Thursday, February 26, 2015

Snowing Again...

…is that why they call it "winter?" Still. spring is within sight, although presently buried under several inches of snow. I think I'll survive.

I note the return of the Dan Wesson .357 revolver, the 715. Caleb has an excellent write-up at Gun Nuts Media. Caleb, being even more of a revolver nut than I am, is an excellent person to evaluate the 715. I have to say that along with the Solothurn I never got, I always lusted after one of the Dan Wesson "Pistol Packs" on their .44 Magnum VHs, with multiple barrels, grips and all sorts of neat stuff. I suppose it would be too much to hope for CZ/Dan Wesson releasing new .445 SuperMags for myself and all the other idiots on Lee Martin's Forums — we like compression fractures!!! Carpel Tunnel Syndrome-R-Us!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Post-Modern Revisionism

Tam at VIEW FROM THE PORCH makes an excellent point on BS liberal revisionism:
I realize that, taken as a national average, gun laws have loosened from their Peak Draconianism in '95 or so, but in a number of states that represent a large chunk of the nation's population, such as CA, NY, NJ, MA, and CT, they've never been stricter. 
It was within my lifetime (albeit barely) that you could order an actual 20mm anti-tank rifle in the mail with less drama than buying a packet of Sudafed today. You're entitled to your own opinions, dude, but not your own facts.
She the publishes this wonderful gun magazine ad from the late 1950s for a 20mm Solothurn antitank rifle, with accessories and available ammunition, delivered to your home through the mail for the lordly sum of $189.50 (keeping in mind that surplus Garands were, like, $20):

Sigh…when I was a kid (being slightly older than Tam, of course), I wanted one of those Solthurns so bad I could spit. In fact, I managed to save up the $189.50, plus the additional bucks for the 20mm ammo, from allowances, odd jobs and whining to my grandfather who was an easy touch. Unfortunately, my father, who was less than enthused but had agreed to place the order for me (along the way converting all my quarters, dimes, and silver dollars into "grown-up money" to make the purchase) found a way to talk me out of the Solothurn…he showed up one day with an ad for a Lafayette (I believe) 6-meter AM transceiver that, when you added in the antenna, cables, a desk microphone,and assorted other accessories came to…$189.50.

Which, he asked me, would I use more?

I HATED grown-up logic!

I bought the 6-meter transceiver and, in truth, spent many happy hours destroying our neighbors' television reception.

But I pined for the long lost Solothurn. I remembered it when I first met John Ross, where the Solothurn had a starring role in his UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES. John offered to sell me his Solothurn for $10K, but grown up Michael turned him down...

Sunday, February 22, 2015

An Amazingly Low-Key Weekend...

….comes to an equally low-key end. Snow...cold…wind…stay inside and read. Cook a bit. Watch some old movies. Clean a couple of guns. Pretty cool, all in all.

There's a couple of articles that are definitely worth reading. the first is from the Cedar Rapids Gazette via Guns Save Lives, titled "I'm That Guy You Never See Carrying a Gun Every Day:"
People from all walks of life legally carry guns. Some are men and some are women. Some are old and some are young. The ones I know train. The ones I know are aware: Aware of their surroundings. And aware of all of the armchair quarterbacking that will be done if they ever have to use that tool of last resort on their belt. So why do it anyway? Because they value their life and the lives of others. Simple.
It's a good piece, and right on target, so to speak. Graham Tradecraft's Matt wrote an equally compelling piece titled, "Knock Knock, Reaper's Here:"
There has been chatter recently about “ tactical minimalism”, and the idea that having less than a full load out makes a person inferior or less capable. When I talk about minimalism I am specifically referring to living as a minimalist within the context of personal protection and the use of available tools, i.e. firearms, knives, gear, etc. A better term comes from the military and is “line gear”, and is referenced as first line gear, second line gear, and third line gear. First line gear is described, simply, as gear you will never be without or gear that you have with you at all times. Quiz time: knock knock, Reaper’s here…what is your first line gear? Remember the rules: it must be gear that you have on you at all times. For me in my life I want to say that my first line gear is a gun, a light, a knife, and a tourniquet. But I’d be lying. So would most of you. Do you fly commercially as a civilian? Do you go into restricted areas, either government buildings or school zones? Do you swim in a pool or spend time at the beach? If you do, the chances are, like me, you aren’t carrying a gun. Maybe a knife. So that makes my first line gear – the gear that I have with me at all times – simply a light and a tourniquet. Seems fairly benign, yet it is realistic. When confronted by people who say they always carry and have tons of gear and equipment every time, all the time, my response is two-fold: they are either full of shit or they don’t get out very much.

Read the whole thing.

Strangely enough, we watched BIRDMAN today…meh…I'm always a little ambivalent about movies about acting in general, since I'm sort of not really an actor myself. Insufficient angst. One of the times I was out playing Hollywood a real actor asked me whether I'd always wanted to be an actor. I replied, reflexively, that I wasn't an actor. She laughed. "You've been on teevee for, what, a decade?" she said. "Trust me, you're an actor." Cue the theme music, I suppose. LOL!

Anyway, it was okay.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

The Egg & I

So it's cold and snowing here at the Bunker, my Sweetie was sleeping in and I decided to cook for her. Since I had some gold potatoes, sweet peppers and an onion, I immediately thought "Frittata!"

