31 December 2015

Naming The Phantom

Take a look at this picture...

Pic taken from: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/cd/F-4J%28UK%29_Phantom_of_74_Squadron_in_flight_1984.jpg

After the brush-up in the Falklands, the RAF sent a four plane detachment from 23 Squadron consisting of four Phantom FGR.2.

Apparently, there was a shortage of Phantom in the RAF at the time and there weren't enough to go around to do this and still meet their NATO obligations.

So they gave Uncle Sam a call and asked if we had any Phantoms sitting around Davis Mothball doing nothing that they could borrow for a time?

Why, yes, we did have some surplus Phantoms!

This is where it gets a little odd in the designation end.

74 Squadron took delivery of the plane pictured above...

That's an F-4S.  Short antenna fairings on the intakes, no vestigial IRST blister under the nose.

Or is it?

The F-4S is an upgrade modification to an F-4J.  The US converted 302 of the 522 F-4J to this standard.

What the Brits took was some low time F-4J, that the US had not converted, and did much the same upgrades as the F-4S program, but with some UK specific parts added (such as compatibility with the SUU-23/A gun pod instead of the Mk4 Mod1); thus making an F-4J(UK).

I bought a 1/72 of the plane pictured because I wanted a Brit Phantom in my collection and the box claimed it was a Phantom F.3.  The Brits never assigned a Mark 3 to the Phantom.

Mark 1 is the original Fleet Air Arm FG.1 (aka F-4K), Mark 2 is the RAF version FGR.2 (aka F-4M) and there it ends for their native labeling.

The adoption of the F-4J(UK) created something of a stir among the Phantom pilots in the RAF.  They finally got to see first hand how badly they'd been robbed by the insistence of the MoD jobs program at Rolls Royce.

h/t Tam.

30 December 2015

Ye Olde Golden Age...

...of Piracy!

The Brethren of the Coast or Buccaneer's are very misunderstood.

Watching fiction, one gets the wrong impression of pirate crews and how they were organized.

We see a captain who is all powerful and in command.  In many ways, late 17th and early 18th century pirate society was quite libertarian. The apparent violation of the non-aggression principle by being pirates is really more from looking at them from a modern perspective.  These men had legitimate grievances and their piracy in large can be take as just retaliation against the companies and nations who wrong'd them.

In actuality, the captain was only in command in battle.  He was elected to the post.  Once the fight was over, the most important man in the crew became the quartermaster, also elected, who kept the books.

The books were important, paramount, to everyone because those told the payout at the end of the hunt.  A payout of profits.

Payouts were made according to shares.  According to the crew's articles of agreement, a contract, some crew got more shares than others.

For example (John Phillips 1723 articles):

  1. Every man shall obey civil command; the captain shall have one full share and a half in all prizes; the [quarter] master, carpenter, boatswain, and [master] gunner shall have one share and a quarter.
  2. If any man shall offer to run away, or keep any secret from the company, he shall be marooned with one bottle of powder, one bottle of water, one small arm and shot.
  3. If any man shall steal any thing in the company, or game, to the value of a piece of eight, he shall be marroon'd or shot.
  4. If at any time we should meet another Marrooner that man that shall sign his articles without the consent of our company, shall suffer such punishment as the captain and company shall think fit.
  5. That man that shall strike another whilst these articles are in force, shall receive Mose's Law on the bare back.
  6. That man that shall snap his arms, or smoke tobacco in the hold, without a cap to his pipe, or carry a candle lighted without a lanthorn, shall suffer the same punishment as in the former article.
  7. That man that shall not keep his arms clean, fit for an engagement, or neglect his business, shall be cut off from his share, and suffer such other punishment as the captain and the company shall think fit.
  8. If any man shall loose a joint in time of an engagement he shall have 400 pieces of eight; if a limb 800.
  9. If at any time you meet with a prudent woman, that man that offers to meddle with her, without her consent, shall suffer present death.
It's important to remember that in addition to getting a larger share of the profits, they were also taking a larger share of the risk.  In effect they are paying more in the costs than the normal crew.

