31 July 2011

Only when it doesn't matter...

In the below video Sen Kerry confronts Sen Rubio about quoting then Senators Obama and Biden from 2006 saying they would vote against raising the debt ceiling.

Sen Kerry indicated that since the vote was a forgone conclusion, that Obama's vote was symbolic and didn't matter.

Yes, Senator Kerry, they took a "principled" stand against their party when it didn't affect the outcome.

To be considered a principled person, however, you have to maintain that stand.  What they really did was take a stand against the vote once it was a sure thing so as to secure their re-elections.  It's a common thing. It's done all the time and it's one of the reasons that we voters are so disgusted by politicians.

If they'd believed what they said in 2006 they would not be opposed to what the "Tea Party" Republicans are attempting to do.

Sen. Rubio: "Save the Whole House or It Will All Burn Down"

I sure like him a lot better than Christ. Surely I do!

h/t Ace

30 July 2011


I am a pig.

I admit it, so you can't chastise me.

Occasionally my eye is drawn to an attractive member of the opposite sex.

Today I made note of a new principle of looking.

The eighty foot line of disappointment.

That's the distance where a jogger can change from promising to, well, not.

Fast and Furious

What will come of Rep Issa and Sen Grassley's investigation into Operation Fast and Furious aka Gunwalker?









We'll prolly end up getting more gun control from it.

We'll prolly get some lower end ATF functionaries fired; but not jailed.

The people who put it together will walk, scott free.

I am sorry I am so damn cynical about it, but this is The Stupid Party doing the investigation.

29 July 2011

Insurance BS

I am a homeowner.  Well, I am a mortgage payer.  I am 8 years into a 30 year note.

I am required by law to carry insurance on the property.

I am getting sick of my home being held hostage by the insurance company.

I have 22 years of paying whatever they decide to charge or I lose my house.  It changes every year and it's always up.

We paid $69,900 for our house, borrowing $66,400.  On the day of sale in 2004 it was valued at $72,500 (assessed market value).  Our mortgage is $487.22 and our payment was $562.30 for the first year.  Less than $100 for taxes and insurance a month (the escrow was flush at the time).

My annual taxes run just a bit over 1% of the assessed value about $65 a month when we signed.

Today the house is assessed at $49,538.  My payment is now $701.12.  My taxes are $532.38 a year ($44.37 a payment).  So, $701.12 - $487.22 - $44.37 = $169.53 a month for my homeowner's insurance.  When we signed it was $50.08 a month!

Why is it that my property has lost 31.6% of it's value but it costs three times as much to insure it?

There's a word for it.  FRAUD.  People making false claims.

Again, I am being punished for the actions of others who are not being punished at all.

To top it off there's going to be a 10% increase in my insurance rates forever and likely a 183% increase in the sink-hole portion of my coverage this year.  All because the state did nothing to prevent fraudulent claims.

I am even more cheesed off that the company I am forced to use is owned by the state.  The bastards make a profit.  Nothing owned by the government should make a profit; it should break even at best.

The main reason I am forced to use the government owned solution is because rates have been kept artificially low by law and most private insurers stopped writing new policies.  However, the actuarial calculations have been going up faster than the values of the properties they are underwriting.  And if value exposure is the key part of the equation, like they say it is, why don't my rates go down now that my house is worth less than when I bought it?  They sure as hell went up in 2006 when the assessed value of the place was $96,200!  And went up in direct proportion to the assessed value.

At some point we have to let insurance charge what it costs to insure people.  I no longer believe that either side, government or insurers, are being honest about that cost.

It appears to me that much of the actuarial equation is to sneak (needed) rate increases around laws that forbid rate increases.  Even if this is successful, the insurance companies still lobby to have the rate increase barriers removed.  If the government relents and allows that rate increase, the actuarial weasel increase remains.  Thus we are now paying more for the same coverage.  Government suspects this is true and puts a law in place forbidding increases...  lather, rinse, repeat.

25 July 2011


I'm going to wade into a controversial topic.

Rate of twist.

The AR-15 today is commonly found in 1:9 rifling.  What that means is the bullet will spin 360˚ every 9".

Originally the AR-15 was equipped with a 1:14 twist.

Lemme back up a bit more.

The entire point of the rifling is to spin the bullet, this spin is to stabilize it in flight so that it goes where you pointed it.

The 1:14 twist in the original R601 AR15 did stabilize the 55gr bullet developed for it.  The thing is the rate of spin required changes with the density of the air and the length of the bullet.  Longer bullets and thicker air need more spin.

1:14 did not stabilize the bullet in temperate even though it worked fine in tropical places like Vietnam or hot summer demonstrations for Air Force generals.

Hot, humid air is less dense than cold dry air.

For the AR-15 R602 the rifling was changed to 1:12; a change that held all the way through to the M16A1.

1:12 works great for the M193 and M196 rounds in all the conditions we'd send troops, from tropics to arctic.

