Saturday, December 29, 2012

Kokomo Gun Show

The line to get in to the Dulles Gun Show was so long that the gun show in Kokomo, Indiana is actually closer.

Heading to Kokomo with Roberta X, Tam and Shootin' Buddy.

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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Record Number Of Americans Oppose Handgun Ban

Even with the killings in Newtown as a backdrop, a new Gallup poll shows 74 percent of Americans now support the right to possess a handgun, while just 24 percent would support a ban.

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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

WaPo: Guns Are A Part Of American Culture

Almost unbelievable that they would publish this, but I think the WaPo's editorial calculation is that they are finally going to get Congress to confiscate guns (in strict compliance with the Second Amendment, of course!) so they can afford the appearance of fairness, after mercilessly slandering American gun owners for nearly half a century.

Friday, December 21, 2012

It's Official: 8,000 New Members A Day

ABC News:

NRA News anchor Ginny Simone said Thursday that in the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting, membership surged "with an average of 8,000 new members a day."

40mm Ruger

Sarah Pike came in as the men chatted and purchased a 40mm Ruger pistol. She asked McGrady about courses that would teach her how to use it. He wondered about her accent and asked where she was from. France, she said, and then she wondered out loud whether she could travel abroad with such a weapon.

“Not internationally, but you can travel anywhere in the continental United States,” he said, except Washington. “Just stay off the Beltway around D.C.”

Monday, December 17, 2012

The U.S. Already Had a Conversation About Guns—and the Pro Side Won

Interesting article in The Atlantic. Excerpt:

There isn't anything wrong with gun-control advocates lamenting what, by their lights, is a public that's reaching wrongheaded conclusions on the subject and is trending in the wrong direction.

But too many pieces I've read make a mockery of robust debate in a pluralistic society by ignoring the fact that current policy is largely (though not entirely) a reflection of the U.S. public disagreeing with gun reformers. The average American is far more likely than the average journalist or academic to identify with gun culture, to insist that the Second Amendment confers an individual right to bear arms, to exercise that right, and to support various state concealed-carry laws. Perhaps persuasion can move the citizenry to favor a different status quo. That's always a hurdle to clear in a democracy. Yet the ability to engage and persuade fellow citizens is undermined when public discourse obscures rather than confronts the relevant disagreements.

The problem goes beyond the absurd conceit that a conversation about guns had yet to begin prior to this week.

I'll give you an example.

In an Atlantic Wire post titled "It's Time We Talked About Gun Control," my sharp colleague Jen Doll writes, "We're going to have to talk about this; we're going to have to form coherent thoughts; and we're going to have to stop simply cleaving to our agendas and our selfish little opinions of what we want and what we think we should have -- and when 'the right time is' -- if this is ever going to get any better." But that isn't a call for a conversation! It's an assertion that opponents of gun control are selfish, and that they (not "we") are going to "have to" change their minds. It's fine to make that argument. The problem is couching it as a mere call for talking, when it is in fact an assertion that the only reasonable conclusion is that the other guys are wrong. 


The Call of Snoophulhu

From boing-boing.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Target Practice

I put the eccentric inserts into the Burris rings to walk the scope into the bullseye. I'm closing in on it. The OnTarget software says that this is a 1.005" group, centered 0.538" to the right and 2.220" low. That's a big improvement over 5.5" right and 2.9" low. Ammo as before was the same lot of Remington Premier Accutip 55-gr, MV=3240, BC=0.242.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

"But you're wrong," I said. "Hello? Is This Thing On?"

At Boing-boing is a story in which the Chicago Sun-Times movie critic Roger Ebert describes an interview he gave to NBC News on the day after the Columbine slayings. The reporter was looking for sound bites to support the theory that violent movies cause violence in society.

In short, I said, events like Columbine are influenced far less by violent movies than by CNN, the NBC Nightly News and all the other news media, who glorify the killers in the guise of "explaining" them. I commended the policy at the Sun-Times, where our editor said the paper would no longer feature school killings on Page 1. The reporter thanked me and turned off the camera. Of course the interview was never used. They found plenty of talking heads to condemn violent movies, and everybody was happy. 

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Fatal Vision

Probably the last appeal for former Green Beret doctor Jeffrey MacDonald, serving life for the 1970 slayings of his wife and two young daughters.

