Monday, June 30, 2014

Case Review: Near Miss

*** What follows is a guest post by Chedderman.  It is presented as a Near Miss.  That is to say... its a recounting of an actual event that could've gone very very badly but did not.  It is extremely important to share these experiences so that we may learn from them.  And... as he points out... it buts up nicely with Will's post on situational awareness. ***

I have had a strange feeling as of late, that the Almighty was about to give me a wake-up call. You see, my Christian life has kind of been in the crapper for a while. It is funny that I asked Him to take it easy on me with this one, as some of them have been hard life lessons. Anyways, I woke up late on a Sunday morning having skipped church for about the 4th month in a row.

I needed to make a call to see if I could work on my recoil buffer today. I could not find my cell phone and figured I may have left it in my truck last night. I went outside to my truck that is parked on the street. By the way, I live in an urban blue collar neighborhood that has seen better days. It was a really good neighborhood at one time, until the “vibrants” starting to move into the section 8 apartment complex the next street over.

As I was looking in my truck for the cell phone, I heard some shouting outside a house a few doors down on the other side of the street. I looked over, and could tell something was wrong by the expression on two of the peoples’ faces. I closed my truck door and started walking over there, I figured an adult presence was needed. A woman came running out of the house, yelling “call 911.” There was an African American youth chasing her, and she ran into a neighbors’ house. He did not follow her into the house, and stood in the front yard of the house where the woman had sought refuge for a few seconds, then ran into the back yard of the house where I initially heard the shouting.

I looked over at the house where the shouting had occurred. It looked like two people were being threatened/held against their will by a white kid and two African Americans in the area in between the house and a minivan sitting in the driveway. I thought it was odd that they had bandanas around their necks. As I walked over there, the white kid and the two black kids ran into the back yard and pushed their way through a gap in the fence, and disappeared. The cops showed up about 2 minutes after the lady ran into the neighbors’ house and had called 911 on her cell phone. A decent response time, but not good enough to save you in an active shooting situation.

I did not know if at the time, but I walked into the middle of a botched home invasion. What had happened was 3 african americans and 2 white trash youths invaded the home down the street. Three of them had guns. The bandanas were to cover their faces. They were looking for money, the old man who owned the house had died last Saturday. They must have figured that the old man had some money, and they could get their hands on it. When the lady ran out of the house over to the neighbors, their plan started to unravel. Two more people, a newlywed couple, were trying to bolt from the house, but the thugs ran after them and trapped them between the house and the van. The remaining thugs were trying to force the young couple back into the house. Me walking over there unnerved the thugs enough that they decided to run away.

In retrospect, what I did could have got me killed. I guess the Almighty had my 6 and my 12 today. Thank you Lord! My CCW pistol was by my bedside, in a box, unloaded and never fired. I have not followed through on my CCW application, although I took the class. My Remington 870 12 gauge bird/skeet gun was in the closet next to a couple of boxes of buckshot, the 12 gauge barrel was unattached to the frame. If it were my house that was invaded, I would have been caught completely off guard. I am not sure If I will continue to live there, my roommate has a “God will protect me, I don’t need to have a gun” attitude. Let this be a lesson to all of you out there in terms of situational awareness.

Epilogue: The home owner knew the two white trash kids, they were supposed to do some house work for her. The thugs are all probably in custody as I write.

Friday, June 27, 2014

ATF: Obscurity vs Utility

Howdy boys!  Kick your boots of set a spell.  Its that time again.  First things first if you haven't already waded through the doctoral thesis Will submitted today then I highly recommend it..  but I wouldn't start it tonight.  Its dense enough as is... ya don't need any booze on board muddyin' it up any further.

Now...  Question of the night:  What is your favorite obscure cartridge?  I have a few.  For example I dearly love the .280... which is superior to the .270 in every way... and yet all you morons out there decided to ignore it.  The 7.62X25 throws an 85 grain bullet 1720 fps... which to these eyes means it does everything the Five-Seven claims to do and then some.  But my favorite is without question the 25WSSM.  Man what a sweet little cartridge.  Ballistically it is extremely similar to the 25-06... but a 25-06 is a quarter mile long and is generally a pain in the ass.  The .25wssm is an extremely short action... which means its a short quick throw to work the bolt and its a much lighter weapon to carry around in the field all day.

Ok.. Your turn.

A: Franziskaner Weissbier:  Oh dear God... go find this.  Now.  These people have only been making beer since the 1300s.  Believe me.  They have this crap figured out.

T: MOAR GHURKA!!!!   Warlord tonight.  Because Giant Awesome.

F:  Weatherby Vanguard .25WSSM.... Vortex Viper glass.  Yep.. Its Jeb's deer gun.

Situational Awareness: An Info Dump

***This is a guest post by our buddy Will.  Y'all know him around the blogosphere as Shorty.  Look... I know this is an info dump.  I know its practically a doctoral thesis...  but its also damned good.  So read it.  Yes its technical.  No... its not light reading.  Read it anyway.  Nothing will save your life faster than situational awareness.  The gun in your pocket is useless if you don't know there is a threat coming.  The knife in your boot does no good at all if someone smacks you with a baseball bat before you realize you're in a fight.  Situational Awareness is the single most important factor when it comes to survival...  and when it comes to situational awareness...  Will is practically a savant.  ***

It's been a while since I've been on the blog circuit and Nate was uncharacteristically-gentlemanly enough to extend an offer to guest write a post. I scoffed a little at his first offer because, let's face it, there's not much that I can say within the scope of this blog that Nate can't say himself... albeit with slightly worse grammar. I jest, of course, because anyone who's spent time with Nate and Dr. Who know that they're two of the most awesome people one can spend time with. He made the suggestion for a post on situational awareness though, and that caught my attention as it's a topic near and dear to my heart.

My professional background is in bar, nightclub, and concert security. Contrary to what could be considered common knowledge, security work does not revolve around kicking someone's ass. The number one aspect of this type of work is safety, with liabilities reduction coming in at a very close second. A lot of times there's little to no overlap between the two. This isn't nanny-state, helicopter-mom, pad-all-the-corners-on-your-tables safety. It's the over-seeing, controlling, and managing of anywhere from a dozen to tens of thousands of fans and upwards of two dozens employees, plus creating and maintaining an environment to reduce as many liabilities as possible kind of safety. As obvious as this may seem, you can't proficiently do this type of work standing around with your head up your ass.