The problem is that I've always been sort of frittata-challenged. For those of you who don't know by heart the schedule of The Cooking Channel, a frittata is an Italian dish that is, essentially, a crustless quiche, or maybe a pan omelette. My issue has been the "crust" for the "crustless" dish…you need a golden brown crust for the dish to work.

I consulted my 2 favorite cooks, Alton Brown and Nigel Slater, then boiled the potatoes, chopped onions and sweet peppers and grated some amazing aged Welsh cheese I had around. When the potatoes were done I chopped them into cubes, added the cubes the to the sautéed-in-good-olive oil onions and peppers and cooked them at medium heat in a cast iron skillet for a bit.

I whipped the eggs with some designer oregano, the grated Welsh cheese, salt and fresh ground pepper. when my Sweetie got up, I "assembled" the frittata —I added the whipped egg mixture to the skillet, then cooked at a low heat on top of the stove to get that golden crust I wanted. When I felt the crust was almost there…remember, a cast iron skillet keeps cooking…I popped the skillet under the gas broiler for a couple of minutes to "set" the eggy mixture.

Definitely the best frittata I've ever made! A touch of Tabasco popped the flavors of the mild peppers, and the potatoes. I should'a taken a picture, but we ate it too quickly.

If you're not overcome in with cooking lust, WeaponsMan has a great article on the rise of optics as the choice for military firearms.

And a little something to make you think, from Herschel at Captain's Journal, titled "Obama Responds":

Friday, February 20, 2015

Breakthrough at Summit on "Countering Violent Extremism!"

WASHINGTON D.C. — After three days of "spirited" discussion, a virtually giddy Vice-President Joe Biden faced cameras to announce the stunning breakthrough.

"It's the Jews!" said Biden, slipping his hand inside the blouse of Kimmy Jong-Yummy, the North Korean representative to the summit who moaned with thinly disguised pleasure. "The Jews in an unholy, clearly not Islamic alliance with the Tea Baggers!"

The breakthrough came when the White House revealed, through their Cuban national spokesperson, SS Oberstrumbannfuhrer Alexjandro "Che" Castro, a 3rd cousin of legendary revolutionary idol Fidel Castro who had previously served as Minister of Misleading Crop Reports for the Castro government, the existence of a document that "unequivocally" links Jews to American right-wing terrorists.

"The document is titled 'Protocols of the Elders of Idaho,'" added State Department Spokesperson Marie Hajj, who recently changed her from "Harf" to "Hajj" in solidarity with Sharia Social Justice Warriors Worldwide (SSJWW). The document was discovered during a joint DEA, ATF, DHS and the Mexican Grupo Marte raid on a compound near San Antonio; the raiders initially performed a dynamic entry on the Taco-Centro Bodega, which had been described in the warrant as a "hotbed of right-wing terrorism." After repeatedly shooting 2 chihuahuas and seizing an unspecified number of donuts, the raiders discovered that the warrant was actually for the house across the street.

Quickly shifting gears, the 58 heavily armed and armored "operators" crossed the street and seized the dilapidated empty home, where they discovered what was described as an "arsenal" (shown blow).

Also seized along with the "Protocols" document were drugs, including aspirin and "behind-the-counter" antihistamines, and an unspecified amount of cash, ("unspecified," as the coin counter at the Safeway was unable to count Mexican coins).

"The Protocols clearly outlined an operating structure between American right-wing gun clingers and Jewish money-lenders both in Israel and the United States," said Hajj, adroitly dodging Vice-President Biden's bare foot, which was slipping up her dress. "This should put an end to the scurrilous, persistent  lie that the upswing in terrorism is linked to our valiant brothers in Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, France, Great Britain and New Jersey."

"Barack Hussein Osama…er…Obama has been vindicated!" said Biden, zipping up his pants.

Two other important announcements emerged from the "Countering Violent Extremism" summit.

Perhaps the most important was the public/private joint "enterprise" grant of the sum of $2 billion for the Middle Eastern country that finds "The Most Fascinating Use of Nuclear Power." The Soros/Obama Prize will allow the winning country to "jump to the next level," providing warmth and bright light to at least some cities of the Middle East. Representative from Iran and Yemen, present at the Summit, committed their countries to "go for the Big One!"

The Summit also unveiled an app for both the iPhone and Android platform, designed by Saudi Arabian software engineers, that allows users to compare prices for slaves at the various ISIS markets. The app also allows one-click selection of specific sex, body styles and price range.

"This app allows us to monitor the disgusting institution of slavery," Hajj noted, "which will lead to a fairer, more equal world."

When asked why the app had a "PURCHASE NOW" button, Hajj had no comment.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

C'Mon Up To The Rising….

State Dept thinks #isis just needs better jobs to dissuade them from being terrorists. I've got a job for em, holding my DownRange targets.

