"Guns & Shooting" Archives
At the link, a demonstration of how to burn through my annual ammunition budget in about 10 seconds: the Dillon M134 gatling gun.
Great day at PT today. I didn't keep track of how far or how fast I walked. I was faster and more stable, but I didn't go as far as usual, due in large part to a new exercise I got to try today, the dreaded getting up off the floor without assistance exercise.
The lesson learned: get assistance, or plan on staying on the floor.
Note to self: don't count on being able to do anything after a physical therapy session.
Um... there is no range report. Not today, at least.
The temperature was in the 90s, and if there's one thing I've learned about shooting, it's that I don't do it well with sweat running into my eyes.
Maybe next week, then.
Most people dislike Mondays because that's when they return to their humdrum jobs.
I dislike them because Mondays are the days I do all my chores — take out the trash, vacuum the house, do laundry, and so on. I try to get groceries on Mondays, as well, but it doesn't always work out that way. So, for the rest of the day, I'll be puttering around the house.
On the whole, though, I'm glad to be able to do as much as I can. Not too long ago, of course, I was incapable of all but the easiest household task. They aren't easy for me now, but they're getting to be less difficult. I can't believe how much better I am than I ever expected, and I'm grateful for it.
Tuesday, though, I am going to try to have a little fun — I'm going to do my utmost to make a trip to the rifle range. It's been about two years since I've been able to go, and I have some much-neglected hardware that needs to be given a workout. I'm confident I can schlep my wheeled hard-shell rifle case from the parking lot into the range, and once there I ought to be able to handle the usual walking up- and down-range target placement and marking activities.
My only concerns are the temperature — the range, indoors, has fans but no A/C — and the smoothness/slickness of the concrete floor. Too smooth and/or slick, and my cane will be slipping around. That would be a Bad Thing, indeed.
I may have to postpone, though; Mycah's not being her usual self. She seemed to be a bit off her feed at breakfast time today, she hadn't used the litterbox since last night, she's not been so stand-offish with Kismet and Packet, and she's moving a bit slower than normal. I had to call her repeatedly to come down for breakfast; usually, she's there ahead of me meowing with anticipation. I need to keep an eye on her today and make sure she's just having a bad day, as opposed to actually being unwell.
She had her 13th birthday just a month ago, but that doesn't necessarily make her an elderly cat quite yet. I'm more concerned about the diabetes and, to a lesser degree, her hyperthyroidism. Kidneys are a cat's weak spot, I think, so I really need to keep an eye on her potty behaviour. I hope the old girl has a few more years left in her. Kismet and Packet need to be swatted from time to time, and she's just the girl to do it.
Coincidentally, she has a vet appointment for tomorrow for her 6-month checkup. We'll see what the vet says.
Mycah's Potty Update: She used the litterbox while I was off doing my chores. She didn't just whiz, she whi-i-i-izzed. No poo yet, though. And she refused to come downstairs for her evening feeding. Not good.
Today is the first day of my work week, and, boy, has it started poorly.
Sometime yesterday evening, my upstairs A/C ceased to blow cold air. I didn't really notice it until I had to go downstairs... the temperaturre differential was immediately apparent. So, I left a message for my HVAC guys requesting service ASAP.
They called me at about 9 this morning. I was, of course, pretty groggy after only a few hours's sleep, but I got the message loud and clear: they are booked solid today and tomorrow.
Outstanding. It's supposed to get up to 95° today.
And I couldn't get back to sleep. Superb.
Signs seem to indicate that Heller will be a win for those of us who support 2nd Amendment rights. The question, it seems to me, is how far the Court will go in our direction. I'm hoping to hear the words "strict scrutiny" somewhere in the decision.
I'm considering celebrating by acquiring another firearm. Maybe a nice (and inexpensive) Yugoslavian SKS from Classic Arms. Good place to do business with, if they have what you're looking for. Over the past few years, I got my Swiss K.31, Czech VZ.24, as well as some accessories there. Good outfit, yep.
And though it seems unlikely at this point, if the Heller decision goes the wrong way, I'll get two. And a bucketfull of ammo.
In theory — not my theory, but that of the gun control crowd — firearms are best left in the hands of the professionals.
I hope everyone is enjoying their April 15th.
I talked to my Mom last night, and told her I'd mail some packages to her today. Then I remembered the date, and called her back. There's no way I'm going anywhere near a Post Office today. Except perhaps with a camera to record the annual day of carnage.
Having done my taxes early this year, I've noticed feeling a great sense of relief at not having to struggle with a deadline.
