Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Crimp my style

Have I ever mentioned how much I hate reloading military ammo?

Here's why:

That little indented ring around the primer is the crimp. Most military ammo has crimped and sealed primers; and while they serve a useful purpose for the military, for reloaders they make things.. a little more difficult shall we say.

The best way to deal with crimped primers is to have a single stage press set up with a decap only die. That way you can just continuously decap the cases without any of the effort of resizing applied at the same time; because crimped primers can take a lot more effort to pop out, especially if they are sealed.

That leaves you with a decapped case that still has a crimp ring in the primer pocket. If you try and prime cases without removing that crimp ring, a number of things can happen. The best possible outcome is that the primers require a hell of a lot of force to seat. The worst is that the primers deform horribly on seating, ruining the case, jamming up the press, and possibly igniting (I've had all but the ignition part happen).

So let's not try that then OK.

Theres a tool called a crimp swager, that in one quick step presses out the crimp, re-swaging the primer pocket. It also needs to be set up in a single stage press; unless you get one of the free standing models that bolts to your bench.

Unfortunately, I don't have any of my single stages set up at the moment, I don't have a primer pocket swager; and I had 300 military cases to reload yesterday.

The other solution, is to ream the crimp out with a primer pocket reamer, which I DO have. Of course that's a hand operation, and you cant just ream the crimp off, you also need to clean and uniform the primer pocket and clean up the flash hole (actually you should do that on military, and a lot of commercial brass anyway).

At least I've got one of the RCBS time mate centers; because doing itcompletely by hand... well let's just say I wouldn't have made it through 50 rounds.

So what I did was, I took my Hornady .223 dies, which have a very long decapping stem; and I backed it out far enough that it was acting as a decapping and neck expanding die only. Then I set up my RCBS small base die to work the case; and I ran them through the progressive with just those two dies running.

Even then, the force required to cycle the press was.. substantial.

From there, I manually reamed every primer pocket, cleaned up the pocket and flash hole, and if necessary reamed and deburred the case neck; taking about 15 seconds per case. The whole process of prepping those 300 cases took me four hours; and that wasn't even loading them, it was just getting them ready to be loaded.

Let me tell you, 4 hours of grasping small, slightly slippery objects, and applying them precisely, and with force, onto tool small rotating heads... Well when I woke up this morning my hands were extremely unhappy, lets just say that.

Thankfully of course, once those steps were done it was easy to complete the job of loading; and it went through near as fast as pistol ammo.

Now tomorrow, 300 more of my match grade. I'm using Winchester brass on those, so thankfully no more primer pocket reaming. It's still going to be "fun" though, since I individually weigh each charge. Should take me pretty much all day. Good thing I can do it in between teleconferences... or for that matter DURING some of them.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

"Green" but Not Humanitarian

Look what the BBTOH brought

Actually, it was yesterday afternoon; and I am going to be VERY busy this week. I've got a couple thousand rounds to load before we leave Friday afternoon.

Help them at home

"Greater love hath no man than this; that a man lay down his life for his friends" -- John 15:13

In June of 2005, then Captain (now Major) Charles "Chuck" Ziegenfuss, led an armored patrol in force into an Iraqi town where intelligence had indicated an ambush of U.S. forces was planned.

On arriving in the town, Cpt. Ziegenfuss was approached by a local resident, and informed of a large IED that was placed near his house overnight. Because his tank could not cross a bridge over a small irrigation canal to enter the town, Cpt. Ziegenfuss dismounted, and was proceeding on foot to investigate; when a second IED that had been previously buried under the roadway was detonated.

Cpt. Ziegenfuss was blown several meters into the canal; suffering severe shrapnel wounds over almost the entirety of his body excepting where he was protected by armor. He also lost half of one hand, part of the other, and much of the skin and muscle on his arms and legs to the blast.

I'm proud to say I know Chuck, and I've shot with him (he's a damn fine shot even still). He's a funny guy, with a hell of a lot of guts. A lot of other folks would've said "Well, I've had enough now"... but that just isn't the kind of guy he is. He's back on active duty, instructing ROTC cadets in his home state of Pennsylvania, and he plans on staying on active duty until they kick him out.

When Chuck was in the hospital recovering from his wounds (I should note, it's been two years and he is still in recovery; though he has been back on active duty since 2006); he figured something out: What he really wanted most, to help him get through the pain, and the boredom, and the mind numbing misery that is an extended hospital stay... was a laptop.

Thing is though, Chuck had two half hands, both wrapped in bandages. How was he going to use a laptop?

Well, he's not a quitter (there's an understatement). He had an idea, and he asked Soldiers Angels to help him out. Could they get him a laptop, with voice command software installed on it, so he could run the thing without using his hands much?

The Soldiers Angels motto is "Let no soldier go unloved", and these people move mountains, at great personal cost in time, energy, and money; to make sure that every soldier gets what they need to help them get through their times of hardship.

Turns out, the Angels more than lived up to their reputation, and they could indeed get Chuck a laptop, and they did, and it worked. He was able to keep his mind active, and keep communicating with the world at large even while he was laid up.

In fact, it was such an improvement to his morale, that he was able to (in fact he damn near forced them to) reduce his pain medication. So long as he could keep his mind occupied with other things, his pain didn't seem to matter as much.

Now, at this point, you might have got the notion that Chuck isn't one to lay down, even when he's lost 30lbs of muscle and bone, and is on enough morphine to kill a horse.

See, he figured, that if a voice activated laptop did so much for him, why couldn't they do this for other wounded soldiers. So he pitched the idea to Soldiers Angels; and Project Valour IT was born.
Voice Activated Laptops for Our Injured Troops - Valour IT.

Valour IT buys laptop computers, and accessibility accessories for wounded soldiers. Be they wounded in combat or training, if they need a laptop, and Valor IT has the money, they're getting a laptop and everything they need to make it work.

...If they have the money.

So far, Valour IT has raised enough to give over 1500 laptops to our wounded soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines; but there are more wounded men and women that could use our help.

So, just to keep this in the military spirit (and to use our rivalry to best effect), they have an annual interservice fundraising drive; with teams from and supporting each of the services competing to raise the most cash for the cause.

One should note, all the money ends up being used for ALL servicemembers; the money raised by the Air Force team doesn't go only to AIrmen. It's jsut a way of having a little fun while raising money for a good cause.

Last year, the Navy kind of stomped on everyone, raising more than twice as much as any other team. Well, this year, that aint gonna happen, if this former bluesuiter has anything to do about it.

This is a standard, tax deductible charitable donation, and I can't imagine a better cause. All my charitable giving for this year, and the foreseeable future, excepting that going to my parish, is going to Valour IT; and I ask you to please help in any way you can.

What is it?

Reader TBone asks: "I've got a new project in the works. See if you or your readers can identify this blast from the past."

Well, my guess is that it's a .38-45 Clerke; which was a .45 acp case, necked down to take .355 bullets.

It's hard to tell the diameter by perspective, and that would be a VERY rare and unusual chambering, but it would seem to be the closest fit. I'm pretty sure it's not a .400 cor-bon or a .38 casull; because it looks smaller than a .40, and seems to have more shoulder than a .400 Cor-Bon, and it's got a .45acp headstamp and doesn't take a small rifle primer like the .38 Casull.

What's your guess?

Monday, October 29, 2007

Does it really make much difference; or even much sense?

So, I kinda want one of these:

As a companion piece to the gift from the gods of boom. That, specifically, is a Dan Wesson Bobtail Commander, in 10mm

It's essentially a Dan Wesson frame (sorta... they are owned by CZ-USA but they do have their own factory in upstate New York.. unfortunately not the same factory they USED to be in in Palmer MA, but that facility was obsolete) with Ed Brown hard parts. The ones I've handled are excellent quality, and they just feel good in the hand.

