Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Inescapable Call of the Range

So the temperature FINALLY crept above freezing! My Sweetie and I took the Newt-ster on a long hike, where we got to watch a small heard of mulies watching us and an absolutely magnificent bald eagle watching Newt...intensely. The eagle made a couple of passes and decided that Newt was a mite big for a birdie's supper, then grabbed a thermal and was high and out of sight in a heartbeat. Gotta love eagles. Hiking gun is the TALO 2.75-inch round butt Redhawk loaded with Buffalo Bore .44 Special antipersonnel ammo, a little less than 950 fps hard-cast 200-grain wadcutters. I so love that gun! Been carrying it in a Ted Blocker field holster on a TB belt, which is just about perfect.

As soon as I got back to the Bunker, I decided to answer the inescapable call of the range for at least a few minutes, so I grabbed 2 new Kahr Arms guns that were just crying out to be shot.

The first is one of the CW380 Davidson's exclusives in...wait for it...wait for it...purple.

I think purple may be my color. It shot just like every other Kahr .380 I've shot, which is to say very, very good. I'm just going to say this right out front...I like funky colored guns. I guess that blows to smithereens whatever dregs of "taticool" I might ever have had (not much, to be sure!). I cranked off about 25 rounds of old Winchester 95-grain flat-nosed ball at my 20-yard "winter plate"— no problems with the gun; the plate rang with boring regularity. The little Kahrs, in my experience, all shoot like houses afire, and the CW at $419 MSRP is a steal. As well as fashionable as all get-out!

At least, I think so.

Second gun was one of the "Value Series" CW9s with a burnt bronze slide. As you all know, burnt bronze is the new FDE, and by the end of SHOT Show you'll be totally absorbed into the Burnt Bronze Borg.

How did this Kahr shoot? Let me put it this way...I don't need another little 9mm...I don't need another little 9mm...I don't need another little 9mm...but I will be hard pressed not to buy this one! I ran more than half a box of Armscor 124-hr ball through it with, of course, no problems at all. Running a Kahr DA only trigger is like running a really good revolver trigger — which I've been doing a lot of this year —so it was a snap to keep the winter plate humming! While the snob in me might want to go to a P9, one of the higher soot Kahrs, the CW, with its slightly larger size then it's little brother, the PM9,  is just a superb shooter...for less than $500 MSRP. I wish it came with more than one magazine, but, OTOH, I wish it wouldn't snow when I want to go to the range.

[Here's my usual caveat...Kahr Arms is not a sponsor of any of my shows or properties, although they have been in the past and I hope they'll be in the future. They just make real good guns. Neither Armscor, Buffalo Bore nor Ted Blocker are sponsors of any of my products. Ruger...c' already know that!]

I'll do more on these guys in the new year! Which is coming real soon!

Creeping Up On Incrementalism

Regular commenter (and fellow Colorado resident) Publicola makes some really important points in his comments on yesterday's post. He notes that, in fact, we're all not on the same page when it comes to gun "we" I mean those of us who are considered "activist," e.g., the crazy uncles and aunts in the closet, and others who consider themselves "Conservatives," maybe even Republicans. Here's a bit, but read the whole thing:
Point is though, most Republicans & quite a few allegedly pro-gun folks would balk if you suggested anything too radical, like not requiring permits or background checks. Remember, incrementalism works for the other side because government naturally wants us disarmed, so few if any members of government want to take away governments ability to disarm the undesirables when they feel it's time to disarm them.
Publicola is dead-on. Which is why we miraculously seem to disappear after every election, especially those elections where we "go to the mattresses" for the Republicans. Which is why there never seems to be a pro-gun agenda, specific actions we expect our elected officials to perform in exchange for our unconditional support.

I agree with Publicola that the program he or I might prefer — the elimination of any and all impediments to the exercise of our Second Amendment rights — simply won't fly right now. However, I DO believe in "incrementalism," the working tool of the Left. Too often we eschew incrementalism, opting instead for some kind of cultural purity. I believe the reason the concealed carry revolution — and it is a revolution — succeeded is because for most of its life it flew under the radar. Not only were our blood enemies unaware of the size of the wave, but I think for the most part our allies also had no idea until it was too late to do anything but "get on the bus."

I will take whatever I can get...period. That's why I think it's so important to put some kind of agenda out there. If I may quote legendary romance writer Nora Roberts, "If you don't go after what you want, you'll never have it. If you don't ask, the answer is always no. If you don't step forward, you're always in the same place.” Sound familiar?

The first 3 items — reciprocity, gun owner protection and minor modifications of the NFA — should be slam-dunks. Yes, the usual scumbags will howl...ah, Shannon Watts, you bellowing harpie!...but it will allow us to put something on the scoreboard at a national level. Let the Great Fool veto it...then put it in front of him and let him veto it again...then attach each of the agenda items to an important funding bill, a la the "guns in national parks" bill...if we keep chipping, we'll get what we want. If we don't, we'll get another "More Funding For Wetlands" bill with a bunch of jerk-off Republicans patting themselves on the back for standing beside duck hunters everywhere. Hey...I've been in Washington and actually seen that happen (my ill-fated "Daffy Duck" speech)...and it will happen again if we don't make it clear that we do not give a DAMN about feel-good crap bills about ducks. It is all about GUNS & RIGHTS, boys and girls!