For those of you so inclined, those who are as un-thrilled as I of having to hand over large percentages of income to the most wasteful money-handling institution on the planet, I recommend "celebrating" Tax Day by also making it Buy a Gun Day. It's empowering.
Having filed my taxes and received my refunds two months ago, I had completely forgotten that April 15th is Buy A Gun Day.
(Though I'd give up my first-born for one of these.)
(If I had a first-born, that is.)
Now that I can walk — not well, mind you, but a cane is usually sufficient to my needs — I haven't had a fall in almost a month, now — I'm really hankering to do something I haven't been able to do in well over a year: go to the rifle range and make holes in paper.
There's just one small problem: while I can walk, I cannot carry things particularly well. My balance* is not yet reliable enough, and those of you who've ever been shooting know that a trip to the range always involves a fair amount of toting.
I suppose getting groceries into the house might be considered good practice. Once a week, I order groceries online and pick them up a few hours later. The goods are deposited into my vehicle curbside at the store, but when I get home I have to schlep the week's acquisitions from truck to house. Fortunately, it's a short trip, and there are what amount to handholds almost every step along the way. And of course I don't try to carry the entire load in one trip.
Going to the range would be a different matter altogether, as far as portage is concerned. It's a longer haul, with a bigger load... and if I were to fall, there'd be no easy way to get up again, short of crawling back to my truck and pulling myself up. I can't yet get up off the ground without something to use as leverage.
Since I don't have any servants on staff, what I really need if I want to go to the range is to coordinate with someone for a meetup at the range.
You know, a play-date.
* It's not actually my sense of balance that is weak, it's the ability of my legs to keep me up straight, to react in a timely manner to keep me upright if I should happen to lose my balance.
On firearm ownership:
The next time someone asks me what I'm compensatin' for, I think I'm gonna tell 'em, "The fact that I can't throw a rock at 1400 feet per second."
Every guy who shoots regularly has a fantasy.
This is one of mine.
Don't forget, today is Buy a Gun Day IV.
If I can find one of these beauties, I'll be on it like ugly on my brother.
Sorry for the lack of posting... I've been busy this week, and too tired at night to think straight.
In lieu of original content, here's a picture of naked chicks with guns:
I live in a pretty decent neighborhood. Solidly "upper middle-class," maybe "lower upper-class"... lots of professionals live in my neighborhood. If we all banded together, we could start a high-tech company all our own.
We're somewhat out in the sticks, too — our little subdivision in the woods west of Raleigh is the last one you get to before you're in genuinely rural territory. Cows, horses, ostriches, that sort of thing. Livestock. Crime here is virtually non-existent, if not actually non-existent.
A couple nights ago, while I was lying in bed reading prior to turning out the light, I heard a noise downstairs.
It was not the usual cat-generated noise — the cat was lying on my chest getting a one-handed chin-scratch while I held my book in the other hand. Nor was it the common "wind-blown twig hitting the side of the house" noise.
This sounded like someone trying to get in the sliding glass door off my back deck. I've never actually had anyone get into my house before, but that's what it sounded like to me.
There's a phone next to my bed. A police visit would have been a mere 911 call away.
What first crossed my mind was get a firearm.
The thought of calling the police never crossed my mind.
What first crossed my mind was get a firearm.
Not call a cop, but get a gun.
Five minutes of investigation determined that it was no mere twig that had blown up against the house, but rather a length of branch about 1" in diameter knocking up against the sliding glass door. No big deal after all.
I delight in imagining, however, the look of utter surprise a burglar might wear on his face when confronted by a giant (me: 6'8", 300+ lbs.) in jockey shorts wielding a Remington 870 12-gauge shotgun. The sound of that slide racking is probably enough to cause severe and immediate bowel hyperactivity.
Epilogue: I returned upstairs to my room, to be greeted by a slightly miffed feline. He looked at me from the foot of my bed, no doubt indignant that his chin-scratch had been so rudely interrupted. I'm sure he thought I was an idiot cowboy. That's OK — I think he's French. I know which I'd rather be.
Most of us are unhappy about April 15th, it being Tax Day and all.
Rather than cry in our beer, it ought to be a day to express our liberties as Americans, and so last year Aaron the Liberal Slayer designated April the 15th as Buy A Gun Day. In 2003 it was a great success, with over 50 bloggers beginning or increasing their firearm collections, yours truly included.
This year's event was even more successful, with over 140 bloggers acquiring new weaponry.
I'm a little late to the party this year, but here's my pick: the Marlin Model 1894 Cowboy in
.357 Magnum .45 Long Colt.
Next year I'll find a suitable matching revolver... if I can wait a whole year.
It occurs to me that since I have a bit of free time, I could spend some of it at the range.