— Tweet from John Rich of the country duo "Big and Rich"

First, a reading assignment. This article from Graeme Wood in The Atlantic, a left-leaning pub, on what ISIS/ISIL wants is long, dense reading and absolutely necessary:
That the Islamic State holds the imminent fulfillment of prophecy as a matter of dogma at least tells us the mettle of our opponent. It is ready to cheer its own near-obliteration, and to remain confident, even when surrounded, that it will receive divine succor if it stays true to the Prophetic model. Ideological tools may convince some potential converts that the group’s message is false, and military tools can limit its horrors. But for an organization as impervious to persuasion as the Islamic State, few measures short of these will matter, and the war may be a long one, even if it doesn’t last until the end of time.
Please read the whole thing…I think it will help you understand more fully the holy war we now face.  I'd also like to send you to this brilliant piece by historian Victor Davis Hanson titled The Reckoning:
For bewildered and increasingly quietist Americans, the center holds mostly in family, religion, a few friends, the avoidance of the cinema and nightly news, the rote of navigating to work and coming home, trying to stay off the dole and taking responsibility for one’s own disasters — as the world grows ever more chaotic in our midst. 
All sorts of escapism from the madness is now epidemic. Home-schooling. Gun ownership. A second home in the mountains. A trunk of freeze-dried food. Kids living in the basement. A generator. Some gold coins. A move to Wyoming. An avoidance of the old big cities. A tough choice between death and going to the nearby emergency room (at least your relatives are safe as you pass away at home). A careful and narrow selection of channels on cable TV. A safe room or escape plan. And on and on.
On THE BEST DEFENSE, we don't deal with the bigger macro issues…our focus is on getting you and your family home every evening. It is important, though, to understand that the world is becoming an increasingly spooky place. Accordingly, the more you know, the more you can accurately access those things you need to learn.

It is a tenant of faith for me and an element of doctrine at TBD that the fundamental bedrock of personal safety is seeing the world as it is as opposed through any set of tinted glasses. For example, we have been clear over the seasons that the likelihood of you being caught in an active shooter situation is on par with being struck by lightning twice in a year— and yet people get struck by lightning every year, and occasionally twice a year..

At TBD we believe that terrorism will increasingly become a part of our own landscape, to the detriment of our personal lives, our culture and ultimately our liberties. Michael Janich, Mike Seeklander, Marty Hayes, Tim Cremin, Jeff Murray, Brandon Green and I have a deeply held commitment to give you the tools to live in the darkening America of the future, again, to make sure you and your family get home at night.

On the DOWN RANGE Radio podcast, I have talked for years about the concept of "transition time," that is, the lag time between the initiation of the violent event and your response to that event. "Transition time" defines whether you succeed or fail, essentially whether you live or die. To put it bluntly, if at the beginning of a violent event — possibly a terrorist event — you spend your preciously seconds thinking, "Wow! I never thought this could happen here, and I especially never thought this could happen to me!!!." you are not going to make it.

Read and learn. Then train, …this is an old quote and I've never seen a bulletproof attribution (generally attributed to "Seen at Ft. Irwin, CA"), but it has never been truer:
"Somewhere, a True Believer is training to kill you. He is training with minimal food or water, in austere conditions, training day and night. The only thing clean on him is his weapon and he made his web gear. He doesn't worry about what workout to do — his ruck weighs what it weighs, his runs end when the enemy stops chasing him. This True Believer is not concerned about 'how hard it is;' he knows either he wins or dies. He doesn't go home at 17:00, he is home. He knows only The Cause.

Still want to quit?"
Picture Your Daughter Here!

BTW, if you've got a daughter younger than 9 years old, she'll bring as high as $172 at the ISIS slave markets, and, of course, her purchaser can have intercourse with her immediately if she's a virgin. For older children, and maybe your wife, it'll be between $130, and, if older than 50 years old, as little as $40. And no sex until her uterus has been purified!  From Sultan Knish, who makes the point that if the united States hadn't intervened, our friends the Saudis, who had slavery until 1962, would still be running their own markets:
Journalists trying to make sense of ISIS demanding Jizya payments and taking slaves ought to remember that these aren’t medieval behaviors in the Middle East. Not unless medieval means the 19th century. And that’s spotting them a whole century. Saudi Arabia only abolished slavery in 1962 under pressure from the United States. Its labor market and that of fellow Petrojihadi kingdoms like Kuwait and Qatar are based on arrangements that look a lot like temporary slavery… for those foreigners who survive.
Slavery's not a "bug;" it's a "feature!" And speaking of features, remember that special features, such as blue or green eyes will bring a premium price at the market! Of course, it won't matter to you because you'll be dead.

[The painting, BTW, is the classic The Merchant's Pearl from one of Chile's most famous artist, Alfredo Valenzuela Puelma, finished in remains one of the most famous pieces of artwork from that country]

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Finally! A Victory We Can ALL Rejoice In!

Miss P, a 15-inch Beagle, sweeps Best of Show at Westminster! Newt, who looks uncannily like Miss P, is simply beside herself with joy. Miss P's great uncle is the legendary Uno, the greatest Beagle of them all. Newt herself is from Windkist Kennels in Utah, one of the co-breeders of Uno and the breeder of Uno's father, Parker. The victory is especially sweet because today is Newt's birthday — she 1 year old!

Newt, of course, chose to follow the Way of the Mountain Beagle and left the show world behind, but she sends her loud and hearty congratulations to Miss P!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Fun Evening…NOT!

