01 March 2015

Dammit Again

Just saw Interstellar.

When Cooper gets his faceplate cracked and is disabled by the in-rush of ammonia atmosphere my suspension of disbelief broke.


Because for a small leak in a poisonous atmosphere you turn up suit pressure to above ambient.  In fact it's a good plan to have your suit set slightly above ambient pressure just in case there is a puncture.

NASA's A7L had controls for suit pressure and it was intended for vacuum only.

28 February 2015


I met a friend at the range.  While we were loading magazines one of my 6.8 rounds rolled over and touched one of his 6.5 Grendel rounds...

It's A Super B Super B

It's Super Beaky, YEAH!

I got a B, Willard got a Star B. Echeverria Modelo B Super in 9x19mm.

He paid less and got a gun in far nicer shape!  Mine's C&R, he paid an FFL for a transfer.

Inside too!
The Model B Super is an evolution of the Model B, so they basically work the same.  The big-huge differences is the 1911 style swinging link has been replaced with a High-Power style locking ramp...

A loaded chamber indicator...


Magazine disconnect... (US Patent)

The magazine pushes that little bar in and that unblocks the trigger.  That bar also locks the take-down latch from swinging while there is a magazine present.
...And it uses a swinging take-down latch instead of pulling the slide stop out like a 1911. (US Patent)

Update: links to some interesting patent information added.  Thanks Dan!


"I am going to take this gun and kill all of them!"

"What if you can't get ammo?"

"Then it will take longer!!!"

That'd be a great throw-away line in an action film.

Just put a "Special Thanks to Angus McThag" in the credits if you use it.

Why Do You Even Have A Web Page

Dear Vendor...

The internet is an amazing tool that allows you to reach your customers in amazing ways.

Stop treating it as an electrified paper catalog!

Potential Customer

How many times have you run into a web page where you have to call during business hours to get a price?  Or worse, have to call to actually order the item?  I won't even discuss the places that expect me to print out their order form and then mail them a check.

It is not 1979 anymore!

This business model is only one step above a web page listing the address and telling me to stop by the brick and mortar location...

OK, when you're open at 3am, when I'm shopping, I will.

PS: That other vendor who has a web page that tells me the price and lets me order with my debit card or paypal?  They got the sale.

27 February 2015

Stated Goal

I endeavor to live only places where the winter temperatures are expressed in destructive devices calibers in inches with summer temperatures that would make good tank guns in millimeters.

Ye Olde Calibre Warres

I once read that a chambering is not really successful until you can buy it off the shelf at Wal Mart.

I bought two boxes of Federal Fusion 110gr 6.8 SPC at Wal Mart last night!

They'd had the SKU on the empty shelf for about a year, and last night actually had some.  I am not unhappy.  Giddy is more the emotion.

I predict that a SKU for .300 Blackout is coming.  Probably soon.

Someone Hook A Generator To P.L. Travers' and Walt Disney's Feet

26 February 2015


Because I am not part of the solution...

Got some XM855 ammo and SS109 from Wal Mart via Willard and added it to my existing pile.

This effectively prevents someone without ammo from getting some...

25 February 2015

A Ponder

Getting licensed to drive a car, which everyone says is a privilege, is cheap and easy.  Driving the car is subject to simple and easy rules and regulations.

Getting licensed to carry a firearm, which is widely regarded as a right, is affordable rather than cheap and moderately difficult because of the paperwork and classes in even "shall issue" jurisdictions.  Carrying the gun is subject to complicated, capricious and confusing laws and regulations.

I am SO ready to treat guns like cars!

Good News!

Looks like the trigger on a Spanish M-1916 Carbine is the same part as on an M-1893 Rifle.

This is good because Numrich doesn't list a trigger for the 1916...

Useless Information

I have the flight manual for the USAF F-4C, F-4D and F-4E (10Jan70).

Interesting read.

The odds that I will ever be able to put this information to use are exceedingly slim.

What it will probably be used for is to apply limits to my simulator flying which aren't imposed by the game.

For example, on the F-4C you can jettison the centerline 600 gallon fuel tank if it's got less than 60 gallons in it.  You can jettison it if there's more than 450 gallons in it.  You cannot jettison it if there's between 60 and 450 gallons remaining.