The development of situational awareness is crucial if you intend to do your job in a professional manner. Unlike a lot of job skills that have no transferability to everyday life, the development of personal situational awareness is something everyone can use every day at any moment in the day. Car accidents, personal injuries, fires, robberies, beatings, rapes, and murders happen every day to people who are simply not paying attention to what they or anyone else around them are doing. This is self-evident enough to most readers of this blog, but the actual implementation of these practices can leave you a little lost when you're teaching yourself. Though I've never served in any military capacity or any official law enforcement role, I've been lucky enough to have a wealth of knowledge at my disposal from SF Soldiers who served in operations from Mogadishu in 1993 to the Shahikot in 2002, Recon Marines who served in operations from Fallujah in 2004 to the Sangin Valley in 2010, SWAT and narcotics officers across multiple departments, and long-term nightclub security workers who have passed along tips and advice other the last 8 years. So with that said, here are some of my personal thoughts on the process of developing and honing your own situational awareness.

It helps to have a working definition. Dr Mica Endsley, the current Chief Scientist for the U.S. Air Force, has been researching and writing on situational awareness (SA) since the late 80s and the working definition she used in her 1995 paper, Toward a Theory of Situational Awareness in Dynamic Systems works quite well: “the perception of the elements within a volume of time and space, the comprehension of their meaning, and the projection of their status in the near future” (p36). While that definition works for research and academic purposes, I firmly believe that it ignores one crucial aspect of real life: You. What I feel is a better definition is one that I picked up from an old SF Soldier years ago defining SA as the state of awareness of yourself, what's around you, and the consequences of both yours and others' actions. In any interaction with others, consider the following four point:

Who's there? How many are around? What is their background?

What behaviors can you expect from them?

How will your presence and/or interaction affect that behavior?

What are your personal limitations in dealing with them?

Consider the currently on-going case State of Florida vs Curtis Reeves and compare the actions of both parties with those four points. Neither party made any effort to take a few seconds and observe who they were dealing with- a cranky, smart-ass old man and a tall, cocky, smart-ass middle-aged man-, what behaviors the other was likely to exhibit, how the other was likely to react to provocation, and what the consequences of their continued dick-measuring could be. In short, both parties showed a complete lack of sense and totally piss-poor SA.

Now contrast that with the actions of Samuel Williams in response to the robbery at the internet cafe he was at on July 13, 2012. He saw two young black males, both armed, rightly assumed the possibility of personal harm when they began destroying equipment, then without any warning or attempts to subdue them began firing. I can't speak for Mr Williams, but I can assume that he was operating under the assumption that attracting attention to himself might get him killed due to his age and physical capabilities and that maintaining the element of surprise would best serve him and the rest of the patrons. I would say that his marksmanship notwithstanding, Mr Williams did an outstanding job and utilized excellent SA for an untrained elderly man.

So what can you do to work on your own SA? One of the best places to start at this point is recognizing your own cognitive limitations utilizing some basic facts and principles from the field of Cognitive Psychology. This is a very basic run down of principles and issues related to cognitive processing so by no means will this be fluid or comprehensive. It will, however, give you a reasonable and basic level of knowledge and understanding of the mental processes behind what we can consider to be the broader application of situational awareness.

Cognitive Processes can be broken down into 2 main functions: 1) Working Memory/Short-Term Store, and 2) Long-term Store. Working Memory/Short-Term Store is, generally speaking, the immediate sensory inputs we recognize and keep in mind. Long-term store are those inputs we recognize as important and are able to encode into our long-term memory. We are constantly and unconsciously perceiving all sorts of sensory inputs: touch sensations, sounds, smells, sights, and tastes. If we tried to consciously recognize all of them our processes would jam up in a heart beat. The currently-accepted theory of sensory processing is the Working Memory Model (Baddeley and Hitch, 1974), which was updated in 2000 to include a specific component they called the “episodic buffer” that ties sensory streams together to form the singular episode that gets encoded into our Long-Term Store as a memory. The way this works is that we have a filter of sorts that narrows down what we should consider to be important sensory inputs and disregards mundane, repetitive, and unimportant inputs. Studies into the “cocktail party effect” show that this is unconscious. Think back to a moment where you've picked up on someone saying your name at a low volume in a loud room and you have an example of those executive functions at work. Those sensory inputs then move into our Working Memory, which has a general time limit of 15-30 seconds and a capacity of varying amounts from 3 +/- 1 up to 7 +/- 2 items, depending on the kind of item, any interference of new inputs, and strategies used to remember them. Again, those details deemed important move into our LTS while the mundane details are disregarded.

What this comes down to on the functional level is that our minds recognize what it considers to be “novel events”. The Weapons Focus Effect is based on Easterbrook's studies into emotional arousal narrowing perception fields into what we might call tunnel vision at the expense of peripheral details (1959). Research by Kramer, Buckhout, & Eugenio (1990) showed that the type of object held by a person (either a magazine or a large knife) in a non-threatening environment significantly affected the ability to recall details about the person holding the object. Those viewing the person with the knife remembered far fewer details than those who viewed a person walking with a magazine. Finally, the info dump is becoming practical.

To give a real life example, recently at an event I was working a man went into cardiac arrest. I was working a large area and didn't notice the initial fall and crowd movement due to the fact that nothing about it stood out: people were standing, moving, and sitting by the dozens at any given second. However, the Paramedic running definitely caught my attention and I followed his direction of travel up the path to see a person doing chest compressions. I remember nothing about jumping a barricade and sprinting a hundred yards. Novel event vs mundane event. Although I was the 2nd person on scene, the Paramedic already had the AED diodes attached so I spent the next 30 seconds clearing back the on-lookers to make a space for the next-responding Medics and gathering my thoughts for as detailed of a radio call as I could give to the directors (right/left side, row location, distance inside the row, current actions, directions to subordinate workers, etc). I can't tell you one single thing about the appearance of the patron who initiated CPR before the Medic got there, but I can still vividly see the man's chest responding to the AED pulses and the foam coming out of his mouth. Novel event vs perceived mundane event.

So, then, what I would consider to be the most important part of developing your SA is to scan as much as possible with the caveat that you can't possibly notice everything and something you thought was mundane might be important later. That's just the way it goes. The next person you see, look them over from the top of their head to the bottom of their shoes. Look at their eyes, their facial expression, their waist-line, their pockets, and their feet. As soon as you walk into a room, scan immediately in front of you, then from one side to the other. The amount of information is overwhelming, right? So what's important?