Hey, I can't just lay around waiting for my back to heal, you know.
Looks as if the Army is experimenting with upgrading the
varmint rifle M-16 to accomodate a larger round, 6.8mm versus the 5.56mm round currently in use.
Kim has had a lot to say in the past about the M-16 being, alternately, a "banjo" or a "poodle shooter" (or both simultaneously), and I find it hard to disagree with his assessment. The 5.56mm NATO cartridge is simply inadequate (unless your primary concern is the number of rounds a soldier can carry.)
Up-gunning the M-16 (and the M-4 carbine) to a better round (more energy on target = more knock-down/stay-down power, e.g., more lethal) has to be an excellent idea. Let's see if the Department of Defense has learned anything about weapon systems at the low end of the scale.
And no, I don't mean this monstrosity.
While rhetorically dismembering Pacifism as an ideology, Ironbear notes:
[T]he ownership of weapons and the responsible excercise of that right is inherent to freedom. And it's the backbone to all other freedoms. It's a nonarguable concept - that's why so many weapons control/banning enthusiasts complain that we're "unreasonable" on the subject: We are.From "Pacifism and Personal Responsibility," at Who Tends the Fires
My collection of historic US military rifles is one step closer to completion -- I've finally managed to acquire something I've been after for a while:
This, for the few unenlightened folks who might be reading, is the historic M1 Garand rifle, called by General George Patton "the greatest battle implement ever devised." I wouldn't dare argue with him.
My collection (such as it is) consists of "shooters", not pristine hands-off bits of not-to-be-fired hardware -- this one will get plenty of range time. I'm doing the "Happy Feet" dance in my mind.
[The above image was stolen shamelessly from Kim DuToit's Gratuitous Gun Pic page. I hope he doesn't mind.]
[I don't have the bayonet yet.]
Don't forget that today is National Ammo Day.
I got mine already:
My garage is full of power tools, but they're all woodworking tools.
I have to get my hands on some metal-machining tools now, of course. Because now I can make one of these:
It seems that, in a rare moment of lucidity, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the "commerce clause" of the Constitution means what it says -- that activities not considered to be interstate commerce cannot be outlawed by Congress.
[Yes, yes, I know -- decisions of the Ninth Circuit don't apply to North Carolina. Just this once, though, I wish they did. And man, oh man, I loved my M-60 -- the best firearm Uncle Sam ever issued to me.]
James Taranto in today's Best of the Web makes a valid criticism of Juan Williams' verbal assault on Howard Dean. Said Williams:
Gov. Dean has suggested that states like Vermont, Montana and Wyoming, with overwhelmingly white populations, really don't need gun control, in part because of their rural character, but urban areas, such as Baltimore, Md., with large minority populations, do need gun control.This is an unwarranted interpretation of Dean's actual position. No one believes Dean is racist.
On the other hand, Dean's actual position on gun laws - and on the Constitution, generally - is far, far worse. If summarized accurately by Taranto, it is Constitutionally insupportable. Taranto writes [emphasis mine]:
Howard Dean deviates from liberal orthodoxy on one issue: gun rights. Coming from Vermont, the state with the nation's least restrictive gun laws, Dean holds a genuinely moderate position. He opposes new federal gun-control laws, but he also believes the 10th Amendment trumps the Second and that states have the authority to pass whatever gun laws they see fit.Surely, Dean cannot seriously believe this?
On this basis, would it then be a reasonable position to believe that the 10th Amendment trumps the First, that states should be able to pass laws restricting speech, the press, religion, and the right to assemble?
How about the Fifth - shall states be able to seize private property without compensation, if they see fit to do so? Or put a person on trial twice for the same crime?
Carried to the extreme, maybe the 13th Amendment? Should Vermont be able to reinstitute slavery?
This sort of "reasoning" betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of the Constitution and Bill of Rights. The amendments are there to guarantee and protect the basic rights of the people. Anything not specifically addressed is left to the states, under the Tenth Amendment.
Such basic errors should be considered an absolute disqualification from holding an office under the federal Constitution.
Tuesday was a great day.
My visiting brother and I took my 12-year-old nephew fishing on Jordan Lake - off a dock, since I have no boat. The crappie were biting, and the boy managed to land one, as well as a catfish. My brother got a crappie. I got bupkus - about ten bites, but nothing took the bait... well, the lure, actually.
Having productively spent the morning lakeside (time spent fishing is not about catching fish) it was determined that it was time to teach the boy to shoot.
Now, those of you who make Kim du Toit a daily read might be saying to yourself "12? You waited until he was 12? Are you nuts?" And you'd have a point. Heck, I first learned when I was six or seven. But two facts mitigate: 1) he's my nephew, not my son, and 2) the boy lives in
the land of loons California - 'nuff said.