Most of the time the amounts taken and spent during a voyage were kept in the quartermaster's ledger then tallied at the end.  Payouts for injuries were made, supplies purchased, goods sold and only THEN was it divided out according to shares.

29 December 2015

Failure Of The Free Market

Near as I can tell, an actual free market has never failed.

We've lots of exchanges we pretend are the "free market" but aren't.

It's government meddling that's skewed and perverted the markets that's failed, not the illusory freedom that's getting blamed.

What can you buy that's not subject to government regulation?

Medicine is a commonly cited example that needed government intervention, that led to Obamacare.  Medicine has been riddled with government requirements for decades.  It's not the doctor or the hospital that failed the patient, they were working despite the from-top-to-bottom government intrusion.

Did you know a hospital cannot buy something like an MRI unless they can prove to the government there's a need for such a device in the community where it will be installed?

Instead of a situation where a hospital can brag "We've got more MRI per capita than cars!"  They have to prove that the community needs one where they intend to put it.  If the government disagrees about that need, because a nearby hospital in the same community has one (for example), no new MRI.

Does that sound like a market failure?  Does that sound like a free market in medicine?

That doesn't even scratch the general malfeasance and collaboration between lawmakers and the insurance industry to slowly, but surely change the patient from being the customer and actual purchaser of the medicines and care.

I'm a purchaser of insurance, not a purchaser of medical care now.  It was difficult before Obamacare to pay straight up for care like a real free customer, now it's virtually impossible.

How's about a house?  Wanna buy a house?  How long does it take for you to buy a house?

Free market?  HAH!

How many laws simply represent a barrier to entry for new manufacturers and retailers.

How many laws are in place to prevent a company from shedding unneeded capacity?

How much is lost to compliance to all manner of inane and useless record keeping that has nothing to do with the product being made or sold.

How much is lost to complying with environmental and safety standards which have no bearing on the product at hand.  Did you know you have to handle red brick dust exactly the same as you would coal or flour dust?  Why?  Because of the explosion hazard!  Except red brick dust doesn't explode...

When we have a free market to observe, then we can judge if it fails.

Broken M&P

My M&P 9, being a highcapacitysemiautomaticassaultpistol, is defective.

I took off my shoulder holster and flopped it on the bed.

I just noticed that when I turn around from my desk that it's pointed right at me.

Shouldn't it have shot me if it was working right?

Range Weapon Fail

While I chide the Marines on their insistence for using known distance and long range riflery...

At least they grok that a rifle is a distance weapon.

I've been half shopping for a carbine class...

Luckily, there's lots of them to choose from and so far their own websites and videos are enough to save me money.  If I'd spent money to attend such idiocy, I'd be pissed and I'd have a gun...

There's such an astonishing emphasis on CQB in some of these places you start to wonder "why no bayonets?"

And if you're in hand-to-hand with a loaded rifle, you have failed as a user of a ranged weapon.  If you're at pistol ranges, it could be said you've failed as a rifleman.

I understand that circumstances can get out of hand, but these classes seem aimed at JUST the hand to hand aspects, and have doctrines explaining why your gun sucks and you should feel bad based on how well the magazine design aids in arm bars!!!

If your instructor is telling you to how to pick your distance weapon based on its hand-to-hand characteristics, stop listening to them immediately and seek wiser council for a firearms instructor!!!

It's akin to making a decision on what sword to buy based on how well it's balanced for throwing.

By the way, if you're planning on using your rifle primarily as a hand-to-hand weapon, may I suggest something from World War One?


I'd be a libertarian, but...

I'd be a liberal, but...

I'd be a conservative, but...

I'd be a Republican, but...

I'd be a Democrat, but...

"Why am I such a misfit?
I am not just a nit wit!
They can't fire me.

