30 June 2009

The Dangers Of Building Your Own AR

The principle danger is the slow accumulation of perfectly serviceable parts that do not fit the narrative of the build at hand. A related danger is having buy assemblies to get parts.

Eventually, these parts start to resemble complete rifles.

We are near such a moment.

The M4 profile barrel for Kaylee is inbound, I will have the old barrel as surplus. I accumulated an M16 upper receiver while getting period correct parts for my XM177E2 build. I have spare handguards, I have spare flash-hiders. All I need to complete an upper is a bolt carrier group and a charging handle. That would be about $145 plus $11.95 shipping and handling.

The lower is even more complete. I had to buy a couple stock assemblies to get all the period parts I needed for the XM and I bought a spare lower parts kit just to have one since the springs and pins get lost during assembly all the time. All I need for a complete lower is the actual lower receiver. $140.

This project would be a mutt, a true Frankenstein AR Carbine. We'll call her Brunhilda if we finish her, or perhaps just "The Bride".

29 June 2009

A Proposal

I propose a constitutional amendment requiring any bill be read, out loud, from the steps of the capitol building BEFORE any debate can begin on said bill.

The bill may not be changed without re-reading, out loud, on the capitol building steps. Thus, the read bill is the one that will be voted upon.

The primary sponsor of the bill must do the reading, and may not stop reading one they have begun. No breaks to eat, drink, sleep, use the restroom take lifesaving medication, etc... If the reading is interrupted, the congressperson must begin again, from the beginning.

Spectators will not be forbidden to attend the reading in any numbers.

Readings will be scheduled to allow normal, productive, members to be able to attend.

Spectators will not be required to politely, and silently listen.

Inspired By MArooned

From left to right in approximate order of "thump" the handgun rounds Casa de McThag stocks for self defense:
.25 ACP, .32 S&W, .32 S&W Long, .32 ACP, .380 ACP, .357 SIG, .45 ACP, .357 Magnum, .45 Colt and .44 Magnum.

Not included are the sub-rounds that work in guns chambered for heavier rounds, like .38 Special.

28 June 2009

I Have Made Maps

Actually, it's Google Maps to the rescue.

For my SEALs in Nigeria idea I needed a map of a village. Just hit Google Maps OF Nigeria, zoom in on an unsuspecting village, screen shot, print, done!

The area of play now has names, real names. Real places whose histories are being brutally changed to fit my narrative.

Campaign is set in February, 1968 during the Nigerian civil war along the northern border of Biafra, not far from Cameroon. Players are a SEAL team returning home from Vietnam on Oriskany, when they get called in to rescue a doctor, two nuns and a priest from the tribal violence that was present at the time.

26 June 2009

Donating Blood

I've been reading, and reading, and reading about how the blood banks are short on blood, especially O-neg.

I'm O-neg.

"Why don't you donate then, Mr McThag?"

I'm glad you asked that! Mad cow disease.


Mad cow disease. I was stationed in Europe in 1988-89. I spend two weeks in Egypt in 1988. I spent six months in southwest Aisa 89-90. And I ate food that did not entirely originate inside the US, possibly including beef or beef byproducts.

I would happily donate blood tomorrow, but they consider me to be high risk. Along with IV drug users.

When I ask, "Has there even been a single case of transmission of this disease from donated blood?" I get a, "Not that we're aware of, but it's possible."

I don't think that it is, but paranoia from the HIV transmission has created a policy that means that almost every veteran is not forbidden to donate blood. By the way, active duty troops are encouraged to donate, and they ate the same places I ate and there hasn't been a single case of a soldier catching it from donated blood either, and Lord knows we've been using the blood.

25 June 2009

A Question

If having guns in schools is so damned dangerous why are there never any massacres in police stations or gun shops?

Got to be an example of at least one massacre at a conceal carry class, right?




On Bill Ruger

He was the founder and CEO of Ruger Firearms until his death.

He came up with several ideas that were later incorporated into the draconian 1994 Omnibus Crime Act (aka the Assault Weapon Ban).

As a result of his actions, I stopped buying Ruger products.