Tuesday, December 30, 2014

In General, Really REALLY Cold!

Yeah, winter has a way of doing that to you. It has been slate gray and bitter cold, -3 degrees F, here at SHBII, and that means generator time. All in all, we're pretty pleased with the Generac EcoGen 6KW gennie. It doesn't exactly sip propane, but based on my own research no propane generator does. Generac now makes larger 15KW EcoGen generator, but I simply don't see the advantages. We're not running the house the house off the gennie…it's job is to recharge the batteries. A 1-hour run on the generator brings the batteries up to a charge that, under a light load, lasts between 8-10 hours.

In an ideal world (e.g., I win the lottery), I'd like to have a second generator, this one a diesel based on the slow-speed Lister engine, sort of like this.

Of course, what we're finding out now is that those expensive "options" on various systems that my Sweetie and I thought we could save a little money on come back to bite us in our collective butts. For example, a computerized monitoring system for the deep well…we thought, c'mon, you're just trying to separate us from what little money we have left! Wrong…when you have limited electricity, you must monitor everything…especially things you can't see, like a well pump.

We built a pretty bullet-proof water system, and not because we wanted to. The deep well, at 800 feet about 10 minutes from China, is low yield, even after fracking. So we decided to have the well feed 2 1250-gallon cisterns in the crawl space under the bunker, where the temperature is always above freezing. Water is drawn from Cistern A and pressurized, with Cistern B serving as a reserve. The pump and its depth in the well were chosen after consultation with both a groundwater specialist ("This guy knows everything about water in Colorado!" we were told…and he does) and a well service that has a lot of experience off-grid — most of the state is ranch land, and people who service the ranches have a lot of experience with wells in remote locations. Essentially, those experts helped us tailor the well for our usage and electrical system.

Because we don't use a lot of water and all appliances are low-water-use, the system works perfectly…but it could be ever more perfecter! For example (and take notes if you're doing this yourself), the ability to monitor/control the well so that it only kicks on during daylight hours, when the PV panels are pumping out the juice. Since right now we're running off a simple float switch, an untoward toilet flush in the middle of the night can be enough to trigger the well pump to replenish the cistern…which is hell on the batteries.

We're also going to be switching out the various other pumps, which are now pretty much the same jet pumps you'd buy at the hardware store, with ultrahigh efficiency pumps specifically designed for off-grid use...the difference is usually start-up "surge" voltage. If you're on the grid, you rarely — if ever — think about start-up surge, the fact that it takes more power for an electrical device when it starts up as opposed to when it's running. Start-ups hit the batteries darn hard, so when the compressor pumps kick on in the middle of the night, it's an issue.

So anyway, that's what I'm thinking about as the temperature crawls upward toward zero.

On other topics, here's a must-read piece from Variety (of all places) with an interview with sci-fi author David Brin. He famously wrote The Postman, a book I loved, that was fed into the Kevin Costner trash compactor (okay...I watched it again recently, and it wasn't as hellishly awful as I remembered...not compared to anything with Melissa McCarthy in it).  But Brin's also know for his non-fiction work, The Transparent's a bit from the Variety piece:
The first lesson for everyone out of the recent attack on Sony, Brin says, is “Never absolutely count on anything being secret. Always act as if there’s a chance what you’re doing will be revealed.” He says that when he meets with government agencies, as science fiction writers and futurists are sometimes asked to do, he tells them: “In the short term you can protect your secrets. Tactical secrecy is perfectly reasonable, either by governments or corporations. But if you count on anything staying secret for more than ten years, that’s delusional on the border of psychosis.”
Things to think about — the camera is always watching!

I got a notice from Laura Burgess that IWI is going to be showing the Uzi PRO 9mm pistol and it's Sig-braced brother, the Uzu PRO Pistol SB, will be rolled out at SHOT in a few weeks. This from the presser:
The custom adaptation of the Stabilizing Brace to the UZI PRO SB takes the application of large frame pistol control and stabilization to a new level. With the IWI brace’s unique side-folding feature, the UZI PRO SB can be fired with or without the brace extended depending on the shooters need. With the brace in the folded position, storage space required in your safe or range bag is minimized.
Tell me it's not cool!

Given the FLOOD of interest in 9mm carbines and (braced) 9mm pistols — to wit, the Sig Sauer MPX, CZ Scorpion Evo, the 9mm AR variants for Colt and Glock magazines, etc. — this gun is a rocket. I've shot the Uzi PRO submachine gun, and it is unequivocally the best tiny buzz gun I've ever fired. Period! Including my original favorites, the origin .32 ACP Czech Skorpion vz. 61 and the Micro UZI, the direct predecessor of the Uzi PRO. And yes, I shot a magazine of .32s from the Skorpion with the little wire stock on my'd do it, too!

I ordered one today, because...FREEDOM!