MSG Paul Howe (US Army, Ret) gives an excellent piece of advice on this in his book, Leadership and Training for the Fight. When you're standing in the middle of an empty street in an urban combat area, the threat obviously won't come from your front: there's nobody there. Don't waste your time scanning large, open, empty areas; focus on windows, doorways, behind cars, fence lines, and any other areas that might obscure a shooter. Scan deep into the high threat areas, then bring it back wide to the full picture, then re-scan the high threat areas again. The same goes for individuals. Don't waste your time staring at a guy's sternum or the back of his legs. Look at his face for behavioral cues, his waist-line for pistols or fixed-blade knives, his pocket seams for folding knives, and his feet for the type of footwear he's wearing. A man starting a fight in flip-flops is at a severe disadvantage and a man wearing steel-toed work boots out to dinner might have kicking you in the stomach in the back of his mind.

What is his appearance like? Is he well dressed? Is he composed? Is he with a group of males or with his family? Is he obviously intoxicated as indicated by staggering, a flushed face, blood-shot eyes, fidgeting, dilated pupils, or furtive movements? Is he tattooed? What kinds tattoos are visible? What areas of his body are tattooed? Face, neck, and knuckle tattoos are pretty good indicators that the person you're looking at doesn't give two fucks. He could also be the most solid guy in the room, though. Between a guy with face tattoos and a guy who looks like he's a social coordinator for a fraternity, which one might you want to be more concerned about bumping into without apologizing? Which one might you consider avoiding all-together? This goes straight back into awareness of how your own actions affect others around you.What room are you walking into? An office or business of some sort? A bar or nightclub? A house with people you don't know well? Where are the exits? How many people (roughly speaking) are there? What is the mood like? Is everyone quietly talking and enjoying the company? Is the music obnoxiously loud and everyone obnoxiously drunk? What ages are they? Are people grouped together or mingling individually? Is one group more dominant or rowdy than the others? Using the above paragraph as a guide, what is the appearance of a rowdier group? Do they look like they're the type to keep to themselves or do they look like a group of guys out to start shit for fun?

It's overwhelming, right? So let's take this one step further. What's out of place? If you're walking into a speakeasy full of Millennial hipsters wearing button-up plaid shirts, are you really concerned about the pocket knife clipped onto one of their back pockets (which should be on the right side about 90% of the time, given population norms)? No. You shouldn't be, anyways. But the guy who walks in with a full-size Ka-Bar on his belt? Take a few extra seconds and check out his body language and who he's there to see. Is the guy with knuckle tattoos at a bar frequented by college-aged kids or is he at a hot-rod car show? The guy hanging out at the front entrance to a retail store who isn't smoking or on the phone...what's he doing? Why isn't he going inside or leaving like everyone else? Is he waiting for his ride to pick him up, or is he waiting for an easy mark to walk up to purse snatch? The house two blocks down you pass on your way to work every day normally has a beat-up sedan in the drive way, but this afternoon there's $100k of ghetto-cruisers parked there. Is this significant? How do you know if you've never paid attention to see what “normal” is? The guy in your store asking distracting questions and touching a million things but not showing any interest in buying them isn't acting like a normal customer. Why is he doing that? Has he spent all of his time walking around racks that obscure your vision of him?

All of those things are super, super simple to spot and don't require much in the way of cognitive processes at all. Do it enough and seeing a knife on someone's pocket becomes automatic. You start staring at bulges on a hip covered by shirts to see if it's a gun or a phone before you even realize you've noticed an unusual object on the waistline. You go about your business at the store when your instincts start to tell you that something about that guy's behavior isn't right. His movement history doesn't line up with that of what you know to be the average shopper. The man posted up at the front entrance doesn't specifically look like an opiate junkie, but something about his abnormal behavior rings an alarm bell. Without taking two seconds to pay attention to them and recognize out-of-place, “novel” events or people, how do you know what you're walking into or dealing with?

Developing this mindset is a slow and methodical process. There's plenty that you can do by yourself. In addition to the constant scanning and normative comparisons, visualize, visualize, visualize. Plan ahead of time and develop simple strategies. I had a young black guy wearing a red watch cap, a red sweater, with a red bandanna hanging out of his back pocket run up to my car asking for a smoke at 3:30am after leaving work in an middle-class, white area. After the details of the Christian-Newsom murders were released, many of us who knew their friends or family members put those details into our own planning processes. When a shady guy approached my car late at night on an empty street, I had thought through that several times before and the decision to simply run the red light was automatic.

Once you develop a response, practice it. Practice it to the point that your motor skills are automatic. Our cognitive processes are generally known under two systems; System 1 encompasses the fast, automatic, rehearsed responses to stimulus while System 2 is the slow, methodical, analytical though process. The scanning processes I talked through above are under System 2. You see a group of young black men in an area known for drug trafficking late at night and methodically and logically decide to double back and call a cab to pick you up instead of walking home. System 1 is where prior preparation, training, and visualization come into play. For example, using the mirrors on an ATM to pay attention to the man behind you in line, you see him pull his shirt up and uncover the grip of a pistol he intends to use to rob you. Your fight-or-flight response kicks in and spin around and push him to make distance, then reach for your own gun. However, you've not practiced much with the holster you chose to wear today and you're reaching for a Serpa-style finger release on a holster that has a thumb snap. You haven't practiced drawing from under your shirt and you fumble the draw when it catches on the fabric. Even worse, you haven't practiced dry-firing in this scenario and you shoot through your hand extended in front of you because your two thoughts were disjointed and unconsciously acted on. That exact scenario happened to a State Trooper years ago- I wish I could remember which state and year right now- when he was fighting with a man trying to kill him, grabbed the guy by the back of his head with his weak hand, and fired point-black underneath the guy's chin, which then passed through the guy's skull and straight through his own hand. And due to the limitations on our cognitive processing resources, while you're devoting valuable time to fixing your screw ups, what you're NOT doing is focusing on your attacker. Visualize and practice.

I do hope that the information in this post is useful to you and your families. In the end, no matter what the gun grabbers, liberals, and different levels of government try to tell us, our protection is our own responsibility. To protect ourselves, we have to identify the threats. To identify, we have to notice. And to notice, we have to make the efforts to separate the good from the bad. Stay safe!

Monday, June 23, 2014

The Dread Kaboom

*** This is a guest post written in Defiance by our own Toothy.  Wisdom lies within.***

Son of a...!!!