We may be different from the rest
Who decides the test
Of what is really best?"
I'll never fit in!

Lost One Of The Great Ones

He sure didn't compromise about how he lived.

Godspeed Mr Lemmy.

Important Unit Of Measurement

The amount of time to clean a Yugo SKS is equal to the run time of the AC/DC album "The Razor's Edge".

Now you know.

And knowing is half the battle!

28 December 2015

Some Interesting Lightning II Stuff

I'd no idea that Rafale and Typhoon were so expensive.

Watch them all.

I maintain that the plane will ultimately be vindicated.

27 December 2015


My Favorite Jar Head has the help he needs!

Special thanks to a mutual friend of ours who put him with a fellow Marine attorney who is taking his legal side pro-bono.

He's in a hospital getting care and promises me a list of "things you think of the night before you're going to kill yourself but your friends talk you out of it."

Who'd a thunk that a chance meeting in an intel vault with some Army puke would end up saving your life thirty years later, huh?

Especially since all the shit you're bummed out about is bad stuff that's just ended.  It's all up from here, like I told you!

26 December 2015

A Serious Problem

Is there a way to get help for someone who's feeling suicidal that let's them be a gun owner once they've been treated?

I'm worried about my buddy in Georgia.

I want him to get help, but he's a gunnie and losing his guns would be another nail in the coffin for him

Globull Warmering _IS_ Bullshit

Science is never settled, but religion is.

Read something about science.

h/t RoamingFireHydrant

25 December 2015

Merry Christmas Uh Someone

Willard has originally bought a Mosin for Ian.  It appears that Ian actually gets a pound of cosmoline with a creamy Yugo SKS center.  This post was written months before the decision was made, and edited on Christmas Day.

It's a 1943 Tula arsenal M-1891/30 that's been arsenal refurbished and counter bored.

Seen one, you've seen them all...  Numbers matching bayonet though!

The parts are the usual mix of arsenals from the refurbishment process.

Receiver tang.
Magazine floorplate, forced matched.
Tula magazine well / trigger guard.
Izhevsk cocking piece.
Izhevsk bolt.
Tula bolt guide.
Izhevsk? bolt body.
Tula firing pin.

There's much evidence of hand filing done on the barrel.  This is a war-time gun, and expediency was the order of the day for many things.  The Motherland was being invaded!   No time for pretty guns!

Smoking "Truth"

OMFG!  When I pay someone for something, in this case tobacco, they get money?

Gee, TRUTH, I did not know that.

You are actually attempting to say that people shouldn't smoke because capitalism?

Merry Christmas Marv

From Willard!

It's a Stevens 5100, 20ga 2-3/4".

Ain't no serial number because it was made long before 1968.  The Tennite® furniture is an indication that it was made between 1946 and 1948 because of a general post-war shortage of walnut and birch.

It's genuine plastic, don't settle for imitation!

Markings under the handguard.
Marking on the front barrel lug.
Markings on the barrel hinge lug.
Markings under the barrel.
Proof under the barrel hinge lug.
Markings on the receiver under the barrels.


If you got coal, look at it this way:  Diamond Starter Kit.

Merry Christmas Willard!

It's an Interarms import of an Egyptian Helwan, as copied from Beretta by Maadi.

This one is not without its problems.  The plunger that releases the locking block is burred, and it gets stuck occasionally.  I'll be darned if I can figure out how that plunger is retained so I can get at the burr.

Um Not Quite

""Gamer" is not an identity. "Star Wars fan" is not an identity. Those are just things that other people made that you like -- and right now, they're things that everybody likes."
--JF Sargent 

Close but no cigar.

If you mean video game player, computer game player or console game player by "gamer" then perhaps you're correct.

The thing is, the term gamer is a bit older than computers.  Older than computers not merely older than computer games.

I've been playing table-top role-playing games (TTRPG) since 1979.  The most computerized thing about it was a Texas Instruments calculator.  What was the state of the art video game then?  Asteroids?

