gr - three batches in Remington civilian brass, with CCI #250, WLR, and WLRM for ignition evaluation; then another batch in HXP66 with #250 to see if there's a real chronograph or POI difference between civilian and military.

I can probably find a broken shell extractor at the OAC show Sunday, I recall seeing them last month. I'll feel better with one on hand (and I'll juggle the butt accessories so it stays with the Queen - it's nice to have a chamber brush but it's kind of a pain to use); with full-length sizing fatiguing the cases and violent ejection then straining them, getting part of a case stuck in the chamber isn't impossible.

Full-page ad in Shotgun News for the Armalite AR-24 pistol. "A new chapter in the history of innovation." What innovation? The design is over 30 years old and Tanfolgio has been making dozens of variations, in a half-dozen chamberings, for at least half that time. For a lower price. "Buy American" doesn't come into it either, the AR-24 is made in Turkey - and from what I hear about the Czech Republic, I have few qualms about my dollars going to the original maker's nation. I recall Col. Cooper often taking a shot or three at the "marketeers". -I'm sure it's a very fine pistol, but it's not "new" and it's not priced competitively compared to the Witness and original CZ.

1463 - Saturday, 28 April 2007: Didn't win anything at the plate match (using the P35, which ran well with UMC FMJ, and a couple KRD 17rnd magazines from CDNN - the ones it came with, from the pawn shop, are badly worn, but new ones work fine, except the very first round is a little sticky to chamber except in live-fire). OTOH I directed another successful plate match. Then, tired and needing decompression, wimped out on the rifle test rounds - but I have RSO access now so I'll go during the week when few others are there.

And those that will be there know what the heck they're doing. Again I say, know your weapon! Understand how and why it operates. Know how to clear malfunctions, how to reload quickly, understand where the controls are and what they do. Take it out and fondle it. Firearms should be extensions of your body and your will, not unfamiliar and mysterious mechanisms.

Sheffield's The Cyborg from Earth had an off-putting anti-military, anti-corporate flavor, but the book didn't last long. Next is Jerry Pournelle's Starswarm, also a Jupiter novel - Pournelle and Sheffield launched the series together.

OAC show tomorrow! This month's theme, "Double (Combination) Guns".

1464 - Sunday, 29 April 2007: Z.

Pournelle's Starswarm is more my flavor, culturally. But I expected as much.

Pondering gear, i.e. for a field rifleman. Those tactical vests sure look cool, but how well do they really work? Now suppose I'm out there dodging Hillary's goons with my Garand - I have a couple bandoliers to carry clips in, sure, but you can lose a lot of time teasing a clip out of each pocket. I have a cartridge belt, and that works, but it's less than perfect, especially the buckle, which can come loose unless the belt is tight. Aftermarket belts of similar design and modern construction are available, with plastic snap-buckles, might try one of those. But here's a thought: a two-compartment bag, slung from a shoulder, with full clips in one side and empties, if I have time to recover them, in the other. Ditto magazines if I had an M1A, FAL, or AR. I think such a product is already made for shotgunners but it may not be big enough. Will investigate. -More to the point, it was explicitly recommended at Appleseed that students consult combat veterans on gear choice and that's a Really Good Idea.

OAC show! Some magnificent specimens to gaze upon, but as usual, not much of a marketplace. I did get another GP100 speedloader, and a Lee powder funnel, which fits the included adapter in Lee powder-through-expander dies, for a bit more versatility in my reloading setup. Furthermore this funnel stands unsupported on many cartridge cases, particularly .30-06.

Gun Talk: Two counties in Illinois, Brown and Pike, pass resolutions rejecting further state-level infringements on RKBA. Newspaper article; 'blog commentary.

Meanwhile, 'blogsurfing, I find that David Codrea and I aren't alone in our indignation over special treatment for blueshirts. As for only them being qualified to speak or rule on firearms, see this report of BATFE seeking to destroy a remarkable historical artifact - a German machinegun captured by Alvin York in his Medal of Honor action - and the BATFE thug's admission that he's never heard of York. Get a rope. And get another rope for this report of Hartford, CT's department losing their issue weapons… but that state wanting to charge us with a felony if ours are stolen. A while back I commented that Illinois State Police were advising women to not defend themselves against rapists; here's an update. -Then, from rec.guns, SWAT Weapons Stolen from Van in Wake Co., TN. Remember the bully on The Simpsons? [pointing] "Hah-hah!"

Elsewhere, as previously noted, some churches are joining the victim-disarmament bandwagon. Here is an eloquent and comprehensive counter-rant.

Thompson/Tancredo '08? So far, that would have my vote, but I'm still collecting data.

In the Too Stupid for Words department, a gun show without guns. …What do you say to that? -Aside from "See you in court for restraint of trade", of course.

Senator Webb's aide, arrested for carrying a cased pistol in the US capitol, skates. The only surprise was that he was arrested in the first place. We're already second-class citizens in our own nation (reduced to third-class if someone Not From Here is involved).

Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Is three times enemy action? I'm far from the first to cock an eyebrow at mass public shootings with convenient political timing.

1465 - Monday, 30 April 2007: Preparing for road trip - making checklist. Sis informs me she's acquired (and will gift me with) a surplus laptop from work! Depending what's in it and on it I may be able to update this journal, and check email, on the road.

Range to test Garand loads:

.30-06 test loads
M1 Garand
150gr Hornady FMJBT #3037
49.0gr BL-C(2)
Remington brass except fourth load in Greek military
\/ Round# Primer->WLRMWLRCCI #250CCI #250 (HXP)
Max. Spread:10286107117
Std. Dev.:53.349.346.333.6

And groups:

Hmm. The best group was with WLR primers (never mind point of impact), and it had the smallest velocity spread, but the second highest standard deviation. (Maybe I didn't do the math right for SD.) No doubles, misfires, or hangfires at all; all 40 rounds fired from clips (2 & 8). Not much difference between military and civilian brass. I reckon I'll use WLR for the match. -Going back Wednesday or Thursday I think; I'll make a significant quantity of this load, in HXP brass (which I have to finish processing), then use some of that batch to sight-in at 200yds, then use the same batch made at the same time for the match Saturday, and have some left over for a Basic Load.

March 2007 | APRIL 2007 | May 2007

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