This was all fine and dandy until NATO standardized on a different round altogether.  SS109 is a composite construction with a steel core surrounded by lead with a copper jacket instead of the normal all lead core with copper.  It weighs 62 grains, but is longer than an all-lead round would be.  As long as a 69 grain round.  Fabrique National of Belgium developed this round and determined that a twist of 1:9 was enough.  But then they tried the L110 tracer round under arctic conditions...  That round required a 1:7 rate to stabilize, and didn't have a too adverse an effect on the SS109.

The plan, at the time, was to issue the light machine gun with a 1:7 barrel and the rifle with 1:9 because the rifle would not normally use tracer ammunition.  However, it was decided that it was desirable for the rifle to be able to use any ammo issued, so the rifle got 1:7 as well.

That covers the military...

What about you?

Older .223 rifles come with 1:12.  Some older Ruger Mini-14s even come 1:10.  Since the most common loading is 55gr, this is fine.  1:12 does not stabilize NATO ammo at all, or other longer, heavier ammo.  The unstabilized flight-path is erratic to say the least; you can miss a man sized target at ranges as short as 20 yards!

Newer guns come with (mostly) 1:9 tubes.  This is fine for the common 55gr ammo and, as I mentioned earlier, fine for NATO spec ball ammo.  Depending on the manufacturing tolerances to the twist, 1:9 should be good for rounds up to 69 gr.  What you lose is the lighter 40-50 grain varmint rounds.  They become over-stabilized.

What's that?  Bullets travel in an arc.  To hit farther away you have to elevate the barrel.  A properly stabilized bullet will point along this arc.  An over-stabilized round will retain the orientation of the barrel, so it will be traveling at an angle to its flight path.  This is bad for accuracy and can cause unpredictable behavior in the target.

1:7 does this with 55gr ammo.  What you gain with it, in addition to being able to shoot tracers in northern Alaska in the winter, is the ability to accurately fire really long rounds like 77gr.

All other things being equal, heavier rounds do more to the target than lighter.  With varmint rounds, it's too much (unless you want a vaporized red cloud of rodent).  Heavier rounds also reach out farther and are less affected by wind.  All things are not always equal.

Heavier rounds normally are going slower, they take up more space in the case displacing powder capacity.  Even if they didn't keeping the velocity the same would lead to higher, perhaps dangerous, pressure levels.

Again, what about you?

You have to honestly assess what you are going to use the gun for.  What ammunition are you going to buy for it?  Committing to a twist commits you to a specific range of bullet weights.  Likewise, committing to a bullet commits you to a twist.

If you don't plan on arctic hunting trips or plan on using heavy rounds, there's nothing wrong with using 1:9 rifling, don't let anyone tell you that you MUST have 1:7 simply because that's mil-spec.  Unless you have plans that specifically require 1:7, don't pay extra to get it.  Getting a 1:7 barrel sets the most commonly available ammunition off your list.

Likewise, don't expect a 1:12 barrel to handle heavyweight ammunition!

23 July 2011


h/t Borepatch


I wrote about it here.

If the entire point of the red light cameras wasn't revenue, then why is the thrust of the article and statements by the chief of police all about money?


I suspect that part of the increase in infractions was due to shortening the yellows to an illegal 2.3 seconds from the state mandated 3.2 coupled with screwing around with the light timing.

21 July 2011

Shame. Shame is all I can feel about this.

This site is certified 38% EVIL by the Gematriculator

I've let everyone down.  I am sorry.  I will do better in the future.

Dash Cam: Canton PD "Notification" Arrest & Officer Goes Berserk / Threa...

This is a classic example of something I've mentioned here before.

If someone who wasn't a cop was doing this to me, I could legally shoot them.

But cops be special and shit, huh?

Comparison Study

These three uppers are thematically similar.

The top barrel is 16" with a mid-length gas system, the middle barrel is a 16" with a carbine gas system and the bottom is a 14.5" with a carbine gas system.

If you are building an AR carbine without paying $200 for a tax stamp, you'll have to use one of top two options.

Much of it is a matter of cosmetics.  There's not much difference in function.  The mid-length is actually what I think is ideal for a 16" barrel for gas pressure and dwell time.  Superior to the carbine system in most ways.  A carbine system with a 16" barrel has too much dwell time after the bullet passes the gas port so more gas is blown back into the bolt carrier and by extension into the action area.  14.5" is where Colt figured out you needed the length with the carbine system after several years of trying various fixes to make shorter barrels function properly.  Note that the 11.5" XM177E2 barrel has a 4.5" long "moderator" on it that brings the overall length to nearly the same as a 14.5" barrel would have; why not have 3" more barrel to get that extra bit of velocity?

It's not much velocity, but it does have an effect.  The Ammo-Oracle has a nifty table showing that effect.  This only applies to military issue ball ammo, some commercial hunting ammunition has superior wounding effects at lower velocities but would be banned from military use by the Hague Convention.

Distance to 2700 fps
20" Barrel
16" Barrel
14.5" Barrel
11.5" Barrel

Many people who have made XM177E2 clones have retained the 16" barrel and have a moderator that has a lot more threaded distance than the normal half inch.  This maintains the appearance of the shorter barrel with the functionality of a longer one.  My first attempt with Kaylee had something similar with a 5" "slip-over" flash-hider.