I do have a larger question on the whole concept of braced handguns and where that's going. This article from Shooting Sports Retailer just before Christmas suggests that BATFE is trying to "walk back" their approval of the Sig SG-15 brace and its imitators:
In a response to Martin Ewer who submitted his design for the “Blade” AR Pistol Stabilizer, the Firearms Technology Branch told Ewer the Blade would not change the classification of the pistol to an NFA “firearm” as long as it “was used as originally designed and not as a shoulder stock.”
But the letter to Ewer seems to indicate the ATF plans to make certain uses of pistol stabilizing braces illegal, forecasting a tough fight for gun rights proponents and a major shock to an industry revolutionized by the SB15 brace.
That would be a major shock. I am at a loss to understand how use can change category. That is a very nasty swamp to wade into! The fundamental problem is that the SBR/SBS rules are simply nonsensical in the first place. As we all know (I think), the original 1934 Firearms Act was going to control all handguns as well as full auto guns. My understanding is that the concept of "short-barreled rifle" and "short barreled shotguns," that is, long guns that were concealable, were added almost as an afterthought. The thinking (insofar as anyone in the government actually thinks) was that with all handguns controlled through the same taxing system as machine guns, regulators wanted to lump in other concealable weapons. 

When it became obvious that there was no political way to push the Firearm Act through with handguns included, pistols and revolvers were stripped out of the Act. SBR/SBS, however, remained in place. The definitions of a "short-barreled" anything were purely arbitrary (you can find the definitions here). There was nothing magical about the 16-inch limitation on rifle barrels of the 18-inch barrel length on shotguns (or the 26-inch overall length) — both rifles and shotguns had been routinely cataloged with shorter barrels and shorter overall lengths.

Changing firearms technology and modern modular weapons systems have rendered the entire SBR/SBS/AOW system both untenable and,  as I said earlier, nonsensical. Tell me with a straight face that my totally legal, imminently concealable Ruger Alaskan .454 is "less lethal" than a short-barreled .22 rifle. A vertical foregrip on an AR pistol makes it an illegal weapon (without the Stamp, of course) but a MagPul hand stop is a handy accessory? A shotgun must have an 18-inch barrel unless you add first a bird's head pistol grip to a smoothbore pistol that has never had a stock attached, like the Mossberg, then add 14-inch barrel, which brings the overall length to more than 26 inches, thus changing what is apparently a shotgun into a "firearm," now not an NFA controlled weapon.

Also remember that in the Supreme Court "Miller" case, repeatedly cited as a validation that the 1934 Act did not trample on the Second Amendment, hinged on the idea that Miller's short-barreled shotgun was not a weapon in common use by the military (not true, but hey). How does that argument apply today with the standard issue U.S. military rifle has a 14-inch barrel?

So the Sig brace threw a massive steaming turd in Ye Old Punchbowl, and we still have no idea how it's going to settle out. In truth, the necessary (with exceptions, e.g. the Rock River piston gun) buffer tube on AR pistols allow the gun to be shouldered if necessary. I refer you to this excellent article by Gabe Suarez.

I have no idea how this is going to play out. I know how it should play out — SBR/SBS should be removed from the NFA (preferably at the same time suppressors mov ed down to AOW or are removed as well). The likelihood of that actually happening is somewhere between "nil" and "nonexistent."

Sunday, December 28, 2014

John Farnam: "Little Mistakes"

This from my friend John Farnam, who is indeed one of the most thoughtful, and most articulate, trainers in the world:
What loses football games are turnovers, poor communication, and penalties. What loses golf tournaments is misjudging distances and wind, selecting the wrong club, lack of concentration. What loses cases in court is lack of preparation, misjudging your opponent, and asking one question too many! 
And, in gun-fighting, it is not the spectacular feat of accuracy that wins the day, not the amazingly difficult shot you’re able to make
Rather, it is the easy shot that you miss. That is what gets you killed!
I would suggest you read the whole thing, and, what the heck, commit it to memory!

I would also like you to read yet another blog post from yet another friend of mine, Caleb Giddings. This one postulates that "Winning is the Only Thing:"
I don’t enjoy competition shooting that much these days. Sure, I still like to shoot matches, but for me the juice isn’t really worth the squeeze. See, the problem is that I like winning more than I like getting better. You’d think those two things would go hand in hand, but they really don’t. Sadly, it’s an easy trap to fall into.
Sadly, true…a trap I've fallen into once or twice myself. Still, it is a trap, and traps are to be avoided. If we're going to be the shooters we want to be, we have to learn to love the process. I refer you to Mastery by the great George Leonard. My few conversations with George were wonderful, like having a few friendly conversations with Yoda. Once a year I tread Mastery, and I learn something new each time.

I am reminded of a bicycle race back in the Back When. It was a "metric century," 62 miles, in the heat in Florida. I was riding as well as I've ever ridden, and I figured it for a nice afternoon. But there was one rider, and he was so damn good…he dogged me for miles, and I finally decided to drop him hard. Except I couldn't…we fought for 30 miles, back and forth, until my legs felt like dead logs. In the end, there was nothing but pain, but 3 miles out he passed me for good. When I finally staggered off the bile with tears in my eyes, I immediately sought him out to shake his hand.

"You are one hell of a rider," I said.

"I am the world record holder at this distance for my age group," he said, shaking my hand. "I thought today was an easy ride in the sun. You brought out the best in me. Thank you."

