31 March 2011

A2 Pistol Grips.

In general, I don't care for the M16A2 pistol grip.  The finger swell that's supposed to go below the middle finger and above the ring finger never seems to be in the right place.

I got a genuine Colt A2 grip from a guy who went all Magpul on his LE6920 and that one fit my hand.  Odd, I thought...

Sadly, I had sold that grip with the M16A2 clone it was attached to.  Luckily, the owner stores the gun at my house!

Out come the calipers.  The Colt unit has girth than most of the ones that came with my lower parts kits.  Only two came close to matching it, and those are now on Kaylee and Dottie.

Interestingly this girth matches the M16/M16A1 grips I have on the retros.

Iran? I have readers in Iran?


Hello you six readers and or bots in Iran!

Having readers from the middle east is a bit odd.

Just to put it out there, I have nothing against the people of Iran.  Not fond of the leaders there; should there be a revolution that supplants the ayatollahs I hope our nations could be friends again.

My principle worry about Iran has more to with a kind of Islam that doesn't want to leave me be in peace.  I take that first amendment serious; freedom of all religions.  Even no religion and the freedom to change religion.

30 March 2011

Local News Item

From Tampa Bay Online, about the AK-47.

Hillsborough County Sheriff Office's Col Brown is dead on with, "The gun isn't what's dangerous – it's the person that's holding it."

This article is flabbergastingly neutral!  Just a couple of short years ago this would have been all about confirming what an evil device such guns are.  Even the cop who was shot with one doesn't want them banned!

Of course it makes the same mistake EVERY article about the Kalashnikov makes.  The vast majority of "AK-47's" are not AK-47's but AKM's.  Vanishingly few AK's here in the states are the selective fire model and are thus neither an AK-47 or an AKM.  AK-47 has become as generic as 1911...

Auction Site things that bug me.

Starting the auction at 2¢ with a buy-it-now of $100 where a big of $90 doesn't meet the reserve.

Starting the auction at $195 with the same price listed as buy-it-now and bragging, "No Reserve!"

29 March 2011

100 Years Since...

It has been 100 years since the M1911 was adopted by the US Army.

That was an impressive run.  But the M1911 didn't really last very long; just 13 years.  Most of the M1911's storied history is really with the M1911A1 which ran from 1924 to (officially) 1985.  Still, 74 years as the official issue side arm is pretty good.

Just 22 years to go before another Browning design has been in service for 100 years, the Ma Deuce (78 and counting).


Picture showing the big changes for those who don't already know them: (Credit to M1911.org)


Who is responsible if I leave something valuable in my front yard unattended and it gets stolen?

The thief.  No one else.

That I don't leave valuables unattended in my front yard is accepting that thieves abound.

Locking my front door is a similar acceptance.  An unlocked door is not an invitation to trespass.  Even an open door is not such an invitation.

Attempting to shift the blame to the person whose property has been stolen or house violated is wrong.  Perhaps more wrong than the actual trespass or theft.

Making life more difficult for thieves may be a prudent decision for a property owner to take, but that does not mitigate any of the guilt for the thief!

26 March 2011

Double Quandary

First, the full-fence lower on Tabitha used to be on Charlotte.  Should a rifle's name follow the "gun" part or the configuration?

Second.  The partial fence that's on Charlotte will have to count as this years BAG day purchase.  Even if it was paid for way back in September.

25 March 2011

Present! Arms!

Today is Medal of Honor Day.

Just do some light reading.

State of the Six Point Eight

Last week:


Dottie is about half a pound lighter and Tabitha is a bit more than a half pound heavier.  Both guns are more ideal.

MagPul Post-Script.

I like MagPul a lot.  They do try to do innovative things.

I had not realized until today how much mass I was adding to my rifle by using their designs.

I still have their grip-panels on the 4-Rail, I really like the XTM panels!

The AFG (angled fore grip) was kinda nice, relatively cheap; but a bit too heavy on an already heavy gun.