Again; much of this is more about cosmetics than it is about function.  I wanted the gun to look right.  In the above picture you can see that both the 16" barrels are too long in some respect as compared to the 14.5".  The mid-length has too much handguard (and has a triangular handguard cap).  The carbine length has too much barrel.  In the real world, it's hard to see the difference.

How hard?  Get a copy of the movie, "Platoon".  The carbine Tom Berenger's character, SSG Barnes, is carrying appears to be a Philippine R635P.  That has a 14.5" barrel.  However, in some scenes it appears to have a 16" barrel.  You don't really see it until you pause the movie to see some other detail and then notice that there's more barrel in front of the front sight than the M16A1 in the same shot.  I'll bet hardly anyone but gun-geeks like me even noticed that the actor got handed two different props.

20 July 2011

On whose backs?

I was reading about what a calamity it would be to cut welfare, social security and other entitlement spending to reduced the deficit.

The author even said that it would be wrong to balance the budget on the backs of children and the elderly.

Never mind that the children and the elderly are riding on the backs of the hard-working tax-payers already.

I've been listening to how the solvency of these programs has been in serious doubt for nearly thirty years!

Grampa and grandma were aware of the impending doom and voted in people who would try to fuck me instead of fucking them.  Congratulations you old codgers, everyone is fucked because you didn't take responsibility for your future and expected me to cheerily pay for it.

Tell you what, you get to survive from here out on what you've managed to save.  Not much is it?  Guess what you've left me for my retirement.  Pretty much the same amount.  Since you don't have a problem with me having to live on that, you go first.

On whose backs, indeed.


It would seem that at least some of the sales were to FBI agents working their own angle.

When a crime is so rare that only the government is committing it, on both sides, is it really something that should be illegal?

19 July 2011

Disney's Beauty and The Beast

Or, "How Stockholm Syndrome Conquers All!"

Go To Gun

Jay G has a meme going.

My gun that's just plain fun to shoot?

I kind of interpreted this meme to mean, "what gun do you grab when someone asks, 'let's go shooting!'"

If I don't have an agenda like function testing or zeroing I tend to grab Sabrina, the SBR XM177E2 clone.

.223 is cheap enough to plink and she's a good shooter.

I almost never think of shooting the handguns just for recreation.  I shoot them to stay competent because I carry, not because I really like handguns.  Sure, they're fun and all; but...

My home business idea... and why I don't.

Waaaaaay back in early 2007 I was going to become a niche producer of AR-15s.  I was going to incorporate under "Laconic Arms".

I was going to do custom order builds for people who didn't want to build them themselves and/or offer configurations that the larger places weren't offering (like retro builds).

Why didn't I?

You need to be some form of FFL.

If I was offering complete guns branded with my imprint I would have to be a manufacturer or a Type 7 FFL.

If I was just putting them together on the customer supplied lower I would need a Type 1 FFL.

To get either kind of FFL you need a chief law enforcement officer (CLEO) sign-off (BATFE requires compliance with local laws and ordinances).  To get that where I live, I need to have a place zoned for commercial or business use.  I can't start-up out of my garage which is zoned mixed ag/residential.

Until I am established, I can't afford to rent a commercial property.

Catch 22.


My previous post about GURPS stats for several AR-15 rounds kinda brings up a confession.

I've actually considered the game stats for a gun before purchasing it.

More than one game world involved making myself as a character and then only being able to have what I already owned for equipment.

Normally this also meant going someplace where resupply was difficult.

I purchased a 4" Colt Anaconda in .45 Colt because our gamemaster was talking about plopping a set of "us" characters in an old-west game.

I bought my Rifle No. 1 Mk. III* because I had several characters who carried one.  Why did they carry one?  Five extra shots as compared to most other bolt guns and in third edition a RoF of 1 instead of 1/2.  In 4th edition, it just has five more shots.  In both editions it does one less die per shot, but volume is good!

Because the difference between 5.56 and 7.62 NATO is just two dice, but the 5.56 guns and ammo are much lighter 5.56 was much more popular.  Every pound of encumbrance not used on your weapon is a pound you can use to carry some esoteric piece of kit that will keep the GM from blatantly screwing you over with some penalty that occurs merely from the lack of.

An interesting thing about the guns we selected was hardly anyone ever took a machine gun.  I suppose I need to be more clear about that.  We'd take what is legally considered a machine gun all day long; like an assault rifle or an SMG.  But we'd very rarely carry something belt-fed.  They cost ten times as much as the equivalent rifle and weigh four times as much.  Not to mention all that ammo they used...

You almost have to force a player to take an LMG or GPMG.

Of course, we'd get weird from time to time.

I made a Norwegian Dwarf from an alternate WW2 setting.  He'd been pressed into the German army.  I made him a combat engineer and he carried a Solothurn S-18/1000 and an MP.40.  Can't get me to carry a belt-fed gun; but I'll figure out a way to carry an AT rifle!

17 July 2011

Geek Life!

The whole 5.56 vs 7.62x 39 vs 6.8 vs 7.62x51thing gets a bit boring.

So let's compare in GURPS terms!

A 'd' in GURPS is a standard everyday 6-sided die.  Just like you find in Yahtzee.  'pi' is the kind of damage bullets do.