So Tuesday we headed to the Wake County Firearms Education and Training Center. A more impressive facility I have never seen - not even (or perhaps, especially) while I was in the Army. Three of the indoor bays are available for public use (after completion of a 2-hour training class and passing a test) (I aced it, thankyouverymuch), with one bay reserved for police training. Two of the "civilian" bays are 50 meters; one is a full 100 meters.
100 meters. Indoors.
Anything up to .50 caliber rifle can be fired in there. The only shortcoming is that there is no target retrieval system. You have to walk downrange to change targets, but the Range Safety Officers (always on duty) are well trained, and have loudspeakers, colored lights, and a siren to make plain the "hot" or "cold" status of any of the bays.
So we showed up, signed in, bought a couple targets, and headed to the firing line. It was a slow night, the place was almost deserted - we had a 50-meter bay to ourselves. I then proceeded to instruct the lad in the essentials of safety.
Always keep the weapon pointed in a safe direction."A safe direction" being downrange towards the backstop (and not at the ceiling or floor).
Always keep the weapon unloaded until ready to use.Pretty straightforward.
Always keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to fire.Also clear and to the point.
Never handle a firearm when someone is downrange.Not only did I impress it upon the lad to not handle a firearm when I was downrange changing targets, I made sure he was way against the back wall while I was doing so. I think he realized I was utterly serious.
There are, of course, other ways of expressing the safety principles above. But the point is clear: safety first, last and always.
With a target set at 25 meters, we proceeded with the Henry U.S. Survival .22 - a weapon I had purchased to spite Michael Moore [scroll down] and because I was deficient in the .22 department. After I showed him how to take up a proper position, how to get a good sight picture, how to control his breathing, how to load and clear the weapon, etc. With me on him like ugly on Helen Thomas, the lad took his first shot ever.
9 o'clock, on the edge of the black. Loading the Henry magazine one round at a time (to try to teach him to make that one shot count) the lad proceeded to fill the upper left quadrant of the target with little holes. Not bad for his very first time out - but more importantly, he learned to be safe. Being an almost teen, you might expect a boy to be rather rebellious - not my nephew. He actually checked with me before each step of the whole process. I was pretty proud of him.
I managed a 1.5" group at 25 meters over iron sights. I can do better. Then just for fun I broke out my M1 Carbine and put 50 rounds through it. 1-inch vertical 4-inch horizontal groups... I can definitely do better than that.
What an amazingly great day.
Reuters displays stupidity - someone else's, and not their own, for a change:
Most amazingly, this happened in France. In France!
Those EUropean cowboys... who knew they had gun shops?
AB (Assembly Bill) 50 (Koretz) - .50 Caliber Rifle Ban - would ban the sale/possession of rifles that are chambered for the .50 BMG cartridge and the sale/possession of .50BMG cartridges.
Oh, yes, I recall all those news stories of crimes perpetrated by .50-caliber rifle-wielding maniacs. After all, what self-respecting criminal would want to appear in public with a weapon that costs less than $3,000?
AB 992 (Ridley-Thomas) - Ammo Tax - Amended to direct revenues to a "Victim Reimbursement Fund".
Since this would also put a tax on ammunition components (powder, primers, brass, bullets) this would spell the end of reloading and custom loading. And we all know what a lawless pack of felons the people who load their own ammunition are.
SB489 (Scott) - Semi-Auto Handgun bill - [requires] that all semiautomatic handguns, manufactured after a specific date - that are imported and sold in California, be equipped with a loaded chamber indicator and a magazine disconnect mechanism.
A "magazine disconnect mechanism"? I'm guessing they don't mean the magazine ejection button already built into semiautomatic handguns?
This is so bloody typical - the legislators want a technology which doesn't exist outside of Fantasyland to be made mandatory. I'll bet they never actually consulted a firearms expert - except the ones thoughtfully provided by the Brady people.
SB 601 (Perata) - .50 Caliber Handgun Ban - would ban sale/possession of .50 caliber handguns. This bill is aimed specifically at the new S&W .500 Magnum cartridge but would also ban others.
Because we all know that criminals will buy and use the most expensive weapon available - profit margin be damned. No sense buying that cheap ratty .38 when you can spend 5 times as much for this, right?
Now, I don't reload, and I don't own or plan to own a .50 caliber rifle or handgun (blackpowder smokepoles excepted). But I sure am glad I left the Peoples' Republic - half of my arsenal is already illegal there, and I don't own anything bigger than .45ACP. Well, except for my muzzleloaders....