Tuesday, February 28, 2006

My AR Kit

I've said before, I love the AR family, for it's accuracy, it's ease of shooting, and it's modularity. You can build the AR in jsut about every configuration known to man, then strip it down and change it again with few if any tools, and in just minutes.

Naturally, this tends towards the building of "gun kits", where you have a set of various parts in a single case, and you combine them as desired for the task at hand, be it short range room to room; or long range varminting.

My AR kit consists of the following

Lower:

Bushmaster XM15E2 lower
Ace tubular stock, 2” extended LOP
USGI XM177E2 cyclic rate reducer (used to cut the rate of fire of an M4 down to 600rpm)
Modified light weight spring set, plus heavy buffer tube spring
“Tactical” trigger, lightweight takeup to 4lb crisp break

For the lower I’m planning on picking up a MagPul RSS and a drop in McCormick trigger set.

I have two uppers for it:

Bushmaster superlight carbine A4 upper. 16” 1-in-9 pencil profile barrel (.552 inch thickness).
No flash hider or muzzle break
Heavy bolt carrier
Bolt carrier weight
D-Ring extractor
Tritium front sight post
Hogue overmolded freefloat handguard
HK style ergogrip

Custom heavy barrel upper
24” ultra heavy (1.125") lothar walther air gauged stainless barrel 1-in-8, target cut crown
Fire lapped barrel
Railed front gas block
Hand matched bolt, heavy bolt carrier, and barrel extension (lapped and mated lugs)
Bolt carrier weight
D-ringed extractor
Extra heavy weight, long aluminum free float handguard. Knurled and fluted (unvented)

And four interchangeable sighting systems:

Detachable carry handle with A4 sight
A.R.M.S. Ultra low profile fold down rear sight and Mangonel folding front sight
EOTech 551 HWS
Millett 6-18x56 scope with tactical turrets

All four sighting setups are on thumbscrew mounts at the moment.

So what I have left to do is to have a flash hider fitted on the superlight upper, and get some QD mounts for all of the optics above. oh and get a weaponlight for the shorty, and a replacement front flip down because I don’t like the mangonel.

Really I'd also like to get a dedicated lower jsut for the shorty, and stick the MagPul on it. I’m also seriously considering milling off the front sight on the shorty and putting in a milled block flipup from Bushmaster. It would also let me go to the ARMS S.I.R. setup; which I REALLY like.

I’m debating whether or not I want an ACOG as well. They’re great, but they are a bit pricy, and the other sights I have cover the performance envelope of the acog. That said, the Bindon Aiming Concept models neatly straddle the area between the holosight and the scope, are dead reliable, and dont require batteries… so I’m still debating.

Hmmm, that TA31doc is pretty damn cool as well. Having the Docter mounted on top is a neat idea. I’ve read a couple magazine articles on it, but I’m not sure how well it would work.... hmmm…

Oh and a dedicated .22 upper would be nice, and they aren't all that expensive.

Once I’ve got it all together, I plan on making up a “kit case”. Something like a double shotgun case that will hold both uppers, all the optics, and 10 mags; plus cleaning kit and tools, spare batteries, the lights etc… I’m thinking either haliburton style hard case, or a musicians friend guitar or keyboard case will fit the bill nicely. Something say 36"x18". It certainly doesnt scream GUUUUUNNNN!!! like some other cases do. Maybe in the top if it’s deep enough fit some light weight accessories, and small toolS.. also maybe include enough space for a rolled or folded shooting mat.

I’d like to do the same with my M14, except instead of two uppers there would be two stocks; a sage stock, and a traditional stock. The barreled action would go in between them, and the optics all to one side.

For that one, I WOULD go with one of the higher powered ACOGs (prolly a TA55A), another holosight, and a night force SCOPE ... say a 3.5-15x56.

Of course all of these things require a fair bit of cash that I don't have at the moment; but hey, a guy can dream.

I don't have any pics of the kit as it's currently set up, but I'll grab some this week and update the post with them later.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Social anxiety, panic attacks, and very NOT-helpful people...

For those of you who don't want to know tremendously personal stuff about Mel, stop here.

I have a mental disorder, just NOT the one I've been diagnosed with for the past 10 years.

When I was 15 I was diagnosed with depression because I slept too much, ate too much, and attempted to run away from home. 10 years later I was finally diagnosed with the right disorder.

But of course some background first...

I'm a very independent intelligent person. I am more than capable of taking care of myself and my kids without any help. But for the past 6+ years I have been "off" and just not myself. People close to me who have known me long enough certainly know that following a certain event in my life I just "changed". An ex-boyfriend referred to it as "the fire going out of Mel's eyes" and that's certainly an apt description. But I married, had kids, and struggled through. Sure I knew that something was wrong, but I assumed it was still depression and was directly attributable to my life situation (which admittedly sucked).

Then I met Chris, who has paramedic training. Then one night I became so very upset over something (at this point it doesn't matter what) that I started shaking and just couldn't stop. And for the first time ever, someone knew what was happening to me. I was having a panic attack.

Now for my entire life my panic attacks have been passed off as:
1. Overreacting
2. Melodrama, or
3. Crying for manipulative effect.
Then I find out that I can't control my panic attacks, and therefore they are not intentional. Plus, they are a symptom of a completely different disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder.

Social Anxiety Disorder is pretty much a weak version of Social Phobia, which is a fear of public places and new situations due to a fear of embarrassment or inability to escape. People with SAD are overly concerned with what people think of them and are sure that every little fault of theirs is on display. Yes, it's kind of like being a teenager all over again. Fear of public speaking is a very specific offshoot of SAD called performance anxiety, and a lot of the time someone with SAD just shows the disorder in certain areas of their life.

Now I was raised in a very traditional environment. I learned about right and wrong and sin at a very early age, and was also imbued with guilt over my shortcomings at a very early age. I learned to be a perfectionist and a procrastinator at the same time (no point in doing something if I can't do it right) and an approval addict. Add to that a very socialist education which taught me that there is no moral code save inside myself, and that everyone's feelings must be respected and coddled, and I have the ideal SAD mix. Lots of internal guilt and self-effacement, with an absolute lack of expectation of decent treatment from others. Yes, I have been known to be a human doormat.

I fought these tendencies for quite a while, out of anger more than anything else. I lived with the anxiety, though I didn't know it was there. Sure, I knew I was shy and I fought; actually I fought all of the anxiety pretty well, though in large part I had help from my best friend (K) throughout high school. We went to college together, and I effectively fought in then as well.

Then between the two semesters I had my heart broken in a very not-nice way. My family is overly fertile, and I held out on intercourse because there was literally no form of birth control that worked. My fiance at the time was under the influence of very not-helpful people, who justifiably wanted me out of the picture (a cult actually, and K and I weren't buying into it). So with their encouragement and a good dose of "be a man" my fiance ended up cheating on me, and though I was angry and consistently told myself otherwise, I thought it was my fault for "not meeting his needs". So I found someone who swore he loved me (since I couldn't trust who I loved, and I needed to punish myself) and got married.

So I started meeting everyone elses needs and "punishing" myself for what had happened. I just wasn't myself, and though I was still talking to K, she could tell there was something wrong. Two kids later I talked to my ex-fiance and figured something out, and my brother had a near-death experience and was diagnosed with a kidney disease, so I left my husband (supposedly temporarily) to go get tested for a possible kidney donation. I took the kids and moved in with my parents and sick brother. A month later I knew I wanted a divorce. I finally started to get my head on straight.

The kidney donation didn't happen (I wasn't compatible), and though I was away from my husband things were still "off". Admittedly my parents home wasn't the best place to be, but I was working and doing my best to take care of my kids. So I took a job in the Valley and commuted 180 miles round trip a day for a while.

During this time I was introduced to Chris, then moved to the east valley (reducing my daily commute to 60 miles round trip); and oddly enough he and JohnOC helped me moved into the apartment I recently vacated. We started hanging out, and you know the rest.

Now anyone that has been reading this blog for very long or who knows Chris knows two things about him: he is too damn smart and competent for his own good, and he has a very strong personality.

I was never trained to do housework. Ever. Really. My mom's mom had Alzheimer's and a mental disorder; she couldn't remember where anything was so everything was everywhere. My mom therefore had a hard time learning housework, and I was never really tought. I just learned to get by as best I could.

Chris expects the best out of me, and rightfully so. Since I wasn't working outside of the house and he was, we decided that I would watch the kids and keep up with the housework. But since I knew I couldn't do the work right I put it off and put it off. Plus I have a very painful condition called endometriosis (which I'll elaborate on another time) that was flaring up, which caused... motivation issues. Chris couldn't understand why the work wasn't being done, and I just thought I wasn't measuring up.

Enter the panic attacks.

The panic attacks happen when I get so anxious that I can not control myself. I can literally take a criticism, an offhand remark, or even a compliment, and think it's the end of the world. There were times I swore Chris was going to leave me because I wasn't good enough and I couldn't meet his needs. Granted this wasn't true, and he quite often told me that he wasn't going to leave, but I thought it was true, and that was enough to send me spiraling into panic attacks on a daily basis (sometimes hourly).

I've actually been able to trace the start of my panic attacks to what happened when I was 19; I "learned" that I was inadequate and that what other people thought mattered. And, face it, when faced with someone who is competent at EVERYTHING it's easy to feel even more inadequate. I'd been having low-level attacks for forever and hadn't known what was going on. I merely thought I was being "manipulative".

While this was happening I was panicking, and worried that Chris was having flashbacks. The absolute last thing I wanted was to be like his ex in any way.

I've known for a while that Chris brings out the best and worst in people; it's like looking in a mirror sometimes and seeing all of your faults displayed. When faced with so much competence from one person, it's easy to feel inadequate. But Chris has no sympathy for the anxiety arguments:

1. I'm not good enough for you
2. You're too much for me or
3. I'm pathetic

As far as he is concerned he loves me, I'm too good for him, and I'm strong enough for him and that's enough. So he wasn't about to feed into my self-hate.