Now, I really like the bobtail grip (though some very much do not, you need to try it first), and I've opined before that the commander length is my favorite 1911. Plus, much as I love my 5" 10mm, it is just a bit big for concealed everyday carry in Arizona (whereas I have no problem with my commander).

Now, a lot of folks think that in a 1911, the length of the butt is more of a problem than the length of the barrel. Those folks don't have rib cages like beer kegs.

I can (and have), quite literally, carry an MP5 under my arm. and not have it sticking out, so a fullsize butt on a 1911 isn't an issue; and the bobtail makes it even better (taking off the one major snagpoint in fact). Besides, I like to carry IWB; which tucks the butt in tight. It also puts the barrel lower than in other styles of carry, and therein lies the rub (literally).

Anyway, I think that would be a great companion piece as I said (and will complete the trifecta when I get a MecTec CCU to have a 10mm carbine as well).

Well, a few days ago a reader asked "Why bother with a 10mm from a 4" barrel. Wouldn't it just be a more expensive .40S&W at that point?"

Sadly, that's not a bad question. Why do I say Sadly? Well, because it SHOULDN'T be that way, but with much of the factory loaded 10mm out there, it is. Most factory defensive 10mm is basically loaded to +p .40 S&W levels; excepting the Winchester silvertip.

So, first, the good (as far as factory loads go anyway):

For comparison, the 10mm 175gr silvertips out of a 4” barrel will develop appx 1200fps and 559 ftlbs (about 50fps more from a 5"). The .40S&W 155gr silvertip develops 1200fps out of a 4” barrel, for 495ftlbs. With a 20gr mass difference at the same velocity… that energy difference is significant, but not overwhelming.

What IS a big difference though, is the penetration through 4 layers of denim. In a controlled expansion premium hollowpoint, that 10mm load will consistently penetrate 12"-14" of ballistic gelatin through denim. The .40 will only consistently penetrate to 9-10”.

Now, the bad... With any major factory load other than the silvertips , the numbers are downright depressing. When I said most was only at +p .40 levels I wasn’t kidding. The 180gr Federal Premium personal defense 10mm only manages 1030fps from a 5” barrel for 425 ftlbs. Their STANDARD pressure 180gr .40 load makes 1000fps for 400ftlbs. And that's before you account for the 4" barrel (You’ll typically lose about 50fps going down to a 4” barrel).

Most of the other major companies offerings are similar; following the general trend of the last few years with factory ammo de-magnumizing magnums (this is a reversal of the previous 60 years or so of trending the other way). It seems that once the "FBI load" came out and sold better than their previous full power loads, the factories took that as a sign that nobody really wanted a 10mm, they wanted an expensive .40S&W. Seems silly to me, but hey, I don't run the universe.

Back to the good news; there's a way around that problem. Go to a company like Doubletap, where they actually load close to a cartridges potential; and it’s an entirely different story.

The Doubletap 10mm 180gr controlled expansion rounds will do about 1300fps from a 4” conventional rifling barrel (a bit more from polygonal, and about 1350fps from a 5") for 675 ftlbs. The .40 s&w 180gr controlled expansion round will do 1100fps from a 4” barrel for 484 ftlbs.

Now THAT is a huge difference.

Doubletaps load, also happens to duplicate my best 10mm handloads (with the same bullet in fact); 180gr Hornady XTP at 1350fps (from a 5") and 729ftlbs.

It's good to know that there's still a way to get the performance you're SUPPOSED to be able to get from a gun, even if you don't handload (or if you don't want to use handloads for defense).

So, does it make sense to have a 4" barreled 10mm?

Sure... at least as much sense as it makes to have any 10mm at all. Or any other high intensity chambering for that matter. I have two commander length .45s (a custom commander, and a USP compact) and a revolver that are chambered for .45 super; none of them "make sense" much either, in terms of "needing" that much power to stop a badguy.

The .45 super isn’t a round that makes much sense, the 10mm isn't a round that makes much sense... heck, I’ve had a couple .357SIGS and they don't make much sense either. I love hot, high pressure rounds; but honestly, for shooting badguys, neither is necessary.

Handguns are handguns, rifles are rifles; until you get to rifle level ballistics, you’re never going to get MUCH more effective than .357 magnum or +p+ 9mm, or +p+ .45.

You’ll get a little bit more badguy whacking power from the much hotter loads, but not a huge amount. There's a small jump from +p+9mm to +p .40; then another small jump from +p .40 to +p+ .45; and another small jump to .45 super, and another to 10mm (actually, they're very similar in ballistic performance when loaded in the same weights).

Added up in total; the difference between a +p+ 9mm and a 10mm is about 55gr in weight, and the same velocity, for about 200ftlbs more energy. In handgun terms that's a lot, but from about 500ftlbs of energy (the floor of what I consider acceptable duty loads), up until you hit somewhere around 1250 to 1500 ftlbs of energy (depending on bullet mass, and design - basically hot .44 magnum level); the difference in wounding capability is actually pretty small.

Yeah, the 10mm is going to do the job better than the +p+ 9mm, but in comparison to a rifle, or a high intensity magnum hunting load (which most people wouldn't really want to carry on the street).... well, they might as well be the same.

'Course, just because it isn't strictly necessary, doesn't mean I don't want that little edge, or that I don't prefer the shooting feel of the 10mm to most other chamberings. It just means it isn't particularly practical or necessary.

The only particularly practical thing about either, is for use on other than humans. I like .10mm for walking in the woods, because you DO get more penetration out of it from a 5” barrel than the hottest .45acp; and for four legged furries, you can use that extra penetration. Same with .45 super (though .45 super really needs at least a 5" barrel to perform to potential and is better with 6"; because it has a relatively fat and heavy powder column).

Personally though, I just enjoy shooting the hot stuff. It's fun. Not only that; I find that in general I can shoot hotter rounds, faster and more accurately, than I can slower rounds. This flies in the face of convention, but it's true; I think because the faster round cycles the weapon faster.

So is the 10mm not much better than a .40?

Depends on what you mean by better I guess.

If it doesn't make much sense, and isn't all that much better, why do I shoot 10mm?

Because I can.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

God's in his heaven

...All is right with the world.

At 10:05pm Mountain Daylight Time, the Boston Red Sox swept the Colorado Rockies 4 games to nothing to win the 2007 world series.

This is the seventh world series win for the Sox, the second in three years after an 86 year drought (which included 5 unsuccessful appearances, and 24 seasons finishing in second place in the American League).

Earlier today, the New England Patriots DESTROYED the Washington Redskins 52-7. In fact, they put their second string in during the middle of the third quarter when they were up 45-0, just to give them some playing time, and they scored another touchdown (though they allowed one as well).

This brought New England to 8-0, and gave them the highest scoring disparity through 8 games ever recorded in the NFL, 331 points fielded, for 127 points allowed ; and the highest average score through 8 games of 41.4 points.

Oh and Tom Brady has the highest quarterback ranking through 8 games ever (141.7); on the strength of 30 touchdown passes for 2 interceptions, 198 completions for 267 attempts (74.2%) and 7 sacks.

To top it all off, FN has announced that they will resume production on the Winchester model 70, made in the USA; as well as continuing production on the Browning HI-Power (it had previously been announced that it would be discontinued) and announcing a new line of rifles from Browning, the X-Bolt.

Today is a good day.

Thank you Hermes

For this amazing spectacle of ass whipping we are about to witness.

I'm sitting down here with my belly full of meat, and a drink in my hand, preparing to spend the next 7 or so hours watching first the Patriots continue their undefeated streak to 8 games by scalping the Redskins; then the Rockies get swept in the world series.

Life is good.

Hey, a man can dream

Saturday, October 27, 2007

"Bella" Review

"Bella" is a small movie with a lot of heart which pisses off Liberals to no end.

