Friday, December 26, 2014

Yes... It Was a Merry Christmas

Is this over the top?   I don't think this is over the top...

DrWho said she wanted a "Mommy Doom Buggie".  I decided that what she meant was... she wanted a Polaris RZR 570.

And what did I get?

Oh... only 6 different bottles of the rarest bourbons and whiskeys imaginable...  from Wild Turkey Diamond Anniversary to Sazerac Rye (2 bottles of that!).

I may have to fire the ATF Show back up for some reviews.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

A Guantlet Thrown


You have thrise challenged me to a bet on the Bama vs Ohio State playoff game.   Out of christian mercy I have ignored this... but at last I have decided to grant you your wish.

If OSU wins.. I will purchase an Ohio State hat... and I will post a photo of myself with it here.

If Bama wins... you will purchase an Alabama hat... and you will email me a self photo wearing it and I will post it here.

What say you?

Sunday, December 21, 2014

2014 VPFL Champion

It was a rough season.  It was tight all year with 7 teams fighting for 4 playoff spots.   Going into week 12 we were facing Jartstar's Chili Eaters and it looked he had them beat.  Monday night though they came roaring back and he ended up beating me 85 to 73.  In a league this tight... losses hurt a lot.  That loss dropped me all the way to 5th place... out of the playoffs entirely.

but I won out the rest of the way... and found myself facing WhiteBufalo's Grizzlies in the first round of the playoffs.  They'd been in first or second the whole year.  It was a tough matchup but I scratched out a 54 to 50 win when Denver decided to go run heavy and Peyton Manning turned in a mere 10 points.

And that setup today's matchup with Jartstar and his dread Chili Eaters...  I believe the only team I had lost to twice in the regular season.

To make matters worse.. my RB2 matchup was horrible.  My normal RB2 Matthews was hurt... and his backup was... Chris Ivory... A New York Jet of all things.   So I went out to the waiver wire and grabbed a viking RB named Asiata... plugged him in... and low and behold... he scored 2TDs and got a 2 pt conversion.  I also picked up DeSean Jackson off waivers and he plugged in a served very nicely as a WR3 for me.

And now its almost done.   All of the Chili Eater starters are done.  And I still have two guys to play tonight... and I'm up around 30 points.

I didn't just beat my nemesis.  I totally destroyed him when it mattered most.


Now I have a cigar to smoke...  and a ring to design.

And to those who play this foolish game as well... I hope your season was as satisfying.

And oh look...  my bench outscored his starters.  

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

92F Kaboom: Final

So I just got off the phone with the fine men at Beretta.  The 92F will arrive today.  Its been repaired and tested and it is functioning like new.  They did this at no charge.  Did I mention this particular 92F was made in 1990?

The firearm is old enough to buy its own bourbon...  it only came with a 1 year warranty to start with... and I'm not even the original owner.  They repaired it for free. 

How badass is that?

So what all did they do?  Well... they reassembled it... fired a mag through it... inspected it... and called it good.

See...  apparently the 92F was actually designed to deal with overpressure.  How effective is that design?

Apparently in Falujah a soldier was firing his and it popped just like mine from over-pressure.  He was under fire... so he took cover...jerked the trigger back forward and everything just popped back into place. He reloaded... and went right back to fighting.

Now the gunsmith said that in those circumstances the springs inside wouldn't have been properly aligned so it wouldn't be ideal... but the weapon would function.

I don't know why... but the idea that a weapon and effectively go kaboom...  and you just force the trigger forward load a new mag... work the slide... and go right back to fighting... really impresses me.

I'm kind of embarrassed that I didn't already know this about this weapon considering how much I have carried its Taurus brother.   I guess I've never had a failure before so I had no reason to look into stuff like this.  The Taurus functions so perfectly under so many horrible conditions that failure just never occurred to me.

Anyway... we learned something.  If you have a beretta 92F and it damned near explodes in your hand...  just take off the slide and the grip... pull the trigger back forward and realign the springs... put it back together and you're good to go.

I think its high time we re-evaluate the 92F on our scale of badass weapons.   Yes... its a 9 and 9s suck... but this thing is a freakin' tank. 

At this point.. I can... without equivocation recommend you buy a 92F.  Or.. if you prefer... a 96... which is the 40 cal version. 

Monday, December 08, 2014

Its Time to Put the Old Girl Down

Today... there is a good chance I am gonna hurt your feelings.  I'm gonna tell you something that most are just to nice to say.  See familiarity is something that's very comforting to us...  and comfort breeds confidence which often breeds success.  At some point though we're clinging simply to that comfort.  We get lazy.  We get stuck in a rut and before you know it you've missed the present and the future is about to hit you with a hay-maker.