Ranges are expressed in yards.  Number before the slash is the distance where you get full damage rolled, number after the slash is the maximum range.  Between those values you get half damage.

An M16A2 does 5d pi with 800/3,500.  30 round mag.
An M4 does 4d+2 pi with 750/2,900.  30 round mag.
An AKM does 5d+1 pi with 500/3,100.  30 round mag.
A REC7 does 6d with 820/3,500. 30 round mag.
An FAL does 7d with 1,000/4,200. 20 round mag.

On average a 6-sider rolls 3.5 points per roll.  So, the M16A2 does an average of 17.5 points of damage.  The M4 16, the AK 18.5, REC7 21 and FAL 24.5.

But a magazine from an M16A2 throws, on average, 525 points of damage down range!  The M4 480, the AK 555, the REC7 630 and the FAL 490.

The mighty .308 just barely beats the mouse-killing M4!

There are no official stats for 6.5 Grendel; but a home-grown formula gives it 6d+2 pi for damage.  That's 23 per shot and 575 points down range from the common 25 round magazine.  My formula (developed by Douglas Cole for third edition GURPS) gives a range number of 870/4,400 (This assumes a 24" barrel; a 16" tube gives 6d-1 pi and 730/4,000).  My formula also gives a 16" 6.8 barrel ranges of 500/3,200 which don't match the official ranges at all.

Subsonic .300 Blackout comes to 3d pi 130/1,500.  10.5 points per shot and just 315 from a normal 30 round mag.  Supersonic give a better 5d+1 pi and 520/3,300; same damage as the AK!  Since this round is functionally identical toe .300 Whisper and .300/.221 we're going to lump them with it.

7.62x40 WT with their published numbers with the 125gr bullet and 16" barrel gives us 5d+2 pi with the same range as the supersonic Blackout (Range is basically a factor of bullet diameter v barrel length and a power factor kludge in the formula I have).  That's 19.5 points per shot and 585 for a mag.

.30 RAR sounds more promising with its 125gr loading getting 6d+2 pi and ranges of 790/4,200 with a 24" barrel.  An average of 23 points of damage per shot sounds impressive until you hit the normal AR mag will only hold ten of the, dropping us back to 230 points.

What does this have to do with the real world?  Not a damn thing!

To quantify this a bit better.  The average person has 10 hit points.  If you take 10 points of damage you have to start checking to see if you're knocked unconscious.  If you take 20 points of damage you have to start checking to see if you got killed and a total of 60 points is dead-right-there.  That's for hitting the "body".

Hits to the "vitals" do three times as much damage and a hit to the "brain" will do four times as much.  The average vitals hit from most of these is a death dealing blow.  Even a body hit works pretty well.

Remember, this is a GAME, not real world; but it's crunchier than a lot of its forbears.

16 July 2011


Took Tabitha and the new SBR upper to the range to get zeroed.

Sabrina's lower (which has a stamp) was used for the SBR zeroing.

The SBR upper at mechanical zero hit dead center and 7" low at 25 yards.  It was simple to crank the front post down and get it hitting the center.

Tabitha, who I had taken apart to get the flat slip ring for the new upper was still right on target.  1" group because of a flier, the other four rounds were touching dead center.

I really enjoy shooting at the Hernando Sportsman's Club, it's just a long haul out there.

Once again, not a single person either noticed or cared that I had a short barreled rifle.  I am beginning to think that it doesn't matter to anyone but BATFE.  Of course, they care a very great deal so I think that $200 is a fine offset to felonies and gigantic fines.

I also tested using a buffer for a 9mm in Tabitha.  The 6.8's seem to prefer heavier buffers and 9mm is plenty heavy.  She ran fine and showed not a whiff of pressure signs.

Marv took his newly made 16" carbine out to be zeroed as well.  His new barrel is Kaylee's old M4 profile barrel.  Nothing went wrong and he's a happy shooter as well.

What am I getting for my $200 tax?

Exactly how much shorter are the SBR's I am making?

The overall length of a 16" carbine with a fiberlite stock is 35".

The XM177E2 clone (11.5" barrel) is 33".  Replacing the faux moderator with a birdcage flash-hider would shorten that to 30.375".

The 14.5" barrel will be 33.4".

Remember, the length of the flash-hider doesn't count for the legal length of the barrel.  If you drill a hole through the flash-hider and into the barrel a bit, stuff a pin into that hole to lock the flash-hider in place and then weld over the top of that hole you get to count the length of the flash-hider as part of the barrel.  This is called pinning and welding.

An 11.5" barrel with a pinned and welded 4.5" moderator comes to 15.375" long.  Going with an anachronistic 12.125" long barrel with a pin-weld job makes it legal without the tax stamp and is hard to tell apart from the NFA version.  Overall length would be 33.625".

The 14.5" barrel with a permanently attached flash-hider is even closer; 15.875"!  A 1/8" spacer behind the flash-hider or a slightly longer one will easily bring it up to legal length and still more than an inch shorter than a 16" barrel with a flash-hider.

There are several places selling the 14.5" barrel with an extended flash-hider permanently mounted too.

The only advantage to the 14.5" SBR is I can take it apart without cutting anything off.  A dubious privilege.

