Tuesday, June 30, 2009

On Aguila Colibri (Cont'd.)

I ran a box through Das Cheäterpistole today. (The Trailside grew a new appendage, and now I'm out of excuses for missing. Which is very much the point.)

Feed reliability was distinctly better than the Ruger. Rounds stacked neatly in the magazine, and as long as the slide was enthusiastically cycled, no issues were encountered. (All sorts of wierd stuff happened if I tried to cycle the gun slowly - top round stovepiping, rims interacting in the magazine and causing nosedives, etc.) If loaded to capacity, the first two rounds had a tendency to nosedive; manually aligning the top round with the feed lips seems to solve that problem. Running both mags with five rounds each allows for shooting at a very consistent, aggravation-free clip.

Accuracy seemed about the same as the Ruger - as good as my hold. Interestingly, use of a red-dot sight resulted in an immediate halving of group sizes at 25m with full-power ammo at the range; here, at 20 feet, group sizes were nearly identical (not counting fliers, of course).

And holy hell is my weak-hand shooting inconsistent. Back to the salt mines.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Recoil Control, Cont'd.

I think the issue is that I have too much strong hand tension and too much weak hand tension. Given that two separate teachers have told me that I should apply more force with the weak hand, perhaps I should make that a training issue... Strong hand tension also results in the symptom of clamping down on the slide lock; thus, grip looks good in dry practice but tightens up while shooting fast and the slide doesn't want to stay back.

As a bonus, trigger work looks a lot better when I adjust tension away from the strong hand (where it interferes with fine index finger motion) and towards weak hand (where it's just a clamp to keep the gun running in a consistent manner). One of these days, I'll make it stick.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

On .22 and Reliability.

LonelyMachines brings up a really good point: the reason .22 is less reliable than .25 isn't just that it's a rimmed cartridge instead of a semi-rimmed one, but because the priming method is more prone to failure. I seem to recall from somewhere that the Swiss Vetterli had dual firing pins for that very reason. I can't see that peculiarity being replicated in this day and age for anything other than the neato factor ("dude, what's up with your brass?"), but now I want a .22 pistol with dual firing pins.

Interesting food for thought. Yet another reason that, for serious social work, rimfire technology is more dead than Dillinger.

(Oh, and completely as an aside, in this age of doom and gloom, it's nice to read something optimistic for a change.)

On Recoil Control.

"What I've noticed with shooters who use .22 kits is that they tend to have problems with recoil control." - ToddG (paraphrased, at the 3/15 Aim Fast, Hit Fast class)

Ah-yup. First time shooting steel in 3 months, and I totally got schooled. Shooting a real caliber magnifies any problems you have with grip consistency. Edge-of-performance speeds mean that those problems translate to embarrassing misses. While running the rack, I noticed that 'driving the dot' doesn't work when the rear sight is 10+ degrees off boresight due to grip.

EDIT: On further rumination, I'm realizing that under stress - pseudo-competition, not wanting to look like a total doofus, acting like a total doofus anyway, social pressure (interacting with a bunch of guys that I haven't seen in a couple of months; all great folks, but still) - my grip went completely to shit. Not to mention the whole 'riding the slide lock' habit coming back with a vengeance. Which is kind of odd, since my grip's been consistenly pretty awesome, more so than usual, at my last few range trips.

With my ego properly adjusted downward, it's time to get back to work. Also, sight in from a bench to find out where exactly these Big Dots are hitting.

Friday, June 26, 2009

On Mailing one's Elected Representatives.

So vis-a-vis the CBP's delightful attempt to destroy a healthy market sector and criminalize 35 million knife owners, I decided to mail my representatives, despite the Latta-Minnick amendment (to slap that shit down proper) not exiting committee. How could it hurt?

Tauscher's contact form included a text field to input a topic. Since 'customs and border knife regulations' isn't too terribly common in public discourse (ah, but more is better), this was a good thing.

Feinstein and Boxer (and oh boy am I screwed there) had a handy drop down list to select the topic of interest. Here, I am stumped. It's not a 'crime' issue per se (other than the making J. Random Knife Owner a felon), it's not a 'trade' issue (other than the interstate commerce part making it impossible to mail knives without felony charges), it's not strictly a 'gun control' issue* (though of course it's an arms control issue, which is fundementally the same thing). I'm tempted to go with 'civil rights/liberties,' though I suspect it's not strictly what they're talking about.

Civil Rights is probably the closest match, what with the 4th Amendment and 8th Amendment issues ("A severe punishment that is obviously inflicted in wholly arbitrary fashion.").

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* Representative Boxer used the euphemism "Sensible Gun Laws." I'm just gonna quote the wisdom of Inigo Montoya on that one: "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

Damn you, Forza.