But its time we faced reality people.  Its time to put your 30-30 away.  Its time to put your 303 enfield away...  and yes...  its time to put your 30-06 away.

These are outdated curiosities.  They are not proper modern hunting cartridges.  There is literally nothing the 30-06 does that a 7mm mag doesn't do significantly better. 

I'm not saying you should throw out your old guns.  I'm not saying you should throw out your newer guns that are chambered in these.  I'm saying you shouldn't be buying additional weapons in these, when there are better options available.

Compare a 7mm mag to a 30-06.  Velocity wise you're looking at 200fps difference for common north american game sized bullets. At least in factory loads.  And the 300 win mag?  Well its not even close.  I mean its a whole different sport practically.  A 30-06 is pushing a 150 grain bullet around... oh... 2900 fps.  A 7mm mag pushes that same bullet about 3100 fps.   A 300 win mag throws a 165 grain bullet out at over 3200 fps.

Oh but it isn't fair says you!   Those are magnums! 

So what?  The 30-06 is a long action round.  Its practically the same size in terms of length as the 300 win mag.  Sit them side by side and you would think they are extremely similar.  But they aren't.  Because one was designed in 1906... and the other was designed in 1963.

But that isn't even the most damning comparison.  No... the absolute proof that the 30-06 is obsolete... is the 308.

30-06 performance... out a short action?

Why would you bother with a long action throw?  Why does the 30-06 do so little... with so much case capacity?

Well... because it was designed in 1906.  That's why.

Now... I know you're going to be upset... and you're going to come up with all kinds of reasons why your beloved 30-06 is still just as good as it ever was.  Hey the 30-30 killed dear for over 100 years!  and I know I know... most shots are taken from under 200 yards right?  Its ok.  Let it out.

Tell ya what...  Keep your 30-06... and enjoy shooting it.

Just don't buy more.

They don't have 30-06 in cowboy action shooting.  So I suppose you'll have to come up with some other excuse to live in the past.

Monday, December 01, 2014

92F Kaboom Part 2

Ok... What did we learn?

I just got off the phone with the Ammo Manufacturer.  This was Ultramax remanufactured ammunition.  I spoke with their customer service rep today.  He believes it was a case failure due to age.  It happens from time to time but they have never been able to recreate it.  He has offered to replace all of my ultramax ammo with newly made stuff. 

As for the Beretta...

Turns out the 92f has a bit of a safety feature designed in just for this kind of failure.  Several of the internals pop out and nothing breaks.  According to ammo guys... reassembly is all that is required.  They still told me to ship it to beretta and have them fix it, and told me to either have beretta bill them or if beretta refused they would reimburse me for the costs.

Can't complain.

I'm on hold with Beretta right now.  We'll see what they say.  So far I am impressed with Ultramax's service... and if what they say is true... I'm impressed with the 92f as well.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

92F goes Kaboom

Well that sucked.

Let me tell ya...  that is not how you want to start your day.  This particular 92fs could've been sold as NIB in a heartbeat.  Now its wrecked. 

Looks like catastrophic case failure from a possible double powder charge.

All things considered I should be happy I still have my hand.   In case you can't tell the case is actually impaled on the firing pin.  I had to pry it off.  There is a big gash in the side of the case visible in the picture to the left.

And imagine my surprise when I dropped the mag and saw this:

Anyway...  No one got hurt.  The 92f is pretty wrecked though.  Basically my hand stung like hell and I felt like someone shot me in the face with 410 bird shot from about 50 feet.

Wear your shooting glasses kids.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Upon This Strange Thanksgiving

Here on Rattlesnake Ridge there is much to be thankful for.  Even if the circumstances that surround the celebration of that thanks are unusual.

A traditional Thanksgiving just wasn't in the cards this year.  But sometimes its good to strip away all the traditions and focus on what is so very important...  counting your very real blessings that actually have nothing to do with food... or money... or comfort.

Oh we have those things and we are Thankful for them... but there is much more to be thankful for than these. We are thankful to Him... for eternity.

Just as the Grinch couldn't stop Christmas...  neither can Thanksgiving be stopped. 

Take away the turkey and dressing and pecan pie... God forbid.. take away the hashbrown casserole and the glazed ham...  take away the football...  even take away the family and friends...  and still we give thanks.