What I am doing it for is the visual accuracy.  If you put Sabrina next to a real XM177E2 the only difference you'll find is the roll-marks and my selector has an A2 tick on it.  A bayonet will be in the correct spot on Kaylee.

That tax stamp also lets me go out and get spare uppers that don't fit the current narrative.  There's no legal way to make a visually close 10.5" barrel with a permanently attached birdcage.

15 July 2011

Actually, Ruben...

"Do you remember the part of the Constitution where it says that people have the right to buy two or more automatic weapons within five days without law enforcement knowing anything about it?" Ruben Navarrette

Actually, Mr Navarrrette, I am more interested in seeing where you found the power granted to Congress to limit the number of purchases of any type of firearm.

I keep harping on this!

The US Constitution is a limiting document.  It spells out, exactly, what Congress is empowered to do.  Everything else is off limits.  If it doesn't say Congress has the power to limit the number of automatic weapons a citizen can purchase in five days it cannot.

The document, if you bother to read it, is rather clear on the topic.

The 9th and 10th Amendments reinforce this.

Just in case it's still muddy to you, the Federalist and Anti-Federalist Papers are the author's notes of the Constitution.  Read those too.

The degenerate matter gorilla in the living room about the Constitution is that it's not written in code, it's in very plain english.  The modern problem has been and still is reading things into the text that are patently not there.

The one I am most familiar with is the twisting of the second amendment.  Trying to make the reason for the restriction on Congress a restriction on me is just flat wrong.


I was looking at my Live Journal archive yesterday and I noticed that I am not posting the same level of content here at all.

A problem arises for me.

My readers seem to be divided into two general groups.

People who've read what I am talking about someplace else.  I assume they tune in here because they like how I say it.

People who only hear about what I am talking about from me.

With some things that's really awkward.  The current fiasco with Gun Runner and Fast & Furious, for example.

People in the first group have read all about it so any opinion I offer will make sense to them, and likely be agreed with.

People in the second group will have no idea what I am talking about and wonder if I have lost my cracker.

I wonder how much remedial information I should include for group two.  I also wonder if including the information will be of much assistance; will they bother to follow the links?

14 July 2011

Hey Now!

When making and registering a firearm that will become part of the National Firearms Registry you have to engrave your legal information on it.

For example:

McThag Trust
Tampa, FL

The letters must be at least 0.0625" tall, 0.003" deep, be of a readily readable font and be placed on the serialed part of the gun where it can be seen readily with the firearm assembled.

Used to be people would engrave this information on the seam between the upper and lower receiver of an AR being registered so that it wouldn't infringe on the aesthetics.  You needed to show the engraving?  Pop the rear pin, open it up, show it off.

ATF decided that was not allowable.

Today I noticed where the serial number for my S&W 640-3 was located.  UNDER the crane.  You cannot see it until you swing out the cylinder.

I am, once again, missing the point of an ATF ruling.

That happens to me a lot.

Make Mine Freedom (1948)

13 July 2011

We're the Government -- and You're Not (768x576)

Starship Troopers

Starship Troopers was the first book by Robert Heinlein I'd ever read.

I have always had an interest in aviation, space and military technology.

To put it in perspective, I had library card when I was 8. I checked out (and read) everything they had about Sky Lab. It was very amusing when I brought the books back and the librarian asked me if I had read them. We had a great talk about it. She was just as interested and I was first person who'd talk to her as an equal about it.

Grandma thought it would be amusing to hand me "The Classics" when I was 11. What that really meant is she had to borrow and read those books to see if I was reading them. I was, and I was understanding them better than she was.

I was 16 when I finally discovered serious science fiction.

Starship Troopers was it.

I found a lot of interest in that book. Technology was mentioned, but not explained. The effect of the tech was described, but there was no double-talking of the underlying principles.

I read about a private soldier who went from being a boy to being a man.

I read some speculation about a future where a different form of government would rise from the ashes.

What I did not walk away from Starship Troopers with was an impression that that form of government was fascist.

Perhaps that comes from having a great-grandfather who fled Italy to escape REAL fascists (and had to leave behind three of his children).

I seem to have a different copy from everyone else who has reviewed it. I just don't see the Fascism.

I do not see: A system of government characterized by rigid one-party dictatorship, forcible suppression of the opposition (unions, other, especially leftists, parties, minority groups, etc.), the retention of private ownership of the means of production under centralized governmental control, beligerent nationalism and racism, glorification of war, etc...

In the book I have, there is no mention of what form the government takes beyond that one must do a term of government service to vote. There might be coalition controlled parlamentary politics, we don't know! It's not mentioned in the text.

Juan's father speaks of free speech. Not very suppressed. Juan's family had never had a voter, yet they were wealthy. Rico shared his Roll's copter with Carl. They had an olympic sized swimming pool. Emilio is doing amazingly well for someone who is not part of the ruling party. Remember, "retention of private ownership of the means of production under centralized governmental control" that means the state runs it. Emilio would not have joined as a Private under a real Facsist government, a business owner is a party member. And since he had never done his term, he was not a party member. Yet he owned a business, delayed putting it on a war footing well into the war and then abandoned it to join the Army. None of that spells central control. He states that he joined because of his son. Not that he was forced to join because he was removed. Old Man Morales was not appointed by the Government, but selected by Emilio. Emilio was also free to move stocks around for Juan's benefit before he resigned.