The MIAD pistol grip is not cheap.

The CTR stock is the real weight hog here.  It's also very expensive.

The main problem with the MagPul products I took off the gun is that they were not providing me with much ergonomic gain and were adding a fair amount of mass for that non-advantage.

When I first got the MIAD, it was the bestest pistol grip I had every tried.  Then the retro bug hit.  Then I took some classes.  Now I am more used to the bog-standard AR grip angle and diameter.

The question for me, now, is do I get the bog standard M4 stock and pistol grip in OD green to match my rail-covers or do I replace my rail covers with black to match my stock and grip?


The weights of the items in question.

AFG is 0.15 lbs.
MIAD with F1, B2 and 123 core is 0.20 lbs.
CTR-M is 0.55 lbs.

M16A2 pistol grip is 0.13 lbs.
Milspec M4 stock is 0.40 lbs.

It doesn't look like much, individually, but it adds up.

(I also moved the AimPoint a bit farther back and it helped the balance.)

24 March 2011

Additional Consideration

The MagPul AFG experiment is over.

Dottie is was really heavy for an AR and ditching the AFG drops about 0.2 lbs off the nose.  That is as much as the Surefire X300 weighs!

She looks a lot slimmer too.

Looks like the whole MagPul experiment is over.  Ditching the AFG, MIAD and CTR saves HALF A POUND!  For an essentially cosmetic advantage over the more common M4A1 stuff.
New pic:

After Due Consideration...

I have decided that the extra mass of the rifle buffer is a plus, the extra overall mass of the assembly is desirable and the extra area of the butt should be more pleasant.

So I have put the solid M16A1 "type E" stock on Tabitha in place of the Fiberlite™ (picture recycled).

She no longer resembles a GUU-5/P any more so much as an R652.

This makes her about ten ounces heavier overall.  The heavier buffer should make for better reliability as things get dirty.  I noticed that the recoil was a bit harsh at the range, getting more area on the butt and more mass will help that a lot.

22 March 2011

Retro Triple Threat

Top to bottom: (Click to enbiggen)

Charlotte an early M16 (R604) clone.
Sabrina an XM177E2 clone.
Tabitha a GUU-5P/A phantom.

Not a SINGLE fully featured assault weapon among them!


I guess I ordered this XM16E1 lower in September.

Good timing since I'd cannibalized Charlotte's lower for Tabitha.

19 March 2011

Back From The Range!

I just got done shooting Tabitha.

She shot a little low (10 clicks) but dead center L-R at 25m.  At 50 yards it needed  two clicks to the right.  Hits at 100 were the correct distance too high and still centered L-R.  This where it's supposed for a 250m zero.

All in all I am very pleased with my work.

Oh yeah!  No function issues at all!  Go team me!

Easy to understand...

Like Barbies, for MEN

Do I like the collapsible Fiberlite™ stock or the fixed M16A1 stock better?



The fixed stock is a 12oz heavier.

This is an appearance issue, not function.  Which do YOU think looks cooler?

18 March 2011

Sharp, Pointy Things

Weer'd started it...

Some of my Stig-Pickers...

Top to bottom.

General Cutlery M7 Bayonet with scabbard.

Phrobis/Buck M9 Bayonet with scabbard.

1918 Trench Knife.

Kershaw Mini-Cyclone.

Cold Steel Scot's Claymore.

All but the Kershaw are intended to be weapons.  Of them all, I only know how to use the sword for fighting.

Tabitha is ready for testing.

Here she is, all put together.  This is my first complete AR build.  This is the only one that I installed every single part on because the barrel and upper needed to be assembled from stripped parts.  The other builds had some pre-assembled subassemblies.

What we have here is the most FrankenAR I've ever built too.  Made from left-overs.

Plus.  Holy snot is this a light gun!  7.1 lbs loaded with a 25 round mag.  A far cry from her sister, Dottie, who is 10.1 lbs with light, optics and a 30 round mag.