That's probably mild compared to what I said at the time.

I don't quite recall.

In these pictures, one of these things is not like the others.

One of these things just doesn't belong...

If'n you're gun folk, you will have already noticed the primer in the middle has a discernible lack of "dent" if you will, from the firing pin. You may also have noticed that it looks like at one time it did have approximately the same depth and diameter firing pin mark.

You may also surmise, that this primer was originally like the others but was then flattened by an extreme amount of pressure while the case was still in the firearm (that being my 80 Series Colt Gold Cup in 45 ACP bullseye gun). You surmise correctly.

This is from having a double­charge of powder (approximately 8.8 grains of Winchester 231, instead of 4.4 grains) in the case, caused by an ignorant, inattentive progressive reloading press operator (that would be me). This was my first progressive press; I've always used a single­stage before (both are Hornadys).

EVERYONE on the range heard it go off.  MAN was it loud!  I always have to have an audience to witness my screw­ups. While perhaps amusing after the fact, this situation is very NOT funny for a couple of reasons:

One ­Overpressure event in a firearm can damage or destroy the weapon (and not an inexpensive one in this case).

Two ­Overpressure events in a firearm can damage or destroy the operator of the weapon, or those nearby, for that matter. While it is unlikely that death could result, it is not impossible as an errant piece of shrapnel could indeed cause a fatality if it hit a person in the right place (brain, heart, artery, etc). Fortunately, at our indoor range, we have cement block walls between each lane/shooter. Even more fortunate, they were not needed (this time).

I was lucky: I didn't bulge the barrel (or completely explode the weapon, for that matter), and no one was hurt. But luck runs out.

I know what happened, too. I ran the press ram up (it's a 5 station job) and it went up almost all the way (dropping in a charge of powder into the aforementioned case). I lowered the ram slightly, to inspect/clear the problem, and the re­stroked it all the way up when I was done (dropping a second charge into the case). STOOPID! STOOPID!! STOOPID!!!

That's bad, m'kay?

I've never had a double charge using my single stage (one station/one operation at a time) press.
Of course, now that I know, I know. I'm just glad nothing happened.

I have considered moving stuff around and putting a Powder Cop on it, but ultimately I ended up deciding not to be a dumbass again.

BTW, my Lee manual says 5.8 grains is max for a 200gr lead bullet, and my Hornady manual says 6.2 is max.  Oops.

Reloading is a great, relaxing hobby, can save you money, and lets you customize/tune a particular load for a particular gun.  It is not something to be taken lightly, however.  Be careful out there...

(This happened in 2007 and has not been repeated.  Fool me once...)

Sunday, June 22, 2014

The Love of Liberty

Why is it that today in America those who truly love liberty seem so hard to find?  Even those who claim to love liberty cling to their beloved chains... they only reject the new ones.  They may reject welfare... but don't you dare mention a cut to their beloved social security!

And when we look around the world why do we see a human race that loves submission and slavery so much?  Where, dear progressive, is the progress?  Humans do not value liberty.  It is not the natural state of man to seek liberty.  In fact he rejects liberty at every turn.  He will enslave himself in the name of comfort and security as soon as he can, as often as he can.

Listen friends... because this is important.  I don't say that lightly.  Most of this blog is trivial.  But today I have something to say.

The Love of Liberty is a Spiritual Gift from God through His son Jesus Christ.

I am going to repeat that.

The Love of Liberty is a Spiritual Gift from God through His son Jesus Christ.

We are inspired by the Holy Spirit to fight for liberty.  The same God that liberated the Hebrews from slavery is our God.  The God that liberates us from our own sin...  and our own death!  And as you look around your nation... and your world...  do you suppose its a coincidence that a society that has increasingly rejected Jesus increasingly rejects liberty?

Do you suppose that it is a coincidence that the parts of the United States with the most churches and the most faithful church goers also enjoy the most liberty?

But Nate!  What about all those people who love liberty but are atheists and agnostics?  What about them?  Forgive me but as I look through history... when I see a struggle for liberty that rejects Jesus Christ...  well... I always think of the French Revolution.  They claim to be fighting for liberty... but really they just want blood and bondage... and that is how they end.  Blood and Bondage.

Remember the Black Robed Regiment.  The link between the struggle for liberty and the Christian Church is part of american history that must never be forgotten.  The only force for liberty on this planet is Christianity.

And this is why today we see Americans accepting bondage.  No... not just accepting it...  but choosing it.  Its not that the Spiritual Gifts have been taken away.  The tools are still in the tool box.  Unfortunately... far to many Americans have lost the toolbox in a garage full of junk.

They probably don't even know its lost.

There is a storm coming.

Do you know where your toolbox is?

Because there is a storm coming.  Its real.  And it will be here soon.

It may be a good time to check your toolbox.

Friday, June 20, 2014

On Tin Foil Hats

Tin Foil Hats...  the apex of conspiracy theory Kookery right?

Well I want you to consider something...  and by something... I mean a patent held by the US Air Force for planting audio radio signals into your head.

Now...  ok...  It would be really cool to not have to bother with radios to receive instructions right?  "Pilot do this" appears in your head like a voice from God and you just react to it.  Pretty cool.

and... as of 2002...  they are still improving it.

Here's the thing with conspiracy theory.  We all have some level of conspiracy theory that we accept.  Those who believe less than us are not paying attention... those who believe more than us are just crazy-go-nuts.  I very much try to evaluate each theory based on its merits.  I may laugh at people who think we landed on the moon...  and also laugh at people who think its possible to spray chemicals onto the ground from 30000 feet at 800 mph.

So take a one second and look at the evidence and logic behind the next conspiracy theory you run into.  Consider that the folks that buy it may not be insane.  Even if really does involve tin foil hats.

Lefty Spotting

As our civilization becomes ever more polarized, and the consequences of that polarization become more and more severe, it appears to me that it would be good to have a way to know who is who.   For example... what if there were a way to tell if someone was a lefty liberal just by reading their writing?  Even if it was just a review or a non-political letter?

Turns out you can already do that.   See in the age of the internet people are, more than ever, voluntarily dividing up into sub-cultures... and as always... sub-cultures develop unique colloquialisms.  Gamers may say, "ok Leroy Jenkins" and everyone will know what they mean.  Motorcyclists refer to "cagers".  So if you hear someone refer to people who drive cars as a "cager" you can bet that dude rides a motorcycle... a lot.