After a lovely trip to the dentist, we come home to find that the off-grid power system of Secret Hidden Bunker II was flailing and, 10 minutes after we got home, the whole damn thing shut down. It's very dark when the power goes away. We turned on the aux heat, pushed the buttons on the Streamlight Sieges, then tried to figure out WHAT THE BLOODY HECK was going on!

We turned the genie on manually, but the batteries stayed at a low voltage (the charge controller/inverter shut them off to protect the batteries). WTF??? Generators aren't high tech…it's a engine and a gen head, which we'd had completely checked, tested, oil changed, tuned up, etc. 2 weeks ago. Gen had been running for 3 1/2 hours, like propane grows on trees or something. Batteries had not moved up even a tenth of a volt.

We tried all the diagnostics on the brand spanking new remote unit designed to control all the various aspects of the system, but nada. When went through menu after menu looking for anything to explain why the gen wasn't genning and the inverter wasn't inverting. Somewhere in the veeeeeeerrrrrrrryyyyyy back of the manual was a little note that described something called "Generator Standby," an incredibly stupid function where the generator turns on, but doesn't, you know, charge the batteries. What a handy function! Somehow, the new remote panel had locked onto Generator Standby, no doubt programmed by some Pop-Tart eating brain dead Korean salaryman for some unknown reason, and there was no way to turn it off. We performed the "Emergency Reset," a last resort option that involved unplugging the remote from the system, then plugging it back in. Zip. Little flashing lights that mean "Generator Standby."

Luckily, my Sweetie kept the old remote head, which had its problems but did, you know, work. I unplugged the shiny new remote (which I considered throwing, but didn't), fished out the old remote (designed for a Winnebago in, say , 2008), plugged it in and, low and behold, the lights came on, and when I went outside and manually launched the generator, the batteries immediately begin charging like gangbusters.

So is the system working? Maybe?

What's the solution?

1) Accept that there are no such things as "experts." Every single person we've paid money, occasionally big money, to build/work on this system have basically been reading from the manual. No matter how much "experience" experts claim to have, in the end you'll find their only off-grid experience consists of 1 solar panel and a battery from a golf cart used to power their rock tumbler in their mom's basement.

2) No matter how many guarantees your supplier give you, when you need them, they won't be there. Unlike tradition power systems, who understand that when it's zero degrees and the heart's off it's an honest to goodness emergency, alternative power "experts" sleep in, have answering services, don't answer emails, text or carrier pigeons and are puzzled that you don't just climb into your sleeping bag and wait for spring.

3) Nothing works as described in the pages of Home Power Magazine. It's sort of the difference between you buying pastel-colored duct tape and festive striped rope at Home Depot and "50 Shades of Gray." No matter how wonderful the specs for the charge controller of your dreams are, divide them by 2, subtract a little more, and consider getting back-up.

4) Even after you've stripped your lifestyle of energy hogs, embraced power strips, spent the equivalent of a year's salary when you were 22 years old on LED light bulbs, bought appliances made exclusively for use in Uganda, something will come back and bite you in the ass. I don't know what it will be, but  trust me, it's there waiting for you.

5) Yes, it's worth it…if you can get through the experience without strangling some one…

Lights are still on…fingers crossed!

Monday Blahs…

First, the best headline of the day, from Drudge of course:

"Wienermobile" Crashes Into Pole;
Sustains Serious Damage to Bun

Let us offer a small prayer for the weenie…

In more serious business, I got this missive from my good friend Paul Markel at STUDENT OF THE GUN (whom I don's see nearly enough!) that sums up the ATF move on M855 "Green Tip" ammo over the weekend:
With respect and honor to Martin Niemoller... 
"They came for the Street Sweepers, but I was not a Street Sweeper owner so I said nothing. Then they came for the Kalashnikovs, but I was not a Kalashnikov owner so I said nothing. They came for 7N6 5.45x39 and then the M855, but again I said nothing. They came for me and there was no one left to speak."
To borrow a phrase from the Great Fool in the White House, let me be clear — this action is part and parcel of the coordinated Obama attack on gun rights that will continue until he is dragged kicking and screaming from the People's House. This is what we can expect for the next 2 years, from all directions.

I do want to make yet another point here…I've already seen how quick we are to point fingers…at ourselves. I've already seen at least one blogpost that suggests it's all Sig Sauer's fault, since they "poked the bear in the eye" with the Sig Brace. Nonsense. Part of the attacks we are facing will be aimed at driving wedges into the gun culture. I've published this quote from the movie Blue Collar before, but I think it's important that we truly understand the message: They'll do anything to keep you on their line. They pit the lifers against the new boys, the old against the young, the black against the white — EVERYBODY to keep us in our place.

Also keep in mind that the government, quite specifically Erick Holder and Hillary Clinton, were perfectly willing countenance the potential slaughter of hundreds of Mexican nationals to make a run on the Second Amendment. Given that, do you think for a moment our enemies need an excuse to attack us?