If you haven't heard of "Bella", I'm not surprised. A small film with a B-list cast, "Bella" earned great reviews and standing ovations at many film festivals this year. However, despite this distinction, "Bella" hasn't gotten much press at all. Showing in scattered cities across the U.S., "Bella" isn't exactly in wide release.

I first heard of the movie at my weekly Catechism study group, where most of the members were of the opinion that we needed to storm the gates on opening day (Friday) at the one theatre in the area showing the film. When devout Catholics love an indie film so much they want to pad the numbers opening weekend so the film will get wider release, you KNOW there's a reason the Liberals and MSM hate it.

As this column put it:
...burbling beneath a noisy culture of sexual excess and self-love, there's a quiet undercurrent in our movies carrying subtle, and even obvious, pro-life themes.

Last Christmas, there was "Children of Men," a dark science-fiction look into England, 20 years from now, where human fertility has vanished. One pregnant woman becomes a damsel in grave danger, and then with the birth of her child, a beacon of hope.

Six months later, the small movie "Waitress" followed a lonely waitress with a good-for-nothing husband who decides (against Tinseltown's grain) to keep her baby. Summer brought the big, crude sex comedy "Knocked Up," a tale of a beautiful blonde who improbably mates with an overweight schlub, a man the world would say is "not in her league." But underneath the crudity, another pro-life story emerges: not only does she keep the baby, she tries to build a marriage and family.

Those two movies were close enough together to represent a tiny trend -- and film critics denounced it as an affront to their "pro-choice" beliefs. The women chose life, and that was wrong. To them, it smelled of fear and corner-cutting. They noted the word "abortion" wasn't used in the scripts. (But couldn't pro-lifers make the same complaint?)

It showed "the studios' terror at giving offense," whined the Boston Globe. "Hollywood is No-Choice," was the disgusted headline in The New York Times. "Both movies go out of their way to sidestep real life," since "two-thirds of unwanted pregnancies end in abortion."

Bella is another movie in this vein of sidestepping "real life" by addressing the other third of pregnancies.

I love movies. I love the escapism, the getting away, the cinematography, the characters. But I HATE most of the offerings this year. From anti-war, anti-military movies to stupid sex movies which depict men as pigs (thank you "Heartbreak Kid") the pickings are a little slim. There is a reason most of the movies Chris and I have seen this year are adaptations of novels for KIDS. So when I heard about a little indie film without any of that crap, I HAD to go see it.

I'm normally skeptical of Christian movies for good cause. I hate preachy movies and anything that glosses over real life.

"Bella" is neither of those things.

"Bella" is all heart and all honesty. Nothing is sugarcoated, and no one is villainized. Simply, it's a movie about a waitress who has to make a choice and the man who makes it possible. I won't give away any more plot than that, other than to say all choices are explored at one point or another.

There is no cursing or sex scenes, no canned plotline where the characters fall in love, none of that stuff which mainstream movies can't seem to live without. However, it is rated PG-13 for a reason. The whole movie is adult themes, and there is a bit of realistic violence which is necessary to the plot. This is not a movie for children, though I think EVERY teenager should see it.

That being said, it is an honest, touching, incredibly REAL movie. Kleenex is required.

If you're lucky enough to live in a metro area which is showing "Bella" (and the list is surprisingly long) go see it. The movie is unlike anything else being shown this year.

After all, you'd piss off a Liberal. At the end of the day, that's more than worth the price of admission.


It's like trying to speak without vowels

So, as you might have noticed, I don't have any reservation about the use of profanity in my writing; and in general, in my speech in casual company for that matter.

Hell, I'm Irish, and from Boston. We use "fuck" as punctuation fer chrissakes. You should hear my father (born and raised in Ireland)... or even my grandmothers (both of whom are in their late 70s).

I know that this languange has in the past prevented several devout acquaintances of mine from either reading much or my writing, or from linking my site. It still keeps me off of the blogrolls of several sites I would otherwise be linked on.

Thing is though, it's a part of me, my personality, who I am; and I don't intend to change who I am just for a blog.

That said, I of course understand when it is appropriate to swear (in casual friendly company around people who are not offended by it), and when it is not (at work under most circumstances, around children).

Well, my wife has asked me in the past to try not to swear around the kids; and when it's jsut us and the kids that's generally not a problem. When I'm driving around a lot of morons, or when I'm with my friends and the kids are still in earshot... sometimes it just sorta comes out. At this point I don't so much say "fuck" all the time, as I do "Fuck.. oh, sorry".

She specifically mentioned it earlier today when our youngest daughter (age 4) spoke the phrase "Jesus fucking christ".

Well... at least it wasn't in church.

True... but they still suck

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Our Millionth Customer

Click to embiggen.

Thank you very much, Mr. Anonymous reader from Houston looking for info about hollow ground blades.

Rise ye at the name

This day is called the feast of Crispin.

He that outlives this day, and comes safe home, Will stand a tip-toe when the day is named, and rouse him at the name of Crispin.

He that shall live this day, and see old age, will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours, and say 'To-morrow is Saint Crispin:'

Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars, and say 'These wounds I had on Crispin's day.'

Old men forget: yet all shall be forgot, but he'll remember with advantages what feats he did that day:

Then shall our names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words,
Harry the king,
Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot,
Salisbury and Gloucester,
Be in their flowing cups freshly remember'd.

This story shall the good man teach his son;

And Crispin Crispin shall ne'er go by, from this day to the ending of the world, but we in it shall be remember'd;
We few,
we happy few,
we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me shall be my brother;
be he ne'er so vile,this day shall gentle his condition:

And gentlemen in England now a-bed shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap
whiles any speaks that fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.

Self-conscious Irony

Admit it!
Despite your pseudo-bohemian appearance
And vaguely leftist doctrine of beliefs
You know nothing about art or sex
That you couldn’t read in any trendy New York underground fashion magazine
Prototypical non-conformist
You are a vacuous soldier of the thrift store Gestapo
You adhere to a set of standards and tastes
That appear to be determined by an unseen panel of hipster judges (bullshit)
Giving a thumbs up or thumbs down to incoming and outgoing trends and styles of music and art
Go analog baby, you’re so post-modern
You’re diving face forward into a antiquated path
It’s disgusting, it's offensive, don’t stick your nose up at me

Yeah, what do you have to say for yourself?
Whoah, whoah, whoah, whoah
Yeah, what do you have to say for yourself?
Whoah, whoah, whoah, whoah

You spend your time sitting in circles with your friends
Pontificating to each other
Forever competing for that one moment of self-aggrandizing glory
In which you hog the intellectual spotlight
Holding dominion over the entire shallow pointless conversation
Oh, we’re not worthy
When you walk by a group of quote-unquote normal people
You chuckle to yourself patting yourself on the back as you scoff
It's the same superiority complex
Shared by the high school jocks who made your life a living hell
And makes you a slave to the competitive capitalist dogma
You spend every moment of your waking life bitching about

Yeah, what do you have to say for yourself?
Whoah, whoah, whoah, whoah
And I say yeah, what do you have to say for yourself?
Whoah, whoah, whoah, whoah

'Cause I’m proud of my life and the things that I have done
Proud of myself and the loner I’ve become
You’re free to whine, it will not get you far
I do just fine, my car and my guitar

Proud of my life and the things that I have done
Proud of myself and the loner I’ve become
You’re free to whine, it will not get you far
I do just fine, my car and my guitar, yeah

Well let me tell you this, I am shamelessly self-involved
I spend hours in front of the mirror, making my hair elegantly disheveled
I worry about how this album will sell
Because I believe it will determine the amount of sex I will have in the future
I self medicate with drugs and alcohol to treat my extreme social anxiety

You are a faker (admit it)
You are a fraud (admit it)
Yeah, you’re living a lie (hey) living a lie (hey) you’re life is living a lie
You don’t impress me (admit it)
You don’t intimidate me (admit it)
Why don’t you bow down, get on the ground, walk this fucking plank (yeah!)