Overheard in my head at work:
You think the way you live's okay/you think posing/will save your GOD DAMMIT TO HELL GET OUT OF MY HEAD

Damn you, Forza 2, and your awesome soundtrack.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Better Late than Never.

Wherein I discover that CTone has hit the jackpot in a big way. Rarely does one (vicariously) lay eyes on a collection wherein a Pedersen Device is fairly mundane.

Awesome work!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

My Brain is Broken.

Lawdog has details.

Since your blood pressure will likely be elevated to dangerous levels, I will offer you an extended version of Sasha's Xpander in the interests of cardiac health.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Something That's Been Bothering Me.

The whole "liberals are mentally ill" thing leaves a bad taste in my mouth, and a few days ago I finally figured out why. The whole concept is teetering dangerously close to an ad hominem.

The pattern goes like this: observer notes Liberal 1's views on subject X. Per observer's views on subject X, Liberal 1's views don't make any goddamned sense. Observer likewise has issues with Liberal 1's views on W, Y, and Z. Since clearly (by the subjective observer's logic) Liberal 1's logic is broken, only a crazy person would persist with such views upon receipt of the fact.

Since aformentioned Liberal has clearly been identified as batshit fucking loco, logically it follows that any person that holds such views and/or self-identifies as liberal must likewise be a few fries short of a Happy Meal, or whatever the hell macrobiotic worker-owned cruelty-free restaurants are paid by the welfare state to give to kids.

Observer stumbles later upon Liberal 2. Liberal 2 has been identified thusly because of their opinions on subject W. However, their opinion on subject Y actually makes a certain degree of sense. However, we've established that due to their liberal views on W, anything Liberal 2 says is New Age Marxist word salad, and not worthy of consideration.

Of course an objective observer will simply agree with Liberal 2's point, but subjective observers, which represent everyone but Lt. Commander Data, may (and I admittedly paint with broad strokes) be influenced by a preconceived notion that whatever liberals say is feel-good cods wallop.

Swap 'liberal' for 'conservative' and insert 'Bible-thumping,' 'Gun-toting,' 'Heartless,' or whatever where appropriate, and oddly enough both sides start sounding the same at the facile, identity politics level.

I won't deny that there are people that hold 'liberal' views that could very well be diagnosed with something unpleasant (or 'libertarian' or 'conservative' views, for that matter), and I have no problem with a well-earned fisking, but the key word is well-earned. There's enough real idiots out there that it's not necessary to wrap everyone that disagrees with you in straw and fetch one's trusty scythe.

MattG was a lot less clumsy about this a while back, really.

On Super Cheap Targets.

Free, really, if your gun nuttery is comorbid with a chemical dependency on Corn Flakes.

Yes, just hack up the box. It seems cheap cereal box cardboard allows for nice holes without tearing the way copy paper does. Wadcutters, like diabolo airgun pellets, work particularly well. The targets may need frequent changing, because the centers tend to fall out of tight groups, but for zero outlay, I'm not complaining.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

On Aguila Colibri.


These days, with ammunition availability being what it is, interest in .22 kits has spiked. As it turns out, Aguila makes a .22 kit for your .22. The Colibri is a .22 LR case loaded with priming compound and a 20-grain conical-point cylindrical bullet. Being significantly less powerful than, say, BulkFed .22LR - the muzzle energy difference is more than an order of magnitude - these rounds don't even play at cycling the action.

Judging from Midway's customer reviews, the Colibri (and its beefier cousin, the Super Colibri, which has received the Carteach0 treatment here) is something of a sleeper hit. It seems to fill two distinct niches: training and pest control. The former is the focus of my interest.

At less than 10 foot-pounds of muzzle energy, any backstop built strongly enough for airgun pellets will suffice. A mailer box stuffed with old clothing, shot end-to-end (about 14" of padding), with some paint cans and a heavily-insulated load-bearing wall behind it, worked just fine.
I can see a potential issue with mixing up .22LR and .22 Colibri rounds, which would of course render said backstop pretty useless. While unlikely, verifying each round's identity is probably sound.


As expected, the Colibri turned the Ruger MkI into a caliber .22 straight-pull bolt action (with automatic bolt return!) airgun. The average velocity from a 4.75" barrel was 428.5 fps, which is nearly the same as my Diana Model 25 in .177 (though with twice the projectile weight). I had much better luck than Carteach0, with an extreme spread of only 48.65 fps (for very generous values of 'only,' mind you...) and a standard deviation of 13.37. At back-of-garage ranges (20ft was all I had to work with) this doesn't appear to affect accuracy too terribly.

In a word, usable. As a short-range, minimum flinch, limited backstop training and practice round, it serves my needs, which is to say it shoots better than I can. My best group (offhand, slow-fire) measured .61" at 20 feet. That is more than sufficient to hone my skills, especially neglected ones like strong and weak hand shooting. If I ever get to Bullseye-level shooting (ha!) the round may prove insufficient.
The group was below and about a centimeter left of the point of aim. Knowing my personal tendency to skew the sights left, and that I was using a 6-o-cl, ock hold, this is probably shooter-induced.