Not much racism going on here either. The Rico's are Philippinos. Hard to imagine the Philippines becoming THE major world power. But even this is shot down. Xim is not a Philippine name, nor are scores of others mentioned. If there is racism, it is more xenophobia.

The feel of the society that comes across to me is more like America than Mussolini's Italy or Hitler's Germany or even Stalin's USSR. It seems like it's still a represenative democracy, with steep voting requirements. The book even mentions that our voting rights are truncated too. Gotta be 18 to vote, can't be a felon, etc.

There is even an explanation of how it got started too, but so many reviewers seem to miss it. A group of former troops happened across a group of people getting ready to punish another vet. After being left to rot by the peace treaty and basically forced to walk home, they decided that civilians would not be allowed to have a say in punishing him. They would take care of their own, and did what the people were going to do anyway. The decision was elitist, but they created a fairly egalitarian society with it later.

NFA, some more...

This is not an original bit, this is repeating what others have said.  Because I am certain at least a couple of my readers don't read where I read it; this is a public service message.

I have been asked what the deal is with the short barreled rifles and shotguns.  Why are they restricted like machine guns when the shortening has a negative effect on the weapon's performance?

Way back when the 1934 Gun Control Act was being drawn up the idea was to completely ban handguns. The barrel and overall length restrictions of the NFA was to prevent someone from making a concealable firearm out of something that wasn't a handgun.

In 1934 that $200 tax is the equivalent of over $3,200 today.  Considering that a $50 shotgun was a pretty damn fancy one in 1934, this tax was expected to eliminate ownership of most anything that was listed in the NFA.  And it pretty much did.

Luckily for we collectors and enthusiasts; they left that tax at $200.  That's $12.20 by 1934 standards.  It's no longer really cost prohibitive to buy or own an NFA item by "virtue" of the tax.

Constitutional issues aside, the SBR and SBS portions of this law did not do what it aimed to do because the much more concealable handgun remained a normal firearm.  Handguns remain Title I firearms, so continuing this charade is foolish.

In a related note:

One of the big pushes that made the 1934 act popular back then was that this dealt with "gangster" weapons.  Where, pray tell, did this gangster problem come from?

The Volstead Act.  The banning of booze.

I also note that the 1934 GCA is passed after the end of prohibition.  I'm willing to bet that the violence reductions attributed to the GCA have more to do with the criminals having far less lucrative ventures to tend.

12 July 2011

Most Irritating Things...

There are a lot of things that irritate me.

Some more than others.

Among the most irritating list is someone who brings something to my attention, doesn't like my reaction, and then refuses to talk about it any more.

YOU brought it up.

Mobile App Check

If all went well I have successfully used the Android app on my Droid 2 to post this.

10 July 2011

Copyright Violation, World Net Daily Should Know Better.


Sean Sorrentino is selling a clever shirt.

I've ordered one.

Not from WND.

If both my readers will wander over to the link that Sean gives in his post and give a review as he asks; well avalanches are made from pebbles!  Be a pebble in this avalanche and feel like a part of something big!

VFW Crock... Sorta... Kinda...

The VFW doesn't take cold-war vets.

They do take "Vietnam Era" vets.

70-75% of vets from that era served in duties that were literally identical to those performed by vets from the end of the "Vietnam Era" to the Gulf War.

I'm not really cheesed, just kinda bemused.

09 July 2011

Those things add up.

I am getting a bit tired of hearing that some multi-million dollar program is not a large part of the budget so cutting it wouldn't really solve the problem.

Ever hear the phrase, "nickeled and dimed"?

A hundred small wastes of money add up to one large waste.  Cutting the bad wherever we find it will add up, I assure you.

08 July 2011

What Marv Did Today, The Bastard

Man with a gun

Today a man with a gun was in a traffic accident.

Although it was the other driver's fault; no shots were fired, no weapons were drawn.

Information was exchanged in a tense, but polite manner.

A note about owning NFA.

One and soon to be two of my AR carbines are short barrel rifles.

The XM177E2 clone known as Sabrina and an Israeli Katsar clone known as Kaylee.

Sabrina has an 11.5" long barrel, but a 4.5" long flash hider attached.  All told this ends up being just 2" shorter than a non-NFA 16" barrel with an A1 flash-hider would be.  A few minutes with a wrench and I can be 4.5" shorter though!

Kaylee is getting a 14.5" barrel, this will end up being (shocka) 1.5" shorter than a 16" barrel because the flash-hider will be the same.

All for aesthetics.  Well, Kaylee will be able to use a bayonet after approval, so there's that.  Sabrina doesn't even have the lug!

The real odd thing about this is that I can't take them up to Iowa to show off to my friends and relatives in my home town.  Iowa doesn't allow NFA items.

I can take them to Texas.  I can take them to North Carolina.  I can take them to Arizona.

I have to let ATF know that I am going to do that, but it's not an onerous process at all.