But the main point is while the rules were made by someone else for Advanced Dungeons and Dragons and Traveller; the worlds weren't.

I created the setting and populated that universe with my own creations.  I didn't have money for more than the core rules so I never bought all of the expansions or subscribed to magazines that would have let me use someone else's game world.

I didn't always use someone else's rules either.  I made stuff up out of whole cloth and we free-formed many games.  It was more fun that way much of the time.

Video gamers, while properly gamers, simply PLAYERS.

But there's more than just players, don't forget the gamemaster.

The company that writes a video game is the GM (DM for you D&D motherfuckers) and game publisher in one.  Books, comics and movies are the GM and the players in a single package.

On a table top, If I'm the GM, it's my world you're playing.  My creation.  My active contribution to the interactive fiction.

There's a reason that I was the GM nine times out of ten, and it's not because I was good at rolling dice.  It's not even that I'm more creative or imaginative than everyone else at the table.  It was because I was the person who was willing to risk putting their creation in front of others and let them attempt to break it; and break it in a manner that an author never has to experience (and authors often talk about the anxiety about first contact with someone who's just passively reading the work) because a player in a TTRPG is sitting across from you, giving instantaneous feedback.

They think of things you didn't anticipate.

They don't take interest in the things you planned on them being interested in.

They act independently of your will.

You've got to be on your toes.

I might be a nerd, but I was one of the makers, not just a consumer of someone else's imagination.

More Minifig

Just to show the versatility of the mini-fig for a modern character...

I think I'll award 15 character points to every player who shows at the table with a mini-fig representation (don't forget your hex-base!).

24 December 2015

Customer Service

You don't judge a company by how they act when things go right.

You judge them by how they act when things go wrong.

Pro-Flowers earned our repeat business today when something we sent to my mother-in-law for her birthday was marked by FedEx as delivered...

... without a package in sight.  Not even any tracks in the snow.

FedEx made excuses, and directed us to complain at Pro-Flowers.

Without batting an eye or even leaving enough time to check our story, Pro-Flowers offered us our choice of:

  1. Resend the same thing.
  2. Send something of the same or lesser value.
  3. Give us a refund plus 20%.
That is customer service that earns repeat business.

This also marks the fifteenth time in a row there's been some kind of problem with getting a package from FedEx.  When the United States Postal Service beats on timely delivery, rates and customer service; you deserve to be run out of business.

Slow Clap

For Officer Brady "Quickdraw" McGraw Platt!

Practicing your "quickdraw skills" off the range and apparently on-duty...




... with a chambered round...




... and your booger hook on the bang switch.

The thin blue line should issue him an inert blue gun.

Rare Gun ID

A problem, from time to time, is figuring out what exactly is in front of you.

The N. Pieper was one such for me.

I'd never even heard of them when we spotted the gun in the case.

I found exactly one web page with pictures and they had the gun I had labeled as a 1907.

Thanks to C&Rsenal, I know it's really a model 1909.

They even posted a picture of a period ad.

This image of that ad taken from Ian at Forgotten Weapons.
Sure does look like my gun there.

I'd originally thought it was a Model 1907, but that one appears to have the cocking piece farther forward.

Where To Turn

Our nation's government, as designed, was supposed to keep the federal government small and give a pretty free hand to the states.

As intended, if Virginia doesn't want people with out of state carry permits toting, then they're granted the authority to do so because there's no federal power requiring them to recognize out of state licenses.  Or to force them to not recognize them.

It's been said before, the 2nd Amendment did not apply to the states when it was passed.  Nor did any of the ten amendments we call The Bill of Rights.

So Virginia can recognize, or not, any permit it chooses.

But wait...

There's this 14th Amendment too.  The courts have been exceedingly slow and obtuse about this one.  In a nutshell it applies the Bill of Rights on the states too.

Carry is a second amendment item, so via the 14th Virginia can no longer pass laws which infringe on the right to keep and bear arms.