Nicely... this holds true of web-based communities as well.  Perhaps even more so.  So... what we should see is a pattern of commonly used words or phrases that are unique to left liberal web-based communities.  Sure enough... there they are.   So...  let's make a list.  I'm gonna start with some easy and obvious ones...

- Thanks for this.

- So Brave.

- Not Ok

These show up in literally every liberal thread or post.  A left liberal simply cannot express their outrage without using the phrase "not ok".  And like wise... liberals will fall all over themselves to show support for that outrage by replying "Thanks for this!"  and "So Brave!"

There are lots of other give away phrases.  So.... Let's get to it.  Let's build the definitive comprehensive list.


Monday, June 16, 2014

The Utility of a Bastard Sword

A long time ago I bought a combat bastard sword.  Understand this isn't a dress up play time sword.  it isn't a presentation sword.  Its neither pretty nor light.  Its a true one and a half hand bastard sword that is fashioned exactly like those from centuries ago... except the steel is better.  It takes and edge faster and holds that edge longer.

The sword lives near the door.

So a dear female friend was carrying my beloved daughter into my house... and curled up in the corner next to the door between my house and my garage... was a ground rattler.   My friend freaked...  as she hates snakes and it was inches from her sandled feet.  She yelled for me to come and showed me where the little bastard was... and I spent a few seconds figuring my options.  Shooting was not one of them.  It was surrounded by concrete and nice walls that I'd rather not replace.  Then I remembered... oh right...  The bastard sword by the door.

Look...  I'm just saying...  do you really need a sword?  Maybe not.  Then again...

Friday, June 13, 2014

ATF: Camp Crystal Lake

Lower Hall Landing ~ Baldwin County ~ Alabama

Look familiar?  Probably not.  But this, to my knowledge is what is left of the dock at "Camp Crystal Lake" in Friday the 13th.  The movies were actually filmed at a public boat ramp on the Tensaw River.  So that's why if you've ever looked up the lake where they filmed the movies you couldn't find it.  Camp Crystal lake was never a lake.  Its a river.

A pretty surprising number of big films have been filmed in my little town, or had scenes filmed here.  Friday the 13th...  Close Encounters of the Third Kind (not only that, during shooting Spielberg stayed in the house I now own.) and a few others.

Anyway...  I couldn't let a full moon Friday the 13th pass without mentioning it.  I think tomorrow I'm gonna drive down to the landing and see if I can find anything left over from the filming.. or at least find the areas from the famous shots and see if I can get some cool photos.  A buddy says some of the stuff can only be accessed by boat... so damn...I guess we'll have to get the boat out.  Pity.

A:  SweetWater 420.  Just because.  Fixing to switch to Makers 46.  Also... I don't know if you've heard... but they are about to start offering barrel strength Makers Mark at the distillery.  Supposed to be around 118 proof or so.  Yeah... a field trip is in order.

T:  have a couple special ones for tomorrow.   nothing tonight.  at least not yet.

F: How about this....  a Winchester Model 9422M.  Lever action tack driver.  .22mag... I see these things on gunsamerican for 1200 bucks or so... and the wood isn't nearly as nice as the wood on mine. You may have noticed I have a thing for lever guns.  You've seen me mention my Savage 99... and my Winchester 94 in 44mag a few times I'm sure.  I really do get a kick out of them.  If there are turtles to shoot... and there almost always are... you can bet I'll have this little 94 with me... bustin' heads.


Because it was filmed just down the road...

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

NateMail: Essential Guns

Wendy Asks:  Looking for input on an economical and reliable firearm for (small) varmints. Not a lot of extra money available right now. We've both shot a time or two, but we're far from experts, so what kind (presumably a .22)? New or used? And more generally, essential, can't do without guns in order of importance.


See it starts off like a simple straight forward question.... then it turns into a doctoral thesis in the last few words.

Essential firearms in orderof importance....   Holy crap man...   I can't even remotely answer that.  but I will tell ya what I can do.  I will put up a list of types of firearms and write why each should be at the top of your list... and why it shouldn't be.  Then you can read it and prioritize for yourself.

Why it should be the first gun you buy:  Versatility.  A 12 guage shotgun does it all.  Shoot squirrels?  Yep.  Doves?  yep.  Deer?  Put a slug in there. We can do that to.  And a shotty is hell on wheels for home defense.

Why it shouldn't be: Versatility.  Sure it does all those things.  But its only the best at one of them (doves), two at best (home defense) and even then if you configure to be the best at one of those it won't be as good at the other.  If you have a specific need for a specific job, there is usually something better to do it with than a shotgun.  Especially if that job involves shooting coyotes or anything else at a distance.

Why it should be the first gun you buy:  Defense and convenience.  Pistols are fast and easy to carry.  You can even hunt with them.  Like the shotgun they can be pressed into different roles.  Convenience is the major benefit though. Its better to have a pistol with you than a rifle or shotgun back at the house.

Why it shouldn't be:  What good does it do you to have the pistol if the pistol won't do the job you need done?  You ain't shooting coyotes at 100 yards with a pistol... and if you can... the pistol is so big and heavy you may as well be using a carbine anyway.
Centerfire Bolt Action Rifle:

Why it should be the first gun you buy:   Meat.  That's why.  Nothing kills like a bolt action rifle.  Auto-loaders get all the press but sniping is how you really put living creatures down... and that's what hunting is.  if the job is killing, most of the time this is the tool for the job.  Coyotes... deer... elk... praire dogs.. you name it.  If it walks... you can kill it.

Why it shouldn't be:  This is a specialty tool.  Look if the badman kicks in your door... you're not gonna grab a winchester model 70 that's 40 inches long and point it at him.  You wouldn't even be able to find him in the scope that close.  Sure its great for hunting but its crap for home defense... unless you know they are coming.
Rimfire Semi Auto Rifle:

Why it should be your first rifle:   Because it almost always is.  I grew up thinking the US mail just delivered Ruger 10/22s to every house as a public service.  .22 is still cheap in comparison and does the job on small game.  Plus you can sharpen your skills without going broke.  Its cheap.  And .22mag and .17hmr are inexpensive and handle small game and varmints well.