Have to hit the range tomorrow or something.

17 March 2011

I wholeheartedly concur!

Read the whole thing.

Money quote; "There’s no middle ground on this issue that will make our opponents surrender and give up. That’s why I’m interested in giving up as little as possible, and taking everything from them that I can."

16 March 2011

We shall call her Tabitha

Stole the bolt carrier and lower from Charlotte, my M16 clone, and put her together a little further.

Still trying to decide what Alternate Retro designation should be.  Since it's a slick side, it's deserving of an AF moniker.  GUU-5/P is the catch-all for the Air Force's carbines.  GAU-5/A is the original designation they used, with GAU-5A/A and GAU-5A/B being later variations.

I am thinking that GUU-5P/A or GAU-5A/C would be appropriate.  The 'R' designation is, of course, R668.

I took the upper into the garage, clamped it into a vice and checked the sights alignment to the bore.  At the 10 yard distance I have in the garage the front sight appears to be in line L-R with the bore.  What a relief!  That means it's likely going to zero fine.

The tracking number hints at delivery of the gas-tube, handguards and flash-hider tomorrow.


The tracking number shows that the package was scanned at a hub the morning of the 16th and doesn't appear to have moved since.  I sure hope the parts get here by Friday.

What thrills me...


I am just so damn happy Ms Brown came all the way from Jolly Ol' to tell us how we should do things.

Ms Brown, the entire fucking point of the noise in the late 1700's was precisely so that we would no longer do what Jolly Ol' did.  We call it "The Revolution".  We set off fireworks on July 4th to commemorate it.  Maybe you've read about it?

Perhaps if the UK had no gun crime, we might consider looking at what y'all had done there.

But the core issue here, for me, is I am utterly fed up with foreigners coming here to tell me how it's gonna be from now on.  I don't like it when Mexicans do it.  I don't like it when Brits do it.  Heck, I don't even like it when people from other STATES and tell me how we should fix Florida.  I am originally from Iowa, I chose to settle here because I liked how Florida was.  People from messed up places like NYFC, New Jersey, Detroit, Philly and Boston who admit they ESCAPED also start yapping about how Florida needs to adopt laws that were part of why their home state is messed up.  I hear that Arizona has the same problem with Californians.

There's a term for moving someplace and changing it to be more like where you came from, colonization.

Our gun "problem" is certainly not a problem that's spilling over onto the shores of England.  The English would have some cause to complain were that the case.  Mexico has some cause to complain about it, because it's my very government causing the problem there.

I hope to get that problem fixed soon, but I am only one man...


My little barrel project has me looking at why I have these parts laying around.

I have the barrel because I wanted a 6.8.  This barrel was in the parts bin because I had replaced it with a different one.  That replacement was panic coupled with cosmetics.  This barrel was giving some mild pressure signs.  A cure was recommended, but I bought a spare barrel just in case the cure failed.  Of course, the cure worked; but I liked the looks of the heavier profile of the new barrel with the 4-rail and such.

The spare 604 upper was bought to get vintage rear sight parts and a correct '68 ejection port cover.  The early slip ring came with this upper; I had to buy a weld ring and snap ring for it.

I am not sure where the barrel nut came from.  It could be from one of the guns I added a free-float tube to.  I just don't remember.

I think I bought the post-ban front sight base and taper pins for my XM177E2 (Sabrina) project.  I think that was a "just in case" I couldn't find a 0.625" at the gas port pencil barrel with a sight already mounted. I think.  I really feel like this was for Sabrina, but I cannot for the life of me figure out why I thought I would need a 0.75" at the gas port no-lug front sight base.

So, I ended up with a bare barrel and an undrilled front sight base...

Parts just BEGGING to be put together.

This is how spare AR parts turn into guns.

Retro 6.8 Update

Got the M4 feed-ramps dremel'd into the slick-side upper.

Nothing to really take a picture of.

Might be a gas tube and handguards here tomorrow.