A terrific account in the WaPo:

Friday, December 7, 2012

Causation vs. Correlation

A New York Times columnist/blogger drones on with the usual nonsense about Bob Costas, the U.S. homicide rate, the Kellermann studies, etc., etc.

But hidden in the comments section was this nugget:

As a Canadian who's studied homicide stats pretty extensively, I have to tell you that I think you're barking up the wrong tree. My own home province of Newfoundland has a gun ownership rate of 45% of all households, almost exactly the same rate as the United States. Yet our homicide rate is a mere 1.4 per 100,000, compared to the US national rate of about 4.2 per 100,000.

However, looking back over the past decade, we cannot claim as low a homicide rate as North Dakota, which has been less violent than any Canadian province, and yet has one of the highest rates of gun ownership in North America, far higher than, say, Detroit (48.2 homicides per 100,000), or Washington DC (21.9 per 100,000).

The US homicide rate is about 2.5 x that of Canada. But 52% of US homicides are committed by African-Americans, who are only 12% of the US population. If you compare Canada with the other 88% of the US population, you will find that homicide rates are very close.

Likewise, comparing the 50 US states, 10 Canadian provinces, and 3 Canadian territories, the top three jurisdictions for homicide per capita are usually Louisiana, Nunavut (the Inuit territory), and the Northwest Territories, in that order.
Social problems and cultural attitudes drive homicide, and I say this not as an advocate for the gun lobby, nor as a believer in innate racial or cultural differences. I'm neither, just someone who respects what the numbers tell us.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Clark Brothers

This is a venerable Virginia gunshop in rural (although increasingly less so) Warrenton, Va.

Behind the store they operate a pistol-rifle-shotgun range, with rifle targets at 25, 50 and 100 yards.

This is the first five shots from the Kimber .22 at 25 yards. Ug-LEEE!

And after walking the shots in, here is the final group.

But to get that result, I had to dial the rear peep-sight all the way to the right, 54 clicks! And 42 clicks down. Something's wrong there. Obviously I need to learn how to use peep sights. I did have the foresight to keep track of how many clicks I turned, so that I could return the sight to center.

The AR-15 with the scope and the bull barrel came along, too. Here's a 100-yard group. The aiming point was the bullseye in the upper left! So the group center was 5.4" to the right and 2.9" low. My plan is to put 0.010" eccentric inserts into the front and rear scope rings, to shove the scope to the right. Just for curiosity’s sake. Before I touch the scope turrets.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Christmas Came Early This Year

Fedex just delivered, to my front door, this mysterious package from Anniston, Alabama.

Inside was this Kimber M82 rifle, caliber .22LR. 

That's Kimber of Clackamas, Oregon, y'all.

They said it was "rusty" but I can't find a spot of rust on it anywhere.

There was also this plastic bag...

...containing the bolt and these extraordinary target sights.

The barrel was sealed up with a full-length paper tube.

The stock appears to be in perfect shape. There are a couple of scratches on the other side. There is also an aluminum channel built into the lower surface of the fore-end, perhaps for a bipod? And an original manual.

To say I am pleased would be an understatement!

Thank you, CMP!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Range Report

After a 2-hour wait I was assigned to lane 9 and set my target out at 25 yards. I had a box of Federal XM193F, 5.56mm M193 Ball, 55-gr. boat-tail cartridges. I aimed at the target center and my first two shots landed 2 inches down and 2 inches to the right. That's disappointing, because it would be 8 inches at 100 yards, but at least I have some real-world results to ponder.

So rather than adjust the turrets I decided to "shoot a box": I turned the windage turret 64 clicks to the right and fired two more shots, then turned the elevation turret 64 clicks up and fired two more, then 64 clicks left windage and two more, then 64 clicks left and two more shots, then finally 64 clicks down and two more shots. I was shooting from a bag rest each time. The shots seemed to track the turrets pretty well. These turrets are 1/8" per click.

The second target was at 50 yards:

This seemed to be more like 3.5 inches to the right, or 7 inches at 100 yards.

I'm not really so concerned about the elevation because I'm so close to the target that the bullet is still rising to meet the line of sight; the scope is mounted about 2" above the bore.

The three shots above the bull were just to finish off the cartridge box.

The wind was really vicious today, so my plans to visit Clark Bros. in Warrenton had to be postponed. They have a rifle range with 25, 50 and 100-yard targets.

My goal is to use the adjustable rings to get the rifle on target at all ranges, for windage anyway, without adjusting the turrets.