I also learned that there are two different models of centerline tanks.  McDonnell's can be carried at any airspeed the airframe can take.  Royal Jet's is limited to 600 knots indicated airspeed or mach 1.8.

The manual also answers a question about loadouts I'd had before.

The 370 gallon wing tanks are more limited in airspeed and g than the McDonnell centerline.  The USMC and Navy preferred the centerline tank to two wing tanks because of this.  Interestingly, the USAF F-4C had stability problems with the centerline tank that didn't seem to be present with the 85% similar F-4B.

I am starting to wonder if the USAF invested heavily in the Royal Jet tank and the USN in the McDonnell.  Have to find contracts for that information and that requires an IV drip of energy drink while chewing a teabag.

Operator Hotline

24 February 2015


Tam Posts

Gun laws may now be as lax as they have ever been in my lifetime.

Being a December baby I just missed being able to mail order a Solothurn from my crib.  Oddly, I had the money from the baby shower...

However, even if the gun laws have never been more lax in my lifetime, I don't really have to look back all that far to see that they aren't as lax as they've ever been.

Prior to 1968, to order that Star Modelo B I would have just mailed them the check and they'd have mailed me the gun.  Today I have to use an FFL and a common carrier.  The only reason that I could have it shipped straight to me is that I am an FFL and it was a Curio and Relic eligible gun.

I collect .25 ACP pistols.  This sort of gun has never really been much made inside the US.  There were many designs from several nations all importing their wares into the US market until 1968.  Many of those pistols remained in production for decades more.

Did you know about the Glock 25 and 28?  Not sporting enough for importation.

However gun laws STILL aren't as lax as they've ever been in my life, I can also remember when you could get complete parts kits from overseas for any number of military arms less the serialed receiver.  You didn't need to worry about how many parts were foreign made as long as it wasn't an NFA item of some kind when you were done and that your receiver was US made.

I can remember when you could take that parts kit and make yourself a genuine selective fire gun from them.

Until I moved to Florida, the gun laws were heading basically one direction with just the occasional holding action but never a reversal.  And moving to Florida was merely going someplace the ratchet hadn't advanced as far as Iowa.

FOPA was the only reduction in Federal gun control in my lifetime for about two thirds of it.  Although I can't readily think of a single repeal of any Federal gun law outside of FOPA.  AWB expired and I'm pretty sure that if it hadn't had a sunset clause it would still be law today.

But...  The states have been reducing gun control in leap and bounds in the past ten years.  The courts are ruling, in our favor and using the standard model for the second amendment while also generally applying strict scrutiny.  That's a huge positive!

I have hope that by the time I die there will be considerably laxer gun laws in this nation, I even have hope I will live to enjoy it.

Inside A Star

Star B that is...

The B is often referred to as a 1911 derivative, but there's not much similarity under the skin except for the way the barrel locks and how to field strip it.

They use different styles of extractors.  The Star is external.

The firing pin is retained by a pin that goes up through the slide, under the rear sight.  There's no firing pin stop to remove at the back of the slide.  Should you ever need to access the firing pin, you've got to drift out the rear sight to remove the pin.

On the frame, most people notice there's no grip safety and that the thumb safety can be engaged with the hammer down.  Many also notice that the mainspring housing is integral to the frame and not a separate part.

The trigger mechanism isn't the same either, I took some pictures of it.

The trigger pivots on the pin near the scallop in the upper right, that pushes the dog-legged trigger bar to the rear...

Which presses agains the sear (pointer), which releases the hammer and the gun weapon pistol goes "bang"...

The gun cycles like a typical 1911 so I'll skip that.  The next difference is the disconnector (pointer); when in battery the place the pointer is pointing sits in a recess in the slide...

When the slide moves to the rear, it pushes the disconnector down and that presses the trigger bar out of alignment with the sear.

Once the slide is back in battery, releasing the trigger pushes the disconnector back up into its recess and the trigger bar clicks back into alignment with the sear.

This trigger mechanism is much easier to make than what's in the 1911, which is likely why Star went with it.  In many ways it's a better trigger than what many modern 1911's end up with too.  This example breaks cleanly without any creep at all.  I've still to borrow Marv's trigger scale.

22 February 2015

I Think Your Bias Is Showing

I'm watching a show where a lead character was just revealed to be gay.