This from the NRA ILA:
In a move clearly intended by the Obama Administration to suppress the acquisition, ownership and use of AR-15s and other .223 caliber general purpose rifles, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives unexpectedly announced today that it intends to ban commonplace M855 ball ammunition as “armor piercing ammunition.” 
The decision continues Obama’s use of his executive authority to impose gun control restrictions and bypass Congress. 
It isn’t even the third week of February, and the BATFE has already taken three major executive actions on gun control. First, it was a major change to what activities constitute regulated “manufacturing” of firearms. Next, BATFE reversed a less than year old position on firing a shouldered “pistol.” Now, BATFE has released a “Framework for Determining Whether Certain Projectiles are ‘Primarily Intended for Sporting Purposes’ Within the Meaning of 18 U.S.C. 921(a)(17)(c)”, which would eliminate M855’s exemption to the armor piercing ammunition prohibition and make future exemptions nearly impossible.
Here's more background from David Hardy at OF ARMS AND THE LAW:
I have some trouble understanding how the M855 fits the statutory definition of AP ammo. It has a two-part core, with a steel penetrator in front and a lead core behind it, under the standard copper-alloy jacket…
Obviously, real the whole thing. Bob Owens at BEARING ARMS has a fix, but here is the issue — the simple fix requires the Republicans in Congress to DO WHAT THE HELL WE ELECTED THEM TO DO, to stop the Obama agenda n its tracks….

What are the odds of that?

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Winter Comes Tiptoeing Back In

Snowing now…maybe 3-6 inches over the next day or so. C'mon…even I knew that 60 degree weather couldn't last much longer! Nice while it lasted.

BTW, update on a project I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I'm going with a JP lower to match up with the JP .204 upper. Comes with a JP trigger job, which I know to be just about perfect. A little more expensive that a stripped lower, but once again, this is a rifle I would like to keep. Planning on using the Luth-AR MBA stock.

Shot a cowboy match yesterday and got my ass handed to me by my Sweetie. No excuses…she just plain outshot me. And good for her! I anticipate similar results in 3-Gun.

Good article over at WeaponsMan on "Customizing Your Carbine:"
Accessories: everybody loves ‘em. AR gadgets are to guys (and some gals) like high heels are to many other gals’ closets (and some guys’, probably; it’s a free country, but we really don’t want to know). Gun folk no more explain to shoe folk the difference between our AR uppers than they can explain the difference between this year’s and last year’s Manolos.
I tend toward the"lotsa different stuff/calibers/tail fins" category…I'd also like to mention that my "house carbine" is plan as dirt…Aimpoint…Streamlight…that's it.

Friday, February 13, 2015

A .44 Sort of Day...

The incredible weather is holding, so today after doing V/O all morning I headed out to the range to do some cowboy rifle drills. I had 2 plates, one at 15 yards the other at 20, and 2 Action PT silhouettes at 50 yards, so I did 5-round "round-robins," 15, 20, 50, 50, 20…trying to pick up speed on each run. When I got done, I decided to lob some .44 Specials downrange.

I posted yesterday on Lee Martin's wonderful Single Action Forum about the Ruger Super Blackhawk Hunter:

It's Ruger's hunting .44 Magnum, different from the standard Super Blackhawk with a round trigger guard (as opposed to the Dragoon finger-buster), a heavy barrel with rib, scope mounts and the longer ejector and housing from, I believe the .357 Maximum from years back. Mine has been redone by the inestimable Hamilton Bowen with the barrel cut to the length of the ejector housing, a perfect trigger and Bowen sights (it's also drilled and tapped on the top strap for a scope mount if I decide not to use the barrel mounts…move the weight a little farther back).

The gun was built for a project that fell through at the last minute (it happens), but I couldn't bring myself to get rid of it. If Hamilton's name is on it, it doesn't leave my hands. I hadn't shot it in ages and ages, but we're scheduling a hog hunt in Texas with suppressed ARs in April…I'll be there as a producer, not a hunter (or, in this case, huntress), but I don't believed in being unarmed. I thought the Hunter in a Simply Rugged "Chesty Puller" rig and one of the Corbon Hunter loads (I'll aways go heavier rather than lighter) would be a perfect "anchor gun." Still ambivalent on whether I'm going to scope it or not.

So I hauled the Hunter out of the safe, got a couple of boxes of .44 Specials, and took it to the range. It was amazingly fun. What a great revolver! I could spend a whole day on the 50-yard silhouettes.

Why Didn't I think of This????

Beep beep!

And as long as we're focusing on the day's weirdness, here's a link from my friend Mike Kassnar at IWI on a history of Tavors through the centuries...

C'mon! It must be real! It's on the Internet!!!!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

A Meeting Day...

Yes, these things happen…I occasionally have to pretend to be a television producer as opposed to some guy who shoots too much and owns too many guns. Tomorrow, I shoot on the range. Saturday, a match.

The nationwide shooting competition we're working on has made it to the next step…if we can make it work, it's a game-changer…and I think we have the resources to make it work. I really really really need a clone!

Am watching QUIGLEY DOWN UNDER for about the dozenthteenth time…sort of the movie equivalent of comfort food. Speaking of which, did I mention that we discovered a new restaurant in Vegas this year — Yardbird Southern Table & Bar in the Venetian? Me and Producer John Carter knows us some fried chicken, and though it pains me to say this the Yardbird signature fried chicken was better than my grandmother's, which I would swear was handed down by the angels.