I didn't win, but I treasure, truly treasure, that "thank you." That afternoon I was as good as I could be, 100% effort. I have shot thousands of guns, hundreds of thousands — maybe a million — rounds of ammunition. Hell, I've enjoyed them all. And I've learned something about me every single time I've pulled the trigger.

More than that, I've stood on the line hundreds of times, waiting for the start buzzer. I hope there are a lot more of those times! LOL! Competition makes us better people; it helps us understand things about the gun, about the stage and about ourselves. If winning is indeed the only thing, we lose so much more than we gain.

But again, we all choose our own paths.

And speaking of paths, I'm thinking of campaigning a Glock 34 in 3-Gun next year…on the local matches where I can use it, I'll be shooting the JP Rifles 9mm rifle as well…same magazines…same ammo…slightly less of a pain in the ass. Maybe an Edge trigger from Jeff at Glock Triggers; some kind of green fiber optic sights…that should do it. Get a Blade-Tech or Comp-Tac holster and some mag pouches. Maybe get Dave Sevigny to shoot all the pistol stages for me…that ought to work.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

John Milius — A Must-Read Article!

Matthew Continetti has crated an absolutely must-read article on filmmaker John Milius (c'mon, do I even have to list any of his films????). Here's a tiny bit, but you need to read the whole thing:
Conan the Barbarian and Red Dawn are not partisan movies. It is not political scenarios that attract Milius but pre-political ones. He is drawn to landscapes where there is no law, no sovereign, no state, to the desolate places where men must make their own way. His characters are renegades. They either oppose the dominant order like Dillinger, Kurtz, and the Great Raisuli (Sean Connery), or they exist outside it entirely like Jeremiah Johnson and Conan the Cimmerian and the Wolverines. The authority figure Milius admires most is Teddy Roosevelt, exponent of muscular Christianity and the New Nationalism, frontiersman, soldier, hunter, dynamo. Not exactly a square. 
Milius’ characters do not reside in the United States. They reside in states of nature. And it is in this state, Milius believes, that the true character of an individual, his guile and wit and vitality and mettle, is revealed.
In a way, it would be accurate to say that John Milius invented me. Well, his movies invented me. As I've said on the podcast, there was a time in my life when I was going to be a Citizen, have a house in the suburbs, a new car every 2 years, all the blessings I imagined America had to offer. And then one evening I went to a movie theater in downtown Tampa to see Jeremiah Johnson.

It wasn't like Saul on the road to Damascus, but more of a reminder of what that smartass in high school intended his life to if someone...some filmmaker, no less...had recalibrated my internal compass to True North. Musta worked…I'm sitting at my dining room table typing this, and out the window in front of me are the Rocky Mountains…"l told my pap and mam l was coming to the trap and be a mountain man. Acted like they was gut-shot. Says: 'Son...make your life go here. Here's where the people is. Them mountains is for animals and savages!' l said: 'Mother Gue...the Rocky Mountains is the marrow of the world.' And by God, l was right!"

I saw Big Wednesday in New York City premiere with Jan Michael Vincent, who starred in the film, and both of us cried. It was my belated discovery of The Wind and the Lion that got me interested in Teddy Roosevelt, and it was TR's observation that "critics don't count" that ultimately launched me out of NYC into the West. The whole crew teared up when Joe Mantegna did his amazing delivery of that TR speech for the closing of our GUN STORIES episode on TR's great safari. Weird how things work, isn't it?

Later I interviewed Milius by phone in the mid-1980s…it was like talking to a Nerd God King (maybe like Joss Whedon in the Firefly days)…I was pretty into martial arts then, and we talked about swords, gladiatorial weapons and the problems of doing a realistic sword fight with a 13-pound broadsword. Was cool beyond words... 

Friday, December 26, 2014

A Harsh Reality

 They pit the lifers against the new boy and the young against the old. The black against the white. Everything they do is to keep us in our place.
-- BLUE COLLAR, 1978

A couple of days ago before Christmas I wrote a really searing blog post on the complicity of our so-called "leaders" on the LEO assassinations in New York. I decided, upon reflection, not to post it. I thought I needed to make some different points...yes, Barry and Eric and Al and Bill are complicit in the delegitimizing of the police that led directly to the deaths. The concept of delegitimizing the agencies of representative government by the creation of chaos is one of the standard — and most reliable — tools of the leftist/fascist revolutionary.

The idea is to "prove" that the government no longer has control of its own streets or that, in fact, the legitimate authorities are actually agents of oppression (the war on cops); to "prove" that the legal structures of the representative government no longer work (the war on the courts and the grand jury system); to "prove" that the legal protections of the old system are insufficient responses to the "new" social environment (the war on due process waged in many arenas, including on college campuses on the so-called "rape culture"); to "prove" that the leftist/fascist concept of "social justice"cannot be met by the existing representative government and therefore demands a new system.

Any of this sound familiar? Is that the sniiiiiiick of a guillotine blade I hear? The Czar Nicholas II fleeting St. Petersburg? Che and Fidel triumphantly rolling into Havana on 1 January 1959? There are lots more examples — c'mon people! There are books and books written about this stuff, manuals with handy, proven techniques for destabilizing a First World country (not the least of which is Rules for Radicals; I might also suggest Anarchism: A Collection of Revolutionary Writings by Peter Kropotkin, a formative book for me).