At this point, I had exactly two options; treat myself and get better, or continue being someone I didn't want to be... and getting worse.

Guess which option I have chosen. I have been researching and treating this condition for over a month now, and I'm making progress. I can stop panic attacks before they happen (most of the time) and I'm re-learning how to be myself; and be competent enough.

I'm finally coming out of the fog I've been in for the past 6 years, and things are better. I recently started talking to K again (we'd fallen out of touch since she moved back to Connecticut). Hopefully upon seeing this she'll understand what has been going on.

And I'm me again.

Awwwww YEAH

HELLSING - ALUCARD
You are ALUCARD - You are the last word in

badasses. You have absolutely no regard for

the lives of your opponents. You fight for

your own amusement and crave a real

challenge. And you drink blood. Stop

staring at my neck!


What anime gun-toting hooligan are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

If Aquaman fought a Rolex...

With apologies to FrankJ... I found this on Woot.com

"


To be perfectly clear, when we call this fine Invicta watch “the Aquaman of timepieces,” we don’t mean to diss. Somehow, the blonde Super Friend has been tagged as the superfluous one, the pinky of the mighty SF fist, the Jar-Jar Binks of the tights ‘n’ capes set. But how many of you remember his exploits in the tale “The Ice Age”, when Aquaman lured the evil Iceberg Head into a trap with chocolatey Hostess cupcakes? Let the jaded among you taunt and scoff, but we hail Arthur Curry as a true hero, always welcome round our Hall of Justice.

As is this watch. Both the Invicta Automatic Pro Diver G3 and Aquaman are handsome, rugged, water resistant to 200 meters, and modeled after a Submariner (one created by Rolex, the other by Marvel). But, dare we say, the Pro Diver is even more powerful than the King of Atlantis. Precise Swiss construction is housed in a stainless steel case. The black face features Tritnite luminous hands and markers, an anti-reflective mineral crystal, a date display, and a unidirectional black bezel with white markings. And the Pro Diver needs no winding or battery. It uses your natural motion to wind itself, kind of the way a hydroelectric plant generates electricity from the rise and fall of the sea.

Unlike Aquaman, the Invicta Automatic’s public image is impeccable, making it one of the best-selling and best-reviewed men’s watches on land or sea. If only it could talk to fish..."



There have been other hilarious descriptions on said woot, but I jsut couldnt resist that one. Oh and I happen to own that watch, and it's half decent.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Recipes for REAL men, Volume 5

Recipes for REAL men, Volume 5 - Eatzza the Ultimate Pizza

Americas favorite fast food is...

Wait for it...

No, it's not Pizza, it's french fries. In fact according to some sources, at least half , and perhaps as much as 3/4 of all potatoes grown the world over are used for french fries (and 1/2 to 3/4 of those are used specifically for McDonalds french fries).

Given the popularity of fries you'd think our favorite fast food entree would be a burger, but actually, it's pizza.

See, I WAS going somewhere with this, I wasn't just trying to be clever.

Oh, and I'll be posting my french fry techniques at some point in the future.

Anyway, pizza is an interesting food. It came to America as a popular lunch snack of Neapolitan (as in from Naples) factory and construction workers, and meat packers; first in New York, then rapidly spreading to the rest of the country as italian and greek immigrants spread out.

NOTE: Greeks didnt make pizza, but they made something similar to stromboli and calzone, so when they came to America pizza was a natural food for them to get into.

Even with the wider spread of pizza however, it wasnt a universally popular food, mostly limited to Boston, New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, and oddly enough St. Louis.

Pizza didnt REALLY take off until after WWII, when the burgenoning car culture made it easy for teens to socialize in pizzerias, and for families to take the pizza home with them.

My favorite bit of pizza trivia? The world pizza is derived from an old italian word meaning "a point," which became the Italian word pizzicare, "to pinch", and is also related to a Neopolitan Italian dialects word for "It's burned", apizzia.

There are a few different common styles of pizza, including sicilian, neapolitan, greek, pan, and deep dish. There are also some pizza LIKE dishes such as stromboli, and calzone.

Oh, something important to mention here, calzone is NOT folded pizza, or a pizza sandwhich, as is sometimes sold as calzone around america. Calzone is a rolled and baked pastry dish, using a pizza like dough, and meat, cheese, and vegetable fillings without sauce.

To make a calzone, you lay the fillings, along with a dry ricotta cheese, out along the length of the dough, taking up 1/3 the width, then fold the sides over, pinching them together to make a tight seal. Pinch the ends together tightly, and fold over, flattening them against the top of the roll. Finally roll the entire assemblage over so that the smoothe side will be baked on top, make some small slits, or punctures in it to let some of the steam out, and brush it with an egg and butter wash.

Stromboli is CLOSE to the folded pizza that some sell under that name, but it too is a pastry dish using a pizza like dough. Stromboli however includes sauce inside it. Basically to make a stromboli you sauce the whole crust, then put toppings on one half, and fold over; pinching and rolling the edge tightly to seal. Egg and butter wash as with calzone, but brush both sides, and do not puncture it. A stromboli should inflate as it is cooking, and presuming you made your dough properly, the steam won't explode the stromboli.

Importantly, stromboli and calzone dough should contain eggs, and should be brushed with an egg and butter wash to produce a hard, crusty and shiny shell.

I personally like two styles of pizza, pan (not deep dish), and sicilian style.

Pan pizza is probably most familiar to you as the style of pizza that Pizza hut is famous for(only whe I make it it doesnt suck); and it is NOT deep dish, which isn't actually a pizza at all, but more of a tomato and cheese pie. Pan pizza crust should be thick and doughy, and slightly oily; the toppings are spread out most of the way to the edge, and it's baked until the edges are crispy

Sicilian pizza is very thin, with a decent sized crust edge to hold on to; and it should be flexible but lightly crispy with a savory sauce.

The great part about making pizza, is how simple it is once you know how. Other than the dough, pizza is assembled more than anything else. Oh, and leftovers make great Pizza toppings

Now the dough.....

I hate to admit this, but I'm a not a very good baker. I used to make a lot of bread, but I was never very good at it. I'd rather stick all the fixings in a bread machine and let it do the work.

That said, my favorite pizza crust looks like this:

1 1/2 cups of sourdough starter
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup strong bread flour (high gluten flour)
1/2 cup fine cornmeal or semolina flour
1/4 cup of finely greated parmaggiano
black pepper, oregano, garlic, and basil to taste

Depending on your starter, you may need to add 1/2 cup of warm water. If the dough gets too dry, add a little more starter, or a bit of water. If too wet, add a bit more cornmeal. If you are going to let the dough rise a bit (for a pan pizza), add a bit more starter; and if you want a very crusty dough, or if you are making a stromboli or calzone you can add an egg and some butter. Oh and for a deep dish pizza you may want a bit more olive oil depending on your taste.

Mix into a thick dough, (as with a soft french bread) and let rest for 15 minutes or so, then knead. Once you've kneaded the dough, cover it and let rest for 1/2 hour covered on a countertop.

This rest lets the glutens form some structure in the dough, and lets the dough relax; so forming the pizza without tearing is easier.

Remember, the sourdough here is primarily for flavor, not neccesarily just as a leavening agent (though if you are making thick pan pizza, letting it rise works well).

If you are going to make a thick pan pizza, you want to let the volume expand 30% or so. Too much though, and the dough will be too airy. Then you need to punch the pizza down either by hand or using a dough mixer or food processor.

Once the dough has been prepped, you can refrigerate or freeze it (though I don't recommend freezing); and it will stay good for a few days, though it won't rise any further.

I have two different "favorite" assemblies, one for pan pizza, and one for sicilian.

Ultimate pan pizza:

Toppings

Pepperoni
Italian sausage
Linguica sausage
Meatball
Bacon (American style black pepper cured, cut very thick)
Boneless Chicken Chunks (grilled or sauteed and sliced)
Feta cheese

Seasonings

Basil
Garlic
Oregano
Black pepper

Cheese

Mozzarella (shredded)
White Cheddar or jack (shredded)
Parmaggiano (grated)
Romano (grated)

Mix a bit of cracked black pepper, oregano, basil, and red pepper flakes in with your cheese for better flavor.

Sauce

Savory black pepper basil and oregano tomato sauce as below, or a meat sauce. I like to use my 2 pound Meat Sauce , though it needs to be thinned out a bit (as is noted in the recipe).

Prep

Bake the pizza in a thick straight walled pizza pie pan, at least 1" high (chicago purists like a 2" thick pizza with crust wrapped up and over the side of the pan like a pie). Wipe the pan down on the inside with olive oil, and dust with medium cracked cornmeal or semolina before laying the dough.

Don't toss or roll the pizza, stretch and fold it a few times on a cold stone, or on the bottom of a cookie sheet, griddle, or heavy skillet that you've stuck in the freezer.

Once the dough has been worked, ball it up, then just stretch it out to a large button shape, and press it out to the edges of the pan, pushing the edges of the dough a bit up the side of the pan (or up over the edge for chicago), and let it sit covered for about 10 minutes.

Lightly brush the crust with olive oil, or garlic butter before laying out the sauce and toppings.

Spread the sauce out fairly thickly, not quite out to the edge (about 1/2" in is fine), and then put a light sprinkling of cheese on, along with your first layer of toppings.

Drizzle some sauce on top of this layer, and then add a thick layer of cheese.

Spread the rest of your toppings out, and sprinkle the crumbled feta cheese over the top, and dust with parmaggiano and romano.

For chicago style add a thin but full coverage layer of sauce on both the top, and bottom of the pizza, thena layer of cheese and sauce in between every layer of toppings, and then dust with the grated cheeses and a bit of shredded cheese over the top.

If you make it thick enough, it takes between 15 and 30 minutes to bake it in a pan at 450-550 degrees (depending on your oven, the pan, how many toppings you used, and whether you put on a heated stone first - oh and chicago style can take 45 minutes or more). The crust should be crispy, shiny, and browned at the ridges; also the top layer of cheese should be moderately browned.