The plot of the series is a little convoluted so I was trying to see if something that was mentioned earlier tied into that reveal.

I didn't get definitive confirmation on the plot point but I did find someone who was reviewing the show.

Did you know that the show had nothing worth watching until the reveal of a gay character?

I didn't realize that I wasn't enjoying the story, characters and plot until this last episode because there wasn't a homosexual male lead character.  Wait... I was enjoying this show before this!

I am still enjoying it, actually.  They did the reveal well and it made several things from the first season go click-clunk.  It's a period piece and they handled the situation in a manner consistent with the characters and the period too.  Not bad!

But to base your enjoyment entirely on there being a gay male character is alien to me.

21 February 2015

Maybe It Was Better

I remember a show called "Civil War Diaries" where famous actors read letters and journal entries from selected Civil War soldiers.  They were presented with just enough history lecture to give the letters context.

The troops writing these letters were predominately educated in one-room school houses that were funded locally.

These letters show excellent sentence structure, spelling and grammar.  The "selected" portion of the show was picking letters with poetic content or where the troop had something to say that underscored the history lecture.

I've seen web pages where tests from this era are put online to see if we modern folk can pass them.  After you get done taking it and saying, "shit, that was hard!" you see that it's a fourth grade test on the topic.  "But I went to college before I learned most of this," you meekly whimper...

Now we pour vast amounts of Federal money into education, orders of magnitude more (and that's accounting for inflation!) than the one-room model had available, and we're getting almost literally nothing out of it.

Need to see confirmation?

Go no further than any internet forum.  But you needn't go that far, most of us have "that friend" who still sends text messages from a smart phone that look like, "luv u 2 b bak l8r"...  I remember when that short-hand was developed, it was when the length of a text message was truncated so far as to make the limit on Twitter seem like War and Peace.  Plus text messages weren't free then, you paid a nickel each!

20 February 2015

Opportunity Cost

I deeply regret my decision to buy tires for The Precious instead of this...


Here's a link to the vendor.  If you need bones or a dead animal encased in acrylic, they have what you want!

ARts And Crafts

Took my shattered remnants of the M16A1 lower receivers and made a key fob.

The 9,xxx,xxx serials supposedly indicate they were destined to be military assistance.  These rifles probably were never issued and were likely destroyed for a lack of customers.

You can't expect law enforcement to pay for a rifle when they can nab an ex-Army one for free.  The A1 isn't stylish enough to market at foreign customers and The Hughes Amendment to the FOPA eliminates nearly all domestic interest...

What's left but to scrap them?

The saddest part is the entire gun was likely tossed into the shredder whole.  There are people who will pay good money for those retro parts, and our government policy is to shun that money.

UPS Truck Is A DeLorean

The oddities of the international date line and time zones make real time tracking give strange results sometimes.

Quote Of The Day

Just like we can't drill our way to lower energy prices and energy independence, we can't kill our way to victory. I guess next it will be we cannot eat our way to obesity.

19 February 2015

Look What I Just Bought!

Found an ad online, sent them the money and they shipped it right out!

M855 Letter

First, M855 and other SS109 variants aren't armor piercing ammunition by bullet construction under 18 U.S.C. §§ 921(a)(17) (B) (i) because the bullet core is not constructed entirely of steel. It is lead and steel.
Second, it's not covered by 18 U.S.C. §§ 921(a)(17) (B) (ii) because it is literally .22 caliber not larger; also the jacket does not consist of 25% of the total projectile weight.
Third, target shooting is sporting purpose and a change in the legal status of this ammunition creates an undue burden on the private citizen by eliminating a large supply chain of readily affordable ammunition.
Fourth, this ammunition is in "common use", (see Heller vs DC for definitions) and as the courts continue to expand on the meaning of that term it will expose this reclassification as a waste of taxpayer money and agency effort.
Fifth, because this ammunition is in widespread common use, if there were a marked tendency for it to be used against the police or for other nefarious purposes, there would be abundant stories and cases to cite pointing to the misuse of it.
Thank you for your time.
Angus McThagSuncoast, FL
This is my second attempt to send this.  The email address for ATF appears to be bad.

Out Of The Thirty Aught Six Business

I decided that I wanted tires for The Precious more than I wanted a Garand.