Yeah, what do you have to say for yourself
Whoah, whoah, whoah, whoah
And I say yeah (what do you..)

Proud of my life and the things that I have done
Proud of myself and the loner I’ve become
You’re free to whine, it will not get you far
I do just fine, my car and my..
Guitar, guitar go!

I drift, drift, drift, drift, drift, yeah
I drift, drift, drift, drift, drift, yeah oh

And I am done with this
I wanna taste the breeze of every great city
My car and my guitar
My car and my guitar
So you'll come to be, made of these urges unfulfilled
Oh no, no, no, no, no
When I'm dead I'll rest
When I'm dead I'll rest, lay still
When I'm dead I'll rest, I'll rest
When I'm dead I'll rest, I'll rest
When I'm dead I'll rest, I'll rest
When I'm dead I'll rest, I'll rest

Lyrics to "Admit It!" from "post-punk" band "Say Anything".

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Mr. 3000

So I've got 3000 bullets on the way, courtesy of the Midway USA "Blemished Bullets" sale.

These are otherwise perfect premium bullets that have discoloration on their jacket. Perfectly normal, high quality bullets, just ugly looking.

Heres the link:
Blemished Bullets at Midway

I just picked up about 3,000 various bullets, for less than half their normal price. I snapped up 500 of my preferred 10mm 180gr XTP for $35 (typically about $90); and 1000 of my preferred .223 75gr Hornady Match HP for less than $80 (typically $180); along with some 9mm, .45, and lighter weight .223 to load for friends.

Unfortunately, most of the popular bullets are gone already, but you might still be able to get some decent deals on less popular calibers.

Best of all, they should be here in time for me to load them up for Rumpshots shoot up in Paulden next weekend.

Oh, and I grabbed the case lathe at the same time; with the three way cutter attachment:

Which is a neat little piece really. It acts as a case length trimmer, chamfer tool, and deburring tool all at once. It does everything but neck turning, in one step; and can be made into a neck turner by putting in the $10 turning pilot (caliber specific), and the $5 replacement turning cutter.

Sure, it's probably not QUITE as accurate and precise as doing each step by hand, but it's a LOT faster; which means I can load more rounds that don't need to be "absolutely the best I can possibly make".

That would let me do all the steps of case neck prep in one, on the thousands of good but not spectacular practice ammo I load; in comparison to the hundreds of best quality match grade stuff I'm loading (which for chamberings larger than .223, I'm going to want to neck turn by hand anyway).

Again, it's all about saving time.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Holy crap, I'm about to hit a million

Unique visits that is (I'm already WELL over a million page views).

I just glanced over at my sitemeter, and as of 1303ast, I'm at 997,200. At my normal hit rate, some time late tomorrow night, I'm going to hit a million unique visitors.

I've been writing on this blog for 2 years and 8 months; for a total of 1,745 posts.

I've had a high average of about 2000 readers per day, and I've been at between 1200 and 1500 for the last couple months; which is I figure about the same weekly readership as a small market newspaper or the same monthly as small genre magazine columnist... so I guess I'm not doing to shabby.

I suppose I should really finish organizing and updating my archives with categories and the like, so I can fix my "best of AnarchAngel" section huh...

Time is Money

A friend of mine, responding to my post "The High Cost of Saving Money" wrote:

"In my case, the high cost of saving money is measured in time"

Actually, so is mine. I recognize that what I'm doing by buying faster equipments, is trading cash for time.

Of the two, time is more valuable to me.

I shoot perhaps 2500 rounds of precision rifle per year. If that gear I paid $700 for this weekend saves me 2 hours per thousand (and it certainly does; probably more. It's already saved me at least a half hour just today); I've already paid for it within two years, just on time saved for other things.

Add in the time saved with the press etc... ($800 all up costs) and my load time goes down from about 3 minutes per round total average (yes, it really was that high), to about 1 minute per round total average.

It's the same reason I bought a progressive press and a case feeder. I may shoot anywhere from 10,000 to 20,000 rounds worth of handgun ammo in a year. Under my old routine, that was 50 to 100 hours worth of loading, plus setup etc... Now, it's more like 20 to 40 hours.

I paid $800 for my whole progressive setup, including all the bushing, shellholders, dies, etc... and that $800 will save me at least 30 hours in my first year alone; maybe as much as 60 (Hell, I've already loaded about 1500 rounds on it, and I'd estimate it's saved me about 6 hours so far).

I dunno about you, but I value my time at a fair bit more than $26 an hour; and obviously more than $13.

Of course, looking at it from the other side, how much am I saving in cost of ammo vs. my time cost?

Lets say we value my time in the most expensive possible way, and compare it to my work rates. I start at $75 an hour (which is my minimum rate for long term consulting on a w2 basis with benefits), and I spend about 60 hours a year reloading. I'll call the time I spend scrounging brass a wash with the time I would otherwise spend scrounging ammo. That's $4500.

That's a lot of money/time.

Now, add in the direct costs of ammunition components and supplies; which are about $2500 (including amortizing the brass over 5 reloadings, which is a bit below average, but accounts for losses); and you get about $7000.

If I were simply to purchase that same quantity, type, and grade of ammunition commercially, I would be paying approximately $7000 for it, including shipping (if I bought it all locally, it would be about $500 more... maybe as much as $1000; so the shipping is offset).

At that point, it's a wash... or actually a small loss, because of the $1500 in gear costs (amortized over 10 years; though it would be surprising if the gear didn't last much longer than that).

Honestly though, those numbers come from the time before I was shooting 10mm (which is approximately twice as expensive in commercial bulk as .45acp); and thus really only covers 9mm and .45acp, which are two of the three cheapest centerfire pistol rounds to buy in bulk (.38spl being the other, which I do load for, but only in small quantities). That also only counts .223 for rifle (which is the majority of my rifle shooting, and currently all I'm reloading for; though that will change), which is by far the cheapest centerfire rifle chambering to buy commercially.

So, the more I shoot of .357 magnum, 10mm, or other, more expensive chamberings, the further ahead I get. Also the more rifle I shoot (especially in the more expensive chamberings) the more I come out ahead.

More importantly though, that also doesn't take into account the hobby aspect of it. I enjoy reloading as a hobby, and a pursuit. I like the experimentation, and the more direct involvement and control it gives me over the performance of my firearms. Handloading, quite frankly, gives me MUCH greater enjoyment out of all my firearms activities; enhancing their value to me in ways that can't easily be measured.

That 60 hours I spend (though there are certainly frustrations to it) are 60 hours of hobby time to me; and they more than balance out any slight losses.

Oh, and of course, there's one more factor not accounted for in those numbers, and that's performance. I like the power and accuracy I can get; which are far greater than that of commercial ammunition, no matter what you pay for it.

Let me give a couple examples:

The best commercial loadings I've been able to find for my heavy AR is Federal 77gr gold match; which sells for approximately $1.50 per round in case quantities. It launches a 77gr Sierra Match King at 2750fps out of my barrel, groups into .75moa at 600 yards, and retains approximately 400ftlbs of energy at that range. The black hills load with the same bullet performs essentially identically, though they get an extra 50fps out of it, and it's a bit cheaper.

The best load I've been able to develop is similar in construction; launching a 75gr Hornady special match, but I'm getting 2850fps out of it, grouping into .33moa at 600 yards, and retaining 576ftlbs of energy at that distance.

Oh, and it only costs me about $0.40 a round, from new brass; and I can easily reload that brass five times (its a high pressure load, I wont go more than five with it).

For my 10mm, the best performing load I've found for it commercially is again Federal premium, selling for approximately $1.50 a round in bulk. It launches a 180gr bullet at 1050fps out of my barrel, for about 450ftlbs of energy, and groups into 1.5" at 25 yards from a rest or 15 yards offhand.