Why it shouldn't be:  What good is "comparatively cheap" when you can't find the stuff for sale?  A rifle ain't worth a damn without ammo and .22lr is all but impossible to find.  17hmr and .22mag are excellent options for varmints and small game but they aren't as inexpensive as .22lr.  Though they are more available.  If this is your primary need fine but there are usually more important jobs to do than plinkin' and killing rabbits.
Semi-auto centerfire rifle:

Why it should be the first gun you buy:  Because black rifles are sexy dammit.  AR-15s scare liberals all to shit and what is better than terrifying a damned hippy?  Nothing.  The AR does it all.  Varmints.. defense... you can even take deer if you take headshots.  Plus the liberals will be terrified.   BONUS!

Why it shouldn't be:  .223 is 50 cents a shot.  That's expensive kids.  And yes.. you can take deer but no one really does.  if you want to do that get an AR10... which is chambered in .308.. or better yet an m14 in the same caliber.  But how much are you really gonna use these rfiles?  sure if TSHTF you need one... but if that happens...won't there be plenty layin' around?  

Ok...  but what are some inexpensive but functional options to look at in each category?

Shotgun: Mossberg 500 is the way to go here if this is your choice.  12gauge.  You can get a rifled slug barrel if you need to, or a shorter barrel for defensive work.  switching them around is easy.  

Handgun: Taurus Tracker in .357 mag with 4 inch barrel.  You can practice with 38 special (cheaper, less recoil) and load it up with the real thing for when ya need it.  Snake shot in .38 special is very effective.  Believe me.  I know.

Centerfire Bolt Acion Rifle:  Get a savage Axis II.  Its cheap and out of the box will probably shoot better than you do.  No its not perfect.  But it has a great trigger and a decent scope and will kill whatever it is you need to kill.

Rimfire Semi-Auto:  None of these are expensive. The CZ 512 is a fantastic option  I'd get it in 22mag.  No offense to the .17hmr devotees.. its a great option too.

Semi-auto Centerfire:  Keltec SU-16C.  Its cheap... it uses AR mags... its accurate... and it is compact and easy to store, clean, and use.  I cannot stress how important it is to get the C model though.  It has a heavier barrel and it significantly more accurate than the other SU configurations.

Now... for me... I would go with a pump action shotgun first.  Home defense is the most important thing to me.  After that I'd get a handgun... Then a bolt action centerfire rifle...  then an AR.

Generally I would say the essential list of firearms everyone needs looks like this:

1) home defense shotgun (mossberg 500)
2) defensive handgun (tracker .357
3) centerfire bolt action rifle... meat gun (savage axis)
4) TSHTF Rifle (SU-16)

Now... bear in mind serious budget constraints were kept in the front of my mind the whole time I as writing this.  Yes...  I'm sure there are more expensive options that work better.  I'm sure you can name several.  Thanks for that.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Fire over the Water

***what follows is a fictionalized account of a real incident.  Never the less many of the things you are about to read really happened... and the characters are based on real people.  The names have been changed.  The names of the relevant towns have been changed.  The story however, is taken from eye-witness and first responders who were there.***

John saw the wreck up ahead on the giant interstate bridge and instinctively downshifted and started to slow.  He grabbed the cb mic and called out, "Back'er down boys we got a couple 4-wheelers in a tangle here, back'em down."   As he slowed the 18-wheeler he eased it to side near the median.  He had no idea the driver of the truck behind him was running without a radio.

As John's rig slowed the second rig topped the small ridge behind him and was closing fast.  The driver saw John's brake lights way to late.  The crash was impressive.  John's truck was rear-ended... both trucks were smashed and crushed against the guardrail of the giant bridge.  The rear truck was loaded with full barrels of industrial grease...  and john...  well john had been hauling a whole trailer full of brand new Wal-mart shopping bags.  It didn't take long for the fire to start.


Red was finishing a cut on a 2X6 with a circular saw when heard his radio.  The small town volunteer fire chief laid down the saw and walked to the cab of his truck and picked up the radio to hear better.  He listen to the chatter a little bit and started packing up tools.  He looked over to his buddy, Sam, and said, "I think this is gonna be a bad one."

As he was packing up more tools a calm voice on the radio called out for a small town near the scene to send their trucks.  A female voice answered.  "This is Jen from Utica. I've got the rescue truck and I'm already heading that way."

Red shook his head.  He keyed the mic on his radio, "Jen this Red.  Two semi trucks on that bridge.  They ain't gonna need a rescue truck.  Better get the tanker."

"I hear ya Red but I am already on the way."

Red shook his head.  He was just about finished putting up the tools.  He said, "lancaster's boys are sitting in their trucks right now.  They are just waiting to get the call. "  He shook his head in frustration.  Two more small departments have gotten called in by now.  One at time... always one at a time.   That's when thing got interesting.

The calm voice on the radio said, "lexington we could use a little..." - the radio cut out.  When it came back on the voice had changed considerably.  "HOLY SHIT!" the voice yelled into the mic.  "THEY ARE GOING OFF LIKE FIREWORKS!  HOLY SHIT ONE'S GONE IN THE RIVER! CALL HAZMAT!" The radio went dead again.  Then it came back, "SEND EVERYBODY!  JESUS H. CHRIST SEND EVERYBODY!!!"

Red was already in the truck at this point... Sam yelled at him as he backed out of the gravel driveway, "Be careful ol' man!"


The bridge with the wreck was over 2 and half miles long and technically it was two parallel bridges, one northbound and one southbound.  It crossed two rivers separated by a giant swamp.  The wreck was on the southbound side.  As Red topped the first of the two rises in the bridge he could see the massive raging fire.  50 gallon drums were in fact shooting off like bottle rockets.  He saw shoot off to the left and smash into the north bound side.  Shocked drivers swerved their cars to avoid the exploding 50-gallon projectile.

Red shook his head for 500th time that day.  Why hadn't they shut down northbound traffic?  Who was running this clusterfuck?

As he pulled up to the inferno he wondered how anyone knew there were two trucks involved.  All he could see was one giant damned fire.  Trucks from both sides...  north and south... were pouring foam into the fire.. but it had no obvious effect what-so-ever.

A brawny state trooper approached Red as he got out of his truck.  "Hey chief.  Looks like an all nighter."  Red patted him on the back, and said, "and we ain't even gonna get to roast no damned marshmallows or nuthin'."

The firefight was as long and dangerous and difficult as you can imagine.  It was literally hours of clawing and scrapping... inch by inch against the flames.  They were making progress though.  At one point Red was using a hose on a hot spot and was making some progress.  A young state trooper was behind him holding the hose for him.  Red called to and told him to move up... but the trooper stumbled a little and had to catch himself with his right hand on the guardrail.  The guardrail was like ice and he jerked his hand away.