That was years ago and he's dead. Lots of folks still nurse a grudge about him.

I'm still not buying Ruger. Not really from a grudge against the company (but there is a latent grudge there), but more from the habits formed when I was boycotting them. They don't make anything I want that I can't get from another vendor, and I will go to the other vendors first. Vendors that have never endorsed banning their competition's products by law.

Some of the things that Ruger Inc was doing that were a direct legacy from Bill's ownership are only just being reversed. If you wanted a magazine for a Mini-14 that was larger than 5 rounds you needed to go to the aftermarket. Ruger made them in 20 and 30 round capacity, but had a policy of only selling them to police agencies. Bill died in 2002, but they did not start selling the high-cap mags to the public until this year! It's a start, I guess.

Like Smith and Wesson, I am willing to be a Ruger buyer if they do enough to reverse their course. I do like the new Vaquero...

21 June 2009


One of the disadvantages of not watching the MSM news is being late to the party about what's going on sometimes.

The elections in Iran are today's example.

Had I been aware of the protests earlier, I would have mentioned my wholehearted support of the protestors and my fervent hope that their guy, Mousavi, replaced Ahmadinejad as president.

As I became aware of the protests, I grew to hope that the popular movement would turn to something that would topple the Imams that really run the Islamic Republic of Iran.

It would seem that it has, or was about to, because the Iranian government has started shooting.

I could link to the horrifying video of a young woman dying after being shot while protesting. I won't. Search for "Neda Video" and you'll likely find it. Micelle Malkin has it on her site, for now. Rott has it on his, for now.

I support the end of the Islamic Theocracy in Iran. I support the people making the attempt.

I admit I am coming to this late. What I would like to know is why the leader of the free world, our president, someone who is paid to keep up with international events where I am not, did not throw in his (our) support for our fellow travelers seeking freedom a week ago when these events started to unfold.

19 June 2009

Near Disaster Follow-Up

Here is the spring and detent that went flying.

Actually, these are the replacements that SIG-Sauer sent when I inquired about buying some. They mailed me 3 each at no charge.

Hat's off!

18 June 2009

Spreading The Word

This is a letter from Arizona resident Janet Contreras, sent to Glenn Beck. I found it at http://smallestminority.blogspot.com/ and http://blog.robballen.com/ I'm posting it here because it's brilliant and the more people who see this the better.

I'm a home grown American citizen, 53, registered Democrat all my life. Before the last presidential election I registered as a Republican because I no longer felt the Democratic Party represents my views or works to pursue issues important to me. Now I no longer feel the Republican Party represents my views or works to pursue issues important to me. The fact is I no longer feel any political party or representative in Washington represents my views or works to pursue the issues important to me. There must be someone. Please tell me who you are. Please stand up and tell me that you are there and that you're willing to fight for our Constitution as it was written. Please stand up now. You might ask yourself what my views and issues are that I would horribly feel so disenfranchised by both major political parties. What kind of nut job am I? Will you please tell me?

Well, these are briefly my views and issues for which I seek representation:

One, illegal immigration. I want you to stop coddling illegal immigrants and secure our borders. Close the underground tunnels. Stop the violence and the trafficking in drugs and people. No amnesty, not again. Been there, done that, no resolution. P.S., I'm not a racist. This isn't to be confused with legal immigration.

Two, the TARP bill, I want it repealed and I want no further funding supplied to it. We told you no, but you did it anyway. I want the remaining unfunded 95% repealed. Freeze, repeal.

Three: Czars, I want the circumvention of our checks and balances stopped immediately. Fire the czars. No more czars. Government officials answer to the process, not to the president. Stop trampling on our Constitution and honor it.

Four, cap and trade. The debate on global warming is not over. There is more to say.

Five, universal healthcare. I will not be rushed into another expensive decision. Don't you dare try to pass this in the middle of the night and then go on break. Slow down!

Six, growing government control. I want states rights and sovereignty fully restored. I want less government in my life, not more. Shrink it down. Mind your own business. You have enough to take care of with your real obligations. Why don't you start there.