The most powerful mass market commercial loads available are the 175gr Winchester Silvertips, which sell for about $0.80 a round in bulk. They launch at 1300fps and 650ftlbs, and group into about 2" at the same distances.

The best performing load I've developed on my own is a 180gr XTP at 1350fps (which is the absolute pressure ceiling), for 730ftlbs; and they group into under 1" at those same ranges.

Again, the cost isn't even comparable to commercial. Even using new, unamortized brass, it costs me $0.38 a round to load (in 1000ct quantities of course).

The improvements are just as dramatic for .45acp and 9mm; as are the savings.

Now, if I was just doing it for the cost savings; if I didn't get more enjoyment out of my guns because of handloading; if I didn't get better performance from handloading; then my time coming out as an even wash... well, that wouldn't be worth it. I'd rather have the time than the money.

Thing is though, it ISN'T just about the money. It IS about the extra enjoyment, and the better performance... well, and the money too; if for no other reason than it lets me shoot more (I'd shoot about 1/3 as much if I didn't hand load).

So yeah, like most other pursuits, there's always a trade between time and money (and I've traded both ways); but it's a worthwhile one, at least for me.

Monday, October 22, 2007

A little trouble with the press

Sorry about the general lack of inspiration displayed lately; I've just been a bit busy this past few days. I've got a bunch of content I need to finish up and post, but first I have to load up a couple thousand rounds.

And therein lies the rub. Actually the title above is a bit inaccurate; the problem isn't with the press, it's actually with the case feeder.

Normally, caliber changes on the Lock-n-load are pretty quick; just three twists out, three twists in, and reset the powder charge, and there you go. It's another 30 seconds to change out the shell plate if necessary. If you've got the powder charge pre-set, it's a minute, tops.

Where it gets more complicated though, is when you go from a relatively large case and large primer, to a small case and small primer. Say from 10mm, to 9x19 for example.

When you do that, the press has two additional steps to make the change: first change the primer anvil, then the primer slide. That part is still pretty simple actually, it's just another couple minutes.

The problem is the case feeder, and it's specific to 9mm (and cartridges of roughly the same size).

See, to switch from from small to large caliber, you pretty much have to completely disassemble the case feeder, change out various parts for other, smaller parts, then re-set and re-tweak everything. It's a royal pain in the ass; and with all the tweaking, it takes a good twenty minutes to reset everything.

OK, still livable, just a pain. Note to self; load all your large cartridges first, THEN switch to small.

The REAL irritation though, is that the 9mm cartridge casing is EXACTLY the worst possible size for the case feeder. It's small enough that it will tilt at funny angles and jam up with the large case feeder parts; but it's big enough that it binds up a little bit on the small case feeder parts.

Worse, the 9mm is just small enough in diameter that it doesn't reliably trip the limit switch at the top of the feeding tube, and the case feed plate keeps trying to put more rounds in the tube; which causes it to jam up hard, and I have to manually clear the jam of a half dozen cartridges.

Or, I can just shut the feeder off manually when it reaches the top of the tube, then load twenty or so rounds, and turn it back on again to fill the tube.

Now, if the case were just a bit longer, it wouldn't be a problem; the brass wouldn't jam up, because it wouldn't be able to tilt as far. If it were a bit shorter, it would tilt more, and then not jam up (too short of course and the brass could end up sideways or upside down. I wouldn't try and use the feeder with anything shorter than .380).

So, for now, I'm doing the manual switch work; and it works just fine; it's just irritating that my $700 fully progressive press with fully automatic case feeder... isn't.

Yeah... I'm hoping that I'll figure out how to tweak it so it doesn't do that.

Oh, but in better news, the problem I was having with case mouth hangups was definitely the Lyman dies. The Hornady Custom dies are brilliant in this press. There is no better seat and crimp setup in the business; and you can very easily pull the seating spud to just use it as a crimper, or back it up and just seat with it. Most importantly, I haven't had a single case mouth hangup (unlike with my Lyman dies).

Oh, and unlike my RCBS carbide dies, or Dillon dies; the three die set is $34-$37 and the two die rifle sets are $19-$26.

Not bad.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

A couple numbers for you...

49-28 : 7-0

11-2 : 4-3 : 96-66

Those aren't bible verses... though given the religion some fans follow, you might think so.

No, those would be the numbers that put the patriots one step closer to an undefeated season; and put the Red Sox into the World Series.

Honestly, I still don't think the Pats will go undefeated, but 14-2 would seem to be a realistic possibility; and at this point it would amaze me if the pats didn't end up here in Arizona in February.

The Sox though... after their performance the last couple games, I'm expecting to see another set of rings on my boys fingers.

The high cost of saving money

So, at the Gun Blogger Rendezvous last week, Mel and I (and the rest of us on the line, sharing our guns with each other of course) fired through a fair bit of ammo:
  1. 300 rounds of match grade .223
  2. 300 rounds of 180gr Hornady XTP 10mm
  3. 200 rounds of .45acp
  4. 200 rounds of 9mm
  5. 100 rounds of .380acp
In all, about $700 worth of ammo at full retail, or $600 at bulk prices; about 2/3 of which I handloaded, so it only cost me about $350 (between what I bought, and what the components cost me).

Thankfully, we were able to recover a lot of our brass; including basically all the .45, all the .223, and actually MORE 9mm than we shot (I was the only .223 in my section of the line, but there were a couple other .45s and 9s).

That's great, saves me some money.

Unfortunately, what I was hoping for the most, was recovery of 10mm... and we didn't even recover 100 rounds of it. Considering the stuff is $0.22 a case... ouch.

I've got plenty of .223 brass on hand (a couple thousand) and about 600 bullets (a little low); I ALWAYS have plenty of .45 brass (a couple thousand anyway), and about 800 bullets (a little low); and about 2000 9mm brass, and about 1500 bullets.

What I'm low on, is large pistol and magnum primers, small rifle primers, powder for .223 and 10mm (down to under a half pound for both), and 10mm brass.

... Seems that everybody else is too.

As of right now, I'm down to about 100 rounds (loaded) of .223, about 300 of 10mm, about 200 9mm, and about 1500 .45 (I NEVER let myself run too low on .45).

Well, we've got another couple events coming up before the end of the year. Heading up to Rumpshots up in Paulden in two weeks; and then Mel is going to the "Babes with Bullets" shooting camp the following week. Between them, we're going to need about 1000 rounds of 9mm, 500 or so of .223, another couple hundred 10mm, and 300-500 .45acp.

Anyway, I'm a bit low on supplies. I need about 500 10mm brass, 2lbs of 2400, 2lbs of Varget, and a sleeve each of large magnum, large pistol, and small rifle benchrest primers.

So we head out to a couple stores today to see what we can pick up locally... and let's just say we spent more than we had planned.

The other thing is (and much of the reason why we spent so much), now that I'm loading progressive for my bulk ammo, I need to make some changes in my loading gear.

First, my Lyman .45 dies don't get along with my press. They were fine in the single stage, but they have a very abrupt mouth transition, without much flare, so they just don't work well in the progressive. Also, my .223 dies are very tight match dies, not really suited to the progressive (I'll keep using the match dies for the match ammo, but I want to run some bulk stuff fully progressive).

Bass Pro had the Hornady dies on sale for the same price as Midway, so I grabbed two sets. I gotta say, I'm really impressed with the Hornady custom dies; I cant wait to see the results. Theres $60 down.

Second, I REALLY need to do something to speed up my match rifle loading. My last batch of 300 rounds took me about two days to load; primarily because of the case prep, and individually weighing every charge.

Well, I've been meaning to pick up these two pieces for a while:

RCBS Chargemaster Pro
RCBS Trim Mate

...And Sportsmans Warehouse had them on sale for the same price as Midway USA, so I picked them up.