Do I think the Great Fool in the White House is orchestrating this? No…he's just not that smart. However, the race hustlers like Al Sharpton and the masterminds behind Obama's agenda such as terrorist Bill Ayers, who practically invented our current President, know this as well as I do. But the "great progressive moment" in American politics is now in shambles. It turns out that contrary to the Newsweek cover on February 2009, which trumpeted "We Are All Socialists Now," we aren't.  Americans aren't moving to the left, don't want to be a prole the new Socialist Republic of Amerika and are pretty sick and tired of the whole bucket of crap delivered by the Democratic Party.

We would like our country back, thank you.

But we have now entered an era of unprecedented danger. Unfortunately, progressivism never dies. The socialist/fascist/National Socialism/share-the-wealth/"social justice" concepts of the ruling oligarchy "managing" the rest of us poor bastards off the sweat of our own labor is like the monster in every movie since CARRIE (the original, not the wretched remake) matter how many times you kill it, the dead hand bursts from the grave and pulls us back down.

This from Michael Walsh at PJ Media:

The men behind Obama took a calculated gamble in 2008 that the nation was ready for the first post-American president, a man with no meaningful cultural roots in the nation he would profess to lead.  They relied on the intrinsic good-heartedness of the electorate to show their lack of prejudice in voting for a man with an exotic Arabic/Muslim name only seven years after the atrocity of Sept. 11. They counted on the innate good will of the American people, judged that the time was right for a black president, and then went out and found the only half-black candidate who had absolutely nothing to do with the black American experience and ran him as an avatar of black America.
... America was warned, early on, that beneath the smiling facade of Barack Hussein Obama was a very angry man. The smile and the shoeshine got him elected but since that day he has waged unremitting war on the country as founded, pillorying the nation, putting it in the dock, and making us all atone for its sins. Obama’s is a presidency-as-payback, and the “transformation” is meant to ensure that it is permanently hobbled. The animus positively radiates from him.

I think many of Obama's most ardent followers thought for sure that by Year 6 we'd be in the Workers' Paradise, with Obamaphones and caviar for everyone...except those of us working to pay for it all, of course. Our role would be to "check our privilege," shut up and keep paying taxes.

And now those most ardent followers, especially the media, for who the phrase useful idiots seems to be tailor-made, are really really pissed off. No Obamaphones! No social justice! The narrative is failing! For the media sycophants, the race hustlers, the hate America Faux revolutionaries, that dacha by the sea is fading away as we speak. For the millions of college students warehoused in "big box" hotbeds of political correctness, hey, a future of work is so much less fun than chanting rehashed revolutionary slogans that were old, hoary and false when  their professors chanted them in 1967, smoking dope much better than their professors smoked in 1967 and getting laid. Whoops! Scratch that last one. Unless you can get a sworn affidavit from the member of the opposite sex that he/she/any of the 37 "genders" referenced on FaceBook and have video proof of "yes means yes" compliance at each step of the activity previously known as "sex," you're screwed. Well, metaphorically speaking.

In his 1938 text The Anatomy of Revolution (you've read it, right?) Crane Brinton noted that the revolutionary "moment" occurs not at at the lowest ebb of a culture, but rather when rising expectations are thwarted. Progressives rode the rising expectation of "fundamental change" right up until they ran smack into the American exceptionalism. Despite what one might read from the pampered elites at Brandeis University -- "Amerikka needs an intifada...enough is enough" -- the proletariat are not rising up in support of the progressive agenda. Quite the opposite.

With professional "protesters" fueled by a sense of rage over lost opportunities and missing Obamaphones, enabled by a 24-hour news cycle controlled by our blood enemies and given tacit approval by our supposed leaders, we potentially face a level of violence not seen since the 1960s. And that's not even counting the increased threat from those other fascists for the Middle East! 

If I may slaughter a quote by W. H. Auden, "I smell blood and a generation of prominent madmen."

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

From Our Bunker to Yours!

from the
Secret Hidden Bunker II

Is that a reindeer? Break out the .300 Win Mag!!!!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Another Lovely Night at the Airport!

That's how I get into the Christmas spirit! HO-HO-WHERE'S MY LUGGAGE?!?!?!

We got the list of guns for Season 5 GUN STORIES WITH JOE MANTEGNA...I'll post it when I can fish it out of my suitcase...looks like another great season, though.

I was talking to Marshal yesterday about trends for 2015, and I'm thinking it's going to be a boy howdy Year of the 9mm. My little Christmas Angels tell me the FBI transition to 9mm is an officially done deal and we should be hearing something soon. That should change the trickle of police departments shifting to 9mm from .40 into a screaming 100-year mid-year CDNN will probably be throwing in a police trade-in .40 with every purchase of a brick of .22 ammo. I see a boom in Glock 17/19s (especially since the G17 is the most debugged handgun since the J-frame) and the newer, flashier Sig Sauer 320. M&Ps...maybe...they've been getting some less than optimal press lately and the Sig is clearly positioned as an M&P killah.