Seven, ACORN. I do not want ACORN and its affiliates in charge of our 2010 census. I want them investigated. I also do not want mandatory escrow fees contributed to them every time on every real estate deal that closes. Stop the funding to ACORN and its affiliates pending impartial audits and investigations. I do not trust them with taking the census over with our taxpayer money. I don't trust them with our taxpayer money. Face up to the allegations against them and get it resolved before taxpayers get any more involved with them. If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, hello. Stop protecting your political buddies. You work for us, the people. Investigate.

Eight, redistribution of wealth. No, no, no. I work for my money. It is mine. I have always worked for people with more money than I have because they gave me jobs. That is the only redistribution of wealth that I will support. I never got a job from a poor person. Why do you want me to hate my employers? Why ‑‑ what do you have against shareholders making a profit?

Nine, charitable contributions. Although I never got a job from a poor person, I have helped many in need. Charity belongs in our local communities, where we know our needs best and can use our local talent and our local resources. Butt out, please. We want to do it ourselves.

Ten, corporate bailouts. Knock it off. Sink or swim like the rest of us. If there are hard times ahead, we'll be better off just getting into it and letting the strong survive. Quick and painful. Have you ever ripped off a Band‑Aid? We will pull together. Great things happen in America under great hardship. Give us the chance to innovate. We cannot disappoint you more than you have disappointed us.

Eleven, transparency and accountability. How about it? No, really, how about it? Let's have it. Let's say we give the buzzwords a rest and have some straight honest talk. Please try ‑‑ please stop manipulating and trying to appease me with clever wording. I am not the idiot you obviously take me for. Stop sneaking around and meeting in back rooms making deals with your friends. It will only be a prelude to your criminal investigation. Stop hiding things from me.

Twelve, unprecedented quick spending. Stop it now.

Take a breath. Listen to the people. Let's just slow down and get some input from some nonpoliticians on the subject. Stop making everything an emergency. Stop speed reading our bills into law. I am not an activist. I am not a community organizer. Nor am I a terrorist, a militant or a violent person. I am a parent and a grandparent. I work. I'm busy. I'm busy. I am busy, and I am tired. I thought we elected competent people to take care of the business of government so that we could work, raise our families, pay our bills, have a little recreation, complain about taxes, endure our hardships, pursue our personal goals, cut our lawn, wash our cars on the weekends and be responsible contributing members of society and teach our children to be the same all while living in the home of the free and land of the brave.

I entrusted you with upholding the Constitution. I believed in the checks and balances to keep from getting far off course. What happened? You are very far off course. Do you really think I find humor in the hiring of a speed reader to unintelligently ramble all through a bill that you signed into law without knowing what it contained? I do not. It is a mockery of the responsibility I have entrusted to you. It is a slap in the face. I am not laughing at your arrogance. Why is it that I feel as if you would not trust me to make a single decision about my own life and how I would live it but you should expect that I should trust you with the debt that you have laid on all of us and our children. We did not want the TARP bill. We said no. We would repeal it if we could. I am sure that we still cannot. There is such urgency and recklessness in all of the recent spending.

From my perspective, it seems that all of you have gone insane. I also know that I am far from alone in these feelings. Do you honestly feel that your current pursuits have merit to patriotic Americans? We want it to stop. We want to put the brakes on everything that is being rushed by us and forced upon us. We want our voice back. You have forced us to put our lives on hold to straighten out the mess that you are making. We will have to give up our vacations, our time spent with our children, any relaxation time we may have had and money we cannot afford to spend on you to bring our concerns to Washington. Our president often knows all the right buzzword is unsustainable. Well, no kidding. How many tens of thousands of dollars did the focus group cost to come up with that word? We don't want your overpriced words. Stop treating us like we're morons.