I also fired eight magazines from the Ruger 22/45 with the red dot sight, and half a box from the Nagant "7-shooter". The Nagant has a formidable double-action trigger pull; I used single action. Nice shooter! Very quiet and very little recoil. Only 98-gr bullets.

The Smith & Wesson M&P 9mm compact sent some lead downrange, too, to test four new magazines (CTD has 'em in stock if you act fast).

Check out the unfired Nagant cartridge (far right) and the spent case next to it.

And I just noticed this: look at the unusual dimple in the primer. What do you make of that? 

And it wasn't just the Blaser, either. This one is Winchester White Box. It shows a dimple (at the 10 o'clock position) and a firing-pin "comma" (at 5 o'clock).

Texas Man Pulls Gun On Line-Cutter

Black Friday news:

A shopper who brandished a handgun during a Black Friday scuffle at South Park Mall was within his rights, according to San Antonio police.

Sent from my iPhone

NYPD Siezes Billionaire's Guns

The police have confiscated two guns belonging to a New York billionaire and are weighing whether to revoke his handgun license after officers responded to an incident this month at Trump Tower, according to a police official and two people familiar with the matter.
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Reading a humor article in the New Yorker. A reminiscence (I'll spell-check that later) of a 17-year old boy who had a torrid affair with 77-year old Ayn Rand:

Anyone who knew Ayn knew that she was not big on sniveling. But I was devastated. We'd often talked about "stopping the engine of the world." Well, now she had stopped the engine of my heart. So, yes, I sniveled a bit. Although, in keeping with my Objectivist principles, when I sniveled, I did it in my room, while keeping my face as impassive and noble as I could. Or sometimes I'd call Alan Greenspan, and he'd go, "Oh, you too, eh?"

Yeah, I know. Reading the New Yorker at the NRA Range. I'll pay dearly for this.

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At The NRA Range

And it is JAMMED!

At least a 2-hour wait.

I'm stayin'.

"Repo man's got all night!"

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Friday, November 23, 2012

Red Dot Sight

The Ruger 22/45 came with a Picatinny scope base, so today I torqued it down to 10 in-lbs (aluminum receiver).

And installed this red dot scope. Burris Signature Zee rings (30mm/Medium) torqued down to 20 in-lbs (because they're steel).

I have no idea how to "level" a sight that has no crosshairs, so I just eye-balled it.

It should make for some fun plinking.

Oh, NOW What?

I pulled out the AR-15 and hooked up the boresighter and got this. Pretty good.

But two weeks ago it looked like this. What the hell is going on?

I guess it's off to the range.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Remington 700 Action Trueing Videos

Don't try this at home, kids!

This 13-part video shows a gunsmith (I think his name is Suarez) trueing up a Remington 700 action. I found it absolutely fascinating.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Ruger 22/45 Mod

This modification will remove the magazine safety from my Ruger 22/45, and make the magazines drop free of the mag well when the release button is pressed. In the first picture is the mainspring housing at top and then (L-R) are the hammer and strut, the stock bushing, and the aftermarket bushing.

The aftermarket bushing has two raised areas on it where the magazine safety follower and its spring used to ride on the factory bushing. Those parts aren't needed and they've been discarded.

Here is the new bushing in place. It is deliberately a tight fit in the hammer assembly, and it needs to be tapped into place with a plastic-faced hammer.

The hammer assembly has been put back in place in the gun and the hammer pin has been fully extended - without, I might add, disturbing the safety or the sear - I'm proud of that.
Add a couple of Hogue cocobolo grips and it looks just like the other "45s".

Friday, November 16, 2012

Sweet Irony

Hostess Brands closed up shop permanently today, forced into bankruptcy and liquidation by a nationwide strike by the Bakers' Union. This will result in the loss of 18,500 full-time jobs.

According to the BBC:

"The union's pension fund is [the firm's] biggest unsecured creditor, and is owed about $944.2m."

No doubt some obscure agency of the federal government will step forward to guarantee the payment of the pension in Bernanke Bucks.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

English Gunsmith

This English gunsmith is preparing a Sako rifle to accept a silencer, or as they call it over there, a "moderator".

In part two, he uses a reamer from Pacific Tool and Gauge (at 4:00)

And at 9:50, look at the amazing results: the disappearing end cap.