I found my spare 6.8 bolt.  Drop this baby on any lower and slip that bolt into any carrier I have and I can see if I got the front sight on straight.

14 March 2011

Front Sight Base Taper Pin Drilling Exercise

Getting things set up. I used a #31 high speed steel, jobber length bit at 1,900 rpm.  Joe (the one with the hair) provided the drill press and working locale.

We choked way up on the bit to get a dimple started for the rest of the run to help keep things from wandering around. 

We choked way up on the bit to get a dimple started for the rest of the run to help keep things from wandering around. 

As soon as I started drilling for real, the FSB rotated slightly. A small C-clamp on the front part got things so that they'd stay put. I am glad I marked things with a sharpie! 

As we proceeded...  I blew the chips away every few fractions of an inch and applied a bit of oil to keep things cooled down.

And through! 

Because my friend running the camera is more action oriented we don't have a lot of pics of blowing the chips out every 1/16" of drilling. 

For the first hole we chucked the reamer into the press and I hand rotated it. And rotated it. And rotated it... Very tiring. 

Every so often I would rest and see how far a taper pin would set. It seemed to take forever! But since I didn't want to over-ream I took my time and checked every fifteen turns or so. 

After a while I decided that turning the entire spindle was getting old, so I changed to a T-handle. 

Rear pin in!

Using the Ball, Eye Type, Mk 1, optical, to get things lined up for the front pin. 

Process for the front pin is basically a repeat of the rear, except much faster without the worry of the base rotating. 

For the front pin we got daring! Dialed the rpm down to 250 and let the machine do the work. I marked where I had gotten to on the first pin with tape so I could repeat the depth on the second.

Setting the front pin. 

And done! 

Hey, look! Still plumb! 

Removing the oil and stray chips.

Thanks to Joe for letting me use his drill press and garage. Thanks to Marv for being the cameraman!

From some of the descriptions on Arfcom, I really expected a lot more drama.  This job didn't really involve anything I hadn't learned in metal-shop class in high school.  The real hard part was finding out what the correct tools were for the job and obtaining them.

Now that I know that I can do this job I am much less intimidated by the idea of buying a bare barrel.  That saves a lot of money from buying a completed barrel plus it increases the number of choices you have in buying the barrels.  Some companies don't sell completed barrels in certain profiles without also including an upper (at additional expense of course) that may not fit the idea you have in mind for a build.  Because I tend to prefer fixed iron sights, I also tend to not want to use flat-top uppers.  Guess what upper tends to come with the complete barrels?

12 March 2011

Still not me.

I'd say I was sick of pointing it out, but I'm getting numb.

Florida has a bill working through committee that would allow conceal carry permit holders to open carry; making our permits just carry permits.  There was also language to allow a permit holder to carry on a college campus.

The committee decided that it made too much sense so added all sorts of restrictions on HOW one could open carry and (by the way) no carry on campuses.

We raised hell about it and they deigned to remove the silly restrictions on how we could open carry.  Left the campus gun ban intact.  It's the rationale of leaving that ban that has me irritated.

To quote Robb: "On February 22, 2011, the father of Ashley Cowie, the FSU student who was killed in an off-campus incident, presented an impassioned plea against the campus carry element of SB 234. Ashley was killed by a student who was too young to get a concealed weapons/firearms license (CWFL), allegedly was under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, negligently mishandled a rifle too large to carry concealed for self-defense purposes, at an off-campus frat house at which weapons were prohibited."
Cowie has also stated that, "I think what happened was a perfect example of why guns shouldn’t be on campus.  Partying late at night, with alcohol and drugs: It’s not an environment where guns should be present."

First off, that's not me.  I am not partying late at night with my gun, alcohol and drugs.  I don't do drugs and I don't drink armed while partying.  Being a responsible gun owner and driver, I stop drinking long before the legal limits unless I plan on getting plowed; then there are no guns or car keys for me.  But I am in my 40's too.  Lots of hard lessons learned.