I think that'll trickle down to the 9mm carbines, too. If the 9 is spiffy out of a 4-inch pistol barrel, it should be even spiffier out of a 16-inch carbine barrel. Be interesting to watch!!!

I hear the little hooves of reindeer...must be time for my shuttle ride home!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Down to Stems and Seeds Edition...

…at least, that's what we say in Colorado. Yes, I've "pretty much" come off the road, but there were still a lot of lose ends to wrap up. So I'm just getting back from Tulsa after a week of TBD openings and closingS, DRTV videos, SHOT SHOT TV and an interview for the upcoming gun free zone documentary from OUTDOOR CHANNEL. NOW, I'm almost finished for the year! Sort of…

For SHOT SHOW TV, Stag's Jesse Tischauser bought one of the new Stag 9T 9mm ARs. It is a very nice little rifle! The designers at Stag made the decision to build a 9mm from the ground up. The lower is designed for the standard Colt 9mm magazines — not a mag well block, but a dedicated receiver. Stag also redesigned the bolt, buffer system, the hammer, mag catch, dust cover and brass deflector. Stag's also rolling out 10, 20 and their own branded 32 round 9mm magazines. Jesse had just gotten the gun, so we spent some futzing time taking it apart until we had to finally do the television stuff. I may have to add this one to the collection.

Interestingly enough, the day before I'd done a couple of pieces for DRTV (to air with TBD's new season that begins NewYear's Eve) on my old Spike's 9mm pistol, which runs off Colt mags via a mag block, and the JP GMR-13, which runs off Glock 9mm magazines. I'm kinds thinking that this year might well be the year of 9mm carbines. TTAG's readers' choice award for rifle of the year is a Sig Sauer MPX, even though it's technically not available yet. The CZ Scorpion EVOIII created quite the hot flash (photo above) even without the hot Czech model. The TAVOR 9mm conversion kits and Beretta Storms are flying out the door. Bob Campbell did a nice wrap-up on pistol caliber carbines for defense in the CTD newsletter earlier this year.

I think there's probably 3 primary drivers here. The first is the 9mm handgun is going through a renaissance, with even the FBI looking at going back to the nine. Secondly, there's a lot of 9mm ammunition around…it's easier to find than .22 and cheaper than 5.56 (Russian 9mm is about $0.21 a round). Thirdly, 9mm carbines work great in the self-defense context — less blast, noise and recoil than a 5.56 (which is still, IMHO, an excellent self-defense choice), easy to shoot, accurate, etc. Interesting!

I also got a closer look at DoubleStar's .308 platform that I handled at last year's SHOT. I have one on order because I have a thing for AR-10 platform guns, and my precision 5.56 from DoubleStar is a real tack driver. Marshal and I can take the .308 DoubleStars to FTW early next year and wring them out at a distance.

Anyhow anyhow, good to have survived another season. While I was sitting around the hotel room in Tulsa, I caught up on reading master instructor John Farnam's Quips, a wonderful collection of thoughts from a brilliant mind. This one in particular caught my mind:
“Safety” is a word we’ve invented to describe a non-existent phenomenon. Our lives need to be a daring adventure, as they all end the same way!
Amen, John...

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Ruger Composite Stock GUNSITE Scout Rifle...

I wasn't exactly bubbling with enthusiasm for the 5.56 Ruger GUNSITE Scout, largely because I just do don't need a rifle in that niche…I have tack-driving, lightweight ARs in that caliber. I am, OTOH, bubbling with enthusiasm for the newest GUNSITE Scout, this one with a composite stock. Here's Ed Head's review on DRTV.

As Ed mentions, we always wanted a composite stock for the gun, but it would raise the cost too much. With Ruger now in the composite stock business big time for the Ruger American, it makes sense to bring that technology to the Scout, one of the best-selling bolt guns in recent years. The composite stock brings the weight from 7.1 lbs to 6.25, well under the Cooper 6.6 lb baseline.

Just as , or maybe even more, important is the replacement of the Mini-14 styled flash suppressor with an efficient muzzle brake. I had a discussion with Ken Jorgenson at Ruger several months back on mounting the super-efficient muzzle brake found on my .300 Win Mag Guide Gun on the Scout. Ken reported back that the engineering guys didn't think the same brake would work well on the Scout, but that they'd "give it some thought."

"Give it some thought" at Ruger has a way of translating into new products, and that's the case here. I'm going to whine and cry and see if I can get one from my old Scout...

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Saturday Cowboy Round-Up

I did better on at least a part of Saturday's cowboy match, indicating that I got at least one (or 2) holes in the dike patched up. Unfortunately, one leak continues to our water (and seconds).I felt good with the rifle…I was shooting the rifle as well or better that I'ver ever shot. Part of it is more focus on the standing position (thank you, The Art of the Rifle!) and teaching/forcing myself to see only what I need to see before pulling the trigger (thank you Brian Enos!).

I made a couple of mistakes with the shotgun, but I'm not going to beat myself up over it. I tried to save a second by firing before the gun was properly shouldered and I pad the obvious price — a miss — for that. Went from what should have been a 21 second run to a 30 second run.