1-2 slices of this thing (assuming a 16" pie sliced 8 ways) is enough to fill ME up.

Ultimate Sicilian Pizza:

Toppings
Extra Pepperoni
Extra Italian Sausage
Extra Bacon

Seasonings

Basil
Garlic
Oregano

Cheese

Mozzarella (shredded)
White Cheddar or jack (shredded)
Parmaggiano (grated)
Romano (grated)

Mix a bit of cracked black pepper, oregano, basil, and red pepper flakes in with your cheese for better flavor.

Sauce

Savory black pepper basil and oregano tomato sauce. If you don't have your own, a basic sauce can be made with the following:

16oz of no sugar added tomato puree
6oz can of unsweetened tomato paste
1/2 cup of olive oil
1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar (use the cheap stuff, it's not as sweet)
1/2 cup of grated parmaggiano
2 tblsp fresh finely minced oregano
2 tblsp fresh finely minced basil
1 tblsp cracked black pepper
1 tblsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp onion salt
2 cloves of garlic crushed and minced (more or less to taste - roast for milder flavor)

Heat the oil and throw all the seasonings except the cheese in at once, and just stir around until the garlic is lightly browned, but before the herbs are too burned. Pour in the wet ingredients and stir thoroughly to combine. Bring to a simmer and add the cheese, and heat at just below simmer for anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour stirring to avoid clumping or burning of the cheese. The longer you simmer, the more the flavors combine; but you aren't looking to separate the fats or thicken the sauce much so be careful.

Prep

This pizza should be tossed quite thin, and baked directly on a pizza stone.

If you buy a pizza stone they are usually a very dense sandstone, or a high grade terracotta.

If you don't have a pizza stone you can go buy a 1-2" x 2 foot square (i.e. 4 square feet) slab of various stones from a countertop fabricator, or a stone yard (a quarries retail shop) for a lot less than they charge for high end pizza stones.

Not quite as good, but even cheaper (about $20) is a large thick terracotta saucer that they put big flower pots on.

Terracotta and sandstone are porous, which allows the hot expanding air up through the crust, and the hot expanding steam out of it; and the mass of the stone absorbs the heat, and bakes the crust evenly and directly.

Oh and for making dough you can't get better than a marble slab, though granite works well too (and it's cheaper); and again buy them from the stonemason, not from the kitchen store.

No matter what you use as a pizza stone, if it's a porous stone, you should season it with olive oil, by heating it to as hot as your oven can get (leave it under the broiler for 30 minutes or so) then letting it cool until you can jsut touch it, pour a little oil in the pan, and spread it around with paper towels. Then heat it up again till the oil jsut starts to smoke, let it cool, and wipe out the seepage.

Some folks like to use a cast iron skillet, or a cast iron pizza pan. This works great, especially for deep dish pizzas, but you end up with a very different character of crust than with a porous stone.

When you go to cook the pizza, again preheat the oven for at least 15 minutes using the broiler at its hottest setting, WITH THE STONE IN THE OVEN.

If your brolier doesnt heat the oven up evenly with the stone in the oven (some electric broiler heating elements or gas broiler burners are small and poorly positioned for example). set your oven to bake at it's highest temperature then once the oven cycles off on reaching temperature, switch to the broiler.

Five minutes before you are ready to cook the pizza, switch the oven to bake, on the highest temperature it can bake with (some ovens allow you to bake at the same temp as high broil, some will shut the heat off entirely if you try that. Know your oven.)

The idea is to heat the stone up fully, so that the pizza is cooking from the second it touches the stone. If you don't heat the stone first, the top will burn and dry out before the bottom is properly cooked.

Toss the crust out 'til it's just thick enough to hold together in the middle. It will be slightly thicker at the edges.

Don't try any of this fancy tossing up in the air, basic pizza tossing is really quite easy with good dough. Just flatten the crust out into a disk until it's between 1/2" and 1/4" thick, pick it up over your flour dusted hands, make two fists, and gently rotate the dough using your fists to make an even circle.

Dust the surface you are assembling the pizza on with medium crack corn meal or semolina. This will add texture, and keep the pizza from sticking.

If you have a pizza peel, it's easiest just to assemble the pizza on the peel; otherwise use a large cutting board covered with parchment paper.

Lightly brush the crust with olive oil or garlic butter, crack some black pepper over it, and dust lightly with finely grated parmaggiano. Sauce the pizza lightly leaving about an inch of clear space all around the edges, and lightly sprinkle part of the toppings over the sauced crust.

Cover thoroughly with the cheese (you jsut barely want to see some sauce peeking out through the cheese), then distribute the rest of the toppings, and lightly dust with parmaggiano.

Transfer the assembled pizza to the stone as fast as possible, and DON'T OPEN THE OVEN FOR AT LEAST 8 MINUTES if your oven is at 450, or 6 minutes at 550.

After 6-8 minutes check your pizzas crust by lifting up on the corner. The top should be golden and browning, with fully melted cheese; and the bottom should be almost fully cooked. If not, your oven isn't hot enough; but theres nothing you can do about that except leave the pizza in for 2-5 more minutes (which will tend to dry the pizza out a bit, and may burn the edges before the center is properly cooked).

A volcanic pizza oven can cook a pizza in 3 minutes; but it cooks at 800 degrees or thereabouts; unfortunately most of us don't have volcanic pizza ovens.

Once the bottom is almost fully cooked, turn the broiler on, and finish the pizza under the broiler, until the cheese has lightly browned aroud the edges of the pizza (shouldn't take more than a couple minutes, and may not be necessary at all).

Let the pizza sit for about 2-5 minutes before you cut it so the cheese wont run all together after being cut.

UPDATED: I've modified my crust and cheese mix a bit since then, I went into more detail on technique, and I added a new tomato sauce recipe. Kicking it to the top here, and updating with all the recent Recipes for REAL Men

And be sure to check out:

Recipes for REAL Men, Volume 12 - Lard Ass Wings
Recipes for REAL Men, Volume 11 - Bacon Double Macaroni and Cheese
Recipes for REAL Men, Volume 10 - It's the meat stupid
Recipes for REAL Men, Volume 9 - Labor Day Potatos
Recipes for REAL men, Volume 8 - It's a pork fat thing
Recipes for REAL men, Volume 7 - It may not be Kosher...
Recipes for REAL men, Volume 6 - Andouille Guiness Chili
Recipes for REAL men, Volume 5 - Eazza the Ultimate Pizza
Recipes for REAL men, Volume 4 - Two Pound Meat Sauce
Recipes for REAL men, Volume 3 - Highbrow Hash
Recipes for REAL men, Volume 2 - MuscleCarbonara
Recipes for REAL men, Volume 1 - More Beef than Stew

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Life is a carnival

Carnival of Cordite #49 is up over at the GullyBorgs site, and I've got I think four entires in for this one.

Honestly folks this is one great carnival. I'm impressed by both the quality and the qantity of posts this week.

Next week the carnival will be posted right here at The AnarchAngel, and cross posted to the new site http://anarchangel.mu.nu . I'm hoping that by then I'll have the templates fixed, and make that the changeover for original contecnt to move to MuNuvia.

Now, how to get your posts in...

Submit your posts by trackbacking to this post, sending them to carnivalofcordite@hotmail.com or submitting them through the carnival submission form at conservative cat.

Entries will be due in by Friday at 2am eastern (midnight for me).

Oh and you might have noticed, this one is CoC 50, so lets see if we can do somethign special. I'd like to make this the .50 cal special edition, but honestly I don't think we can get enough posts that way.

That said, I'mna encourage all you REAL big bore enthusiasts to write something up for this week.

So submit early, submit often.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Pistol caliber carbines

An NoR reader asked a fairly common question this morning: What kind of velocity and energy increases will I see from a pistol caliber carbine over a standard pistol.

I'm a BIG advocate of pistol caliber carbines, especially if you have a companion piece for them , but people don't generally understand their performance characteristics, so lets take a look at them.

Typically speaking, with a loading that can use it (slower burning powder or heavy loads), you’ll see a 40% or so velocity increase between a 16” rifle barrel and a 5” pistol test barrel (about 3.75” actual rifled barrel length because the test barrel is measured from the breech face. Also note, real pistol barrels are NOT test barrels). Then add 25-50 fps per inch after that until the point of diminishing returns (which is highly variable).

Remember, this is for handloads using slower burning large magnum powders, which can effectively use the barrel length. Standard pistol loads wont see nearly as large an increase.

The first example I want to use is a .357 revolver and a .357 lever action carbine.

We're going to review test barrel numbers, so it's important to remember a new 4” revolver barrel with a tight cylinder gap will typically see 25-50fps less than a 5” test barrel. An older revolver will typically see between 50-100fps less as the forcing cone wears. Also newer revolvers seem to get better velocity out of the same barrel lengths than older revolvers (more comparable to test barrels); which seems to be a manufacturing process issue.

Now, to our examples.

Buffalo Bore lists their 125gr hot load as 1600fps from a new 4” S&W mountain gun, and 2310fps for an 18.5” marlin 1894, which matches up with those approximations reasonably well.

1625fps * 1.4 = 2275fps + (62.5-125 fps for barrel length adjustment) = 2335 - 2397fps

Remember, every gun and every bullet will have different rifling characteristics, different bore smoothness, different bearing surfaces on the bullet etc… so there are some wide variations.