A few minutes later Red checked back and saw the trooper holding the hose under his left arm instead of in his hands and realized the man was clutching his right fist against his chest.  Red walked back and said, "trooper let me see that hand."  The cop opened his palm revealing a burn all the way to the bone all across the top of his palm.

"You're done today son.  See the boys at the ambulance and get that checked out."  Red said.   Red had said you're done today... but by looking at the hand, and 30 years on the job, he knew damned well that man would never use that hand again.

The fire fighters were hitting the fire from the north and the south side... and after several more hours they finally met in the middle and had the thing beaten.  In the aftermath and clean up Red learned that John, the driver who got rear-ended had actually lived.

"Driver lived?" Red asked, a little skeptical.

"Yeah... just some broken bones." another small town chief said.

Red looked at him... then the chief added... in that laconic southern fashion, "skull... spine... pelvis... sternum.. "

Not long after some engineers were walking up the bridge inspecting it.  Red knew one of them from a few previous scenes and walked over to say hi.  The engineer spotted Red and offered him a hand, "Hey Chief.  Just another day at the office right?"

The old man was to tired to be witty... or even cantankerous.

"Bridge ok?"

"No." the engineer shook his head.  "No... not by a damned sight.  Look at these spans here", he pointed, "and there.  See that discoloration?  That white bit?  If it was black we'd be fine.  No big deal.  But that white there... that means the steel got way to hot.  No she's shot Red.  We're gonna have to replace these spans."

Red shook his head for the 700th time in the last 20 hours.

"I do believe I'm just about to damned old for this job."

Saturday, June 07, 2014

The Triple Crown?

No.  Not today.

California Chrome isn't good enough.  He's a mediocre at best horse.  I expect several horses to blow him out down the stretch...

I think Tonalist wins today.


Called it.

I cannot be happier with this result.  I've never been a fan of California Chrome... and no... I don't give a damn about his story.  I care about horses and how they damned run... not about some stupid sap story or a tale of the little guy stickin' it to the man.  Save it for the women.

At the derby he was being run down.  At the preakness he was being run down.  Any fool should know the horses that were running him down, with more track available, would beat him.  Plus... at the Derby and the Preakness California Chrome had near perfect runs.  He faced no adversity what-so-ever.

That wasn't going to happen three times in a row.

Blogging Accomplishments

Today's a big day.  There comes a time in your blogging life when you realize you have done something.  Oh its true.. at its peak the blog was really rolling and I had a very high opinion of it... but today.. today is special.

Sometimes you achieve a level of recognition that makes you stop and access things for a second.  Today is one of those times.


I learned that my blog has been blocked by the DoD in the "Weapons" category.

I couldn't be more proud.

Friday, June 06, 2014

ATF. Dammit.

Yep... we have a soundtrack tonight.  Drink up.

Thanks Don.  Not a bad week at the ol' bloggerblaster eh?  Not exactly the good ol' days when I'd post 3 or 4 times a day... but we're slowly ramping back up.  With this many side projects there is no way I can blog as much as I did in say... 2005... but I really am trying to get back to it.

We've got a lot planned for next week too.   We've got more from Athor Pel... and Shorty and Josh both have some posts they are working on.  I even have a few my own bad self.  But...  enough of that... its Friday... on with the festivities.

A:   Sam Adams Front Porch?  Huh?  I know...  I have no idea how this happened.  My wife came home with it and I was out of Dos Equis.  I really don't know what to make of it.  Its some kind of sweet beer like liquid.  It certainly looks like beer...  and it has a nice head to it...  but I am not at all certain I can call it beer accurately.  Which means... I better go ahead and move on to the bourbon!   Speaking of boubon... JAC reports that he can tenuously recommend Four Roses Small Batch.  I haven't had it.  Take it for what its worth.

T:  Ghurka Warlord.   Wow.  Sometimes I smoke these things and I am like.... yeah that's really good... and other times..  I pick myself up off the floor, stuff my brain back into my ear, and shout HALLELUJAH AND AMEN.  Tonight was more like the latter.

F:  Hey... did you know they made snake shot that would cycle an autoloading pistol?  I've heard the claim but I cannot verify it.  But no doubt soon I will be able to.  See my local place was out of .38 special snake shot... all they had was 9mm.    It just so happens that I have a 92f.  We may have finally found a reason for the 9mm to exist kids!  how about that?  I'm not holding my breath though.  I will be stunned if this stuff actually functions in that Beretta.  Speaking of the 92F...  and I know I am treading close to blasphemy here but bare with me...   I am starting to think it doesn't... entirely suck.  I've had this one for going on 6 years now... and it is... and always has been... reliable and smooth as silk.  Its also been accurate.  Now its not my Taurus PT101 by any stretch... but its a slick little weapon.  I am thinking it is far superior to its own reputation.  What say you?

Thursday, June 05, 2014


Democracy is Hypocracy

Dictatorship is what we need

Because really what's the fucking difference?

Maybe Its You

*** Editor's Note:  This is the first guest post by Athor Pel.   Enjoy.***

I didn't grow up with lots of guns in the house and no pistols at all other than air guns. We didn't have the money for it and my Dad didn't hunt anyway. So as I was growing up the only exposure I had to guns outside of what my Dad owned, long guns all, was to read about them. And about all I read was Guns and Ammo. It was all I had. No internet back then.

The first pistol I ever fired was my uncle's .22 magnum revolver in my teens and I didn't hit a thing. That we were using shot shells probably didn't help. But I did learn something, it's harder to hit stuff with a pistol.

I was an adult and well into my thirties before I owned my first pistol. In shooting it I found that yes, I was still a terrible shot with a pistol. This was a little discouraging. Shooting long guns all my life meant that I was used to being able to hit my point of aim or at least get very close to it. Having a short sight radius makes a huge difference.

I did get somewhat better in time but I'm still not anywhere close to an accomplished shooter with a pistol, auto or revolver. This article is about what I have learned, about pistols and about myself. For all those with much more trigger time, this article really isn't for you. That's the background.

I own pistols in most of the popular pistol calibers. I can't remember whether the first one I purchased was the Browing Hi-Power in 9mm or the Berreta Model 96 in .40 S&W. I bought them both new. I've put more rounds through the Hi-Power and I've had more problems with it too. As I explain things you will see me come to many false conclusions.

