Tuesday, March 31, 2009

On Malf Clearance.

Good news: All that dry-practicing doublefeed clearance paid off. I can clear a spontaneous type 3 like a motherfucker.

Bad news: See above.

(All kidding aside, I discovered a good use for those molded-plastic dummy rounds. The rims break a bit too fast, but when they do break the sumbitches won't come out of the chamber without some gentle caressing. So my "how do I spontaneously induce a type 3 to practice clearing them?" question appears to have been answered.)

On Caliber Wars.

Giggle Button, meet Robb.

10 Print "Begin Flame war"
20 GOTO 10

Holy Rollin'.

Tam links up some genuine Vatican shooting iron.

(And that is a Dundee of a bayonet.)

On Madlib.

The dude can assemble a beat. Good lord.

(Parental Advisory: cussin' an' shit.)

Oh, and Quasimoto is Madlib's alter ego, with his voice pitched up. So if you see a track by Madlib "feat. Quasimoto" (or vice versa)...yeah.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

On Primers and Panic Buying.

I'm checking the small pistol primer page daily on MidwayUSA, and, like every day since the election, it's a wall of 'out of stock, no backorder.' This is expected. What's not expected is that the 'expected back in stock' dates keep backpedaling, so either the primer companies are completely backlogged and can't make their committments, or people clean out Midway's entire primer stock in about an hour and a half.

These days, I wouldn't be surprised. In unrelated news, everyone I bump into these days seems to be wearing a sinister glint and a goatee. Strangely, the retail customers are more logical than normal.

On .327 FedMag.

I was perusing the Real Guns archives recently, since I haven't checked them out in a while, and came across an article on the Ruger SP101 in .327 Federal Magnum. The Federal load was quoted as 100 grains at 1500 feet per second. Sound familiar? How about 85 grains at 1400 feet per second (the reduced recoil load)?

Yep, they went and packed the 7.62x25mm Tokarev round into a revolver.

I'm not entirely sold about the effectiveness of such a round in social situations, but now I really want that gun.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Happy Dance.

I realize it's a long damn way from being law, but for all the Golden State gunnies: check this out.*

It's been referred to the unfortunately-named Committee for Public Safety, here.

* As an aside, do Legislators get to pick their bill numbers? HR1022, HR45, AB357, 30-06 signs...

On Calling Shots.

You know what's cool?

Firing a five-round group, reading the front sight, imagining the shape of the group, and then pulling the target in and seeing exactly what you pictured.

Monday, March 23, 2009

On EDF2017.

I got a sudden urge to dust off my copy of Earth Defense Force 2017.

The operative term here is "cathartic bliss."

Strictly speaking, this game is a mess. With 150 weapons, they basically chucked the concept of balance out the window (arc welder dealing zero damage? wtf?). As far as I can tell, they made up as many variations on the basic types (assault rifle, shotgun, grenade, rocket, etc) as they could think up, utility be damned. Framerates are wildly unstable, and for a game that runs at 20 fps the graphics would not impress on the PS2 (but for the sheer mass of objects on screen). The difficulty curve is wildly unstable, until ramping into the stratosphere for the last act. And vehicles? Why did they bother, exactly? When a mech traverses at half a degree per second, or a helicopter's weaponry is impossible to aim, one would be better served staying on foot.

What this game reminds me of is, of all things, Syndicate. Perhaps with some Rampage thrown in.

Seriously. You're tossed into a cityscape with bottomless firepower and plenty of stuff to destroy, and no one cares one iota about collateral damage. Is it tactially prudent to level the five city blocks between you and the objective? To hell with prudence, does it sound like fun to level every skyscraper on the map with hand-grenades, because you can? Yes, you can drop an apartment block with anything explosive, as long as it's close enough. Hilarity ensues. Especially with low-res wackyphysics in place.

Oh, and the enemies are a combination of giant insects and giant robots, two things that need nothing but lots of killin'. Never mind the torrents of (awfully-rendered) green blood or *huge* explosions when the killin' is accomplished. Oh yes.

Saturday, March 21, 2009


I find it hard to be offended when my bullshit-meter is pegging. Look, guys, I like to think that I have some critical thinking skills left. I would like to be informed of a development in neutral terms and form my own reaction, rather than be informed of how I should feel and then provide limited reasons as to why.