The bigger issue is my pistol. I'm setting up well for the first shot/s, but I'm losing a bit of control going from target to target, which translates into missed shots. As I've talked about before, steel targets that aren't square or round present an interesting challenge in perception. As we sequence between targets I believe our "processing unit," a.k.a. our brain, looks at a diamond or heart or random-shaped target and treats it like a circular plate with a diameter equal to the largest linear distance of the target. This does;t just apply to cowboy…the random-shaped steel targets at the winter sniper match at Rockcastle last year were toughies, according to the shooters I talked to (you saw John Snow run it on SHOOTING GALLERY last season).

Anyway, it adds some sloppiness to the system, and it gives me something to work on inside not that it looks like winter is setting in. I may change out to a different set of pistols. I usually go with a set of Ruger Vaqero SASS Cowboys, a matched set of .357s Ruger put out several years back. Ken Griner did the work on them, and they are indeed workhorses. Couple of years ago I got all spun up and had my set of smaller framed .357 Blackhawks rebarreled by Slick McClade, going to 4-inch octagonal barrels for a little more weight up front. He also added brass SureHit sights, "slip-covers" for the standard from sight and a much less expensive route than adding a brass front sight blade. The actions were already excellent.

I love the way the guns point, but they've been problem children since they were reblued after 20-30K rounds. It's a base pin problem, I think…I thought I had it fixed, but it snuck back up on me. I need to suck it up and fit a set of Belt Mountain base pins…not a big deal, but just not on my radar lately. I'll order a pair when I finish this post.

Friday, December 12, 2014

A Small Suggestion...

Maybe we should use "enhanced interrogation techniques" on Eric Holder as soon as he leaves office to find out what he really knew about Fast and Furious. And let's not forget Hillary Clinton and Benghazi…yep, fire up the old waterboard! Jonathon Gruber? Lois Lerner? Valerie Jarrett? Al Sharpton? Maybe we could do an American Idol type thing…call it American Idle maybe…have have people vote on who we'd like to see strapped on the big board next, televise the whole thing. The ratings would be HUGE, I tell you…HUGE!

And since school-age kids can vote, I'd say Michelle Obama and her school lunch program may be in their sights. I suggest something like this for a little variety:

Instead of a stream or river, though, I'd suggest lowering her into a vat of brussels sprouts. Now that's torture! Meanwhile:

Would-be carjackers in Florida couldn't drive stick shift

OCALA, Fla – Police in Florida say two would-be carjackers almost got away with a vehicle in Ocala but didn't know how to drive a stick shift.

This gives a whole new spin on "Drive It Like You Stole It."

Subtly segueing into seriousness, the Christian Science Monitor, which has never met a gun control lie they wouldn't publish and herald as revealed truth, seems puzzled that the whole nation has changed into a bunch of redneck peckerheads clinging to their guns:
A dramatic swing in public opinion when it comes to guns and gun control may be driven by current events – particularly high-profile police killings inStaten Island, N.Y., and Ferguson, Mo., a gun control advocate says. 
In 2012, 48 percent of Americans in a Pew survey said guns do more to protect people than place them at risk. According to a survey released Wednesday, that number has increased to 57 percent. 
The shift was even more substantial among African-Americans, going from 29 percent in early 2013 to 54 percent now (though with a margin of error of almost 10 percent due to a small sample size).
Color me shocked! I mean, African-Americans! Who could imagine that African-Americans would stand there watching their businesses and their lives go up in flames in Ferguson and thing, hmmmmmm…is there a way I could have stopped this?

I do love this quote from my brother the Right Reverend Kenn Blanchard:
He adds: “There’s a racial divide, too, that the anti-gun people have been using to suggest that white people don’t want black people to have firearms. But what I see are my white brothers, the old geezers, who are saying to the younger black generation: ‘Here’s a gun, I’ll show you how to shoot it.’”
Speaking as one of those old geezers, amen! I once had a wonderful dinner with Reverend Kenn and his congregation. I note from his website that he's a Tavor fan as well.

I also want to send you to a great blogpost from Matt over at Jerking the Trigger on setting priorities:
Why do people still refuse to use weapon lights? Perhaps they have prioritized the possibility that the light might draw fire over shooting dark, unidentified shapes in the night. I suspect many have learned the same safety rules as I have and yet, they conveniently throw out Rule 4 when it comes to weapon lights.
I was talking to Kevin Creighton from Misfires and Light Strikes this week and he was bemoaning the existence of an AR-15 in the Rock Island .22 TCM caliber (he talks about it on his blog at the link above). I kinda agree with him…considering the TCM is based on a .223, the bolt's not an issue. When I head out to the gun room this AM I'm going to see whether the TCM will feed from a standard Colt 32-round or Glock 9mm…that would be the only breaking point. I've shot the 5.7 X 28 upper, and it was really a cool (and loud) little gun. A TCM AR pistol with The Brace would make a neat little truck gun…I like the cartridge.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

African Always Wins...

That's $900 worth of an impala pedestal mount trophy. Note the shards of bones, brittle probably from being boiled too long. No, it's not a world record impala, or even a particularly great impala. But it was the result of a long, hot stalk and a long shot that I was proud of.