I note the .22 TCM is getting an Oleg Volk treatment. I love the cartridge and sincerely hope it continues. I'm definitely going to build up a 6-inch 1911 long distance blaster in .22 TCM…any minute now. Wouldn't it be cool to have an M1 Carbine in .22 TCM…like the old .22 Spitfire/5.7 Johnson? I believe Iver Johnson did a 9mm M1 for a few years, so it wouldn't be a big deal, I would think.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

As a Matter of Fact, Nothing is Going On...

…as I said in the podcast this AM, we're all in the post-SHOT pre-NRA doldrums. Mostly, I'm spinning up Season 5 of GUN STORIES WITH JOE MANTEGNA, running down guns, obscure factoids, et cetera, and preparing the broad-brush strokes for SHOOTING GALLERY 2016. I've got some voice-over work on this season's SG to do as well.

I did get out to the range for a little while yesterday, working with my Ruger SR9c. As I admitted, I've gotten a little lazy on EDC, carrying smaller and smaller guns. I decided to turn that around. My EDC recently has been a Kahr CW9 backed up with an 8-round magazine, chosen specifically for the full-sized grip (and the fact that the Kahr shoots like a house afire). I carried the SR9c, a Glock 26-sized gun, for a while a few years back but just got out of the habit after a long stretch of carrying a revolver. The advantage of the SR9c is pure capacity…10 + 1 in the gun; 17 rounds in back-up magazine.

I reached out to my friend Mark Houskeeper at Mag Holder, who make the best horizontal magazine holders in the business, and he says the SR mags will work perfectly in a mod'ded XD holder, so I ordered a couple. As an aside, I hear that a top gunsmithing group is looking seriously at the SR9 platform for some offerings. Right now, Galloway Precision has the field all to themselves (and I LOVE what Galloway is doing on their Tier One Carry Service, adding a red dot to the smaller guns...definitely thinking of trying this with the CW-9) I've always felt the SR9 was far too overlooked for the great gun that it is. I have shot the crap out of the full-sized SR9s and the compact and have never had the slightest issue with them. If Ruger would make me a longer slide version cut for optics, I'd love them forever.

Monday, February 09, 2015

A Few Random Gin-ish Thoughts

A got a wonderful package in the mail from my dear friend Andy Langlois of Andy's Leather — a fifth of Dingle's Gin from Ireland, where Andy and his sweetheart will be in a few weeks. It is wonderful, a little taste of Ireland in a bottle.

Thank you Andy!

Today I did the podcast, then headed out in our spectacular weather with Newt and my Sweetie for a long hike. When I got back I hauled steel down to the range and worked on setting up my overall vision for a .22, pistol, rifle and shotgun place to shoot. Hauling steel is, like, heavy. LOL! I didn't get a chance to shoot on it since the sun was going down as I set the last plate.

I've got 2 Action silhouettes — a Tactical Torso and PT Hostage target — set up for pistol at 50 yards and for carbine at 100 yards; the .22 challenge course (contact distance to 165 yards); a 6-plate cowboy/pistol set-up and a 200 yard centerfire rifle stage (I still need to buy some more targets for the rifle course). It is a dream home range for a shooter, something I've worked toward for a long, long time.

When I finished up for the day, we grabbed a quick fish and chips at the local bar, then headed home for the evening. I cracked open the bottle of Dingle's, opened a Fever Tree tonic and called it a day. The Dingle's is made with botanicals from around the distillery, rowan berry, fuchsia, bog myrtle, hawthorn, heather, chervil, angelica and coriander and tastes just wonderful. For me, though, rather than a taste of Ireland, the gin and tonic took me back to a roaring campfire under African skies, the plaintive cries of the bush babies, the sounds of the Kalahari, surrounded by the most wonderful friends I could imagine.

Thanks for that memory, Andy…
"The hunter's horn sounds early for some...later for others. 
For some unfortunates, prisoned by city sidewalks and sentenced to a cement jungle more horrifying than anything to be found in Tanganyika, the horn of the hunter never winds at all. But deep in the guts of most men, a prickle of the nape hairs, an acceleration of the pulse, an atavistic memory of his fathers, who killed first with stone, and then with club, and then with spear, and then with bow, and then with gun, and finally with formulae. 
How meek the man is of no importance; somewhere in the pigeon chest of the clerk is still the vestigial remnant of the hunter's heart; somewhere in his nostrils the half-forgotten smell of blood…"
— Robert Ruark
"Horn of the Hunter"

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Match Saturday

So I sucked it up, passed on the first 3-Gun match of the season and shot a cowboy match up in Cowboy World, otherwise known as Wyoming, Saturday. Specifically, we opted for cowboy because we're shooting the big 3-day cowboy match in Phoenix, Winter Range, in a couple of weeks and I'm a bit rusty, it being winter and all. Had a rare rifle malfunction — damn it, Michael…clean the things once a year!! — but otherwise shot well

Very well, considering the SHOT SHOW EBOLA circled back and sacked me Saturday morning…nothing like starting a match day hugging the ole Porcelain God. By the time I got to the range outside Cheyenne, I felt marginally okay and hurl-less.

My Sweetie's and my plan is to finish Winter Range, then put the cowboy guns away for a while and focus on 3-Gun (and as an adjunct, some practical pistol, probably USPSA). We've also already signed up for an Appleseed in April, and I'll do another on in August, different rifles for each one.