The chargemaster is GREAT, especially combined with the prep station. It lets you program the EXACT charge you want, just hit "dispense" and it meters and weighs the charge for you. Meanwhile, you're prepping cases, and pulling your lever.

Basically, the chargemaster gives you back 30 seconds on every round, and the trim mate gives you back another 15. 45 seconds saved per round gives me back a couple hours every thousand rounds, and that is MORE than worth it.

...Course, there's $400 right there. Worth it, no question, but expensive.

I still need to pick up one of these:

RCBS Trim Pro

to speed up the final slow step I've got, case trimming (and it's about the slowest part of case prep); but it was $40 more locally than I can get it for online. Next paycheck I guess.

Anyway, that's money well spent, so I don't begrudge it.

Next step, raw materials.

First, unsurprisingly, nobody had any 10mm brass. Or bulk .223 (or anything else in bulk except cast .45 and .38 actually). I was expecting that. What I was hoping was that the primer shortage hadn't hit my local stores yet. Unfortunately, it had, and they didn't have ANY of the primers I wanted.

They DID however have a 4lb jug of 2400, and an 8lb jug of Varget, for the same price as Powder Valley. They also told me they don't expect to get any more until the first of the year.

...I didnt WANT to get 12lbs of powder today, but I figgered I'd better grab it while I can.

Another $200 down. Now that's $200 I would've spent at Powder Valley anyway; but again, it's $200 I hadn't planned on spending today.

UPDATE: Aaargh... so I was putting away my new powder purchase, and I'm making room in my powder hutch, and there, behind the cheap pistol powder I'm not using, somewhow, there are 3.5 lbs of varget I missed when I inventoried. Well... I guess I've got a YEARs worth of powder then.

I'm still gonna have to hit Powder Valley: I need brass, bulk bullets, and primers; but I'm set on powder for the next six months or so (I had about 15lbs of my commonly used powders sitting around already, just not 2400 or Varget), and if I can find primers locally I wont have to stick that hazmat fee on top.

Combined with some other doodads (primer pickup tubes, a couple of flip trays, a couple of caliber manuals) and tax, and I dropped $700 today.

To save money on ammo.

Which, sadly enough, even with all the gear costs, I will STILL be doing; because if I weren't shooting handloads, every time my AR goes bang it would cost me $1.00 (for the match loads I shot, maybe a bit more) and every time my 10mm goes bang it would cost me $0.50 (or $1.25 for the defensive).

If it weren't for reloading, I'd be shooting 50x .223 and 100x 10mm at a time, instead of 300 each.

...So I guess we've proved the adage; when you reload, you don't actually save any money, you just shoot more.

Friday, October 19, 2007

"Why don't you write for gun magazines?"

Flatteringly, I get that question all the time; often followed by "What you write is a hell of a lot better than what I see in those rags" or some other such half compliment/half indictment of the magazines themselves.

Well, a lot of it is stuff like that mentioned in this piece by Dean Speir of The Gun Zone. Dean was a freelance writer for several gun magazines, and I believe still does some work in that direction.

He and I disagree about a lot of things (like the safety of Glocks for example), but we agree on one thing: The magazine publishing business, especially the Gun mag publishing business, is a sick joke.

I was a "professional freelance writer" (and wow what an oxymoron that is), for various magazines in the late 90s up through the final collapse of the .bomb. I've written under my own byline, I've staff written, I've ghost written, I've done work for hire; I even co-authored a couple of professional textbooks on information security (7 out of 25 chapters, plus the study guide, workbooks, instructors guide etc...). I also did some work for several RPG publishing houses.

The writing part of it was often fun, and emotionally satisfying. The rest of it, was, quite frankly, painful.

Just managing to actualy get paid on a piece was a chore; often taking longer and requiring more effort than actually writing the damn things. Half the time they wanted to pay you, at least in part, in copies (this is very common with small magazines, and specialty publishers).

And then there was the editing.... It's amazing how a well meaning copy editing intern can completely change the entire meaning of a piece just by changing a couple words she didn't understand the placement or use of into something "more grammatically correct".

Then there's the space crunch "Hey Chris, I want 2000 words on [insert x here], by Thursday; think you can get it for me?" Of course Thursday comes and I deliver my 2000 words and "Oh, now I only have space for 700, can you cut that down in the next hour?"

The only way to write what you want is to do it on speculation (theres two kinds of writing "on spec". The good kind is writing "to specification", or "on assignment" where you get paid whether it gets published or not. The bad kind, and the kind most often referred to, is writing "on speculation" where you write something, and send it out hoping they'll like it and pay you for it); otherwise you're going to get bird dogged for bullshit; and they'll want you to write it in "their voice" and to their editorial view.

The only good part about it USED to be the money, but these days even that is crap. In the mid 90s, I was getting $0.35-$0.75 a word for small magazine stuff, and publishing several 1200 to 2500 word pieces a week. These days, rates around $0.07-$0.09 are common for small publisher, small circulation magazines; with some genre mags paying as low as $0.03.

note: top tier magazine rates are FAR higher for their regular feature writers. $2-4 a word in some cases; or more if you are a "big name". Advertising copy, or "business writing" also pays in the $0.50 to $2.00 per word range.

In the genre mags, if you're lucky you'll pull a couple hundred bucks for what used to be a 2000 word feature (and even that is a big drop from the 70s and 80s, where mags featured far higher content to imagery ad advertising ratios) , but is now a 700-1200 word "featurette" with a couple of 1/3 page pics, and ads thrown in around them .

So, no thanks. I'll stick to blogs, where I write what I want, when I want; and where I can make a piece as long (or less frequently as short) as I want.

...And don't get me started on specialty book publishing. It's even worse than the magazines.

Honestly, if someone came to me who I thought I could trust; and who I thought ran a good business (Dan Shea for example); and they said "Chris, we'd like to pay you a small but reasonable fee for a half dozen 1200 to 2000 word pieces a year" yeah, I'd be up for it.

I'd also be up for winning the lottery in every state simultaneously.

I think the latter is more likely.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

If it's ugly and it works...

It's still ugly... but it still works.

Ruger has made the official announcement today of their new striker fired double action polymer framed pistol.

Intended to be the first of a whole new family of pistols (including compact, and .40 caliber models at the very least... most likely a .45 in a year or two) the first model is the SR9, in 9mm, and holding 17+1 rounds, in a quite slim pistol for the breed.

In fact, it's thinner than either the Glock or the Springfield Armory XD, it's primary competitors; though thicker than the single stack pistols from Kahr (a favored choice for deep concealment because of how thin and compact they are).

It has an interchangeable back strap, the grip angle is based on the 1911, and the primary controls are fully ambidextrous.

Bottom line:

This is the first all new pistol design from Ruger since 1987 (the P345s are still based on the P series, which was designed in '85 but didnt hit retail til '87); and it’s so ugly FN could’ve made it...


It’s US made, it has a safety, it has re-strike (maybe. One article I read mentioned it, none of the others does), it has ambidextrous controls, it's 26.5oz (unloaded), and the grip angle looks good. Also, at an MSRP of $525 and an expected street price of $450.... We’ll see.

Michael Bane has (a lot) more.

Oh and an aside: What the hell is with Rugers new slogan "Arms maker for responsible citizens"?

Am I the only one pissed off by this?

Our Puppy has a Cunning Hat

And he's got a new name as well. Of course those of you who are fans already know what it is, but allow me to make a fool out of myself with this little ditty:

Jayne, the dog they call Jayne

He robbed from the cats
And he slept on the floor
Stood up to the Mac
And got chased out the door
Our love for him now
Ain't hard to explain
The puppy of our house
The dog they call Jayne
We were trying every name we liked, looking to see what he responded to. I mean we went through at least a hundred names; going from Shakespeare and the classics (I liked Fortinbras, and Fallstaff. The puppy did not) to TV characters somehow related to Richard Dean Anderson (Teal'C and Jack didn't really work).