Second; at what point did having a permit to carry on campus apply to Ms Cowie's death?  Was she killed by a permit holder?  No.  Was she killed by a concealed firearm?  No.  Was the shooter old enough to get a permit?  No.  Since he was too young to get a permit he was also too young to be legally drinking.  Doing drugs is likewise illegal.

Again, I ask, what does that have to do with ME?  What I want to do is carry on campus (more importantly I want my wife to be able to).  I have a permit, I don't drink while out and about and I don't do drugs.

Oh yeah, GUNS WERE BANNED AT THE LOCATION WHERE YOUR DAUGHTER GOT SHOT ALREADY!  Fat lot of good banning them did, huh?  That's the real problem here Mr Cowie.  The person who shot your daughter was breaking how many laws?

Once again they want to restrict me because of the behavior of others.

My wife works in college administration.  She has received death threats from students and parents who are upset about any manner of thing their darling child has been denied.  Going to work with those threats and knowing you are in a gun-free victim zone where only the law abiding are disarmed sure is fun.

Tell you what, Mr Cowie, if something happens to my wife; I am suing your balls off.  It is surely you the press is crediting for getting campus carry eliminated from this bill.  That makes you responsible for it.  Unlike you, I intend to blame the person who did something.

10 March 2011

FSB Mounting Project, Tools Acquired

I have four #31 jobber length high speed steel bits for drilling the holes and I have one 2/0 reamer to make a tapered hole for the taper pins.

All I need now is time from my friend with a drill press to make a stab at it.

The parts on hand at present:

08 March 2011

Race, everything is about race...

Fuck effectiveness and getting the job done!

I grow weary of calls to gender and racially norm the military.

We are not seeing the results of racism in that 77% of the leadership is white.

We are seeing the results of selection bias in out all volunteer military.  Self selection.  If it were a secret society policy of racism, explain Colin Powell.  He's not the only black dude with flag rank.  He was chairman of the Joint Chiefs, if he overcame institutional racism he was certainly in a position to implement policies to end it.  I posit that he didn't because there was no institutional racism to overcome.

Here's a bit of truth for the racial mongers: Black officers tend to leave the service long before they reach O-3.  Figure out the why of that and you'll see your percentage of black officers increase.  Figure out why so few black men apply to the academies, OCS and ROTC and you'll have another datum.  It is politically incorrect to speculate that the military is simply not what an educated black man wants to do with that education.

This pattern repeats with the Rangers and Special Forces.  Volunteers from volunteers.  Hard to join, easy to quit initial entry.  Nearly all white.  Again, self selection bias.  Figure out why minorities do not want to join or if they do want; why they rarely complete the difficult training process.  I have seen an answer for why black SEAL trainees do poorly and it has everything to do with physiology and cold and nothing to do with racism.  Admitting that there are physiological differences that matter to the job has been a problem for the PC crowd.

With a volunteer force, I don't want him there if he doesn't want to be there.

I notice that the report (I'm not linking until Righthaven is dead and gone, can't be too sure...) comes from an "independent" study done for Congress.  Excuse me, but that's not independent at all; especially when the conclusion fits the politically correct mold so well.  "Need more minorities and women.  End ban on females in combat."

Why?  What is the military currently unable to do that they will suddenly be able to do if we allow women into combat arms?  An aside here, females join with the understanding that their careers will be truncated by their inability to serve in a combat role (except for pilots); this was the deal when they joined and they joined anyway.  I do note it doesn't seem to be women SERVING that are complaining about the lack of career opportunity here; but the same people who've been complaining all along.

What missions are impossible with so few black officers?

What I really care about, at the end of the day, is can our military defend us and is it capable of killing people and breaking shit.  If that means a force that's so white the Klan thinks we need an affirmative action plan, so fucking be it.

What needs to be answered for me is how will increasing the percentages affect effectiveness.