BTW, if you don't have an AR, first, shame on you! LOL! Secondly, now's the time…the Traction Control blog recently listed 14 ARs under $700. As I mentioned in a previous post, I'm picking up lowers for several projects that have been back-burnered for a bit and that I can finish at my leisure. I sorta have a half-way plan to take a project on the road with me this year so I can do something in my hotel room other than watch Fox News. All I'll need is a mallet.

Friday, February 06, 2015

Michael's Really Bad Mood...

…okay, I just ripped a guy a metaphorical new butthole on the phone, and since I will no doubt be brutalized for it on FaceBook, I would like to do a little 'splaining.

The person in question has called me repeatedly looking for a free copy of the show in which he appeared. And you know what? I'd have given him one — I'll still give him one — even though it's not technically something I'm supposed to do. OUTDOOR CHANNEL owns the programming I do. OC is a huge media conglomerate with a very specific set of rules for those of us who work within it. Several of those rules involves when and under what circumstances we can release material.

SOOOOOOOOOOOOO…you call me up, explain that you won't subscribe to OC because it's too much money, it was "too much trouble" to ask a friend to record the episode for you, you'd like use the segment of the episode to promote your own business and you want it now.

Sigh…well, you can't have it now for several reasons, not the least of which is that the season is still running. I can't do anything until the season ends. Period. When shows are in their first run on OC, that is the only place you can see them. Not on the Internet; not on another channel, not on a DVD.

Secondly, there's a sense that somewhere in the bowels of the production companies I use there's a machine that spits out DVDS. In fact, as a routine matter we don't do DVDs at all…it's a digital workflow. DVDs are a special set-up…a production person has to stop what he or she is doing, set up a computer to create a DVD and run said DVD off. Considering that the small production house we use has 3 series in production right now, nobody has the time (or the spare machine) to knock off a DVD.

That's all pretty straightforward. Once the season's over and the production crunch has passed, I can and do ask my production company to produce a few DVDs for people who've helped us over the season. Those request are very, very limited, and even those DVDs are released with specific caveats…you can't dupe them to hand out or sell, you can't use the material on the DVD in, say, a television or Internet ad, any use of the material without proper attribution is prohibited, etc.

Those are the rules I operate under.

Should you decide to call me and try to bully me into something I simply cannot do, you will discover a have a somewhat legendary temper.

Let me apologize in advance for that.

Secondly — and all of you who have worked on my various shows over the years already know this — we have never forced anyone to be on television. We ask if you'd like to be part of the show. You can say yes or you can say no. We're fine with either. If you don't want to be on a show, we'll ask someone else. We NEVER offer "consideration," that is, there is NO quid pro quid for your appearance in a show. We at NO point say, "If you do this for us, we will do that for you." We promise you neither money, gold, product placement, DVDs, tchotchkes, dream dates, slaves, or even adult beverages, although we do try to pick up the dinner tabs when we can.

We are there at the invitation of the organizers of whatever event or subject we are filming. We never just show up. Everyone involved knows that we're going to be there filming. In that sense we're like vampires — we can't come in unless you invite us in.

That said, we do our best to accommodate requests. And twice a year I buy the beer.

More than this I can't tell you.

Thursday, February 05, 2015

I Want to be a Network Anchor!

As I was saying, Me and Brian Williams was sitting in this partially blown up bar on Mulberry Street in Ramadi drinking pina coladas and talking about how "Lost in Translation" really sucked when the mortar rounds started falling. Me, I was so terrified I think I tinkled myself, but Brian, he was like a ninja…no, a ninja with superpowers! No no…a mutant ninja turtle with superpowers! He leaped off his barstool, picked it up and spun it over my head, knocking pieces of shrapnel out of the air and saving my life, like, 3, maybe 4 times.

Taking a quick sip of his pina colada, he darted out the door to rescue an entire elementary school being shepherded by 2 burka-clad teachers, personally carrying 7 children to a nearby basement. He then jumped out of the basement to shove 2 Special Forces guys to the ground just as an RPG whizzed overhead, then graciously paused to sign 2 hero cards he whipped from underneath his plate armor for the adoring operators.

Barely sipping from his drink, Brian filed a video report on his phone, consulted with U.S. commanders on both strategy and tactics, led a U.N. NGO team to film American atrocities, accepted his Emmy by phone, changed the oil in 2 Hummers, talked briefly with George Clooney, arranged for a local woman to redo his hair before his next video report, answered 2 texts from Rev Al Sharpton, and, finally finishing his drink, talked the jihadists into surrendering, moving to America and registering to vote as Democrat!

Now Brian's a hero and that is all true.
He does things that mortals like me cannot do.
He brings all the news to our homes each night
No Tea Party loonies or cats from the right
No guns, no Jesus, no men who are white
Just words from the White House give Brian delight
And that is a story that no one can beat.
And to think that I saw it on Mulberry Street.

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

When Do We Get Back to the Guns???

“We’re all put to the test… but it never comes in the form or at the point we would prefer, does it?”