We had thought about Mal (as suggested by a commenter) and Wash, but he didn't seem to care for either. I suggested Jayne, and Mel nearly fibblesnorked, so we tried it on the dog, and he perked right up.

It was literally the only name he responded to... and of course it's a cool reference; so hey, there we go.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

S'about Right

What Kind of Reader Are You?
Your Result: Obsessive-Compulsive Bookworm

You're probably in the final stages of a Ph.D. or otherwise finding a way to make your living out of reading. You are one of the literati. Other people's grammatical mistakes make you insane.

Dedicated Reader

Literate Good Citizen

Book Snob


Fad Reader

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Create Your Own Quiz

Feather Fire

So, I've mentioned feather firing several times here before. It's a trigger technique that allows you to fire semiautomatic rifles very rapidly, while still using the sights (unlike bumpfiring).

Well, I mentioned it again at the Gun Blogger Rendezvous in Reno this past weekend; but I didn't get a chance to demonstrate, so Unc dropped me a line and asked me to explain it.

The basic concept is simple. It's a paintball technique that can be applied to any semi-automatic firearm with light to moderated recoil, and a relatively light, fast resetting trigger.

An AR with a decent trigger job fits the bill nicely; but just about any semi with a light, short, crisp trigger, with a fast reset will do it.

1. Socket the weapon tightly in to your shoulder; preferably slung up on your support arm, but in any case very firmly supported.

2. Place your thumb, or the heel of your hand on the off side of the receiver (on an AR, the through hole for the safety is a good spot); and place the pads of your support fingers on the pistol grip, firmly squeezing or pinching. It's important to keep the base of your hand solidly planted.

3. Find the trigger with your index finger. Some find it easier to do this with their middle finger, or both their middle and index fingers simultaneously (this is one reason why the double finger paintball trigger became popular by the way).

4. Start from 1/4" to 1/2" off the trigger, and rapidly flick your finger(s) straight back and forth from the base knuckle, feeling THROUGH the trigger; actuating the trigger repeatedly.

5. It's best to keep to short bursts; both for control, and to properly reset your finger position. It is difficult to feather through more than a half dozen without resetting.

Remember, in this mode, your weak hand and shoulder are providing all the support for the weapon. Your strong hand is just there to pull the trigger; and all it's strength and co-ordination are expended on doing so.

Although this technique isn't as fast as bumpfiring, you CAN empty an entire 20 or 30rd mag in just a few seconds; and more importantly you can keep it in the kill zone on a man at 50 or even 100 yards pretty easily.

Oh and this technique DOES work on some pistols, if you maintain a support hand grip thats sufficient; and if the weapon recoils very lightly. I can empty my HI-Power so fast that the magazine springs don't keep up (yes, seriously).

At the very least, it's a fun way to turn money into noise.

I just hope the ATF don't issue a memorandum of understanding declaring these instructions an unlicensed machine gun...

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Say Hello to My LIttle Friend

Say hello to the newest member of our family:

He's a 10 week old rott/bull, and he hasn't told us what his name is yet.

As of a few minutes ago, he's 20 lbs, he's got a 20" girth, and he's 21" between the shoulders and hips. Overall, a fair sized pup.

Which is unsurprising, because his sire is a 117 pound AKC Rotweiller, and his dam is a 70lb staffie.

So far the kids love him, Mac is tolerating him fine, and the cats... well they are NOT happy; but that will change as they get used to him.

He was one of a litter of five, all but one brindled similarly; and he was the biggest of the litter. When we opened the kennel to look at the pups he jumped/crawled/climbed up into my arms, put his head on my shoulder, and started licking... and well, he didn't leave that spot until we got him home. He knew where he wanted to be, and we knew he was supposed to come home with us.

So far I have to say I've never had a better behaved puppy. He doesn't bark at all or yip very much, he isn't too mouthy, and he responds to voice direction. I have a feeling he's going to be smart, and trainable.

So, now, what do we name him?

As we did with our cats, I want my readership to suggest some names. I'm thinking of keeping in the literary, culture, and popular culture theme like Mac (short for MacGuyver - spelled properly unlike the TV show). Mel has laid down the law and no gun names (unless it's a REALLY appropriate one anyway).

Course after seeing this scene, she suggested "Camo":

Quote of the century

From the inestimable Larry Correia:

"...When you shoot somebody in self defense, the goal isn’t necessarily to kill them, it is to stop them. You want the bad guy to stop doing whatever it is they are doing that caused you go pull a gun in the first place. Live or die is really irrelevant. You want them to leave you alone. Sadly, the best way to make somebody leave you alone is to shoot them in their vital organs, and that often results in the bad guy’s death.

But that’s his problem, not yours."
The whole post is great, and mirrors some of the posts I did about carbines and handguns from a couple years back.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Saw this one coming...

So, for the last few years, supporters of gay marriage have pretty much given up on the legislative route; and have been depending on judges to try and impose their agenda on the states.

While I have no problem with the concept of gay marriage (the state should not be involved in religious marriage; and any two people should be able to enter any civil contract they want); if we are in fact a nation of laws, effectively re-writing the laws through judicial activism (and yes, that is very explicitly what is happening) is both morally wrong (because it abrogates the process), and a practical disaster.

Leaving aside the moral argument, we need to address the consequences of living in a federal republic. Although gay marriage advocates have repeatedly insisted that instituting gay marriage on a state by state basis would not cause constitutional and interstate compact issues; anyone with any knowledge of interstate law, or the concept of federalism could see that argument is false on its face.

From the first legal same sex marriage in Massachusetts (and to a lesser extent civil unions in Vermont), there have been legal implications in other states. There are issues of marriage licenses in general being honored (full faith and credit), medical insurance, inheritance rights, property rights, medical control, and of course the big one: child custody.

Lawsuits have already been instituted in other states over all of these issues, in particular survivors rights; but 'til now a divorce case hasn't hit the public eye.

Well, that just changed; and I wish I could say I didn't see it coming, but I think we all did...

Married Gay Couple Seeks Right to Divorce in Rhode Island

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Associated press

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — A lesbian couple married in Massachusetts should have the same right as heterosexual couples to now divorce in Rhode Island, lawyers for the women told the state's highest court on Tuesday.

Cassandra Ormiston and Margaret Chambers wed in 2004 soon after Massachusetts legalized same-sex marriages. They filed for divorce last year in their home state of Rhode Island, where the law is silent on whether same-sex marriages are legal.

It is believed to be the state's first same-sex divorce case.

If the women can't divorce in Rhode Island, their lawyers said the only legal avenue available to them would be for at least one to move to Massachusetts and live there long enough to obtain a divorce.

"It is an absolutely unfair burden," Ormiston said outside court after Tuesday's arguments before the Rhode Island Supreme Court. "It is a burden no one else is asked to bear, and it is something I will not do."

Lawyers for the women told the Supreme Court the only question to consider was whether Rhode Island could recognize a valid same-sex marriage from another state for the sole purpose of granting a divorce petition.

They stressed the case has no bearing on whether gay couples could get married in Rhode Island, or on whether a same-sex marriage would be recognized for other purposes.

"You have a valid marriage in the state of Massachusetts," Louis Pulner, an attorney for Chambers, told the justices. "No one is asking the court to address the question of whether such marriages would be valid in Rhode Island."

In September 2006, a Massachusetts judge decided same-sex couples from Rhode Island could marry in Massachusetts because nothing in Rhode Island law specifically banned gay marriage. But the courts and the legislature in Rhode Island have not taken any action to recognize same-sex marriages performed in Massachusetts.

Attorney General Patrick Lynch earlier this year issued a nonbinding advisory opinion saying the state would recognize same-sex marriages performed in Massachusetts.