We give thanks.


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Guns, Politics and the Great Asylum

So... Smith and Wesson has partnered with General Dynamics for the new military pistol contract trials. 

That doesn't make much sense on the surface.  I mean what does GenDyn know about handguns?  This is a political marriage kids.  Gen Dyn has an army of lobbyists and tentacles that reach deep into the bowels of the Great Five Walled Asylum.

Heads up kids.  The Trials haven't started yet... and S&W is now officially the front runner.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Thursday, October 16, 2014


We're back boys!   And if we're back... then dammit we're comin' back right!  So grab a beer... or a bourbon.. and crank this shit to 11!


And welcome back y'all!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Misinformation... Dammit

Holy crap look at all these weeds! What is going on around here? Hold on... gimmie a second... let me get this mess cleaned up a bit... there's a blog in here somewhere..


HEY! Here it is!

Ahh... That's better. Now... you're probably wondering what could've happened that brought ol' Nate out of his slumber? Well let me tell ya. And yes... Its Josh's fault.

So I am workin' my ass off on Project X and Josh shoots me a link and says, "Hey look! some game blog has an article about guns!"

So of course... I clicked... and read it. and...  I learned that it was written by a fellow claiming to be a former sniper... blah blah blah... imagine my joy when I find this gem in the article:

"The .38, 9mm and .357 is the same bullet. The difference is the casing. The 9mm has a longer case then the .38, the .357 is longer than the 9mm. What this means is more powder behind the bullet and an increase in velocity. So .38 bullet travels slower than the 9mm bullet which is leaving the barrel at a slower rate of speed then the .357. "

What the fucking fuck did I just read????  Hold on. I am gonna go back and read it again. You do the same. Meet back here when we're done and we'll see if we're delusional of spec ops snipers are really this damned ignorant.


Military snipers are in fact that ignorant.   How ignorant?

That is a picture of a .38 special next to a 9mm. The case on the .38 appears to be longer than the total length of the 9mm bullet and all! (it actually isn't though) Oh... and the same bullet? No. That .38 is a 130 grain hollow point. 9mm full metal jackets are 115 grains.

Honestly... a quick check of wikipedia lists the case length of a 38 special as 1.155 inches.

Wikipedia also lists the case length of 9mm as .754 inches.

So given this... why is the 9mm pushing a bullet of similar weight faster? Well the short answer is... the 9mm is a much more modern cartridge burning modern powders. The .38 special was introduced in 1898. Savvy?

The maximum pressure for a 38 special is listed at around 18,000 PSI. Compare that to the 9mm which is listed at 35,000 psi. This just in... 35,000 psi is a lot more than 18,000 psi... and you don't need to talk to a physicist to understand why one of those bullets is moving a lot faster than the other.

The 9mm is maxing out at pressures that are about the same as the max pressure for a .357 magnum.

And now.. I hope you understand why you shouldn't be going to Game blogs to get information about firearms.

We have gun blogs for that.

If you want to know about guns... come here. If you want to know how to insult fat girls and pretend to be a cool dude... go see the Game guys.

Friday, July 18, 2014

ATF: A Great Loss

How does a .22 caliber 70 grain bullet rolling at about 3100 fps sound?  In case you're keeping track that's hotter than a .223.  What I'm talking about of course is the 5.6x52mmR... otherwise known as the Savage .22 Hi Power... or .22 Imp.  I don't know about you but it sounds pretty damned nice to me.

This round was developed by Savage in 1912, and believe it or not initially became extremely popular among soft skinned dangerous game hunters...  you know... lions and tigers and such.  Looking back that probably wasn't a good idea...  I do believe several folks died because they only wounded the critters.

Still... this has a lot going for it.  It is an extremely accurate round... and its over the magic 3000fps mark.

It fell out of favor here in the US ...  but its still popular in europe I believe.  Anyway.. I dunno about you but I'd like to have one.

A: Woodford Reserve.  Just because.  Dammit.

T:  Gurkha.  As usual.

F:  Hrm...  I figure I better go with the Tracker seven shot .357.  Its been that kind of week around here.

How about you?

Ignorance and Inconsistency

Normally I don't have time for metaphysics and such...  but today I'm making an exception.  So buckle up.

We're told by the learned scientific types that only observable things are real.  For it to be real we must be able to see it... touch it... measure it.  This they say is nature and nature is what can be observed.  If it cannot be observed its imaginary.

Now that sounds reasonable enough.  Except its entirely subjective.  Wait...  you say...  how can that be subjective?  Its observable reality!  