We want all of you to stop focusing on your reelection and do the job we want done, not the job you want done or the job your party wants done. You work for us and at this rate I guarantee you not for long because we are coming. We will be heard and we will be represented. You think we're so busy with our lives that we will never come for you? We are the formerly silent majority, all of us who quietly work , pay taxes, obey the law, vote, save money, keep our noses to the grindstone and we are now looking up at you. You have awakened us, the patriotic spirit so strong and so powerful that it had been sleeping too long. You have pushed us too far. Our numbers are great. They may surprise you. For every one of us who will be there, there will be hundreds more that could not come. Unlike you, we have their trust. We will represent them honestly, rest assured. They will be at the polls on voting day to usher you out of office. We have cancelled vacations. We will use our last few dollars saved. We will find the representation among us and a grassroots campaign will flourish. We didn't ask for this fight. But the gloves are coming off. We do not come in violence, but we are angry. You will represent us or you will be replaced with someone who will. There are candidates among us when hewill rise like a Phoenix from the ashes that you have made of our constitution.

Democrat, Republican, independent, libertarian. Understand this. We don't care. Political parties are meaningless to us. Patriotic Americans are willing to do right by us and our Constitution and that is all that matters to us now. We are going to fire all of you who abuse power and seek more. It is not your power. It is ours and we want it back. We entrusted you with it and you abused it. You are dishonorable. You are dishonest. As Americans we are ashamed of you. You have brought shame to us. If you are not representing the wants and needs of your constituency loudly and consistently, in spite of the objections of your party, you will be fired. Did you hear? We no longer care about your political parties. You need to be loyal to us, not to them. Because we will get you fired and they will not save you. If you do or can represent me, my issues, my views, please stand up. Make your identity known. You need to make some noise about it. Speak up. I need to know who you are. If you do not speak up, you will be herded out with the rest of the sheep and we will replace the whole damn congress if need be one by one. We are coming. Are we coming for you? Who do you represent? What do you represent? Listen. Because we are coming. We the people are coming.

17 June 2009

A Funny

Barack Obama at a recent city elementary school assembly in Richmond, Virginia asked the audience for total quiet. Then, in the silence, he started to slowly clap his hands once every few seconds, holding the audience in total silence.

Then he said into the microphone, "Children, every time I clap my hands together, a child in America dies from gun violence."

Then, little Tyrone Washington, with a proud Richmond Virginia drawl, pierced the quiet and said; “Well, dummy, stop clapping!"

14 June 2009

Carbine Stock Comparison

Here are four mil-spec carbine stocks.

From top to bottom:

Vintage Colt XM177 stock on 2-position receiver extension. This stock was made from 1964 through 1985, it is poly-vinyl acetate coated aluminum. It is found on Colt R609 (XM177E1), R610 (XM177), R619, R620, R629 (XM177E2), R630 (GAU-5A), R639, R649 (GAU-5A/A), early R653 and R654.

Vintage Colt fiberlite stock on 4-position receiver extension. This stock was made from 1985 through 2002, it is some form of plastic. It is found on late R653, early R920 (M4) and early R921 (M4A1).
Current production Colt "Gen 2" M4 stock on 5-position receiver extension. This stock replaced the fiberlite in 2002 and is found on late production R727, R733, R735, R738, R920 (M4), R921 (M4A1), R933, R935 and R938.

Current production Magpul CTR stock on 6-position receiver extension. This is a commercially available stock that can be mounted to any mil-spec diameter receiver extension.

Near Disaster

While practicing taking my spiffy new P238 apart, I pushed the safety from safe to "take-apart".

And APART it came! The safety detent plunger and safety detent plunger spring came flying at my face, hitting me just above the right eyebrow and disappearing into the mist.

So I start carefully moving everything in the bedroom. The spring was under the left monitor. The plunger was not with it, and it's no place to be found.

So I give up, grab the Dremel and cut a tail into an AR15 take-down detent. I put things back together and they work.

The Lovely Harvey walks in and asks what am I doing. I tell her. She looks around on the floor a little bit while I tell her that I have given up. While she's talking to me I glance at her foot and THERE IT IS!

I am giving all the credit for finding it because if she hadn't stopped in to find out what I was doing and stayed to look around a bit herself, it would still be lost.

11 June 2009

The Letterman Thing

Dead Link

Reading about it reminds me of something I detest about the liberals.

When they apologize, they are not apologizing.

And I am not talking about them being bad actors; like a five year old who doesn't mean it when he says, "I'm sorry."

