Thursday, October 30, 2008

Quote of the Day: Boomstick Edition.

Don Gwinn, over at Tam's...

"Riot gun. I don't even care what the question is.

Best gun for zombies?

How can I open this jar of jelly?

Do these pants make me look fat?

Is a 529 plan really the best way to save for college?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

On The Mare's Leg.

So it turns out that the 1958 TV Series "Wanted: Dead or Alive" was not only a launchpad for Steve McQueen; it's actually very watchable.

The signature of the show is the Mare's Leg, a chopped Winchester 1892 rifle in .44-40. Oh, it's not particularly practical by any means - with 6 rounds on tap from a 12" barrel, you may as well just pack a Buntline-length SAA - it'll be faster shooting to boot. Load speed might be a bit faster, because the action ejects the empties, but it's still loaded a shot at a time into a gate.

But it's so damned cool. When someone with natural presence like McQueen swaggers on the shot with a gun that big on his hip, everyone pays attention. Plus, it's the same kind of appeal the Lupara has, and to a lesser extent the very late 1800s/early 1900s obsession with shoulder-stocked pistols - making a gun do something it wasn't originally intended to.

If one wanted to make a Mare's Leg that did something a 12" SAA couldn't, perhaps basing one off a Model 94 (in .30-30) would give it a bit of a boost, and make it a wrist-breaker. I shudder to think what shooting a Marlin 1895-based one would be like...apparently the 18" .45-70s sting bad enough.

The Mare's Leg is also legal conundrum, but that's another rant...

On Distilled Awesomeness.

So over yonder at PDB's place, I discover a movie I might actually drop $10.50 on...

Besides featuring a very grizzled Clint with a Garand, the preview touches on so many fundemental human experiences - isolation, confronting one's demons, racism, xenophobia, manly virile 70's gas-guzzling muscle-wagens vs. ghetto-tastic rice-burning douchemobiles...

Though I have a feeling it's not going to end like The Fast and the Furious.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Local IPA Throwdown.

After drinking plenty of Sierra Nevada Anniversary Ale, it occurred to me that there might be merit to the whole India Pale Ale concept. And with that I trolled about the local Alcohol Bazaar and selected the first three things I saw with "IPA" on the label. Results?

Lagunitas IPA
Surprisingly subdued for an IPA. I expect a kick in the jaw, but this is more "Pale Ale" with fewer Indians added than I expected. It's crisp, tasty, and generally malty and delicious; however, it's not quite what I'm looking for...

Lagunitas Maximus IPA
Sometimes just adding hops can go awry. It's big and full-bodied, but has an unfortunate vegetal quality. This stuff tastes like a rejected batch of SNPA-Anniversary - same flavors, wrong amounts. If they adjusted the hop mix, it might work better.

Rubicon IPA
Ok, this is what we're going for. This stuff is intensely bitter, which I find a good complement to my personality, but still crisp and malty, with a full body. It's not what I'd call a traditional IPA taste per se, but a very interesting interpretation.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

On Radeberger Pils, Take Two.

It is awesome. Like "Top 5 Pilsners" awesome.

Yes, folks, tasting beers with a congested nasal cavity is a waste of perfectly good beer.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

On Wrong.

Something just exude wrongness. Not to be confused with evil. No, wrongness results from a fevered imagination with too much free time. Witness.

Of course, wrongness usually needs a chaser.

H/t to Blissful Entropy. Now I'm randomly saying "oh no you di'int!" at work. Baah.

On Davis-Monthan AFB.

Absolutely fascinating link over at Sevesteen's place - the Google Maps satellite image of Davis-Monthan AFB, AKA the Boneyard. Interesting mix of planes there.

What I find fascinating is that it's not just retired types - it looks like there's retired airframes of current-run aircraft, such at the C-5 Galaxy, the B1, lots of F/A-18s, and a line of A-10s (kinda want to cry seeing that). There are plenty of F-5s, interestingly enough, what appear to be some surviving A4s.

Everything's got to die sometime, and aircraft are no exception. Airframes tire out, or are replaced, or whatever, but it's still affecting to see old warbirds like the BUFF or the Tomcat being neatly chopped up - like pulling the wings of a pinned butterfly.

Home on the Range mentioned this a while back, actually.

Monday, October 13, 2008

On Training.

So I'm looking to get some competent instruction, and on the horizon are two options in my area:

1. Yavapai Academy Stage 2. (Peligro! PDF!) It's taught by Louis Awerbuck, who needs no introduction, and probably seals the deal right there. 2 days on a weekend, $500, 500 rounds.

2. Tactical Response Fighting Pistol. Two dates to choose from, which is nice. I've heard good things about their program. 2 days on a weekend. $400, the savings of which will be eaten up by the doubled round count.

As for personal training aids...

I ordered "Shooting Missology" and some Action Trainer dummy rounds from Tactical Response Gear. The Action Trainers seem to be scads better in terms of durability than the classic A-ZOOM snap caps. While they're just peachy for protecting the firing pin, the A-ZOOM rims fall to pieces rather quickly, and at $3 a hit, that hurts. The Action Trainers are nickel-plated Starline brass and a polymer insert that fills the entire case - no set-back as with home-made dummies. So far, they show no wear from plenty of malfunction clearance practice, except for a big dent in one from accidentally inducing a simulated stovepipe. Oops. There's no firing pin contact whatsoever (in fact, there's a big dimple built in so as to avoid it), so value as a dead cap is nil. Plus, shiny nickel + fluorescent insert = very visible rounds, which are easy to find after being ejected hither and yon in dim light.