Well lets look at it.  And lets start with matter.  You know what matter is right?  Its material...  its stuff.  It is what the Learned Scientists call "real".  There is a problem with that.  The problem is...  Matter is actually energy.  

You need to understand that.  Matter isn't matter.  Matter is energy.  The particles vibrate slower than energy in other forms and thus appear solid or liquid or even gas to us.  But it still never the less all energy.  And all of this is determined by the frequency the energy is vibrating. 

What this means is... the fact that a different form of energy may be vibrating at a different frequency and is therefore not easily detected by our limited abilities.  The Learned Scientist must therefore conclude that it does not exist.  That's why the position of the Learned Scientist is subjective.  They've take a small subset of energy that happens to behave a certain way and suggested that it is the only energy in existence.

Well...  Except they make an exception for Dark Energy.   Dark Energy is energy that they believe should exist because math says so... but they can't observe it so they accept it as true anyway because arguing with math is never a good option.  

So...  Only matter matters and all matter is energy but the only energy that matters is matter or measurable except for dark energy which matters even though it isn't matter or measurable.

Got it?

Consider this.  You are a being made up of pure energy.  Energy cannot be destroyed.  It can only change forms.  You are literally eternal.  You are a child of eternity.  You observe and interact with other energy that is vibrating in a similar way to you... and therefore appears to make up your reality... but do not make the arrogant mistake of the Learned Scientist.  Do not ever assume that what you can observe is all that exists.  We see and experience only a small slice.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Wanna Go to Bessemer?

Check it out!  Steyr Arms US Headquarters is opening their showroom to the public this friday and saturday.  Normally this is appointment only.  They are selling weapons at big discounts so if you're looking for a road trip... well... this is as good an excuse as any.

Hit the link for all the pertinents and details and such.

I'm not sure I can make it up there but if I can... I will be take some pics and let y'all know how it went.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Options Unexplored

So there is a lot of talk about the new Service Pistol contract and the web is all abuzz with opinions about what is going to be picked and what not.  I thought I'd take an objective look at what the Army actually said it wanted... and with an open mind... offer an answer.  What I came up with was off beat to say the least.

Let's go back to the criteria.  They said they wanted: simple, user friendly, modern, and more powerful.

So here is something I have been kicking around...  what if they went with something like... this...

Yep.  That's a Smith and Wesson M&P R8.  8 shots of .357 magnum out of a 5 inch barrel.  It even has a rail so you can mall cop it up if you want.  Now I know you're thinking I've lost my damned mind but think about it...  what's more simple than a revolver?  Ever had a wheel gun fail on ya?  I know I haven't.  Think this fella will have a problem with dirt and sand gumming up the works?  I sure don't.  And I certainly don't think anyone is going to argue that you can't put a hurt on someone with a .357 magnum.

That said... if I was designing it from the ground up.. it would be a .41 magnum or a 45 long colt instead. And it would get grips like the taurus tracker series.. which are by far the best grips on the planet when it comes to felt recoil reduction.  Either of those are going to ruin your day.  Even if armor will stop the shot you're not going to be in any condition to do much fighting afterwards.

I submit that this weapon meets all of the criteria and then some... and in a purely objective sense... it is the best answer to the Service Pistol question.  Its easy to use.  Its ultimately reliable.  It is a hammer.  The only advantage the autos have is speed of reloading.  Which I will argue isn't particularly important... since military context a pistol is only there to keep you alive until you can find a rifle.

Do I think this is what they'll choose?   No.  I don't think anyone will even consider a revolver for a second.

But that doesn't mean they shouldn't.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Capacity vs Power

Trigger pullers frequently point out that a sidearm is something you only use when things have gone terribly wrong and you can't get to your rifle.  Pistols suck they smugly say.  They say there is no difference between 9mm and .45acp because inadequate is inadequate.  They may even prefer the 9mm... because if its inadequate... you mas as well have lots of chances to make it work.

The problem with this of course... is it isn't true.

Let me demonstrate...

A 9mm (9x19 parabellum to be specific) is going to hit with say... 420 pounds of energy.  That's for a 115 grain fmj.. and its being generous.

Now lets compare that to a .41 magnum wheel gun.

We'll give the 9mm pistol a capacity of say... 17.  Fair enough?   And we'll give the .41 magnum a perfectly modern capacity of 7.

17 to 7!  Obviously the 9mm is the better choice right?