Turns out that Willard wanted a Garand more than he wanted an unspecified here sum of cash.

Rational self interest on the part of both parties yields an agreeable transaction on all sides.

I enjoyed my time with the M1, but truth be told it went to the range far more often as a "you've never fired a Garand?" than as a "I want to take out MY Garand and go shooting."

I like my FAL a lot better for a .30 caliber battle rifle.

Minding Our P's and Q's

I lost the link, but...

I read a nice article about wondering if it was our business to fix things in the middle east anyway.

It also indicated that are several parties who want us to rearrange things to their liking so they don't have to get their skirts wet.

First of, I think we do need to fix this shit with ISIS.

Second I think that when we do, we should do it without regard to the interests of others except as the coincide exactly with ours.

It's time for America to look out for America and Americans.

16 February 2015

That Can't Be Good

Went to have the tires on The Precious balanced since they were messing around with the tire pressure sensors and had the wheels off anyway.

The left front went on the dynamic balancing machine...



Dude!  I drove down to the shop on that thing!

New front tires are on order.  No money for rears, which are likely in just as bad a shape and like all things Corvette, they are fiendishly expensive.

On A Hot Summer Night

Would you offer you throat to the wolf with the red roses?


Colt's Patent Firearms...

Have they had a completely original in-house design since Sam Colt passed on?

It doesn't seem like it when you see they shopped Browning heavily, hit both Star and Astra up pretty hard plus Stoner y Sullivan de Fairchild.

Compounded that they were the makers of Thompsons and many many outside machinegun designs (and Browning surfaces here again).

15 February 2015


Do you think your Colt Mustang or SIG P238 are tiny M1911s?

While playing around I noticed that the have a lot more in common with Star than they do with Colt.

Pivoting trigger, no grip safety, manual safety that can be engaged with the hammer down...

The Ballester Molina has a similar relationship to the Star.

Tam induced update.

Hey look, I'm the last person to notice!

Alternative States

Since we're probably going to have a panic run on 5.56x45mm ammo here, what's the state of the alternate AR calibers?

6.8x43mm SPC: 15 loadings listed from 6 makers. 7 available from 4.

6.5 Grendel: 5 loadings listed from 2 makers. 3 available from 2.

.300 AAC Blackout: 12 loadings listed from 10 makers. 12 available from 9.

.300 Whisper: 3 loadings from 2 makers. None available.

.30 Remington AR: 4 loadings from 1 maker: 3 available.

None of the alternates got more variety since last time.  All of them are more in stock now though.  The lack of variety in the loads could very well be due to the market deciding what they want to see, especially since the "same" load from two different makers is counted as two loadings here.

Ammo Ban

While we're writing comments in a vain hope to head off the ATF...

Have our comments ever changed what they've planned on doing even once?

All of this goes away if we could get a different, smaller, group to just eliminate the regulatory jurisdiction from the agency in question.

Congress could pass a law exempting M855 tomorrow.

It's their fault that BATFE has any authority at all in this matter.

It's OUR fault that Congress does nothing about it.  Collective our.  I am sure every one of my readers gets out there and votes and votes for liberty expanding candidates...

The thing is the loyal opposition isn't pro-gun for the most part.  They are merely not anti-gun.  I think we've got a bit of Stockholm Syndrome going on here sometimes.

The thing about M855 is that it really is armor piercing ammo according to 18 U.S.C. §§ 921(a)(17) (B) (i) because it has a steel core in it.  It's actually a miracle that we got an ATF ruling exempting it in the first place.  Ooops, I was right the first time.  The steel core isn't the entire core, so it doesn't meet the AP construction standard in the law, which means the exemption was applied erroneously in the first place.

What needs to change is the law.  That means someone in Congress has to actually introduce such changes to the floor.  Something that's been conspicuously lacking from the loyal opposition for a long damn time.

On the "plus" side of the coin is that with both the US Army and USMC going to "green" projectiles from green-tip projectiles...  Production of M855 was going to stop soon anyways.  Just look at the ready supply of .30-06 M2 AP...

There is even less doubt that M855A1 is an AP round with its entire composition being steel or copper alloy.