I am talking about them saying, "I'm sorry, but not really, here's why," or, "I really don't understand why you're so damn mad at what I did, but I'll say I'm sorry while I explain why you're too stupid to get the joke, if that will shut you the hell up."

With celebrities and politicians, if a conservative makes such a faux pas, then there's hue and cry to have them removed from their office and or employment, even if a genuine and heartfelt apology is offered.

10 June 2009


The AR Is The Confluence Of Manly, Lego and Barbie Doll



Because the XM177E2 project is progressing I decided that Kaylee could wear more modern furniture.

She was intended to be as close to an XM177E2 as one could legally get with reasonably available parts. All those years in Iowa had taught me to not even consider a short barrel rifle.

Thanks to www.ar15.com I learned that making an SBR was perfectly legal in Florida and that vintage parts were "reasonably available". Couple that with NoDak-Spud making reproductions of the earlier style receivers and it made a far more accurate clone viable.

I am sure that everyone who's built more than one AR has a box of parts that came with the rifle kits they ordered and then started swapping out bits and pieces as preference and fashion shift and move. So the retro furniture is in the box and the modern M4 furniture is on the gun.

I Used To Sing This

I originally heard this song on Dr Demento. Chris McKelvey, Carl Cross, Cordell McGuire and I would sing it for our after Champions parties. Cordell would do most, the rest of us were just chorus.

"White Collar Holler" Stan Rogers.


I rise up every mornin' at a quarter to eight.
Some woman who's my wife tells me not to be late.
I kiss the kids goodbye -- can't remember their names.
And week after week it's always the same.

And it's...
Homeboys, can't you code it (huh!) and program it right?
Nothin' ever happens in this life uh mine.
I'm haulin up the data on the Xerox line.

And it's code in the data, give the keyboard a punch.
Then cross-correlate and break for some lunch.
Correlate, tabulate, process and screen,
Program, printout, regress to the mean.

And it's...
Homeboys, can't you code it (huh!) and program it right?
Nothin' ever happens in this life uh mine.
I'm haulin up the data on the Xerox line.
Yeah...then it's home again eat again watch some TV,
Make love to my woman at 10:53.
I dream the same dream when I'm sleepin' at night,
I'm soarin' over hills like an eagle in flight.

And it's...
Homeboys, can't you code it (huh!) and program it right?
Nothin' ever happens in this life uh mine.
I'm haulin up the data on the Xerox line.

Some day I'm gonna give up all the buttons and things.
I'll punch that time clock 'till it can't ring.
Burn up my necktie and set myself free.
'Cause no one's gonna fold, bend or mutilate me!

And it's...
Homeboys, can't you code it (oooo) and program it right?
Nothin' ever happens in this life uh mine.
I'm haulin up the data on the Xerox line.

And it's...
Homeboys, can't you code it (huh!) and program it right?
Nothin' ever happens in this life uh mine.
I'm haul-in..up..the..data...on...the...Xe-erox...line.

Someone posted it to YouTube!

Early Morning Panic

I reached into my pocket and realized that my swiss army knife was gone!

I have had that thing since my very first field exercise in Germany. I bought it at the Grafenwöhr PX in 1988. It's a discontinued Victorinox Champion. The closest thing you can get now is the SwissChamp, which is thicker and has two extra tools.

It's actually the second one I bought at that PX. The first one was stolen. To help prevent future theft, my buddy Fred carved my last name into the plastic. I mentioned Fred here before, he's my friend whose wife had him murdered.

I found it in the couch, but it was scary to have lost something that has been such a fixture in my life for so long. After all, my knife is old enough to drink. There are only two things in my life that I have owned longer, my drafting table and my camouflaged Zippo.

For someone who was uprooted every couple of years for a good hunk of his life, things like this start to really matter.

08 June 2009

Kevina Update

The Troy Professional Grade Sling Adaptor in Flat Dark Earth™ came today.

With QD ring.

Without QD ring.

You can choose either side.

Without Sling.

With Blue Force Gear single point sling.

Review Of A Review

I just saw the film, "Defiance".