Yes, Virginia, the 14th Amendment changed everything about the relationship of the states to the federal government.

Carry permits themselves can be thought of as an infringement in and of themselves, but realpolitik dictates we play the carry permit game while constitutional carry takes hold.  Remember when we called it "Vermont Carry"?

So what we have with Virginia ruling they no longer accept 25 states worth of carry permits isn't so much a 2nd amendment issue as a 14th.

It's high time we applied it to something besides crosses on water towers.

23 December 2015

More For Me

Way back when...

I was carrying a 1911, like all right-minded and virtuous people.

I was offered temptation.

I resisted, but I wanted to give in.

I learned I was worshipping false Gods and supplicated myself to my new Lord.

Some lack the Faith to remain true.

They have left the temple.

More Kool-Aid for me!

22 December 2015

Meh Never Mind The Prediction

I'm gonna take this down.

Needs work.

Be back later.


If you live within 10 miles of a large university, it's probably giving you brain cancer.

Run for the hills if you can!
[T]he sushi rice was undercooked in a way that was, according to one student, "disrespectful" of her culture. Tomoyo Joshi, a junior from Japan, was highly offended by this flagrant violation of her rice. "I f people not from that heritage take food, modify it and serve it as 'authentic,' it is appropriative," she said.
Isn't stopping you from appropriating a western education though, is it?

For fuck's sake, if you want it the way Mom cooked it, you're going to have to have Mom cook it.  There's no substitute.

But the real issue is far deeper.

If you go looking to be offended, you will find offense.  That's what they're doing here.

The people making the rice aren't attempting to insult Japanese heritage, they're making food for hundreds in a western style kitchen.  They probably have to boil the rice rather than steaming it because a rice steamer is a single use item, where a big ass pot is multi-use.

But if we're going to be offended at foreign cultures being insulting to our foods by appropriating them and preparing them in a disrespectful way...  Japan, you're the first one in line for most offenses and we don't even have to leave the hamburger category to get you there.

I've got a hell of a solution to this "problem".  American food, all day, every day.  Then WE can protest your presence in our country for appropriating OUR food.

Make That Three

When I started the ball rolling to get that Utah conceal carry permit, it only added Washington and Wisconsin to the states I could carry in over the widely accepted Florida permit.

As of February 1, 2016 I will have to add Virginia to the list of states where the Utah permit works and the Florida permit doesn't.

Other states affected: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

West Virginia, Michigan, Oklahoma, Texas and Utah permits are still good.

Yes, they just up and declared half the country's carry permits were no longer up to snuff for being "weaker" than Virginia's.  They've gone from recognizing 30 to 5.

This also means your Virginia permit is no longer valid in Florida.  Our reciprocity term is simple, you take our permit, we take your resident permit.  Happily, Florida has a pretty simple procedure for non-residents to get a FL toter's license.

Bet This Doesn't Happen To You

The Boy is a mentally retarded 23 year old.

He's home sick and feeling bad, so like all children he takes it out on the parent within reach.

I don't bruise easily.  But I am getting sick of being assaulted.

I am probably going to catch whatever super bug he's come home from school with because the assaults begin with a barrage of spit.

21 December 2015

Stage One RTB

Good job SpaceX!

Launch is at about 30 minutes.

This is pretty darn historic.

I Giggle

Thomas Sullivan Magnum, private investigator, uses a 1911 most often.

A 9mm 1911.

Check the magazine in the opening credits.

Notice the groove?  That'd make it either a .38 Super or 9mm.  Considering that it's Hollywood, and 9mm blanks are a lot more available, it's 9mm.

I can't remember now if the character was supposed to be carrying a .45 1911 or if they never actually say.

19 December 2015


Spent yesterday afternoon with a friend looking at gun safes cabinets.

He's the proud owner of a single pistol and a single rifle.  With plans of maybe adding another one of each.

He's also got two small kids and a borderline doesn't-want-guns around wife.