Nice logo!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Main Event

The Nikon scope has arrived and so off comes the BSA scope and we need to de-grease the ring hardware for the permanent installation. There are lots of choices in anyone's kitchen or garage:

I chose isopropyl alcohol because it's easy to work with in confined spaces.

Here's the new scope sitting in the rings. It's a Nikon Buckmasters 6-18x40 with a mildot reticle that ranges at 12x.

I tried the bathroom mirror test on it and the reticle was perfectly centered.

After the usual procedure of leveling the gun, boresighting to level the scope, and torquing down the rings, here's the result:

Perfectly level, 3/4 division high and 3 3/4 divisions to the right. No scope adjustment yet. I was so surprised that the windage was so far off that I took the scope out of the rings, checked the bathroom mirror again (it was still centered) and torqued down the scope again. Same result.

Well, at least it seems to be repeatable. 

I read somewhere on the web that some scopes, even expensive ones, do not have their optical center and their mechanical center in the same place. It has to do with the design of the scope and how much the turrets protrude into the main tube. The designers want the reticle to be centered in the lens system because that's where the image is sharpest, but that may conflict with how many clicks there are in each direction. So sometimes the designers have to compromise. 
Well, that's what I've heard!

I'll try to get to the range soon and give it a try.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Hand Made Screw

This Sauer 38H is just back from the gunsmith, who made a new grip screw for, uh...I forget which side.

Can you spot the new grip screw? The other one is over 70 years old.

These guys use metal detectors to find old war weapons, and at 5:50 they pull up a Sauer 38H:

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Practice Makes Perfect, I Hope

The Nikon scope that I ordered for this AR-15 project will not arrive until Tuesday or Wednesday, but I'm going to get in some more practice with this funky BSA scope that I found in a packing box.

This is a BSA Platinum 6-24x44 scope with a 1" tube and mildot reticle. And today's exercise is to get it mounted, levelled and boresighted on the AR-15. I'm going to use Burris Signature Zee rings - I'm sold on the things - with the concentric inserts. Those are the inserts that come with the package; the eccentric inserts are sold separately - for $16 per ring!

I adjusted the scope with the bathroom mirror method again so that it was optically centered.

The first step is to level the gun, so on go the Wheeler bubble levels. Looks level to me!

The AR-15 flat-top has a good-sized flat just behind the Picatinny rail. This accomodates the Starrett machinist's level nicely. But notice that the bubble here is all the way to the left.


When in doubt, always believe the more expensive piece of gear, so we level the gun to put the Starrett bubble in the center, and re-adjust the Wheeler to agree.

Here's the Starrett with the bubble in the center. It's hard to get it there and harder to keep it there.

The Burris ring is a tight fit on the rail - in fact it won't fit at all. Notice the little cut in the ring's base, next to my thumb? That's the "Zee" that you find in the Burris rings for the Weaver-style base.

So we just get out the old pry-bar (Stanley screwdriver) and gently open up the "Zee". The rings are steel and do not yield easily; it took me seven attempts to open it enough to slide it on the rail.

And then whaddaya think happened? Yup, these (medium) rings are too low for the 44mm bell of the scope. In this photo, the bell of the scope is resting on the handguard, and the tube of the scope hasn't touched the ring yet.

But I was once a Boy Scout, and I was prepared with a set of high rings, seen here. Of course, that meant opening up the "Zee" on yet another set of rings, yadda-yadda.

I set the rings exactly 4 inches apart and tightened them down to 20 in-lb, while pressing them forward against the rail. These are 1" rings and the bases use straight-slotted screws! Caramba! Interestingly, Burris 30mm rings use Torx screws at the base. Wonder why?

You can see the lower ring inserts in place here; they resemble big-end bearings on a crankshaft.

And here is our old nemesis, Mr. Boresighter. Everything still looks level, but we have been tugging and pulling and torquing on the gun a bit, and this is our last chance to check the levelling before we put the ring caps on. So we check one more time with the Starrett level and it's off half a bubble. So we level the gun again and tweak the Wheeler level to match.

Torquing down the rings. Moving in a criss-cross pattern, one quarter turn for each screw. Checking the scope to see that it's level in the collimator. Checking the bubble level. Then another round of quarter turns until the wrench clicks at 20 in-lb. Several times I felt a slight "give" as I turned a screw; I think this may have been the plastic insert being pushed into place by the pressure of the steel ring.

Here's the view. It was just fiendishly difficult to get a good snapshot with this scope. But what you see here, even though it looks off-axis, is what I saw with my eye: nicely level, one unit to the right and 3.5 units high.