The amount of compliance exerted over these guns is strange to me.  They don't care in the slightest where I take them in Florida, but cross a state line...

All this over a couple of inches of steel that actually have a negative effect on the ballistic performance.

07 July 2011


Important note when ordering an AR-15 barrel:

Make sure that it includes a delta-ring, snap ring and weld spring.

Shipping is at least equal to the part if you get one by itself.

05 July 2011


And science fiction...

Reading about the travails of the developments that lead from the 1:14 on the AR-15 R601 through today's 1:7 M855A1 and Mk 262 I wondered about a few things.

The change from 1:14 to 1:12 was brought about by testing outside a tropical climate.  The air was just too thick for the 55gr round that becomes the M193 to stabilize turning once every 14 inches.

Likewise 1:9 was the original twist for the SS109 round.  A pity then that the L110 wouldn't fly straight when fired through the soup that passes for air in northern Norway in January.

This got me to thinking...

We're talking about a change in temperature here and not a change in the composition of the gases.  It's still air in both Norway and Vietnam.

What do you do when the partial pressure of a given component is different, and it should be from world to world.  A gun that fires fine on Earth might not on Bootes IV just because the density of the atmosphere is too different.

Also the effect of differing gravity on the sights....

Game Back On!

J&T Distributing makes a proper profile 14.5" carbine barrel.

This saves a step.

It reorders things a mite.

Kaylee's upper with the 14.5" installed becomes Sabrina's spare upper until the paperwork clears ATF.

I had forgotten what fun the 5320.1 and 5330.20 were!  But after several missteps I have them filled out.  Next is a trip to a notary to make two copies of the trust paperwork to send in.

Then we write a $200 check and wait.  And wait.  And wait.  And wait.  Luckily, I was trained by the military in waiting.

Still need engraving on Kaylee, but that should be fairly easy.

J&T will not ship a 14.5" barrel to you unless you have an approved NFA form!  CYA and all, but what about pistols?  There are AR pistols, you know.


There seems to be some confusion about what the 4th of July celebrates judging from the huge number of postings about the troops.

Armed Forces' Day (third saturday in May) is the celebration of the currently serving.

Veteran's Day (November 11) is the celebration of those who previously served.

Memorial Day (last monday in May) is the celebration of those who died in service.

Notice none of those fall on July 4th?

Independence Day is celebrating the day we posted official notice that we weren't going to be British any more.  It's got nothing to do with the troops!

While we are happy you remembered us, we would like you to keep in mind why we're out there doing (or did) what we do.


One Up

If you are going to complain that someone is one-upping you; don't one-up them in your complaint.

04 July 2011

Independence Day

When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. --Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise; the state remaining in the meantime exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.

He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.

He has made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies without the consent of our legislature.

He has affected to render the military independent of and superior to civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states:

For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing taxes on us without our consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury:

For transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offenses:

For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring province, establishing therein an arbitrary government, and enlarging its boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule in these colonies:

For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments:

For suspending our own legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection and waging war against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burned our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow citizens taken captive on the high seas to bear arms against their country, to become the executioners of their friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare, is undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms: our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have we been wanting in attention to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, in peace friends.

We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by the authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent states; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.

New Hampshire: Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

Massachusetts: John Hancock, Samual Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island: Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery

Connecticut: Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

New York: William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

New Jersey: Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

Pennsylvania: Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross

Delaware: Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

Maryland: Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton

Virginia: George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

North Carolina: William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

South Carolina: Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

Georgia: Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

03 July 2011

Kaylee Is Going Pencil Barrel -CANCELLED-

Getting a Del Ton 16" lightweight barrel for Kaylee.  I traded the M4 profile barrel that was on her and a mil-spec M4 stock for Marv to buy me the new one.

EDIT: Del Ton's barrels are 0.75" at the front sight base, not 0.625".  That will not do.  So I am going to fall back 15 yards and punt.

This is step 1 in making a 14.5" R653 Israeli model.

Step 2 is getting the lower engraved.

Step 3 is getting another tax stamp.

Step 4 is sending the barrel off to Adco or some such to be cut down.

I went with Del Ton because I've had good luck with them before.  Their barrels are the prized chromoly vanadium steel (CMV) that the military issues.

I would have gone with Bravo Company's 14.5" lightweight, but they never seem to have any in stock.  Besides I don't care for 1:7 rifling because I typically don't buy rounds heavier than 69gr and 1:9 is ideal for the 62gr M855

There were several other place selling this profile with 1:9 twist, but they are mostly 4140.  Del Ton is not charging more for the better steel, so why not?

Bushmaster sells one in 4150 that's almost as good as CMV, but they're liars.  I don't spend my hard earned on liars.

01 July 2011

More simple econ lessons.

Why taxing corporations doesn't really help.

We're going to use representative things here.

Widget Co makes widgets®.

For each widget®
The materials cost $1.
Labor $1.

The company wants to make 10¢ per item and since they sell a lot of them it adds up.

This is also a 5% margin.

So, they sell each widget® for $2.10 factory direct.

A distributor buys them.  They want to make a 5% margin too, but they have a $1 of cost to process and ship the item.  Cost per item is now $3.10.  To sell with a 5% margin will be $3.26.