Well... a 170 grain bullet out of that .41 magnum is rolling out at over 1800 fps.  That's more than 500 fps faster than what that pathetic little 9 is throwing that little 115 grain bullet.  The .41 is producing over 1300 foot pounds of force.

So... looking at the 9mm... 17 shots X 420 pounds of energy... equals 7140 pounds of potential energy.

But 7 shots from the 41... at 1320 each... well that equals 9240 pounds of energy.  2,100 pounds more that the pathetic 9.  In fact even at 21 rounds you're still around 1000 pounds less than what 7 shots of a .41 mag produces.

Something else to consider...  people think of the 9mm as a small fast bullet.  But please notice.. the .41 mag isn't just a much bigger bullet... its a much bigger bullet.. going much faster.  Same with the .45acp.  People thing its a big slow bullet.  In reality a 185 grain bullet rolls out of a .45 at over 1200 fps... meaning its faster than a 124 grain 9mm.  In terms of energy the .45 is hitting at over 600 pounds... so its no where close to the .41 mag above... but the ammo capacity is greater.  13 rounds in the case of a Springfield XD-M.  So lets do the math again..

13 rounds times 616 foot pounds equals... 7969 pounds of potential energy.  Again...  several hundred pounds more potential energy available than the 9mm in spite of lower capacity.

Sure...  if you have 21 paper targets threatening your life... I'm sure your 21 separate bullets will suffice to deal with it.  You can punch a hole in each one of them.

In real life though you're more likely to face one or two... three at most attackers... and in that case... you better have a big hitter on your hip... not some glorified pellet gun.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Replacing the M9

So the US Army is looking to replace the M9.  Apparently they are finally owning up to the mistake that was the 9mm.... and the Beretta 92.   And its not that I really have a lot against the 92f.  I mean I have a couple of them.  There is a lot about the design I like.  But lets face it... when Taurus's clone blew the original out of the water... well... that should tell you something.  The 92F should've had a decocker.  The 92f should've been significantly beefed up.

But that's all water under the bridge now.  The Army wants a new sidearm.  It says it wants a simple, modern, ergonomic weapon with more knock down power.

Hear that ladies?  The US Army is admitting the 9mm doesn't do the job.  I will be interested to hear your lamentations and crying.  or not.  I really don't care.  If you carry a 9 you're deluding yourself.  As it is it looks like they will be looking for either a .40 or a .45. I am thinking they'll go with something in .40.

Anyway I thought I'd compile a list of the folks that already have duty pistols in the pipeline that will no doubt be in the competition.  If I leave anything out be sure to mention it in the comments.  Based on what I've seen I expect them to be looking for a DAO striker fired pistol.  So lets take a look...

FN Herstal FNS:  This is the striker version of the FNX.  It should be a serious contender and some think its the favorite.

Springfield XD:  If they are going by quality...  the XD is going to be in it till the end.

SIG P320:  We thought it was blasphemous when saw this pistol announced... but now I think the guys at SIG knew something the rest of us didn't.

Glock: Obviously.  Lots of folks are just assuming Glock will get the contract.  I think that's foolish.  The Army was clear that ergonomics were important... so Glock can be eliminated right there.

Ruger SR40:  This is a real dark horse in my opinion.  There is every reason in the world to give the SR a long look.

Smith and Wesson M&P40:  Like the Ruger... this one has to get a look but I don't think it is a contender.

Taurus 24-7:  I don't think it has a chance... but it will still be entered into the competition.

I don't think Steyr will enter the M40A-1 into the competition.  But I would obviously love to see them do so.

No doubt we'll also see some new designs entered... but for now these are the ones I expect to see duking it out.  Personally I think the Springfield or the SIG are the weapons to beat.

Friday, July 11, 2014

ATF: No I'm Not Dead

hey kids...   any of you still stopping by after all this time.  Sorry.   Lots going on.  I mean... lots.  I may be the only guy on the planet busier than Vox right now.  Its nuts.  And no.. I can't really talk to you about it.  So sorry.  Deal with it.

A: umm.. God what is this swill?  UGH...  Sam Adams... I hate Sam Adams.  Yankee bastard... UGH.

T:  None tonight...  Havocs and Ghurkas tomorrow though.

F:  Mauser 24/47.   7.92 X 57mm Mauser.  Old school.  Custom stock...  the works. rocks... And no... I don't care about your Enfield.  Enfields are gay.  We know they are gay because gay limeys used them.  So shut up about your gay limey rifle.  I also don't care about your Mosin Nagant... or the box you live in under the bridge.

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.  ***