Looking at hot and/or heavy .357 loads from Buffalo Bore and DoubleTap ammo you see the following

Doubletap from pistol test barrel:

(all doubletap ammo listed here is from a 4” SP101 and will be adjusted using the above approximation)

125gr at 1650fps - 755 ftlbs
158gr at 1350fps - 640 ftlbs

Doubletap projected from 20” rifle (assuming a 40% increase over a 5” test barrel, and 25fps per inch over 16")

125gr at 2410fps - 1611ftlbs
158gr at 1990fps - 1390ftlbs

Buffalo Bore from 5” test barrel:

125gr at 1700fps - 800ftlbs
158gr at 1475fps - 765ftlbs
170gr at 1400fps - 740ftlbs
180gr at 1400fps - 785ftlbs

Buffalo Bore projected from 20” rifle (assuming a 40% increase over a 5” test barrel, and 25fps per inch over 16")

125gr at 2480fps - 1710ftlbs
158gr at 2165fps - 1644ftlbs
170gr at 2060fps - 1600ftlbs
180gr at 2060fps - 1695ftlbs

Now again, these are only rough projections, but comparing to the classic 30-30 Winchester we see (from a 24” test barrel)

150gr at 2390fps - 1900fps
170gr at 2200fps - 1825fps

If we drop the minimum 25 fps per inch to go to the 20” barrel we see

150gr at 2290fps - 1745ftlbs
170gr at 2100fps - 1665ftlbs

25fps loss from the 24” barrel is I think rather optimistic, I would expect something like twice that much velocity loss; with the attendant loss of energy.

So from comparable barrel lengths, you can see that hot loaded .357 delivers nearly as much energy as the .30-30… at least within the first 100 yards or so (the ballistic coefficients of pistol bullets are awful). This would also make it similar in power to 7.62x39.

Also remember, these are HOT loads, but they aren't even close to maximum loads that you can get with decent handloading (of course the same thing could be said about the other two comparison calibers).

Basically, this is a perfectly adequate caliber either for personal defense, or for hunting medium game at short ranges (under 200 yards maximum for small deer, 100 yards preferred).

The other example I want to use is the MechTech Carbine Conversion Unit, which has a 16" barrel. MechTech publishes data that show theres about a 30% increase in velocity over a 5" automatic in the standard calibers and loadings, and a 40% increase from the 10,mm .460 Rowland, and .45 super (when loaded specifically for the carbine again, not using standard pistol loads); so our approximations can hold here.

So lets assume we're dealing with 10mm here, since it's probably the best standard auto pistol offering for hunting.

Here's the loadings doubletap is offering.

135gr at 1600fps - 767 ftlbs
155gr at 1475fps - 750 ftlbs
165gr at 1425fps - 744 ftlbs
180gr at 1330fps - 707 ftlbs
200gr at 1270fps - 715 ftlbs

Those loads are solid, but you can do better with handloading. Applying the approximation to them we get:

135gr at 2240fps - 1505 ftlbs
155gr at 2065fps - 1470 ftlbs
165gr at 1995fps - 1460 ftlbs
180gr at 1860fps - 1385 ftlbs
200gr at 1780fps - 1410 ftlbs

I'd also like to add in a load I know to be safe for the 16" carbine, but which is well over standard pistol pressures.

220gr at 1880fps - 1730ftlbs

Though I have to say, I wouldn't load that in fired brass, or reload a case fired with that load.

So you can see, the 10mm carbine can be perfectly adequate for those same medium game at short ranges.

Of course anything thats good on a deer out to 200 yards, will be good on a man out to around the same ranges.

Oh, and just for comparison, lets look at the standard 5.56 nato loadings from a 20" barrel:

55gr at 3250fps - 1290ftlbs
62gr at 3025fps - 1260ftlbs

Lose four inches, and from experience I know we're going to lose on average 250fps going from the 20" barrel to the 16" barrel.

55gr at 3000fps - 1100ftlbs
62gr at 2775fps - 1060ftlbs

Now we can't make a direct comparison of energy numbers here; because as Martin Fackler has proved there is a qualitative difference between wounds created by projectiles traveling below approx. 2500fps or so, and those above; where the temporary stretch cavity tends to be more seriously damaged, partially changing to a permanent tear cavity.

That said, I would expect the wounding effect from the 16" barrel lengths at short ranges to be similar for the 10mm carbine with hot JHP loads, and the AR platform firing either of the standard NATO chamberings. In fact, I would expect the 10mm to be a more effective hunting cartridge at short range, because of its greater mass.

Oh, and for those interested in serious big bore carbines, there are certain .44 and .454 loadings that will break the 2500fps threshold out of an 18-20" barrel; and most .460xvr loads will do it.

The standard .460xvr loading hits 200gr at 2350fps from an 8" barrel, and should approach 2900fps with a light weight bullet (I would guess 165gr would be about the minimum), a slow powder, and an 18" barrel.

Assuming it COULD be done, the energy would be ridiculous at 3000ftlbs which is approaching .300 win mag power levels. Even if only 2800 can be pushed out, you could still match the 7mm magnum.

Lord if only it werent true

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Port of Call

My take on the ports management contract issue is simple. We are looking at it in ENTIRELY the wrong way.

Disregarding the political stupidity of defending the contract, and threatening to veto any legislation designed to block it (which is constitutionally correct by the way), and the fact that if he had denounced the deal the left would have screamed "RACIST RACIST RACIST RACIST" at the tops of their lungs for the next week; I don't see any specific reason, or any legitimate legal justification under the current regulatory regime, why any single company should be excluded from the management of our ports without a direct proven terrorist connection.

If we allow a British company to manage our ports, there is no reason not to let a company from the UAE do so, so long as the UAE is not on the hostile foreign powers list (and they are not).

However, this assumes that we should allow the management of our ports to be offshored at all.

I believe that any major shipping port should be classified as a protected and/or critical infrastructure asset (and some already are), and their management should be limited to American interests.

In fact, though the cost would be high, I would support requiring all employees of a port; who are in a position to approve or influence the transshipment of cargo; and those who directly secure and transport that cargo, to obtain a security clearance.

Omnicode

Well I always had a geek code around (my first year with a webs ite, was the first year it was published), and it hasnt' been updated in... forever, but there a new "OmniCode, to replace it which is supposed to be much more comprehensive, so let's give it a shot.

---------------------- OmniCode 0.1.6 -----------------------
sxy cm188 kg165 skffecdb ha281517 ey6195b5.variable esO sp= Ag1977.04.27 hdd Lo33,47n-111w ZoT RlM Kd2x PeD&C MBENTJ FHb._Short_VanDyke GM-7n
anC rlC&N&O LAEN(9)&FR(3) Crc(8) EdE(6)HbEverything PLL.Minarchist MvD.BMW
RlM Kd2x PeC&PeD MBENTJ FHg.VanDyke BAT.Arm.Military&BAT.Arm.Family UFGreg IN8 AdC.Extreme&S.Extreme PrC(3)&Perl(3)&PHP(3)&Java(2)
----------- Omnicode http://www.gadgeteer.net/omnicode/ -----------

Huh, that is seriously missing a lot of stuff.

Heres my last geek code:

-----BEGIN GEEK CODE BLOCK-----
Version: 3.12
GE/CS/CM/IT/MU/TW/O d-- s++:++ a- C++++$ UBLUAVHIS*++++$
P--- L++ E---- W+++$ N++ w---$ M+ V PS+ PE Y++$ PGP++
t++ 5-- R+++$ b++++ DI++++ D++ G++ e++ h++ r++ y**
------END GEEK CODE BLOCK------

Combined they have MORE of the big stuff, but still not even close to enough.

SOmeone needs to merge, update, and expand the two. Someone who has WAAAAAY too much time on their hands.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Quest for fire, and water

The quest for fire has been successful.

After calling up the gas company, and ripping them a new one for saying that someone would be here to turn on the gas sometime before midnight tonight; they sent someone out right that minute.

We have heat and hot water; and not a moment too soon, because it was gettin pretty miserable 'round here without them.

Not being able to bathe at will was driving Mel nuts (she is a woman after all), and as you can imagine we've got a fairly dirty 4 and 2 year old. For some reason cold water doesn't like to get sticky stuff out of little girl hair.

Speaking of cold water, I've got three women with me who don't drink enough of it, and as a result they are all perpetually dehydrated. I actually pretty much have to force Mel to drink two bottles of gatorade a day.

I'm trying to teach her the cardinal rule of hydration "If you don't gotta piss, you gotta drink"; but it just doesnt seem to be sticking.

My long term solution to this problem? Powdered drink mixes (gatorade, fruit punch, and iced tea) and a water service.

I've just signed on with O Premium waters, because they offer an electrolyte added water that's distilled and reverse osmosis filtered ("spring" water sucks unless you are looking for a specific mineral flavor. It's no good for coffee either), and an all the water you can drink plan for the same price as all the others 30 gallon plan. Better, you own your own water cooler, AND get maintenance and replacement as long as you have service with them. All in all not a bad deal, and I hope it will encourage my loved ones to stop dehydrating themselves.

Next step, acquire a barbequeue, and apply fire to MEAT. I've missed real BBQ; since my condo complex didnt allow presonal grills, and the community grills sucked so I didn't bother with them.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

No shit, there I was...

8 miles high and nothing between me and certain death but a thin blonde...

Actually it was a well rounded brunette (namely Mel, or more specifically Mels lap), and it wasn't certain death, but a fluffy cotton pillowtop; but hey, we all need our illusions right.

You know the difference between a sea story and a fairy tale? Fairy Tales start with "Once upon a time" and Sea stories start with "No shit, there I was".

Anyway, one second I was trying to import my post archive into MT over at http://anarchangel.mu.nu (still broken BTW, but I'm working on it); the next second I was passed out in Mels lap; admittedly a pleastant place to be, but not for a great reason.

It's inevitable, the kids get sick, then the parents get sick.

Mel is yelling at me right now to put the damn computer away and rest, and I will.

102 temperatures and stubborn men

Hi guys. Chris is currently incapacitated with a 102 degree temperature and half asleep in my lap (thank god for laptops). John has been nice enough to offer his help tonight so I can get more of my kitchen items moved and some soup made. Anyway Chris was steadily working his way through the moving despite a cold and it looks like the cold has caught up with him (something about carrying 120+ pounds of books at once down two flights of stairs probably didn't help). Posts will be few and far between until he is better. Hope everyone else is having a better flu and cold season than us at the moment.