I would also like to mention that the racial balance on the enlisted side of the coin was a bit different before Gulf War I.  The enlisted ranks were majority black in the late 80's early '90's.  Once there was a shooting war going on that reversed and fast.  There's another datum for you to figure out.  Retention of non-hispanic minority enlisted is very low when the military is actually in combat.  Recruitment and retention of white and hispanic enlisted men INCREASES when there's shooting going on.

Self.  Selection.  Bias.

The people in the job have chosen to be there and stay there.  Figure out why and perhaps address that.  Don't set mandates that x% must be y race or gender or you will negatively affect the ability to perform the missions if the pool of qualified candidates is too small.

07 March 2011

Slightly more advanced gunsmithing...

Very soon I will drill my very first front sight base to my spare 6.8 barrel.

Going to make a GUU-5P phantom.  Pseudo retro gun.  Slick side upper, round handguards, fiberlite stock, A1 grip with a 6.8 mid-length barrel.

Should be spiffy.

The full fence lower on my M16 clone is moving to this project.

The M16 has all early features except for the lower so getting a partial fence is appropriate.

06 March 2011

Logical Fallacy

Far too many programs aimed at "reducing the cost" of something do nothing to reduce the costs but rather shift the burden of paying for them to someone else.

Yes, the person who doesn't have to pay for service would believe the costs had gone down; but the cost didn't really change.

This is true of any program that is subsidized.  Someone is paying for the portion you are not.  In some cases you are paying a partial portion at the time of purchase and paying for an additional part at tax time (whether you are using the service or not).

05 March 2011

Not me again!

Just as Ted Kennedy's car had killed more people than my guns...

ATF has illegally sent more guns to Mexico than my and anyone else I know.

For the same reason.

Both did so at all, whereas I have not ever.

Teddy's car 1, my guns 0.

ATF transfers to Mexico, more than 100, possibly close to 400; me, my friends, and our acquaintances 0.

Again, I am not the problem here and again I do not have the means to fix it.

02 March 2011

My oldest gun.


Is the oldest gun I own.

It is a Harrington and Richardson 'Automatic' in .32 S&W Long.  It was made in 1891.

It's not rated for smokeless loads.  I have shot some .32 S&W smokeless rounds through it though.  Had several pierced primers so I quit shooting it.  It's probably a good thing that I didn't try any S&W Long in it.  I think I want to get or have made some black powder loads for it.  Should be fun.

It used to be my grampa's.  Grampa ran a gas station, so I suspect this revolver sat in a drawer under the counter for decades until he retired.  There's very little wear and the bore is shiny and sharp.  I inherited it.

This is the first gun I legally carried concealed.  At the time I inherited it, this and a Glock 21 were my only handguns.  Since it was summer out, the Glock didn't hide well.

01 March 2011

Play it where it lies.

When I have problems, they seem pretty damn big and the solutions don't seem obvious.

I have received the advice, "Just bail and start over," more than once.

That was how I dealt with difficult problems for years.  I did not, and do not, like that person I was.

Shit gets hard, quit, run.

For two reasons I will not do that again.  First, I don't think I have another do-over left in me.  It's a lot of work and energy to sever old ties and build new ones.  It's soul crushing to have to re-accumulate all the things you had to give up from the previous failure.  Second, I vowed that I would stop running.

That vow is coupled with a decision that my word would start meaning something after literally decades of lying and cheating.  Please note, if you have known me for decades, you weren't lied to or cheated.  There aren't many of you.  Sorry.

So, play it where it lies.  It's a golf term.  I don't play golf; but it means that wherever the ball lands from the previous stroke is where you have to play from the next.

I have to figure out how to get out of my problems by traveling from point A to B to C to D in order.

Skipping points is how I ruined things before.  No more.

Just remember, I am playing "golf" here.  Saying that I should quit and go play basketball is not constructive because I am determined to play a full round of 18 holes; no matter how many strokes it takes.  No mulligans.  No skipping holes.

I cannot believe I am reduced to using sports metaphors.