So he decided that something that locks is a good idea for storing the guns, figuring that concealment will eventually fail under child curiosity.

We've talked about it for a while and discovered that describing a cabinet or safe is not the same as seeing one in person, so we went out and looked.

He knows what he wants now.

It's Not Just Me

Tam (via the tome of visage) is also astonished when someone at the range shoots groups that stay on the paper!

I freely admit that I am not the shot she is, but all my rounds are at least near my point of aim.  I'll use the excuse that my weekly ammo allowance is nearly her hourly one.

When I shoot fast, my groups open up.  I think that's true of everyone.  Even Jerry Miculek (his prolly go from 97% overlap to 92%).

The thing is, I've seen people apparently doing all of the fundamentals correctly and still not getting five shots on the paper at 7 yards.  Part of me wants to offer to help, another part of me suspects that help would be resented.  On the plus side, they never seem to be having a bad time at the range, they appear more determined than frustrated by their inaccuracy.

The absolute worst shots at the local pistol range are people who've mounted a laser.  I know that a laser won't make an accurate gun less accurate, and in playing with the Crimson Trace Marv mounted to his P238, there's nothing about that red dot that made me shoot worse.

I am starting to believe that there's a segment of shooters who think that the laser will allow them to skip a large hunk of the fundamentals.

Then there's the boyfriend and his girlfriend at the range...  I wonder how many relationships have been killed by a range trip where boy is showing off his "skills" and shooting a torso sized group, hands the gun to the girl, explains how to use it (correctly!) and she pops off a fist sized group.

Women at the range are baffled by me.  I try to treat them like just another shooter, same as anyone.  I get a mixed response from this.  Some are obviously relieved that the creepy bald guy only wants to talk about guns.  Some seem miffed that the aura of femininity isn't working on me.

A huge positive about most women at the range is they're far more willing to ask if I think something is wrong with their gun, and accepting that it could be them when nothing is found wrong with it.

Another huge positive is that I am not seeing near so many new female shooters with a 2" revolver as I used to.  HUZZAH!  The word is finally seeping out that snubbies aren't beginner's guns!

17 December 2015


I am getting extremely fed up with, "well immigration is fucked so we might as well give up," from several so-called conservative commentators on the internet.

Not conservative at all, really.

Open border libertarian anarchist actually fits better, with a veneer of conservative.

I do so love how they equate mass deportation as the most extreme thing we could do about illegal aliens.  Not even close, Buttercup.  Outright murder of anyone we find with even a hint of a suntan would be the most extreme thing that could be done.

But we don't need to give up, nor resort to mass murder.

First we have to admit that the nation-state model is one that is time-tested and works and admit that internationalism doesn't.

Once you've done that, a lot of the multi-culti BS falls away.  It lets you close the borders with the military, if you have to, and not feel guilty about it.

It admits and embraces that a nation has a duty to its citizens and doesn't owe such rights and privileges to foreigners at all.  It might grant limited privilege to foreigners via a visa and passport, but it's not guaranteed.  It forces the nations on your borders to solve their own problem rather than pawning it off on you.

It demands that anyone who comes to stay not only becomes a citizen, but adopts our culture and embraces our values.  That includes learning and speaking our language.

Once you wrap your head around that much of the rest is easy.  Illegal aliens simply aren't eligible anything paid for by the taxpayers; even if they are paying taxes themselves.  The nation-state owes nothing to them because they are not citizens and are present illegally.

This simple change eliminates quite a huge incentive to come to America in the first place.  It eliminates much of the reason for them to remain here.

It doesn't affect those who come here illegally for a small wage and who don't do anything but work like the slaves they are.

The second thing we'd have to do is attack this at the source, the employers.  No illegal hiring, no illegal workers.  Make it easier to hire and retain citizens.  I know there's citizens that will do the work, because every time immigration busts a place and they're forced to hire Americans, the line goes around the block with applicants.