 ― David Mamet

I woke up this morning thinking about the .204 Ruger, which has nothing to do with David Mamet's utterly profound quote above. I've got a wonderful JP Rifles .204 upper that I plan to build into a kick-ass varmint rifle later this spring. My plan is a Geissele trigger (there's a surprise, since I'm an unabashed fan), a Randy Luth buttstock, a JP captured spring, one of the new Burris "Predator Quest" 4.5-14X scope which is PERFECT for this gun…here's my question for you guys…which lower? JP…Wilson Combat…Mega…Sun Devil…Del-Ton…Black Rain…Spike's…I'm all a'fuddle! I've used Spike's, JP, Sun Devil and probably some I've forgotten. 

This is going to be a "forever gun," so I don't want to skimp on the lower if it's important… what do you guys think?

Here are the .204 Forums, which I've been studying. As you guys know I got interested in the cartridge when we were doing a SHOOTING GALLERY episode with my friend Marc Christenson at DS Arms. He brought down a .204 upper and a registered full auto lower…had to be done, so we immediately cooked the barrel out of the upper…perhaps a 4000+ FPS round is the wrong one for full auto…was fun, though…

Can you believe...

....Chris Kyle thought these people were "savages" just because their society is different than ours?

From Fox News today

...I mean, seriously! What kind of redneck peckerhead would dare suggest that there was any difference between Islamic terrorists and the Berkeley Faculty Senate? Check your privilege! And let's be honest, just because Islamic terrorists throw gay men off high buildings...

*picture removed*

U.K. Daily Mail

...doesn't mean they're people you wouldn't want to date your daughter or son? Am I right? It's a simple question of cultural relativity! I mean, we have our own challenges with our own non-cis-gendered community, such as deciding whether showing "The Vagina Monologues" is intrinsically unfair to women with penises. Really, are we any less savages? And let's be honest with ourselves...

*picture removed*

Catholic Online crucifying people any different that what we're doing at Gitmo? I didn't think so!

I was going to continue this for a couple of more pictures, but I honestly can't do it.


In fact, I'm going to remove two of the pictures I can find them yourselves at the links. Do your own search on the Internet and see if you can keep from throwing up. People who behead children and burn enemies alive have handed in their membership card to the human race and given themselves over to a darkness from which there is neither release nor redemption. And yet, somehow we are supposed to subscribe to the fiction that, really, they're just like us in so many ways. And hey, we as a culture and a country have warts, too!

If I may borrow from J.R.R. Tolkien, who has shown me a light down many dark pathways, something evil has risen in the East. Not "bad," not "angry," not "militant," not "revolutionary"...but evil. And it will take more than all the Chris Kyles in the world to eliminate it.

Monday Got Away From Me...

There were about a thousand phone calls and emails that absolutely had to get done, plus the podcast…I was at least successful on those fronts.

The most depressing part of the day was starting to fill in the calendar for first and second quarters. Airplane time is most definitely coming! Of course, far better than being unemployed and living in a refrigerator box under an interstate overpass. Am hopeful we can set 1, maybe 2, international trips for SHOOTING GALLERY in the next month or so. After the really big success of the Africa hunting eps, I'm looking at doing another hunting episode in SG.

As I've mentioned before, you going to be seeing more of Dianna Liedorff-Muller and John Snow as co-hosts on SG. I've been very pleased with bringing new voices onto the show. Your thoughts?

In the meantime we'll be working on AMERICA'S RIFLE and GUN STORIES WITH JOE MANTEGNA, plus the pilot for GUNRUNNERS.

I have 2, maybe 3, new shows in the hopper, but I'm a little ambivalent about pitching until I get GUNRUNNERS piloted and green-lit. Personally, my own focus is on the increasingly more likely satellite radio program. It is a little like eating a tire, which involves very small bites!

Sunday, February 01, 2015

Anyway, Winter's Back

Still, we had a spectacular January her at the Bunker, with temps in the mid  and even high — 70s some days. Allowed us to get a little ahead on Bunker-work and spend more time on the range. Plus, the parrots got to spend time outside, which they love.

Otherwise, as I mentioned before, just piddling stuff…lots of practice with the loop sling for this year's Appleseed; getting dialed in with the competition Glock 34 (and working with the great S.I.R.T. laser training pistol; figuring out optics for this year's 3-Gun; paid my entry fee for the He-Man Championships, which I have about a 1-in-3 chance of actually attending. Assuming there's a miracle and I can actually make it, I'm going with a bit more scope than I did last time, maybe the Burris XTR II 2-10X I have on my hunting rifle instead of the Leupold VX 1.5-5X I used in the last He-Man I shot (you saw it on SG). I could have used a bit of extra magnification on the longer shots.

One of the huge advantages of having my own range is I can finally figure out what slugs my Benelli Nova actually wants to shoot. For some reason it's not crazy about the Fiocchi slugs I keep around. I've had some luck in other shotguns with the Remington Reduced Recoil law enforcement slugs, so I'll give those a try. I probably order a mixed grill selection of slugs from Midway USA later today.

As for my Super Bowl prediction, I feel like the Colorado Avalanche are simply outclassed by the Shreveport/Bossier Mavericks, but if we see a face-off between Katy Perry and John Elway, I'm going to have to give it to Elway unless Katy's top falls off, in which case it's Perry by 2!

Bet accordingly.