The distributor now sells to the retailer.  They want to make the same 5% margin.  They have $1 of costs in labor and overhead; so the widget® will cost them $4.26 so the sell them for $4.47.

The customer picks up the widget® and takes it to the counter and pays $4.47 plus the 5% state sales tax and the 2% local option sales taxes for a take home price of $4.78.

That's pretty straight forward, isn't it?  In this series of transactions the state just got 31¢, the maker got 10¢, the distributor got 16¢ and the retailer got 21¢.

Again, I remind you this is a GROSS simplification.  Rounding to nearest cent.

What happens if the state decides that every time the widget® changes hands they need a 5% sales tax?

Materials still cost $1, labor still cost $1, Widget Co still charges $2.10 per item but now it costs the distributor $2.21 per item.

Labor and stuff is still $1 for the distributor so they sell at $3.37, and now the retailer pays $3.53.

Overhead is still $1 so the retailer sells to the customer for $4.76.

The customer pays $5.09 now.

In this series of transactions the maker got 10¢ (like before), the distributor got 16¢ (like before) and the retailer got 23¢ (a little more).  But the State now collects 61¢ (almost double)!  The customer gets to pay 31¢ more for the same item.  The entirety of the 30¢ increase in revenue is paid for by the consumer!

Notice that the only person who has less money than before is the customer?

Let's now presume that a widget® is something that consumers just won't pay more than $5 TOTAL for.  The only way to bring the price down is to cut taxes or cut margins.  If everyone cuts to a 4% margin, leaving state sales tax at 5% per transaction with a 2% local option the customer will pay $4.98 and the state will collect 60¢.  BUT Widget Co now only make 8¢, the distributor only gets 13¢ and the retailer gets 18¢.  Notice the state only loses a penny, the customer saves 9¢ but the businesses lost a total of 10¢.

It doesn't seem so bad at this simple level; does it?  Let's consider that a 5% margin is considered to be doing pretty damn good.  3% is far more typical and what if the price point for the item was the $4.78 the customer was paying originally.  In other words, if the price is $4.79 after taxes the customer decides "no sale"; what then?

If the state insists on collecting 5% at each point, plus an additional 2% at the register then our supply chain can only have a 2.15% margin in it.  The maker now gets 4¢ per widget®, the distributor gets 7¢ and the retailer gets 9¢.  The state is still getting 58¢ though.  This is the only situation where "sticking it to the fat cats" doesn't affect the price to the consumer.  When demand is inelastic past a certain price point then the maker has to reduce their margin or lose money.

Just for the record, in our above example if we took out all the profit and still charged $4.78 per item total the state's cut would be 78¢ and they'd be charging a 7.3% rate.  See how fast you can kill a business with just a "small" increase in taxes?

This is how it works, kids.  It's not complicated math at all.

Just as a side note, if the companies in question decided that the 2.15% margin was more than enough with the state only collecting taxes at the cash register then the price at the counter would be just $4.49 with the state still getting 29¢.

A counter example.  I've talked about inelastic demand above a certain point.  What if demand doubled at $4.53?  With a 2.5% margin and a 7% sales tax at the counter, total revenue will be more because there are twice as many sales with 30¢ per item (60¢ vs 58¢)!  Profits, in dollars will now be the same as the original example and the customer will save 25¢ per item.

PS: that simple math is a proof of the Laugher Curve.  Voodoo indeed.

Works both ways, actually.

Reading the comments here.

"if you haven't been a cop for 20 years you couldn't possibly understand what it is that we do"

Officer, since you haven't been an everyday citizen for the last 20 years, I am entirely certain you've forgotten what it's like and cannot understand why I might react the way I do.

Are the police the enemy?  I might not go that far, but they definitely stopped being allies a while ago.

The recent failure to obtain open carry is a decent example.  The strongest opposition was from law enforcement professional organizations.  The fact that the cops have strong lobbyists in the capitol is extremely worrisome to me.  Seems a conflict of interest.  "We enforce the laws, pass this law," doesn't seem a proper way of doing things.

They're yours!

Own your decisions.  Claim them.

You made a choice, admit it.

Sure, it might have been a poor choice and it's embarrassing to admit; but if you don't own up to it you are lying to the one person who knows without a doubt that you are.

A related issue here is opportunity cost.

If you can only afford item A or item B choosing one means you cannot have the other.

Life is full of these exclusionary choices.

We often choose the wrong one.  We often only realize the mistake in hindsight.

Admitting that you chose poorly is just being honest.

If you cannot admit you messed up, you can not learn from the mistake.  If you don't learn from your mistakes life will beat you until you die stupid.

Never blame others for your choices.  They are called your choices for a reason.

Errant Thoughts

With the recent death of Joel Rosenberg, I thought to look up "Slovotsky's Laws."

Resonant this evening is, "When you say goodbye to a friend, assume that one of you is going to die before you ever get to see one another again. If you want to leave something unsaid, fine...but be prepared to leave it unsaid forever."

Gut punch.  Hard.

I miss you Mark.  You should have told me.  I had more to say.  Dammit.