I often check Wikipedia after watching a movie. Mentioned in the entry for "Defiance" was "[A.O.]Scott also said the film unfairly implied that "if only more of the Jews living in Nazi-occupied Europe had been as tough as the Bielskis, more would have survived"."


Yes, exactly! That's what history says about it too! Where the Jews fought back they did better than where they didn't. That's not an unfair implication, that's a flat statement of how things are. Scott's statement is an unfair implication that the Jews who did not fight were cowards. I don't count denial as cowardice.

This lesson of history, and the gulags, are why so many of the people on my side of the fence have decided it is better to fight and die than to submit. Movie reviewers opinions to the contrary, notwithstanding.

One Step Closer

Here's the XM177E2 clone mocked up with all the parts delivered.

Here's a photoshop of what it will look like when it comes back from the smith.


I got a reply from the gun smith about how long it will take to get the barrel cut down. Prolly be well into August. Bummer.

New Additions

Finally found it! An FN model of 1905.

Here is it with it's near twin, the Colt model of 1908 Vest Pocket.

I also snagged a Sig-Sauer P238. It's, as near as I can tell, a clone of the of the Colt Mustang. Shown here with the Colt Vest Pocket and an M1911.

The P238 is a handy size, about the same sized as the competing Kel-Tec P3AT and Ruger LCP. It's a tad heavier than those, but has a locked breech and an excellent trigger.

Now I can save the Colt model of 1908 Pocket Hammerless from additional wear and tear from constant carry.

In related news, I no longer need the Sig-Sauer P232 that I bought when I first got my carry permit.

07 June 2009

If You Find Yourself In Downtown Disney™ And Are Looking For A Place To Eat...

Avoid, like the plague, Fulton's Crab House.

Prices are astronomical. Service is prompt, but poor. 18% gratis is added to any party of 8 or more, causing said service to plummet because the server knows they are in for 0.18*astronomical*(8+n).

There are far better places to get sea food in Florida. Starting with Red Lobster!

The company was far better than the service. I got to put faces with some of the folks I have been reading online.

Laughed so much my sides ached, literally. Literally, literally!

05 June 2009

Facebook Experiment Concluded

I wanted a place where politics didn't intrude, like it does here.

But we get polls about whether we approve of President Obama and I am sucked right in.

Since I can't have a blog-like outlet without politics, I will only have ONE blog with it.

I like this format better anyway.

01 June 2009

High School

I remember high school pretty vividly.

I was miserable.

My grades were poor and I genuinely felt like killing my counselor when she told me that I was not realizing my potential.

Because of moving every two years from the start of 5th grade, I didn't have many friends. I have never been good at making friends. This meant that I was an outsider for 8 years. While I cherish the friends that I did manage to make, let's be honest, the people who will befriend the stranger are not, generally, part of the mainstream popularity portion of the high school social scene.

I definitely changed some to fit in with the people who would accept me. That meant that when the next move happened, I would be even further from the mainstream and it was that much more difficult to make new friends.

It's perhaps lucky that Columbine didn't happen while I was in high school. Such a thing never occurred to me. If I had seen that on the news in 1986, I would have thought, "WHAT A GREAT IDEA! I REALLY NEED TO DO THAT!"

I graduated with a whopping 1.89 GPA. Prior to the 5th grade I was a straight A student with the exception of one quarter where I got all Fs (second quarter, 3rd grade).

In college, I was not part of the social scene, but at least college welcomes people who are there merely to learn. My grades soared! I was back to getting As and Bs! I graduated with my BBA with a 3.15 GPA.

It occurs to me that the main problem I had with high school is that everyone there was forced to be there. 90% of the people there had known each other nearly their whole lives. Solid friendships existed that did not tolerate additions to the clique. A newcomer who was socially awkward was a novelty to play with, and destroy. No risk to the existing social order since they didn't belong to it. The plucky underdog does not win in the real world.

The personality shaping events from high school are still haunting me.

The Lovely Harvey adds:

I had "lasting friendships" until I went to lockup. Got back from that and it was hell, like I had never been at that school my whole life. I had a few what I thought were true friends but over the years if they haven't died they changed or I did and it sucks. I still have issues making lasting friendships as well. At least we have each other.