And here's the final assembly. The feeler gauge says that the scope is 0.077" above the handguard. Is that too close?

All done and ready to be put away.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Great Idea For Cartoon

Middle-aged man in suit is complaining to young woman in green apron and black baseball cap.

Caption: "This is a helluva way to run a coffee shop! You call this a decent download speed?"

Sent from my iPhone

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Affixing A Scope

I have assigned myself a winter project this year, namely to install a very accurate scope on an AR-15 flattop with a floating bull barrel, 9:1 twist, etc.

But before I do too much damage, I wanted to try a smaller-scale, less expensive project first.

So I'm going to install a Leapers scope on a Marlin Papoose.

Yeah, I know, it has a detachable barrel, so how accurate can it be, at best?

But that's not the point. The point is to learn how to use the tools.

Starrett 6" machinist's level
Wheeler torque wrench
Wheeler scope levelling barrel clamp
BSA collimator

The scope is a little Leapers 6x32 with a 1" tube.

The rings are Burris Signature .22 Rings, medium height. I also have one of their "Pos-Align" insert kits with the eccentric ring inserts.

Step 1 is to level the gun laterally (left-right); longitudinal levelling isn't very important.

That's probably overkill, as far as a bubble level is concerned, but it is extraordinarily sensitive. It took me nearly 15 minutes to level the gun.

Then I put the Wheeler barrel clamp level on and adjusted it to agree with the Starrett.

It's actually a nice piece of gear. All the images on the web make it look like it's made of yellow plastic, but it's anodized aluminum.

Now the Starrett is removed and the scope rings attached to the receiver.

I didn't bother to degrease these rings, because, come on! But I will do it on the final project. These rings have Torx screws.

And now here's the star of the show. You can see the inserts in the rings. These are the concentric inserts that came with the rings.

And here is the BSA collimator. The .22 spud doesn't fit very well.

And it used to spend most of its time on the gun in this position. There are lots of complaints about this boresighter on the web.

But a quick trip to the hardware store provided the answer.

I checked the scope reticle centering using the bathroom mirror method. I wasn't too impressed with the other method of rotating the scope while supporting it by the scope tube; who says it has to be optically and mechanically concentric?

The first thing to do is to make sure that the scope is level against the boresighter grid, and that the gun is still level at the Wheeler bubble level, too. The Burris rings begin to grab the scope as soon as the ring screws begin to bite, and there's a long way to go to tighten it down. I tightened the ring screws in an x-pattern, one half-turn at a time, checking scope levelling frequently. 

It was a slow, painstaking process to gradually torque down the four ring screws, and when I had all four screws tightened to 10 in-lbs, this is what I saw.

I got the level part OK, but that's damning with faint praise. Actually what I saw in the scope with my eye was that the scope crosshairs were 8 divisions (32" at 100 yds) high and two divisions (8" at 100 yds) to the left.

I have a set of Pos-Align eccentric inserts for the rings. I used Burris's formula (my ring spacing was 3.5") and found that I needed .008 horizontal adjustment in the front ring, and a whopping .031 in the rear. The kit comes with .005, .010 and .020 rings, but only one pair of each. So I put the .010 insert in front; if I rotate it to 53-degrees, it should give me the .008 I'm looking for, AND it will lower the front ring .006.

The rear ring was simple: put in a .020 ring with the thick side at 6 o'clock. That will lift the rear of the scope.

Here is the scope with the eccentric rings in place before the caps are added. You can see that the front ring has been rotated. I just eye-balled it to between 45 and 60-degrees.

Then I ran through the tedious process of torquing down the caps while checking that the gun and scope remained level.

Here's the result:
Looking through the scope I see that the windage is at 0 (centered) and the elevation is 1 unit high (4" at 100 yards). And I haven't touched the scope controls; they're still centered.

Now, of course, the proof of the pudding...

This is just a pilot project, but as far as the process goes I was pleased. And I was just blown away by the Burris Signature rings! I didn't expect them to work, but by golly they not only worked, they worked perfectly.

As you can see the scope has a Mil-dot reticle. One of my reasons for selecting it was to experiment with the Mil-dot ranging system in an inexpensive way.

And I found that there are 16 clicks between collimator grid divisions, elevation and windage, which comes out to about 1/4 MOA per click. (HA! like that's going to make a difference!) Well, we'll see.