But at the core, a business hiring an illegal alien is breaking the law.  Why aren't they punished?  When the people who make the decision to hire illegals see a penalty for breaking the law, they might stop breaking the law!  Give them incentives to obey and suddenly people become law abiding.

If we really look honestly at the real reasons that businesses like agriculture hire illegals we're going to find the head, neck and shoulders of the government camel in the tent and learn that after you comply with all the regulations (which are enforced) there's no money to economically hire American workers because of all the attendant and stupid regulations attached to such hires (which are enforced if you hire Americans but ignored if you don't).

This only seems hard because there's people who despise the nation-state model and hate America in turn who are repeating the big lie that it's complicated over and over.

I Need More Money

So I can buy bulk linked .50 cal ammo and a machine to remove the rounds from them.

Then I can light candles, wear a costume, and say things in a sonorous voice while I run the machine.

Yes, ceremonial de-linking!

16 December 2015

Something Occurs

Some of the gun pictures I've posted here aren't pictures of my guns.

They're other people's guns.

They're loaned to me for the purpose of taking the pics and posting those pics to this blog.

In Washington, what we've done is illegal.  Not only is it illegal, I'm dumb enough to post evidence of the crime to the internet!

Good thing we're in Florida, huh?

A universal background check law for even a casual transfer like happens when, say, Willard loans me a gun for a couple days to make comparison pictures would pretty much keep me from being able to take such pictures.

The costs of doing such background checks would rapidly become prohibitive.

Because I have a C&R, I might slip by on a technicality (for the older guns), but I'll bet the ATF would be very interested in my bound book having lots of transfers from and to the same person in a short calendar period.  And in typical ATF fashion, they've ruled both that any time I take possession of a gun that's C&R eligible I have to enter it into my bound book AND that loans aren't transfers so no need to record them because actual ownership did not change.  Depends on the auguries the day your letter gets written, I guess.

Got No Content Of My Own Today

h/t No Lawyers - Only Guns and Money

Old Soviet Joke

Every day Svetlana Vladimirovna works a long shift at the machining
factory beside the smelter at the edge of her city in central Russia.
The factory makes the best beds in the Soviet Union, all of them of
exceptional fine steel. But no one in Svetlana's city, including
Svetlana, has a bed. This is an unfortunate but perfectly understandable
matter of policy. The comrades who run the factory, and who have
designed such magnificent beds, better than any beds in America, have
decided in the spirit of the revolution and correct socialist principles
that they must give beds first to all of the hospitals, and to the
army, and to the universities, and to the collective farms, and to many
other important institutions necessary for the people and the government
in the world's most rapidly and inevitably advancing socialist society.
To do this, the factory must work round the clock. Three shifts a day.
and only rarely stopping on holidays. It is understood that the workers
need beds. But it is not yet the worker's turn. Only recently did
cosmonauts receive beds!

And so everyone who works at the bed factory returns home after each shift and sleeps on the floor.

One summer Svetlana's sister, Natasha, who long ago married a man in
Leningrad and moved away, returned for a visit. She was appalled that
after ten years Svetlana still had no bed. After all, Svetlana was
strong of hand and skilled with tools and one of the best machinists at
the factory. "My dear sister," Natasha said "You have not been thinking
correctly. It is very easy to have a bed. Each day you must steal one
piece of bed from the parts bins at the factory and smuggle it home. And
after a week or two you must assemble the parts. Then you will have a
bed. And you will never again sleep on the floor."

Svetlana listened closely. "My dear sister," she sighed, "it is you who
are not thinking correctly. We have tried this many times. We have
stolen the parts and carried them home. We assembled them in the room.
And every time, after we finish, we discover instead of a bed we have an
automatic Kalashnikov."

- Soviet era joke

15 December 2015

See How Easy It Is George?

Tula vs Zastava

In the blue corner, we have a 1970 made Zastava Poluautomatska puška M59/66A1 or Yugo SKS.  The Serbian Yugoslavian rifle tips the scales at 9.8 lb. with a folded length of 44", extended length of 51-9/16".