Sorry for the crummy pixs, but I's sort of running out of the house.

My plan now is to take the remnants of the impala and the kudu (where I'm having trouble remounting the horns to the skull) to a really highly recommend local guy in Ft. Collin who specializes in horn and skull mounts and pay for his hep. I think the impala can be remounted as simply a horn mount.

The packing on these trophies was simply terrible. The trophies were wrapped in "bubble wrap," the the wrap was old or reused and had apparently lost most of of its "bubbles." In effect, it was like wrapping the trophies in multiple layers of Saran Wrap. The trophies were then dumped in a cardboard box and cover with shredded paper...shredded paper! The pedestal mount is should have been crated, not tossed into a box!

Monday, December 08, 2014

Been Running Around All Day...

…picked up trophies from last year's African hunt. The impala pedestal mount was completely destroyed…will post pictures tomorrow. Very disappointing…I'ver seen better packing from 8 year olds.

Interestingly enough, I spent some time (not nearly enough time, I might add) on my .22 "challenge" course with the Clark Ruger 10-22. Man, what a different between bench shooting and field shooting -- exactly why I set up the challenge course! I'm pretty good at 80 yards and in, but not so much at the longer distances. I was holding over, but I think I can do a lot better if I run the numbers on Mini-Mags and then dial the scope up…at least, that's what I'm telling myself. .22s aren't laser beams. It's supposed to be nice tomorrow, and I may sneak out and run the long stages again. Yes, I know I said I'd be practicing cowboy, but there's something hypnotic about a hard training stage. Shooting off sticks is definitely a weak spot for me, something I haven't practiced until recently.

Here's a plug for a great sponsor -- Streamlight has added a "AA" battery version of their Siege lantern. I mention it because Streamlight Sieges are a mainstay here at the off-grid SHBII. Living off-grid, you get used to going to a battery powered lantern instead of that switch on the wall…especially after a run of cloudy days. In the older Secret Hidden Bunker, where the power went out for hours at a time, the Sieges got a lot of work.

Tomorrow on the podcast I want to talk a little about the New York grand jury decision…a very different situation than the grand jury decision in Ferguson.

Nite nite for now...

Friday, December 05, 2014

My .22 Rifles!

Okay, I played hooky today and went down to the range with my veteran 10/22 and the Ruger American .22 bolt gun to dial them in with new scopes. Here's the 10/22:

It's gone through a lot of iterations since it emerged from the factory as a heavy barrel 10/22 Target Version ages ago. The current version includes:

Volquartsen TG2000 trigger group
Factory Ruger bolt
Factory Ruger laminated stock
Clark Custom Guns deep-fluted .920 match barrel

The first 3 rounds on target out of the barrel scope combo went into 1 hole at 50 yards. Here's my "reference" 50-yard 5-shot off the bench group:

You can see I pulled one a tiny bit out of the 4 shots touching group. I shot several brands of .22, and the CCI Mini-Mags produced the reference group.

I also carted out my Ruger American Rimfire Compact "hunter training rifle." I added the Boyd "bumble-bee" Hunter stock specifically to "heavy" the rifle up and make it feel more like my centerfire rifles. Scope is a Burris 2-7x Droptine on Weaver #12 bases.

The groups were almost as good as the 10/22:

These groups, also at 50 yards, were with Eley Edge, which has been an amazing round out of this rifle…I used it in the big Tactical Solution NSSF Rimfire match in Idaho. I think\ I can tighten these groups up with a little practice. I also spent some time with the American on my Challenge Course, doing offhand plates at 25, 35, 50 and 80 yards. Turns out if you don't work the bolt, the gun doesn't go bang.

This is my "play" .22, a Tactical Solutions X-Ring with the wonderful Vantage stock with the SBX barrel option. It's fitted with a bulletproof Burris Speed Dot red dot. This is my NSSF Rimfire rifle.

It's amazing how quick this set-up is! If you're looking for a fun gun to shoot, or you've got a Spousal Unit or teenager involved in NSSF Rimfire, this is definitely the way to go!

I have one other longer term project that I didn't take out to the range…a Marlin 2000L biathlon rifle (I actually shot it in Summer Biathlon) that I want to set up as a long-distance shooting trainer. I was inspired by this story from F-TR Class champion James Croft, who's using a CMP surplus Remington 40X custom .22 as a trainer for F-Class. Kinda cool!

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Finally, Some Good News!

From The Hollywood Reporter:

Anaconda to Swallow Man Whole on Discovery Special 'Eaten Alive'

Wouldn't it be great if Discovery could do this like AMERICAN IDOL and we could all vote on who we would like to see eaten alive? Hey, I know who I'd vote for! No, not Jon Voigt. It's not as cool when you read the whole story, to wit, they're not just going to throw people into a pit of starving anacondas — which admit it, would pull good numbers, especially you tossed Jennifer Lopez in as an appetizer. Instead, some dofus is going to don an Anaconda Digestive Tract Diving Suit and boldly go where no man has gone before, at least not gone and ended up anaconda poop. And isn't it a great world when you can Google "anaconda poop" and actually get videos? Such a time we live in!!!