The Ruger magazine did not play nicely with the Colibri. The rounds tended to curve in, such that the top round would be pointing several degrees down into the magazine. Passable results were obtained with no more than 5 rounds in the magazine. Fortunately, the Ruger seemed to be very forgiving, chambering rounds way out of the ideal feed position.

For optimal results, exuberant extraction is recommended, unless you want to incorporate type-III malfunction clearance drills into your practice regimen.

Compared to a .177 air rifle (10gr at ~430fps) the Colibri was slightly louder, and sounded like a quiet gunshot rather than an airgun. In an enclosed garage the air rifle is quite comfortable; the .22 round scratched the top edge of the comfort zone. If you're plinking in the garage, earplugs are a good idea.

Recoil? Oh, sure, there's recoil. And about 2mm of muzzle rise, even.

I like this round a great deal, for several reasons. It bridges the gap between dry-fire and range day, allowing you to apply what you've worked on without leaving the house. When training new shooters, you can let them practice fundamentals on a real gun, with extremely mellow noise and nearly nonexistent recoil. For very sensitive shooters, the difference between a .22 CB and a .22 LR is pretty noticeable, especially indoors. Furthermore, if you can shoot in the garage, you can avoid the usual range hubbub. Nothing distracts like someone lighting off a .357 SIG or a 7.62x25mm in the next stall.

Seasoned shooters can benefit, too. You're shooting with your actual gun, rather than a separate airgun. Thus, the same grip, sights, trigger pull, etc. apply. Michael Bane sounded off on this topic a while back. In fact,a carry gun with a .22 kit shooting .22 Colibri allows you to do everything not requiring semiautomatic fire in the comfort of your garage (allowing, of course, for backstop considerations. At some point in the future, I'm going to go all Box O' Truth on some surplus wallboard and see what 'backstop' really means in this case.) Being able to draw, press-out, and then confirm that there's a hole where it should be sounds like good reinforcement to me. And with the doors closed, no one outside the garage is likely to notice what chicanery you're up to.

It looks like I have yet another kind of ammo to stockpile, now.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

On Ammo.

Wow, DPX is in stock!

Two observations:

1. How is paying an extra four bucks a box to have Clint Smith's logo on the box worth it?

2. How is 7.92x33mm Kurz handgun ammo? Metallic silhouette guys with T/C Contenders, maybe?*

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* I heard a fun rumor that Prvi Partizan still makes that stuff for some irregular forces in Lebanon that are still nursing some MP44s along. And I've seen some videos of guys with what I presume are transferrable bringbacks, so I guess that explains the demand stateside.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

On Springs.

So apparently removing the ejector spring from a Tokarev is a great way to see if all that type-II malf clearance drilling you've been doing has paid off. Don't ask me how I know this. Wolff appreciates the business, though.

Furthermore, the Tokarev's "improvements" to the 1911's recoil spring arrangement are peachy keen so long as you don't need to remove the muzzle-end recoil spring retainer; say, if you want to replace the recoil spring so as to not have the gun batter itself to death (err, sooner than it would, anyway). Expect the use of vice grips, a flathead screwdriver, and a few points increase in blood pressure, as well as indentations in drywall matching whatever solid object is closest at hand.

I also took a queue from ToddG and tried applying a JohnO-type high-visibility sight. Using a Tactical Sight Enhancement Applicator (found in art supply stores erroneously labelled as a gold paint marker), the result stands out nicely against a target black. Wonder how it'll do at the range.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

On Primers (Cont'd.)

Midway actually has percussion caps (in one size), .50 BMG primers, and EtronX primers. And there's where I burst into spontaneous and uncontrollable fits of laughter.

Now if ever there was a wall banger of a rifle idea, the Remington EtronX would qualify. In principle, the concept of an electronic trigger makes a modicum of sense, in applications where the presence of batteries (dead batteries, most noticeably) in one's bangstick was not life- (or trophy- ) threatening. If all that is needed to let off an electromagnetic sear is a closed circuit, the trigger can be tuned to an absurd degree without affecting function. Walther (unsuccessfully) and Morini (quite successfully) rolled an e-trigger into free pistols, and the majority of competitive paintball guns are equipped with them.

The reason the e-trigger works there is that it's just the trigger that's being messed with. The EtronX used proprietary primers in special runs of ammo for full-electronic ignition. So essentially you're trading a tiny decrease in lock time and a potentially nice trigger for a gun that relies on batteries and obscure-ass ammunition. Predictably, that went over about as well as a lead balloon. Worse, really, since one could melt down a lead balloon and cast bullets from it.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Dammit, JayG.

You're making me break the Tenth Commandment again.