Nancy Palmisciano, a lawyer for Ormiston, said Rhode Island routinely treats as valid heterosexual marriages performed in other states and even in other countries. She said when she recently handled the divorce of a couple from China, no one questioned the validity of their marriage certificate issued there.

"Here we have two American women who have not been able to push their divorce forward because they happen to be members of the same sex," Palmisciano said.

Chambers and Ormiston married in Fall River, Mass., in May 2004 in a ceremony solemnized by a justice of the peace. Massachusetts is the only state to legalize same-sex marriages.

Chambers filed for a divorce last October, citing irreconcilable differences.

Two months later, Rhode Island's chief family court judge asked the state Supreme Court for guidance on whether he has the authority to handle a same-sex divorce. The court agreed to weigh in and invited Rhode Island's legislative leaders, governor and state attorney general to submit legal briefs detailing their position.

The justices did not indicate when they would rule.
In this case, the justices are in a bit of a bind; because they can attempt to qualify their ruling all they want by declaring "we'll give you a divorce, but that doesn't mean you were ever really married"; but that isn't going to fly.

Such a ruling would be ridiculous on its face, and would properly be struck down as arbitrary and capricious. There would be no valid legal principle to cover this tissue thin justification, and it would head to the supreme court as a giant mess.

Tough cases make bad law; and from where I'm sitting, this looks about like 10 year old shoeleather.

Sorry, no time to post this week

We've been getting ready for the Gun Blogger Rendezvous all week; and scrambling to get things done in time for our flights tomorrow afternoon.

The blog has taken a back seat to the blog event this week.

The next post y'all see will most likely be from Reno.

UPDATE: Ok, so maybe not the NEXT post...

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Boom Baby

That, is the results of 13 minutes of loading... after about an hour of setup and tweaking that is.

I finally managed to get my case feeder dialed in; and it's feeding at near 100% (only one major issue in 200 rounds). The primer feed is a bit sensitive to dirt and grit, but it didn't really slow me down too much. I ran through 200 rounds in a total of 25 minutes loading time; for a rate of a little less than 500 rounds an hour.

I've got another 300 to load, and I'll be ready for Reno.
UPDATE: Well, now that I've got everything set up just right, and I've got my process working smoothly I've upped the pace to... quite frankly a ridiculous speed. I managed to load 100 rounds in just 8 minutes; for an effective loading rate of 750 rounds per hour... or it would be if I had enough primer tubes and bullets staged.

Gotta get me a primer tube filler, I hate picking up off the tray. Soooo glad I bought a progressive though. I loaded 600 rounds today, and other than setup, all the loading took me about an hour. That same round count would have taken me 4 hours, or more, on my turret press.
Now, the more important results...

That my friends, is what you call a god load. That is a 5 shot 10 yard offhand group, fired as fast as the sights would be reacquired, of .97"; four of which shot into .75". Right next to it is a 1/2" doubletap at the same distance.

Not pictured, are the two ragged 1.5" holes produced by rapid fire emptying of two magazines.

The load is a 10mm 180gr XTP at about 1300fps, producing about 675ftlbs of energy at the muzzle. It's 13.1gr of 2400 over a large magnum primer, seated to 1.250; which is just touching the powder charge. Oh and I haven't chronoed it, that's just an estimate based on published data.

Based on FBI results, I'd guess that load would have no problem with 14" of gelatin penetration through heavy clothing.

When your major power defensive load is also match grade accurate... that's just a beautiful thing.

Adopt an SP

A friend of mine, an Air Force Security Forces troopie, is out doing his job in The Kingdom at the moment. The AF has been jerking him around on assignments for two years now, and now he's stuck over there doing one of those "days of boredom/moments of terror" jobs.

Most people don't understand or appreciate how tough a job it is, protecting an airbase the size of a small town against all comers; and like cops everywhere the AFSF don't get too much respect, unless they're hauling somebodies ass out of trouble (which they do more frequently than you might expect).

Anyway, he's asking for care packages, and I'm inclined to oblige. Here's his request;

64th ESFS
APO AE 09852

I will get it, as that is my office symbol.

Things we need:
Sugar free water flavoring (Packets preferably… the Dihydromonoxide is getting a bit old)
Any type of jerky

The package will go to a flight of folks, and any little bit helps.

PLEASE DO NOT send weapons/weapon accessories, Porn (Maxim is porn here), alcohol, cigarettes, or pork products. This will cause trouble at customs.

Allow me to add to that list a bit:

1. Hard, shelf stable mints (like altoids, certs, tictacs etc...)
2. 550 cord
3. ranger bands (make your own, they're cheaper and better)
4. Babywipes in resealable containers. Foil softpacks work great
5. Lens cleaning wipes
6. Hun tape (hundred mile and hour tape, or gaffer tape. Like super duct tape)
7. Reading material that is definitely not porn (or otherwise offensive to arabs or muslims). Adventure paperbacks are best
8. Games that don't have a lot of small pieces to lose
9. molle straps and clips (web straps and clips that are used for tying stuff down to molle gear)
10. Stuff sacks and molle pouches
11. Powdered soup mix (stick to chicken noodle)
12. Powdered cocoa
13. Bags of small balloons (you stretch them over things to keep the dust out)
14. Plastic baggies (same thing), and zip lock bags of all sizes
15. Regular and heavy duty rubber bands
16. Pocket sized notebooks
17. Gold bond medicated baby powder/foot powder in individual sized containers
18. Batteries (AAA, AA, cr123a, cr2032)

If you're going to get food products, make sure they are shelf stable, and heat stable; and that they travel well (nothing too crumbly). Single serve packets are best.

If anyone would like to contribute but doesn't want to go through the hassle of gathering and mailing things, my tip jar for the month of October will be dedicated to helping out the 64th ESFS.

Defensor Fortis

Monday, October 08, 2007

Oddly Coincidental

I just got off the phone with my internal project management guy a few minutes ago (he does our billing), and had a very similar conversation:

In my case, I'm doing plenty of work, but the way that work is funded, we have a hard time recovering from it. On the other hand, other projects for the same funding sources are funded differently, with a lot of padding built into them, so the convention has been to use up that padding. It all comes from the same source eventually, but it isn't technically correct; and it makes a mess of things.

So recently we've been told only to charge for exactly what we're working on. Unfortunately, exactly what I'm working on only covers 1/4 of my time, and the other 3/4 have no mechanism for me to recover.

This is a problem.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Almost perfect scores... I'm not sure that's a good thing

I didn't get any wrong, but I did have to use the second clue on a couple of them: - Test your disease knowledge

None wrong, needed second clue on a couple: - Test your drug knowledge

Didnt even need any of the second clues: - Test your serial killer knowledge

Thursday, October 04, 2007

beep... beep... beep....

50 years ago today, man made his first significant achievement, in the greatest chase for glory in the history of civilization.

October 4th 1957, Sputnik 1, "co-traveler", the first man made object to successfully achieve earth orbit was launched from what would become Baikonur cosmodrome.

It has been said of the atomic weapons race, the missile race, and the space race, that "Our Germans were better than their Germans"; in reference to the fact that the majority of our atomic and rocket scientists were German or AUstrian, or had fled from the path of the Nazis.

Well, they were right, our Germans WERE better than their Germans; but this one was a Russian achievement. Spasibo Sergei Korolev.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

A fun little waste of time

Gladiatus, the game of Roman Gladiators.

It's a great way to get through those 4 hour group phone meetings.

I've founded a guild.... PeopleOfTheGun. We're on server 7.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Let The Slaughter Begin

I'm about to watch the Patriots crush the Bengals, and eat some chicken thats been marinating in fresh roasted chilis, vinegar, and garlic for three days.

Life is good. This almost makes up for the fact that my trucks AC stopped working on Saturday.

Semi-obscure Reference to the Number 37