Mel

Just call me Mel, everyone else does.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Moving Progress - But baby it's COLD IN-side

Moving proceeds apace; much thanks to Keith, John and Ben who have been helping us out since last Wednesday. We've got all the big stuff moved excepting my work bench (with all my reloading gear clamped to it of course) and a few shelf units.

We spent our first night here last Thursday, and all was well. The house is great, the kids love it, Mel loves it, I love it.

There is just one problem, we have no heat. Oh we have a working furnace, and we HAD heat, on Wednesday, Thrusday, and most of Friday.

But since then it has been quite cold.

Oh and we have no hot water either.

The reason for this?

Well, on tuesday I called the gas company to get the gas account transferred to my name, and the gas turned on. They said that the gas was turned off, and that they couldn't send someone back out to turn it on until Wed. the 22nd.

Only the gas wasn't actually turned off. While we were moving, the gas man came by to turn it off; saw that we were here, and said "well, why make two trips if you're already moved in, I'll just read the meter, note the transfer, and you should be all set".

Which he apparently did, on Wednesday.

Unfortunately, this seems to have left the gas shutoff workorder open, so some time late friday afternoon while we were out, some other enterprising soul came and turned our gas off. We discovered this early Saturday morning when it got down to 45 inside the house. Yes this IS Phoenix, but it's still February. Added to this of course is the lack of hot water, the moving which has made us both stiff and smelly... yeah fun.

The gas company was closed of course, and only responds to "gas emergencies" of which mistakenly shut off gas is not one. Even better, they are also off today for the holiday. The earliest our gas will be turned on is tomorrow, and I'm guessing it wont get done until the date on the original turn on workorder, that being Wednesday.

Thankfully we were well provided with thick blankets, and a thick pillowtop mattress pad, so Mel and I were all cozy comfy. The kids were at grandmas for the weekend, and the house got up to 65 during the day, but they came back last night, and we had to resort to putting a fan in front of the running oven (electric) to get some heat into the house. We of course shut that down before going to sleep (fire danger being what it is, especially at 38% relative humidity), and again woke up to a 49 degree house.

Even better, both kids have some major colds right now; which are not being helped by this. It's either have the oven on with exposed heating elements and fan with kids running around the house; or have said kids freeze their little tukus's off.

Thankfully they know not to go near a hot stove.

At this point ... actually for the last two days... I have been seriously considering jsut dremeling the lock off the meter and turning it on myself. It's not like it's unsafe, and if they lose a lock because of their screw up, so what. A pox be upon their hosue for freezing my family anyway. Mel however is paranoid that they'll permanently turn our gas off and refuse to supply us, or give us some huge fine or something.

Aahhh the joys of the home eh.

And the moving continues...

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Holy crap that's funny

Dirty, but funny. Mostly safe for work.

Priceless

Hunt or Ride

A meme has been going around conservative circles in the last few days since the VP shot his friend in the chest...

Boy isn't that just a surreal statement? Of course it isn't really true either, but it sounds fun don't it?

Anyway, the meme goes like this "Would you rather go hunting with Dick Cheney, or drive over a bridge with Ted Kennedy". This of course is a reference to Teds apparent drunk driving and negligent homicide of MaryJo Kopechne in 1969 on chappaquidick island off of Marthas Vineyard.

Now, I'm not goin to say this isn't at al serious, any time there is an accident with a firearm it's serious; but liberals are trying to make something huge out of this.

Not only that, but they are trying to say that what Cheney did was far WORSE than whatever Kennedy "allegedly" did.

Ok, no.

This came by my email from a maling list I'm on:

Indeed, it is quite obvious the the Vice President has committed a crime just like a Senator did. He shot someone, who may wind up dying as a result, he tried to keep it quiet, and now he refuses to respond to questions about it openly.

Such criminal activity from the administration and Republicans!
Well, at least he was polite. Completely wrong, but polite. What's sad is that I know the person who wrote this is a smart man. I know he FACTUALLY knows what he has said is ridiculous, but it doesnt matter, because he finds what he said emotionally satisfying and ideologically sound.

Seriously, there is no comparison here. Let's break down Cheneys so called "crime"

Cheney was following a rising bird with the muzzle, ignored his surroundings, didnt clear his front arc, and fired too closely to his friend Harry Whittington, who was standing about 30 yards away. The cone of shot spread out far enough that Whittington was struck by several pellets of birdshot.

1. No crime was commited under any penal law in Texas, or most any other state

2. No serious injury resulted from the shot itself. The pellets barely broke the skin. In fact the guy was hurt worse than almost everyone ever shot with birdshot from 30 yards away has been, because 1 #8 pellet (which is 1/16th of an inch across and weighs less than a grain of rice) managed worked its way under a rib, he's 78, and he suffers from arrythmia. It was more the shock of being shot than anything else.

3. The VP tried to keep it quiet? Please. That statement is ridiculous on its face

4. He won't answer questions about it? So what. The full details of the incident have been reported, the only purpose for answering further questions is to try and embarrasss the man further.

I do just wish someone would get these "Cheneys tried to kill a man" idiots to understand that getting hit with a few birdshot pellets from 30 yards away while wearing heavy clothing, is generally a lot like having sand thrown at you when a car speeds off (yes I’ve had it happen).

There are people who do stupid shit like this for FUN, getting dressed up in heavy leather clothing, and shooting at each other with very light bird shot, or rock salt. Some people used to train dogs with a light load of birdshot even; shooting them in the ass with it as negative reinforcement.

Is it painful, sure; but it's not usually life threatening.

This guy was spectacularly unlucky to be at exactly the wrong spot (probably just off the bore axis), and Cheney was an idiot for focusing on the bird to the exclusion of everything else, but seriously, birdshot at 30 yards? I mean come on.

Suggesting this is anything more than stupidity and negligence on the part of the VP the worst sort of tinfoil hattery.

I would direct all of you who think that this is all that serious to this link:

http://www.opinionjournal.com/best/?id=110007971

Now let us compare and contrast. Cheney is one man ignoring safety rules while shooting, and a few pellets of birdshot hit his friend accidentally.

Chappaquidick was a drunken overgrown fratboy who jsut happened to be a senator leaving the scene of a fatality accident, not reporting it for hours, then using family influence and money to avoid jail time.

Let's leave aside theory and speculation, and not even consider what we can prove (which is pretty daming); let's jsut consider what Kennedy admitted to:

Kennedy pleaded to, and was convicted of leaving the scene of an accident after causing injury, normally a felony charge. As part of his plea he admitted to responsibility for the accident; that he had been drinking, he left the scene knowing that the girl was drowning, and he then waited several hours before notifying police; contacting his lawyer in the mean time.

In exchange for this plea, Kennedy recieved a two month suspended sentence for an offense would normally carry a minimum two year sentence (though all but 180 days would normally have been suspended).

This would normally mean his censure and expulsion from the senate as a convicted felon, however there is an interesting technicality of Massachusetts law, in that misdemeanors and felonies are not directly counted as such. In Massachusetts, for most crimes, if you recieve a sentence of greater than two years, you are accorded felon status; if less than two years you are simply a misdemeanant (yes, we have had misdemeanor murders before).

This technicality LEGALLY allowed Kennedy to remain in the senate. His extreme popularity in the state, and the recent asassination of his other brother allowed him to do so politically.
NOTE: I grew up in Boston, and more relevant to this discussion I grew up in
Massachusetts politics. My grandfather was Robert Dinsmore, a former state rep, and state senate candidate who ran against Kennedy for U.S. senate in '76. He of course was soundly defeated.
Theres an old saying from Huey Long "The only way I could lose this election, is if they found me in bed with a dead girl, or a live boy". Well the girl was dead, but she wasn't in bed with him, so teddy got a free pass.

By any rational measure, Kennedy should have been removed from the senate for his negligence; and really he should have been charged with, and convicted of, negligent homicide in the death of MaryJo Kopechne. He didnt because of money and politics.

Cheney ignored the four rules, and a man was hurt because of it.

We shouldn't make light of this; it is a serious issue, but it isn't a crime.

The first rule of firearms safety is always treat all weapons as if they are loaded
The second rule is to never point the muzzle at anything you arent willing to destroy or kill
The third rule is to always keep your finger off the trigger until your target is clearly identified, and you are ready to fire
The fourth rule is to always be sure of your target, and what is beside and behind it

Cheney ignored three out of these four rules, and a man was hurt because of it. That is a big deal.

Any shooter that I'm training that covers anyone else with the muzzle of an unloaded gun gets one warning, they do it again and they are ejected from the class. If they do it with a hot weapon they are immediately ejected, and banned from ever attending one of my classes again.

There are some friends I won't shoot with anymore, because I consider their firearms handling to be unsafe. Cheney has proven that he is not a responsible shooter.

That said, it has nothing to do with his performance as VP; and it isn't a crime.

The press is all energized because, well frankly they don't like the man, but more importantly, they are OUTRAGED, that they weren't brought into every tiny detail immediately; and that the VP wont answer their questions personally.

I'm sorry, but who the hell do they think they are?

Seriously, WHY SHOULD HE talk to the press about it? Because they expect him to? So what. The so called "publics right to know" is bull. Thats nothing more than the press masturbating. Hell, even if the PUBLIC wants to know about it, it's not like we have the right to demand he answer whatever question we can think up. That's just crass.

There is no scandal here; no coverup... hell theres nothing to coverup except a little embarassment. Unless the guy dies, it's basically nothing; and if the guy DOES die, it's because he was 78 had arrythmia,and got the shock of his life.
NOTE: Actually, there would be one hell of a civil suit here if Whittington wanted to pursue one.
By all reports Whittington is fine, but that said, if he does die I suppose you could make a case for negligent homicide. Cheney was clearly negligent in not making sure his forward arc was clear, which is the most basic principal of safe shotgunning. If Cheney is to be charged with negligent homicide, he must resign to face the charges (he can't be charged while serving as VP).