Shooting Missology is pretty solid stuff. Biggest takeaway? Repeating "front sight" as a mantra whilst taking the shot. This makes every shot a surprise, since you're not focusing (and panicking about) your trigger pull, which is the single biggest shooting problem out there. Works so far in dry-fire - improved my weak hand double pull noticeably. Other fun stuff includes 'negative targets' (cut a hole, shoot through hole - no holes = good shooting) for fixing 'bullet hole fixation' (where one looks at their target obsessively after each shot). An interesting demonstration was the human tendency to push forward in anticipation of recoil - such that the gun lunges forward on a ball-and-dummy drill.

Also - dry-fire potentially increases a flinch, because the shooter is mentally aware that dry-fire is not real - as they should be, for safety reasons. The only way to cure a flinch is ball-and-dummy work. Good thing I have proper dummy rounds...

Thursday, October 9, 2008

On Google Reader.

A grand scheme by which the denizens of the Inter Nets pour forth a mighty torrent of words and Google sluices off but a fraction for your enjoyment; but, nay, this mere sliver is of itself a deluge, and in this grand flow your free time atomizes and is dashed into oblivion.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

On Scary Barrel Texturing.

So all the cool kids at the Saturday night shindig are shooting Montana Gold Bullets, which to my eyes had the advantage of being the same price of the bulk Raniers that dissappeared off Midway right at the time my last box was running short. $293 for 3000 155gr slugs, including shipping? Yes please. These are FMJs, as opposed to plated totally-encapsulated slugs, with an exposed base. They also have what seems to be Montana Gold's signature brass-colored jackets.

I'm not fingering Montana Gold in particular, but my SIG P226 barrel was mirror-like, with infinitesimal lines forming parallel to the rifling, until I popped 291 of the bastards towards the rack o' despair, took the gun down three days later, and noticed what looked, and my heart skipped a few beats here, like lines of rust forming. What the hell? I don't carry it, I don't store it anywhere near moisture, I haven't shot it in the rain for nine months...surely it's not corrosion that's magically manifested its eldritch visage in my barrel?

I soaked in Tetra for 30 minutes and scrubbed vigorously with a nylon bore brush. Stuff came up, so I repeated that process three times. There's still brass-colored streaks running along the rifling, entirely unchanged. The texturing is limited to strips flanking the rifling lands, and the center of the grooves is still mirror fresh. The problem seems to manifest primarily at the bore; everything's still blinding immediately forward of the chamber.

The only variable that's changed is the bullets, and frankly I'm a bit miffed.

On Titegroup.

It works. It's cheap (per pound), economical (per charge), and consistent enough for popping steel plates.

Downsides: a bit grimy (I might do well to amp the load a bit). It sticks to the inside of the powder measure (standard RCBS), so loading anything that's *not* titegroup is somewhat problematic. Nothing else had this problem - AA7, Trail Boss, Bullseye, stick. Peculiar, and a bitch when I want to load up some .455. Doubtless this would become even more critical if I decided to start loading 7.62x54r...

On Sins of a Solar Empire (abridged)

It's fucking amazing. Think Masters of Orion meets Supreme Commander with liberal doses of Homeworld and Escape Velocity. With the finest micromanagement-management I've ever seen.

Much more thorough analysis one of these days (saying 'later' seems, from analyis of blog archives, a great way to forget to ever follow through)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

40-round Impression: Walther P99

So I was at the Saturday night shoot, and I inquired about a regular's P99. His response: "wanna shoot it?" One of my rules to live by is to never pass up the opportunity to shoot new guns and ammo. And so...

The Occam's Razor crowd (Glocks and/or 1911s) will doubtless go into conniptions when they find out that the P99, as configured, has *three* trigger pulls. That's right. Not content with a standard DA/SA configuration, the good folks at Walther have given in to the German tendency to over-engineer everything, and have given the shooter DA, pre-cocked DA, and SA. How's it run?

The DA is, well, a DA - long and heavy. The SA isn't horrible - not excessive amounts of movement, and a break of 4 pounds or so. The pre-cocked DA is really the SA with a take-up the length of the DA stroke, so it still breaks right around 4 pounds. When you shoot it in this mode, the first shot is SA with the long take-up, and each successive shot resets at a standard SA position; when you remove your finger from the trigger it returns to the full DA sweep position, so the first shot of a new string is the long, 'safer' pull. Other than the take-up, it's the same pull, so you don't *really* need to learn two triggers. Judging from the position of the decocking lever (out of the reach of a standard grip, right in front of the rear sight), the full-strength DA is not the intended mode of carry, but available for the litigiously minded, or as a second-strike capability on a reluctant primer. The utility of that feature is questionable, but it's nice to have the option.

How's it shoot? In 9mm (light loads, admittedly), the gun is child's play to run double-taps with. Ergos are impressive, or at least they felt good in my hands. The German-style mag release is fucking bizarre. Give me a button, please.

I'm quite impressed. I usually dismiss the P99 as another space-age polymer-frame wunderpistol, but it's a very well engineered space-age polymer-frame wunderpistol.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Random Thoughts.

Apparently, the huge cloud of smoke generated by the discharge of cast lead bullets is actually the wax lubricant burning off. I knew all those facts, but never put 'em together...also, 500,000 lead rounds apparently doesn't come close to wearing out a 1911 barrel, while 50,000 jacketed ones will shoot it out. Good to know.

Double-taps are hard. More precisely, double-taps work a lot better when you actually have a sight picture for both shots, and your grip is neutral such that the gun returns from recoil to the place whence it came, instead of seven o'clock low. I saw the sights there, so it wasn't a jerk/flinch (entirely), so methinks I'm overcompensating for something at speed. Runs OK slower, the same, slower, but faster. Or something.

The original Ghost in the Shell movie is still amazing.