Or, I don't trust you weaselly, emotionally manipulative bastards.

In the interests of fairness, the NRA does the same thing when memberships are up for renewal. Dammit, guys, I don't like giving you money when you do that.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Flinching is Like Alcoholism

You never stop being a flincher, you're just sober for a while.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

On Big Dots and Results.

I finally got the Big Dots out to the range.

Result? Nice, normally-sized group, about four inches high. Since I haven't loc-tited the rear down, the wee allen wrench supplied can loosen the setscrews and allow for horizontal adjustment with your own fingers. Knocking the group over two inches was no big deal. I have no idea how i'm going to adjust vertically, since there's no front sight to file down, and the rear is not going anywhere vertically.

Clearly, they aren't an impediment to accuracy, at least at my own level of competence. In fact, they block out a lot less of the target, so they're a lot easier to use.

On Extractors.

They might break, eventually.* This one had 10,800 rounds on it, and the hook broke clean off.

The good news is that replacing them is a piece of cake. On milled-stainless slides, the extractor sits in its own slot. The extractor is one piece of metal, and a separate spring provides tension through a pin.

To remove, simply stick an appropriately-sized flathead screwdriver between the pin and the extractor, rotate 45 degrees, and lift the extractor out from the breech end.

Good Lord is it nasty in there. Q-tips and Hoppe's, away!

Re-installation is a snap. Re-insert the pin, and wiggle the extractor into place.

From now on I'm stocking replacement extractors and firing pins. No point gettting caught with my pants down.


* First sight replacement, then a broken firing pin, and finally a busted extractor. Problems all come at once.

On Firing Pins and Dry Fire, Denouement.

The firing pin is pretty straightforward to install. First, stick the firing pin spring on the pointy end. The firing pin spring is tapered on one end; the skinny part goes on the firing pin - it should take a bit of effort to push on, and stay put once installed. Insert the firing pin safety lock, half-moon side backwards, and push the lock in while inserting the firing pin. The scalloped sections need to be up. If the pin is in the proper orientation, it will snap into place.

The trickiest bit is re-inserting the roll pin. The pin needs to be in the forward position (as through striking the primer) - push it forward with a punch or something. The roll pin will fall into place up to the striated section, at which point one merely needs to bludgeon it into place. (The striations came off in tiny metal beads - this really is a one-use item.)

On John Adams.

(The miniseries, not the man.)

I'm glad I spaced the discs out, because if Netflix dropped all three in my mailbox simultaneously I would be very much inclined to shoot up...err, watch them in one marathon 8-hour session. Between this, From the Earth to the Moon, and Band of Brothers, HBO has evidently found a way to freebase televisual crack cocaine.

Really, there's nothing about this series to complain about. The performances are electrifying, the visual design is seamless to my untrained eye, the pacing is breakneck.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

On CZ52 Parts.

Makarov.com was a great source for CZ52 parts, but they discontinued their online storefront a while back. Fortunately, it looks like you can get Harrington firing pins and rollers straight from the source.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

A Tale of Three Dummies.

No, I'm not talking about Brain Donors.

From left to right: Saf-T-Trainer, Action Trainer, A-ZOOM Snap Cap (run hard), A-ZOOM Snap Cap (showroom new)

It's not a question of which one is best, it's a question of which suits your purpose. The A-ZOOM brand has that handy dead cap to protect the firing pin, but the rim starts flaking off the moment you start cycling the rounds. After a few hundred chamberings and ejections, parts of the rim have come completely off, and the remainder is separating. As a bonus, the feed ramp of the 226 is dusted liberally in aluminum shavings after every use.

The Action Trainer, on the other hand, is built with Starline nickel-plated brass, with a polymer insert. The round shown has been cycled thousands of times, used in malfunction clearance drills hundreds of times (types 1, 2, and 3 - type 2 explains the dents on the case wall...), tossed into muddy grass repeatedly, and generally abused. The rim is a bit gnawed, but mainly the damage is limited to nickel finish being scraped off. This round could be cycled a few thousand more times and we *might* start to see troublesome effects. The bright orange tip and shiny nickel is easy to spot, even in low light. The only problem is that there is no dead cap - in fact, there's a hollowed-out spot where the primer should go, so it's as good as dry-firing on an empty chamber.

