Friday, January 29, 2010

On Dawson Front Sights.

I finally knocked the Big Dots out of the 226 and replaced them with the factory rear (blacked out - with a dry erase marker, because I'm terrified of commitment and all) and a Dawson Precision front sight, .130 wide, with the red fiber optic insert.

40 50* bucks and a slightly terrifying fitting session later, I can give these sights the thumbs-up. It's not so much that I get more precision out of them - rather, I feel like I'm working a lot less to get the hits. With the Big Dots, I was trying to hit the target, but there was a fucking golf ball in the way that I kept trying to see around. With the Dawson, there's a neatly-defined post with an attention-whoring red dot in the middle, and plenty of airspace on either side to reference with (this sight being about a third skinnier than stock). It's a big indicator which positively screams "boolits go here!" This is precisely the goddamned point. The only problem is that they're not night dots. YMMV, but if you can't see the sights, you probably have a flashlight out, and using the FBI method conveniently illuminates the suckers.

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* Nothing like realizing that your sight needs to be fitted with a dovetail file. On one hand, that's another week waiting for it to arrive from Missouri, but on the other hand I now have an awesome new file to butcher sights with! Time to install that funky Mojo front sight...

Thursday, January 28, 2010

On Pilsner Urquell.

Somewhere along the way my taste buds stopped being stupid. Consider that it's been a good six months at least since my last PU, a problem since rectified (Lucky's tends to have excellent deals on excellent beer - Lagunitas IPA for $1.17 a hit, anyone?). And damn if it isn't a bright, crisp, surprisingly full-bodied lager. When yellow beer fills the "post-gun cleaning movie and snack" slot, it must be pretty solid.

Friday, January 15, 2010

On Crappy Ammo.

Note to self: if it looks like it was hammered together by a Hungarian goat farmer, it will probably perform accordingly.

Where to begin? How about three outright duds out of 40, and about as many hangfires (being able to hear the striker drop independently of the muzzle either means you're perceiving the world at 20,000 frames per second, or your ammo really, really sucks). On the other hand, it makes calling your trigger press easier.

At least I have some Polish light ball, which is really fine stuff, and actually looks like something a proper ammunition factory would turn out.

Which leaves me sitting on two boxes of Hotshot-brand 7.62x54r JSP noisemaker cartridges. Ah, well, time to burn some powder. Just wish I had an empty field and some watermelons or something, since they're worthless on a square range.

On Sky Captain.

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow is the kind of movie that accomplishes exactly what it sets out to do. We need more movies like this. You don't go expecting high drama, deep characterization, or even nail-biting suspense (though the latter is a nice bonus) - you go to see a style exercise that ramps up the absurdity with each passing scene. In fact, Gwynneth Paltrow's character lampshades this subtly with her camera. The CGI is noticeable at times - a bit too shiny, or a character is 'threatened' by barely believable greenscreen peril - but there's enough hot, buttered dieselpunk awesome layered on to make you forgive it. Anything's forgiveable with a .38 Webley, a Q-Branchified P-40 Warhawk, and a flying aircraft carrier. And a bubble ray gun.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

On Caseless Ammunition.

I saw that the M249 was a featured article. This got me thinking, and nothing good can come of that.

A SAW would be a perfect application for caseless ammunition. Think about it -
  • From an open bolt, cook-off is a non-issue.
  • One of the main advantages of caseless ammo is weight, which translates to more rounds the pound. Given that a SAW is used for suppressive fire, this is a big bonus.
  • If desired, positively loopy rates of fire can be achieved.
Disadvantages:
  • If the cook-off issue cannot be conclusively resolved (according to the folks at HKPRO, who are entirely unbiased when it comes to Heckler & Koch's R&D projects, it was), chambering a rifle in the same caliber becomes less attractive, as it would have to be open-bolt.
  • If the rather small caliber (4.73x33) of the G11 was due to a technical limitation of caseless ammo, muzzle energy would be on the anemic side.
  • Ammunition is more fragile - unless it's kept in 'ammo cassettes' or somesuch and sealed until loading, you'd have bits of propellant getting shaved off whenever it's handled.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

On Star Wars.

I had a sudden urge to re-watch the original trilogy a few weeks ago. I'm sure MattG is responsible, or at least brought it to the surface.

George Lucas can, or at least could, assemble a rollicking good adventure. Plus, it's rare to see a sci-fi world that at least feels* coherent and lived-in, something that Star Trek only sometimes succeeded at. The world was a great deal more interesting than the main plot arc, to my mind. Han Solo's galaxy, with the smugglers, crime lords, and general scum and villainy, beat the pants off the usual science-fantasy trappings. (Perhaps the unusually high gun porn quotient** helps mask issues.) In fact, David Brin lays the smack down on Star Wars in an epic sort of way over at Salon (of all places). At the same time, he compares Trek favorably, which is worth some consideration.

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* Read: Please ignore the fridge logic.
** A goodly number of prop-converted firearms were actual live (or at least blank-firing) weapons. Blanks are visible in several scenes if you look hard enough - the detention block break-out has a few, and you can see a few 7.62x25 Mauser cases flying when Han engages Darth Vader at the end of Empire Strikes Back. Supposedly, this was done so the art guys knew where to insert blaster effects, though they insert plenty elsewhere.

It's Funny.

Those $229 rifles turn into $500 projects.

Or: Some part of the Mosin-Ammo-Shooter loop isn't working well enough for me to be comfortable with that setup at Appleseed. I'm pretty sure which one it is, but removing the blast and recoil will confirm my suspicions.*

Or: I finally got a 10/22. Since I have to wait another nine days for delivery, I guess I'll have to commit suicide or go on a rampage with one I already have. (Seriously, the waiting period only makes sense with first-time buyers. So could I present evidence of firearms ownership and get around it?)

Or: Time to stockpile .22. The dude at Big5 warned that I would probably blow an entire brick the first day I got it. In nine days, a fatwa's going out on index cards.

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* That said, I endorse the hell out of Limbsaver slip-on pads. The 'small' size fits an M38 stock perfectly, and turns the rather exuberant jolt of 7.62x54r into a pleasant push. Even if the squishy rubber makes the whole assembly look like a round air scrubber duct-taped onto a square one.