Negligent homicide or not, it's not like they have tired to hide the facts of the case. Just because the press thinks they deserve to be spoon fed everything as it happens doent make it true. Politicians don't have to tell the press a damn thing if they don't want to. THe press arent judges or juries, they dont have the power to compel testimony; and they don't have "the right to know". Honestly, neither does the public, unless a crime has been commited, or it seriously effects the way the country is run.

The public has a right to know about how this country is run. What a politican does on their own time, providing it is legal and ethical, is none of our damned business (and I said the same thing about Clinton by the way).

Shooting someone by accident isn't a crime, and it isn't an ethics violation, its a stupidity violation.

Unfortunately, stupidity does not disqualify one for office.

Do you need glasses?

Yes, yes you do.

Even if you have perfect vision, you still need glasses; by which I mean you need a good set of binoculars. Or at least you do if you do any boating, hiking, camping, hunting, fishing, shooting, flying... I could go on.

A 7x50 marine binocular is the basic all purpose set of field glasses that everyone should have. Fancy addon features like range finders, compases and the like can be nice (especially on the water), but they may detract from the ruggedness and light transmissivity of the glasses.

Binoculars, aka field glasses are there to let you see detail at a distance, to spot relatively small objects at a distance, and in general to make that far away world a little bit close to your eyes; especially in the dark, or at twilight time, when your eyes are confused and inefficient.

A good set of 7x50s can actually see better than you can. The light gathering and transmissivity of a decent pair of binocs can actually give you BETTER vision (light gathering and contrast) than with the naked eye, never mind the magnification. In fact a good pair of 10x70s can make a medium moon look like an overcast day. That may not sound impressive at first, but it's pretty startling when you try it out the first time. Some of the giant spotter glasses (like the 20x120) can take a full moon night, and make it damn near as bright as the morning.

Now, as to picking out glasses, how do you choose? There are literally thousands of models out there, with a bunch of different specifications, brands, and price points.

First things first, general quality. If you are looking for an all around set of glasses, you want to go for decent quality. A set of compacts you can fold up and stick in your coat pocket are fine for $30 but dont expect them to be a decent pair of primary field glasses. Expect to pay $200 to $500 for a good pair of 7x50's for example, from a reputable brand; and from $500 up to about $1500 for a premium brand.

The brands I generally look at in the "reasonable" price range include Bushnell, Steiner, Nikon, Pentax, Fujinon, Zhumell, and Bausch and Lomb. There are others, notably from scope manufacturers and camera manufacturers, but that list right there covers the majority of the field. Oh, and several of these manufacturers has a lower end economy orented line that I would stay away from, some under their own name (Bushnell), and some under another trade name (Bosch and Lomb)

The "premium" brands include Swarovski, Zeiss, Leica, Newcon, Oberwork, and Kowa, among others.

Honestly, unlike rifle scopes or spotting scopes, where high end glass can be worth every penny; in this case you don't necessarily get what you pay for.

What I mean by that is, I don't think you get much value for money by going to the premium brands, unless you are buying very high magnification glasses, you're using your binocs in extremely low light conditions; or unless you require a specialty feature like image stabilization (which reduces the visible shaking in the image from hand held glasses at high magnification).

There is definitely a difference in optical clarity between the low end (which I wouldn't even consider) and the middle, and the middle and high end... I just dont think the 10% extra clarity from a Leica makes it worth three to five times the cost of a Steiner.

The important considerations, other than overal quality of the optics and contruction, are the objective lens size, the magnification, and the field of view.

When I talk about a 7x50 pair of binoculars, what I am saying is that the magnification is 7 power, and the objective lens is 50mm across. If You see 7-24x56 it means that the optics will zoom from 7 all the way to 24 power, and have a 56mm objective lens.

Why is the objective size important? Well, two reasons. The first is, the larger the objective size, the more light is gathered by it (as I described above). The second is related to that, because the larger the objective, the large the exit pupil size will be for a given magnification.

Whats that? Well the exit pupil is the diameter of the light that is being projected onto your eye by the glasses.

In full darkness, a young eye will dilate up to about 7mm, to take in more light from the surroundings. With optics, the wider the exit pupil, the more light YOUR pupil can gather, to form a clearer brighter image. In an ideal world, you want to use all 7mm if you can.

To figure the exit pupil diameter, you divide the size of the objective lens in millimeters by the magnification power. So a 7x50 would have an exit pupil diameter of 7.14 millimeters; which is just about the most your eye can use.

All that said, most of your binoculars use if you're an "average" person will be in the day time. It's important to note that in broad daylight your pupils normal at rest state is around 2-3mm, and in bright light your pupils will be at their smallest. Also note that as your eyes get older, the lose flexibility and dont dilate as widely, so that by the time you are in your fifties, the average puil dilation is down to around 5mm.

Given those factors, although I don't generally recommend that your primary glasses have anything less than a 5mm exit pupil at max magnification, even down to a 2-3mm pupil will still transmit useful amounts of light in the day time.

Now, the other import specification to look at is the field of view (FOV). This is generally given either in degrees, or in feet at 1000 yards. 1 degree is 60 minutes of angle, or just under 5 feet at 100 yards, 50 feet at 1000 yards etc (actually it's about 48 feet, but estimating to 50 is usually sufficient)... You can find binoculars with fields of vew as narrow as 2 degrees, or as wide as 18 degrees, but the normal range is from 4-8 degrees. Anything more than 8 degrees is considerd a wide field binocular, and you will pay a bit more for them.

Generally speaking the higher the power, the narrower the field of view, though this can be compensated for with different optical configurations. Also generally speaking a wider field of view is an advantage, because it lets you glass more area, faster, without scanning as much; thus you are less likely to miss something completley when you are moving relatively quickly. Now, here's the thing though; field of view is important, but WIDE field of view isn't necessarily better. In some situations a narower field is an advantage. Picking out a small object at great distances can be quite difficult with a wide field of view; and if you already know where to scan, a narrower field of view helps you focus in on difficult to spot objects. You have to make a more careful search, but you get better results, and will see more detail. Basically you need to pick your FOV based on your needs.

Okay, so what do you buy?

Well, About the best binocs out there are MilSurp 10x70, 15x80, and 20x120 "BigEye" marine spotting glasses. They were made on contract spec by various manufacturers, including Swarovski, Zeiss, Leica, Leitz, Newcon, Steiner, Fujinon, and Nikon. Technically speaking I dont think the navy officially remaindered any of them, but you can find them on the MilSurp market for a fairly high, but not ridiculous price. Unfortunately they are quite heavy (the 120mms are only tripod mounted), so they aren't exactly ideal for field use; but if you have to glass long open spaces (prairie, long mountain views, or water) in the dark; they are indispensible.

Realistically thoguh, most of us don't need that kind of light gathering, most of the time; and a tripod mounted glass isn't exactly usful while hiking; so as I said above, a compromise is in order. The 7x50 is generally the best all around compromise position between cost, size, power, ruggedness, weight etc... I also recommend you chose a 7x50 marine, whether you are boating or not, because they are generally more rugged, and almost always more waterproof than other glasses.

Grab yourself a 7x50 from a reputable, medium grade brand and you won't be sorry. I have a pair of Steiner 7x50 marine glasses somewhere, but I can't find them. I may have lost them when my storage unit went bye-bye; in which case I'll be replacing them, probably with the same make and model.

Oh and while you're at it, a half decent pair of compact field glasses, and a very decent compact monocular are also things I recommend anyone carry out in the field at all times. I have both, they only weigh a few ounces each, they ride in a vest pocket and on a lanyard around my neck, and they instantly give me a quick up close view.

You obviously can't get the quality and light gathering of larger glasses, but my bushnell 8x25 compacts are just fine for a well lit day. They fold, and they have a 7 degree FOV so I can spot distant objects fairly quickly. If you ARE hunting or tracking at twilight, you can get compact glasses with a 5mm exit pupil; and there are compacts with up to an 18 degree FOV. My monocular is also an 8x25, but it is very small, and it has a narrower field of view, basically acting as a mini spotting scope.

Add in a set of 10x70's for your house, car, or boat; and your field glass needs are pretty well covered.

Of coures then we get into rifle scopes, and spotting scopes; and thats a whole nother post... hell it's a whole nother BOOK.

THe King of offensively funny comic strips, and this is all he can do?



I was expecting better Aaron.

My Girls in about 5 years

Blatantly stolen from Tam who blatantly stole it from Oleg Volk:




Needless to say (though I will anyway), Oleg is big about teaching kids about proper handling of firearms, and their proper purpose in society; that of defending ones life and freedom



I've already told Mel that the girls were getting ARs at like seven or so, but I had thought of this one first:




There's only one problem, Mel HATES Barbie with a passion that burns like a thousand suns, so now we have our solution.

Although, if we wanted to start them out even earlier, theres always one of these from Crickett:



HT: Eric Sivula

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Moving starting tonight

Ok guys, the next few days are going to be rough, we're moving without benefit of truck or moving crew, so dont expect much in the way of blog posts.

Wish our backs and knees luck.

UPDATE: Hey sweet, my bud Keith saw this post and volunteered his truck (S-10) tomorrow. We should be able to get the couches, bed, shelf units, desk, entertainment center chairs and tables moved in like three or four trips now.

Everything else fits in passenger cars thankfully.

Come to a fight...

See a hockey game break out...

You Are Hockey

Tough, athletic, and not afraid of a fight.
You don't mind putting your body on the line!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

The Big Blogiversary



Ayup, it's been one year, and 200 some odd thousand visitors since starting this blog..

My first post was modest, in scope if not in demeanor:

First Post!!!!!

Ok folks, people have been telling me to write my own blog for two years now, so finally, here it is.

Yeah I said I'd get around to it before, but I'm lazy, what can I say.

The initial content is mostly going to be stuff I've written for other peoples blogs, and fora etc...