For a buck a piece (less, if you use Google-Fu), the Action Trainers are fantastic for manipulation drills, while A-ZOOM will work for extended dry-fire sessions. I should probably pick up a pack of Tiptons and see if they hold up, being polymer around a brass rim.

On Firing Pins and Dry Fire, Part Deux.

The Package of Joy and/or Mercy arrived from Top Gun today.

There are some mistakes one makes only once, so horrifying are the results. For those seeking replacement SIG firing pins through the DIY route (as opposed to the eminently more sensible 'send it back for warranty service' approach), repeat the following as a mantra (as in "this is my rifle"):

The firing pin, firing pin position pin, and firing pin spring are three parts of the same assembly. One is useless without the other two. If you need to order one, you need to order the others.

I could have spent an extra $3.95 to throw in a firing pin spring. But no, I forgot in my haste and wasted four days seeking another one. Nurr.

George S. Patton once said: "A good plan, violently executed now, is better than a perfect plan next week." Firearms maintenance is NOT warfare. Get it right the first time, especially the whole 'sending for parts' bit.

End rant.

The good news is that, properly armed, the process of removing the firing pin and related bits is child's play*. One needs:

1. A lump of wood with a hole drilled through it (a chunk of 2x4 is perfect)
2. A pin punch, more specifically at 3mm cup tip punch

A few whacks with a proper bludgeoning instrument and the pin exits the frame with a minimum of fuss. Whack from the right side of the frame (the ejection port side). Depressing the firing pin lock on the underside of the slide will cause the pin to exit under pressure from the firing pin spring. If the firing pin is broken and the firing pin sheared in half, some prying, wiggling, shaking, and general cajoling may be required. After disassembly, discard the firing pin positioning pin you just whacked out, as this is a sacrificial part.**

As you can see, the old firing pin and firing pin spring have neatly snapped off at the tip. This is startlingly reminiscent of the well-known CZ52*** firing pin failure, which is caused by excessive dry fire. The timing (right after whacking pretty heavily on the rear sight to get it out of the dovetail) is a wee bit suspicious, and I don't know if that jarring weakened an already stressed part - but then, this is a firearm we're talking about.

According to a thread at SIGForums that I can't for the life of me dig up (by a guy who took the Armorer's Course), the recommended replacement interval for the firing pin and spring is 20,000 rounds.

As an aside, the 'firing pin lag' seems to do a good job of keeping grime out of the firing pin channel. The characteristic 'firing pin drag' on primers is due to the firing pin retracting slowly, which is meant to keep the firing pin channel sealed. There was a small amount of carbon buildup at the front, but a great deal more carbon and oil got in around the firing pin lock. After 10,000 rounds (mostly grimy reloads), I count 6 q-tips to clean as pretty good.

Part 3: Firing pin spring arrives and we get this bad boy assembled.


* This procedure applies to new-style machined slides, as opposed to old-style folded slides (i.e. West-German style, with separate breech face/firing pin housing.
** Note that one end of the pin is knurled; this holds the pin firmly in place, but gets flattened out when the pin is ejected.
*** CZ52 firing pins are notoriously brittle, being made from cast steel. As an aside - and I don't mean to blame the design for operator error - the SIG firing pin lock is basically a scaled-up and Kraut-engineered take on the CZ52 design. Too bad the Czech design didn't get a chance to mature.

On Sierra Nevada ESB.

"Early Spring Beer." I suppose that at this point the acronym "ESB" doesn't stand for anything in particular, but itself is the genre descriptor. The same could be said for "SAT" and "PMC." (The ammo, not the mercenaries.)

Whatever the issues in nomenclature, this is a damned fine ale. The hoppiness is actually less pronounced than Sierra Nevada's flagship Pale Ale, which I consider to be a good thing. There's a distinct and intense bitterness rounded off with a lingering cascade note, quite the inverse of SNPA. Combined with a similar syrupy body, this makes for a fantastic social pint or after-work sipping beer.

On Taxes.

You might be a gun nut if your California Use Tax eats up half of your refund, and it's almost all gun-related. You might be a bigger gun nut if last year it actually forced you to pay the state.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

On Firing Pins and Dry Fire.

Let this be a lesson: dry-firing a SIG P226 300 times a night, every night, for several months straight may eventually break the firing pin.

I speak from experience, and Top Gun Supply appreciates the business.

Thank you, and have a lovely morning.