And judging a round AP based on composition is stupid.  .50 BMG M2 ball is a lead core FMJ, and it's going to punch thicker armor than even the most exotic 5.56 round made.  Changing the composition of the bullet makes it armor piercing compared to ball ammunition of the same type.  And even then not by much depending on the composition and thickness of the armor.

Finished Finishing



Flax Juice

Still wet from the second coat for the Star.  I decided that the Ruger needed some TLC too.

Coat three for the Star and coat two for the Ruger.  The Star stocks are getting noticeably darker.


From reading Book of Faces...

There are people who think that the ammo makers are the chief beneficiaries of a ban on M855.


So having a huge mound of bullets they cannot sell is a benefit to them?

Check the wiring in your headgear Troubleshooter.

The reason that M855 is cheap is that it's failed some check from milspec someplace along the line.  Most often it's a minor cosmetic issue, next most common is not making the very tight window for velocity.

That shit-cans the entire lot of ammo for the manufacturer and being able to sell it to the general public means they can, at least, break even on the costs sunk into the rejected lot.

If they cannot sell it to us, then they lose the money that went into making it because no component of a rejected lot may be used to fill any mil order.

14 February 2015

Time To Write To ATF Again

Three methods of contact are listed here.

I used email.

Put a hurry on it since they've only given until the 15th of March for comments.  Remember when they had to give 90 days?

State your opposition to them changing the classification of 5.56x45mm M855 to "armor piercing handgun ammunition," and that you feel that not only does the target shooting you do recreationally with your rifle constitute legitimate sporting purpose and that you would be unduly burdened by the reclassification of this presently cheap and readily available ammunition.

Be polite, don't cuss.

It's irksome that we have to keep reminding our government that sporting is not a synonym of hunting.

It's especially irksome that 18 U.S.C. §§ 921(a)(17) defines armor piercing ammo...

(A) The term “ammunition” means ammunition or cartridge cases, primers, bullets, or propellent powder designed for use in any firearm.
(B) The term “armor piercing ammunition” means—
(i) a projectile or projectile core which may be used in a handgun and which is constructed entirely (excluding the presence of traces of other substances) from one or a combination of tungsten alloys, steel, iron, brass, bronze, beryllium copper, or depleted uranium; or
(ii) a full jacketed projectile larger than .22 caliber designed and intended for use in a handgun and whose jacket has a weight of more than 25 percent of the total weight of the projectile.
(C) The term “armor piercing ammunition” does not include shotgun shot required by Federal or State environmental or game regulations for hunting purposes, a frangible projectile designed for target shooting, a projectile which the Attorney General finds is primarily intended to be used for sporting purposes, or any other projectile or projectile core which the Attorney General finds is intended to be used for industrial purposes, including a charge used in an oil and gas well perforating device.

M855 has lead in it, so it's not AP under 18 U.S.C. §§ 921(a)(17) (B) (i).  Its jacket is not more than 25% of the weight of projectile so it's not AP under 18 U.S.C. §§ 921(a)(17) (B) (ii).  It is also EXACTLY .22 caliber so, again, not AP under 18 U.S.C. §§ 921(a)(17) (B) (ii).

You may notice not a mention of rimfire or total projectile weights in the laws about AP, which means that ATF is really going out on their own for pure political purposes.


The replacement stocks for the Star B are, as I mentioned, dry as a bone.

I went to Home Depot and bought a quart of boiled linseed oil.

Before applying any oil.
A light base coat applied and doing the ten minute soak.
Excess wiped off and sitting for the overnight dry.
Linseed oil smells familiar.  I can't remember where I've smelled it before, but the memories are saying I have without telling me where.  I don't do woodworking, and nobody in my family really does either.  Strange.

Linseed oil is something of a mythical substance to me because we had many manuals about the care of the pioneer tools for the tank that specified using linseed oil to protect the wood, but I never once saw a can while I was in the Army.

12 February 2015

Not Near So Bad As Feared

The dead Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) sensor on The Precious is a mere $20 for a local speed shop to do an RnR with my $40 part.

Considering the local non-specialty shops want at least $60 for the RnR plus force me to spend $60+ on the same sensor.  Many are much more too.

Still, this is a gewgaw I'd rather not be so intertwined with the operation of the car.  Required by law because some idiots couldn't handle a blow-out in their SUV.