Suggestions, praise, worship, and deification are all welcome.
Chris Byrne at 2/14/2005 08:53:00 AM


But then I started right off into the Recipes for REAL Men series, and the AnarchAngel blog was born.

In between we've had lots of guns, lots of laughs, a fatwa and a few other assorted death threats... overall I'd say a good time.

Now it's one year, and almost 600 posts later. I've added a family to my life, and now to my blog (Mel, take a bow)...

Well, it's been a hell of a year, lets hope for just as interesting this year... weeeellll maybe not QUITE so interesting, but still, just as good or better right?

Let me repeat what I said in march of LAST year, around my one MONTH blogiversary:

Let me tell you, things build up inside for a guy like me, and I have to let them out. I'm a pretty intense guy in some ways, and a pretty laid back in others. I'm easy going, I don't get angry or mad like other people do, I'm not a yeller, but I get very... forceful when Im passionate; or I get VERY sarcastic or just humorous, but it has to come out somehow.

A lot of things in this world strike me as absurd, or funny, or sad, or appalling... hell, a lot of things just strike me. I look around, I notice things... mostly I notice other people NOT noticing things, and that bugs me.

I love the free and open exchange of ideas. I love debate. I love argument. I hate PC bullshit that stifles these things. I hate when people look at conversation as a competition that has to be won. I hate that people take disagreement personally.

I want to talk about things. I want people to think about things in new and different way. I want to be contentious, and to stir people up, because then, you're actually think about things, rather than just going though the motions.

If I can do that, then maybe those things can change, or get better; or the good things may get stronger, and maybe people will give a damn a bit more. Yeah, it's corny, but if each of us, one at a time, starts changing peoples minds about things, then eventually the good guys CAN win.

If I can do that, than anything else I do won't matter, and I'll be damned happy, and consider myself damned lucky (emphasis on the damned part I think).

I feel profoundly grateful that I am able to express myself in this way; that I have both the capability, and the forum; and that I have people who want to read what I write.

Well, don't thank me boys and girls, I need to thank you.

Happy Birthday Mike

In addition to being St. Valentines day, it's my friend Mikes birthday.




Mike isn't a cowboy as shown in this rather bad pic, he's actually from Southern California, and an engineer with a rocket scientist for a father (literally); but he's a cowboy at heart.

He and I have been friends for over ten years now; and I haven't physically seen him in eight of those. Fortunately that's going to change in a couple months when I'll be the best man at his wedding.

I hope.

I say this because Mike has been engaged more times than anyone I know, and thus far none of the weddings have come off. He was even left at the altar one time.

He's a great guy, reasonably good looking, fun in a wholesome/sweet/not-quite-boring/LDS sort of way; he's just had bad luck with the whole marriage thing.

Which is all the more ironic, considering his birthday.

So, happy birthday Mike, and I hope things are going as planned for the wedding. See ya in May buddy.

Valentines Day Gift




There's chocolates, and then there's CHOCOLATE!!!!!!!!; and this stuff definitely falls into the latter category.

This was my valentines day present to my honey; 38% - 78% chocolate solids drinking chocolate. In case you didnt know, "hot chocolate" is to drinking chocolate as Mad Dog 20/20 is to The MacAllan 25 year old fine oak.

Instead of some powdered sugar, condensed milk, and cheap synthesized cocoa powder, this is essentially drinking liquid chocolate mixed with hot milk. If you want a similar flavor, go to Starbucks and order a "chantico". This is MUCH MUCH better, but the richness is similar.

Oh, and so are the calories, and about 400 per serving, 200 of them from fat. When I said this was drinking melted chocloate, I wasn't kidding. You are basically drinking a really good german chocolate bar.

I specify German chocolate for a reason. American chocolate has, if you are lucky, about 20% chocolate solids, and if you are buying Hersheys, under 10%. The chocolate we use tends to be more bitter, grainier, and chalkier than the chocolates common in europe, where 25%-40% chocolate solids are more common (and in some cases required by law), and you can get confections with up to 70% chocolate solids.

Here in the U.S. the balance of most chocolates are made up with condensed milk, milk sugar, artificial vanilla flavor, whey protein and soy lecithin; whereas in a fine european chocolate you basically get cocoa solids, cocoa butter, natural vanilla, cream or milk, and sugar (although most drinking chocolate perparations also include the lecithin to help emulsify the chocolate). Also in a good chocolate all the fat should be provided by the milk and cocoa butter; but in cheaper chocolates they often use hydrogenated coconut or palm oil.

Basically, a hershey bar isn't even in the same category as a Lindt couverture (just as an example).

The difference in flavor and mouth feel is HUGE. Those used to european chocolate tend to take abite, and then stop eating out of disappointment. Of course on the other hand that means if you are used to Hersheys, having some real chocolate is going to be an entirely new, and quite tasty experience for you. I HIGHLY recommend doing so as soon as is humanly possible.

Yes, my honey and I are chocolate lovers of the first order, and we stocked up on this stuff. No we didnt buy the whole package above, but we did get five of them, plus the cocoa powder.

The cost... well it's not cheap. Each tin is about $17 (including shipping), and makes eight 8 oz servings of drinking chocolate, so it's a bit more than $2 a cup; and it's worth every penny.

It's soooo much better than some plain old box of chocolates; and we can both enjoy this together (and have several times so far. We'll definitely be buying more of this), plus none of those icky green fruit flavored ones, or weird raspbery syrup filling.

Mel wants to get their baking chocolate, and make some brownies with it. Sure they'd cost like $4 a brownie, but they'd be worth every penny.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Captain Kirks new power tools

Ok so I was cruising Dremels web site, and I saw the new Dremel Stylus tool... and all I could think was "Wow, some fanboy must have designed this":


Mighty Rat

In the hot rodding world, there are generally two types of Chevy motors; Mouse motors are small block V8's, and Rat motors are big block V8's.

Each of the major manufacturers has small and big blocks. Each small block was available in a large number of displacements and configurations, as was each big block, but they were all based on the same two cores (a large and a small) with similar mounting points, accessories etc... and they can often be installed in the same cars. The traditional mouse and rat motors are the Small Block Chevy (available between 265 and 400 C.I.D, but most commonly a 350), and the Big Block Chevy (from 348 to 560 C.I.D., but never more than 455 from the facotry, and most often seen as the 454).

I don't know who coined the term, but it's been around for a loooong time.

A couple months back I wrote about my new pocket tgun, the Kel-Tec P3AT, that we've taken to calling "Mighty Mouse". Well, mighty mouse now has a big brother.

Everybody say hello to Mighty Rat:



From the press release:

The PF-9 is a semi-automatic, locked breech pistol, chambered for the 9 mm Luger cartridge. It has been developed from our highly successful P-11 and P-3AT pistols with maximum concealability in mind. The PF-9 has a single stack magazine holding 7 rounds. It is the lightest and flattest 9 mm ever made. Firing mechanism is Double-Action Only with an automatic hammer block safety. The PF-9 will be available in blued, parkerized, and hard chrome finishes. Grips will be in black, grey, and olive drab.

The PF-9 accessory rail will accept the latest compact weapon lights and lasers.

The PF-9 retains the best features from our P-11 and P-3AT pistols combined into the flattest and lightest single stack 9mm configuration ever made. The barrel, locking system, slide stop, assembly pin, front sight, recoil springs and guide rod are adapted from the P-11. The PF-9 is nearly identical to the P-11 in length and height and shares the same exterior controls. The shorter trigger system with integral hammer block and the extraction system are adapted from the P-3AT. Just like the P-11, the PF-9 will accept +P ammunition, however, not with continuous use.

The rear sight is a new design and is adjustable for windage with the supplied allen wrench as well as for elevation with the use of shims (not included). The included 7 round rectangular magazine is supplied with a finger extension base plate and numbered holes. The under barrel accessory rail shares the dimensions of the MIL-STD-1913 picatinny rail although there is only one locking notch in the forward position.

SUGGESTED RETAIL PRICES
Description -- Price
PF-9 Pistol, Blued -- $314.00
PF-9 Pistol, Parkerized -- $355.00
PF-9 Pistol, Hard Chrome -- $368.00

The PF-9 pistol comes with one 7 round magazine, and includes a gun lock.

Expected availability: May 2006
I need one; hell EVERYBODY needs one.

Kel-Tec is definitely going right after Kahr with this model.

The P9 is half the price, thinner, and ligther than the smallest Kahr, a bit taller WITH the finger grip mag extension, but it holds 1 more round (putting the grip extension on the on the kahr makes it 1/2” taller than the Kel-Tec).

Comparing the P9 to the non-micro standard frame polymer kahr’s which have the same 7+1 capacity as the kel-tec, it’s half an inch shorter in length, .25” shorter in height, and 3 oz lighter.

In fact the only smaller 9mm made is the Rohrbaugh; and theres a 1+ year waiting list for a $900 gun that only writers have got their hands on so far.

Compared to the P3AT in .380, already about the smallest and lightest pistol in IT’S class, the 9mm P9 is only 4.4oz heavier, .65” longer and .8” taller (again with the finger extension. The extension adds .5” to the p3at).

I own a Kahr, and it is a GREAT CCW piece, but it really is definitely a belt gun because it is just a bit too long, a bit too tall, and a bit too heavy for a pocket. The new P9 is jsut the ticket for a 9mm pocket gun. It’s big enough to be controllable, but still small enough for the pocket.

I could live without the rail, in fact I think that cros slot may catch in a pocket; but you can alway fill it in, or slap a rail cover on there.

Hell I showed it to Mel, and she wants one too for her purse/jeans gun for when the sp101 doesnt fit.

Oh and why mighty rat? Shouldnt the rat be a .40 or a .45... Well the Small Block chevy started with the 265, and ended up as big as a 400. The little Kel-Tec mouse gun started off as a lowly .32, and is currently in a .380. The rat here is starting of as a 9mm, but who knows, maybe it can end up a .357 sig?