The Hi-Power would reliably have a failure to extract a fired case toward the end of the second magazine within one shooting session. It would have seemingly random failures to feed as well.

My first thought was that the chamber was too rough and that roughness was retarding the extraction of the case. I ran some emery cloth over the chamber walls and the feed ramp with finger pressure only, didn't even change the appearance of the tool marks. I thank God I didn't get too serous about this 'fix'. Oh my the ignorance.

My second thought was that the extractor spring wasn't strong enough. I was so certain of it that I bought another spring though I have yet to install it. My immediate next thought was that it was the main spring. I did replace that. It didn't really change anything.

After a few more boxes of ammo and more time I found about limp wristing and yes, I had been limp wristing. For those that don't know, for a semi-auto pistol to cycle reliably it needs a firm foundation. Simply, the shooter needs to strongly grip the pistol and actively resist the recoil. After learning this my failures to extract or feed went down in number but did not stop.

After more reading and more shooting I began to think it was my mags. They were factory 10 round magazines with a very rough finish on them. I thought the finish had to be something of a factor and sure enough it was. My proof came after I bought some aftermarket magazines. I got some shiny new 13 round Mec-Gars, they had a very smooth finish. I had been wanting to replace the legally mandated 10 round mags for some time since the Hi-Power was originally designed with 13 rounders.

I loaded up the new mags, put one in the pistol and proceeded to fire all 13 rounds without a failure. I then did the same with the next mag and the next and next. All four mags shot without a problem. It was like a new gun.

What you've read condensed here in one narrative literally took me years to live through. It wasn't the chamber roughness, it wasn't the extractor spring, it wasn't the main spring, it was my limp wristing and the crappy factory magazines.

Bottom line, that bum pistol that just doesn't work like you think it ought to, it might not be the pistol, it might be you.. or your magazines.

***Editor's Note 2: We should applaud Athor's courage for confessing publicly to limp wristing. Lots of guys have done it when they were younger and didn't know any better. Don't judge. He probably didn't even like it.  And obviously the moral to the story is... Dad's...  if you don't keep guns in your house and teach your kids to shoot correctly... you may raise a limp wrister.  Don't raise a limp wrister.  ***

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Number 5

I know its called Rattlesnake Ridge...  but I think killing 5 by the 5th of June is a little overboard don't you?  I confess the timing was interesting... my new snake boots came today.  So I saw the thing... and where it was... right up against the brick wall I couldn't take the shot with my sidearm.  It had people ammo... not snake ammo... and people ammo bounces off of things like brick and concrete.

So I ran in... slid on the new snake boots... because they were sitting right there and not doing so seemed really... really stupid.  I grabbed the tracker which I now keep loaded with snake shot...  calmly walked back to where the snake was and gave it two shots.

Then... fittingly... we dumped his dead carcass in an empty snake repellent container.   Because irony.

All of these are things to remember should you ever be really mad at something I say on the internet and decide to come see me.   And did I mention this one was curled up in the corner of the door?

I should skin his carcass and make mat out of him...

Except we don't do welcome mats.  For obvious reasons.

Monday, June 02, 2014

Mossberg MVP Review

Howdy, Ilk, Luke here. 

Since I promised Nate a review of the Mossberg MVP Patrol in 7.62, and since I am a cisgender shitlord of my word, here it is. 

You may have heard of the Mossberg "MVP" series. They make various models of this "entry level" (bargain) rifle. This is one of their latest variants. The MVP Patrol 7.62 NATO/.308 Win is a detachable magazine fed bolt-action rifle with a 16.25 inch heavy barrel (stamped "7.62 NATO) with a removable AR birdcage-style flash suppressor and standard AR threads. It also has iron sights. Think of it as a Savage Hog Hunter with a detachable magazine. As for the magazine, the rifle comes with a 10-round magazine, and will accept AR-10 mags as well as M-14 mags, the latter of which I have plenty. Happily, it seems to work well with the cheapo Korean M14 mags that don't function well in my M14s. 

The rifle is equipped with Mossberg's nifty LBA trigger that is very similar to the Savage accu-trigger (which are both based on a long-expired 19th century patent, BTW). The trigger is user-adjustable, but mine came from the factory set at about 3 lbs 5 ounces so I don't see any pressing need to mess with it. The mechanism locks the sear until the trigger bar is fully depressed, allowing the user to dial it down to "cat fart" with no risk of the rifle going off if it is dropped (not that anyone with a lick of sense is going to drop their rifle, but what the heck).

The rifle's "dry" weight is 7.5 lbs, and much of that is the bull barrel. This is definitely not a "mountain rifle". I am amused by the guys who shell out big bucks for 

carbon-fiber stocks and fluted barrels to shave a few ounces off a rifle's weight... but won't lay off the doughnuts to lose five lbs of their weight. Anyway... 

The stock is a synthetic affair, equipped with a thick rubber recoil pad. Length of pull is 13.25" and the barrel is free-floated. Mine is black but tan is also available. The grip and forend areas have texturing for added grip. 

The rifle comes with a picatinny rail (which was LOOSE when it arrived, shame on you, Mossberg). I acquired a Redfield 6-18 x 44 scope and some Leupold QRW lever-lock quick release rings. Scope tube is 1" dia. I would have preferred 30mm, but this is damned good glass for the price. It comes with extra elevation turrets, calibrated for .308 (168 grn) and .5.56 (.55 grn). 

Anyhow, the rifle shoots better than I can. I would be interested to let Nate see what he can do with it, if we can ever put together another Dread Ilk Range Day. I tested it with several different types of ammo, as you'll see from the pics. The shocker of the day was the 5/8" group I turned in with surplus Portuguese NATO 147 Grn ball. The gun rags would call it a .5 MOA group since they measure center to center. I know, I know, NATO surplus 7.62 can't shoot that well. Patrick goddamned Duffy is going to step out of the shower any minute now and tell me I dreamed the whole thing. Fine. I've got a photo and witnesses. 

Note the 3/8" group with Remington Hog Hammer ammo. Uncle Teddy's (the Nuge, not Kennedy) ammo also made an impressive showing, but considering what he charges for it, it damned well oughta. How does he sleep at night? I'm guessing on top of a large pile of money, with 8-10 gorgeous, Eastern European Olympic gymnasts, based on the price of a box of his ammo.   

Long story short: these rifles would be a screaming deal even at the $725 MSRP, but I did a lot better than that and probably you can too. Bud's doesn't have them in stock, but lists them for $546.