Summer rituals and old trucks...

Today I officially began my annual summer ritual of parking spot searching. This is the time of year where the worth of a parking spot is no longer determined by proximity to the front doors, but instead determined by the amount of shade available. As I am now driving a jet black car with leather interior, this has become quite important in the past week. Anyone who has not spent any time in a car that has baked in 100 degree weather can not fully appreciate the effects of hot leather on bare skin.

Honestly I'm used to it, whether it's Max (my current vehicle, formerly in Chris's name), The Big Red Beast (my father's truck), or the 'Burban (part of the family since I was 6) I am always looking for the parking spot with the lowest ouch factor. Of course my favorite will always be my old truck Catti.

The last 3 vehicles all have something in common. At one point or another they all belonged to another member of my family, and they are all old Chevys. The Big Red Beast originally belonged to my oldest brother, and is a 1976 Chevy 1/2 ton with a full-size bed and cherry red paint. She has a 292 straight 6, and 3 gears on the floor with a granny gear. And, of course, a goose-neck hitch. I drove her to and from work for a full 4 months before giving her back to my father. The truck and I have a love-hate relationship, but she did okay.

The 'Burban is a '78 Chevy Silverado Suburban, blue with white stripes. She's been in the family since I was 6 and at last estimate (odometer is long dead) has 400k miles on her with one engine rebuild. Also 3 speed with a granny the 'Burban of course has a 454. I drove her for almost a year and loved every minute. I took her almost everywhere in the state, included Flagstaff on a day when everyone ended up snowed in (including me).

Catti, however, Catti was mine. '72 Chevy 1/4 ton pickup, full size bed, black with absolutely no extras (NONE). Add that to a three on the tree with a big V8 engine (307 small block, but big enough) and god I loved that truck. Originally my father's, he ended up giving it to me upon my mother's request upon me departure for Vancouver. I had been driving her since I was 17; before that I had driven my brother's truck Bertha, a 76 GMC High Sierra that looked like crap but had a fully-functional 454. Many of the teenage boys in the area were quite surprised when they revved their engines, tried to beat me after a stoplight, and lost horrendously. When I received Catti I was even worse, only losing twice, once to a sports car and once to a similar truck. I adored that truck. I could quite literally do everything I ever needed to with one toolbox, and I had enough room that I could actually sit in the engine compartment.

After replacing all of the seals and gaskets I drove 1700 miles with Catti, non-stop, from Phoenix to Vancouver, with a cat. A year later I had to sell the truck because Rosie was born, and my (ex)husband sold it for a measly $1000 Canadian. I call that grounds for a divorce, don't you?

But I love old trucks, particularly GMs. There's nothing like them, and most likely will be nothing like them again. Sunday Chris and I were driving and passed an old Chevy truck for sale... I made the supposed "kitten noises" and all. I love the BMW, but I will always have a soft spot in my heart for good ol' steel trucks.

Mel

Call me Mel, everyone else does.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Our New House

Well, we did it; we signed the lease earlier today, and we're moving starting Wednesday... (and I mean actually physically moving not just moving the blog, which will also be happening thanks to googles political bias disguised as policy, but thats another post entirely).

This is our new house:



And more importantly, why we chose THIS particular house:



It has a nice big yard, with a bunch of trees (including a tangerine tree), a nice patio (with a cool mist sprayer systems - a must in PHX), and a seven foot high red cedar privacy fence with a secure gate. Even better, it's in a doglegged cul de sac, close to but well off of (and well separated from the noise and traffic of)a main road.



Of course you know, this means pets. In particular we're planning on a puppy and a cat as soon as we're settled in. The puppy is for me (I MISS having dogs), and the kitty for the girls.

The house is old, but well maintained, about 1800 sq ft. and it's typical of the style of homes built in Scottsdale in the fiftes (it's a 1957 house); though the interior has been substantially updated.

Lest you think the interior is hideous, allow me to present, our new living room:



You can't really tell from this pic, but the living room is about 12'x28'. Pretty much HUGE. There is a new central air system with seperate AC and furnace untis, and bothe are over specced for the house; and theres a supplemental AC unit in said massive living room (which was there when the central air was piddly and weak).

The main living area is open plan, with a waist high divider wall separating the living room from the rest of the house, and opening out into the decent sized pass through style kitchen; with attached laundry room.



and the separate dinette area:



Through the kitchen is another den/office area thats 12' x 16', with a bunch of windows. We're thinking that's going to be our craft/hobby/game room (a poker table is in our future).

It's got the basics, 3 fairly small bedrooms (1957 had different standards for bedroom size), one with a 3/4 bath for the master, and all having nice sized closets. It also has a full tile family bathroom. Actually it's the original tile from '57, and it's in remarkably good shape. The bathroom is almost Lileksian in it's 50's style charm. Of course that also means it's relatively small as well.

The neatest thing about the place is something we'll probably never use, and is even more of that "Lileksian charm"; it's got a central vacuum cleaner system, with vacuum outlets in every room. Ahhhh the fifties.

It has the standard Arizona car port, with a six car sized driveway, and a graveled side area suitable for more parking, or storage, plus parking in front; so parking will NOT be a problem unlike our current condo which sometimes requires our guests to make a 1/4 mile walk.

Theres a storage shed on the side of the house, and plenty of interior closet space.

The owner is a decent guy from Marina Del Ray; a TV producer who makes documentary programs for discovery, th history channel, the learning channel, and national geographic. He was trying to sell the house for the last few months, but now he's happy to lease to us; and he's interested in doing alease to buy, which may be a decent option for us next year.

Honestly though, none of that really matters. We drove up to the place, opened the back gate and the kids started running and playing right away. Before we left Rosie said "Can we live here", and Mel started making kitten noises.

One cannot resist the power of the estrogen...

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Well, I'd rather an HK416...

...but since HK doesnt want to sell me one, and Robarm still isn't shipping; this could do

SIGARMS press release:

New SIG 556 Rifle: The time Has Come
SIGARMS® introduces U.S. made version or legendary Swiss rifle.

EXETER, NH – No other semi-automatic rifle has captured the imagination of the shooting public like the SG 550 series rifle. For years this legendary Swiss made rifle has been restricted to law enforcement and military sales where it has continuously built on its reputation for outstanding performance, accuracy and durability. Now, SIGARMS® has announced that the time has come for a U.S. made version and introduces the new SIG 556.

The SIG 556 features the same high-performance two position adjustable gas piston operating rod system engineered by SIG’s sister company Swiss Arms and marries it to a trigger housing that not only cuts the rifle’s weight by a pound but is designed to accept standard AR magazines.

Originally developed to work under the extreme situational pressures and environmental conditions of the Swiss Army on alpine duty, the new SIG 556 delivers when it counts regardless of ammunition type and variances in gas pressure or case material.

The SIG 556 features a 16” military grade cold hammer forged barrel with a twist rate of 1 in 9”. The barrel is locked to the steel receiver through a unique system that allows the user to easily change out the barrel.

The forearm housing the gas operating system is a vented non-slip polymer featuring the SIG TriRail design with three integrated Picatinny rails for mounting accessories. There is a forward mount for right or left side sling attachment. The flip up front combat sight is adjustable for windage and elevation.

The Picatinny rail equipped receiver is made of high strength carbon steel with a durable wear-resistant Nitron® X rifle finish. The trigger housing is made from a heat treated aircraft grade aluminum alloy with a hard-coat anodized finish designed to survive extreme conditions. The rifle comes equipped with a smooth two-stage trigger.

The SIG 556 also features an ambidextrous safety and is designed to accept standard AR magazines. A rugged 30-round polymer magazine is supplied with each rifle.

Spare battery compartments are provided in the ergonomically designed pistol grip as well as the rubber padded watertight adjustable butt stock. The butt stock also offers sling attachment points.

In addition to the standard model SIG 556 which will begin to ship in late summer of 2006, SIGARMS will also offer a SIG 556 L featuring a longer forearm but also equipped with the 16” barrel. The 556 L will be ideal for upgrading to the 20” barrel for more precision oriented shooting.

The third model planned to 2006 is the SIG 556 SWAT. The SWAT model will feature the same compact design of the standard SIG 556 with 16” barrel but will feature a flat top Picatinny railed receiver and a tactical quad rail.

These three rifles are the first of several new SIG 556 models that are currently in development at SIGARMS. The wait is over. The new U.S. made SIG 556 begins shipping in late summer – because the time has come.

SIG 556 SPECIFICATIONS & FEATURES

............................SIG 556 L.......SIG 556......SIG 556 SWAT
Caliber: ---------------------- 5.56 mm ----------------------
Overall Length: ........36.5”..........36.5”............36.5”
Length w/ Stock Folded: 33”........33”..............33”
Barrel Length: ...........16”............16”.................16”
Sight Radius: ............21”...........17.75”.............17.75”
Forearm: --------- Polymer SIG TriRail --------Quad Rail
Rifling: ----------------------- 1 in 9” ------------------------
Weight w/o Mag.:.......7.2 lbs........6.8 lbs........6.8 lbs
Operating System:------- Gas Operated, Rotating Bolt ------
Magazine Capacity: 30 Rnds........30 Rnds........30 Rnds
MSRP ......................$1,299........$1,299........$1,799



Theres some great pics under that link to the sig forums. I jsut didnt want to stel them from a site I support. When sigarms puts up their pofficial press pics on their site, I'll steal away.

Anyway, to the rifle...

Well, I don't care for the forearm (though it's better than the stock SG550), and it's a might spendy for what you get, but I've fired several guns in the SG550 family, and it's a damn fine weapon, so I'm very glad to see this as a civvy option.

Best features? Hmm, piston operated, adujustable gas regulator, quick change barrel (they only have 16" and 20" listed but 24s are available in the line under the "precision rifle" model they sell to LEO so...), and of course 1913 and stanag compatible so those AR accessories will mostly work.

HT: Sig Forums