In the red corner, we have a 1952 made Tula Samozaryadnyj Karabin sistemy Simonova 1945 or SKS.  The Russian Soviet rifle tips the scales at 8.7 lb. with a folded length of 40-1/16", extended length of 49-7/16".

The Tula has been refurbished at some point, as can be seen by looking at the blackened bolt carrier (and the arsenal remanufacturing mark).

The first surprise for my comparison was they have the same length of pull!

This is despite the Yugo having a 9/16" thick rubber butt pad instead of just plain steel.  The Soviet gun has a red stained and lacquered arctic birch stock; the Yugo an oiled beech stock.  This is another source of extra weight on the M59/66A1, beech is more dense than birch.

The next surprise was the Yugo having a shorter cleaning rod.

This is despite the Yugo having a longer barrel if you include the length of the grenade launcher.

All of the real difference is out front.

The gas pistons are identical, but the gas cylinder of the Yugo sits on the gas block differently.  The Yugo's front sight is a little closer to the rear to give more room to thread for the grenade launcher.  It's hard to see, but the Soviet rifle's bayonet pivot is slightly farther forward.

Despite having a shorter bayonet...

The way the bayonet locks forward is different as well.  The Soviet gun has a ring that fully surrounds the muzzle, the Yugo has a hook that mates with a ring well back from the muzzle.

14 December 2015

Brick Arms Update

William Jenkins, an Orc from an alternate earth where the Confederate States of America won and orcs filled the role of the negro, in Lego.

Robert Jenkins, a snake-chimera from an alternate earth where the Trinity test at White Sands opened up a hellstorm which dumped magic as fallout over the world.  An alt of an alt, actually.  Robert is from the USA, joined the Army to escape the rather severe discrimination against chimera-kind in the US and served in Vietnam.  After Vietnam, not wanting to return to America, he enlisted in the Rhodesian army.

Both figures have been updated since last show.  Added hex-bases to make facing clear.  Changed guns around to be more accurate to the character sheets.  BrickArms doesn't make an FAL so the "HAC" is as close as you can get.

The hex base is even 1" across flats, standard GURPS size!  It's like they're encouraging us to use mini-figs to replace our old lead figures!

Kentucky Windage

The Primary Arms ACSS sight has a bullet drop compensator.

It's calibrated for 5.56x45mm NATO not the 6.8x43mm SPC I'm using it with.

Out come the ballistics calculators...

Out to 400 yards they're really close enough, nearly identical.

The 500, 600, 700 and 800 marks work out to 475, 550, 650 and 750 close enough for government work.

Not that expect to ever shoot past 200 yards.

13 December 2015

Corporate Welfare

Saw this cute little picture on Facebook.  Posted by someone called "The Christian Left".  They posted the following warning in the comments.

"If you have come to this fb page to verbally attack and abuse poor people who rely on government assistance, your comments will be deleted and you will be banned. First and only warning. We do not tolerate verbal abuse of the least of these on The Christian Left. Go find yourself a conservative hate group to join, you are not welcome here."

Pointing out that social programs are all cost is apparently such an attack, so I am putting my comment here.

I said, "Tax revenue from the poor, $0. Tax revenue from subsidized businesses, $609,700,000,000, Return on investment for subsidizing businesses, 663%. This isn't even hard math." in reply to their graphic.

Never mind that $59 billion isn't near the total on how much is spent on social programs.  The problem is, define social welfare program...  In a broad sense $2.38 trillion got spend on social welfare in 2015.  Social Security, Unemployment, Labor, Medicare and Health are all social welfare programs and they're 60.2% of expenditures.  The matter is muddied because social security and medicare are also taxes, taking in $1.065 trillion.  So welfare is spending $1.315 trillion that comes out of other taxes.  That's a lot more than $59 billion, ain't it?

Considering that $609.7 billion is barely 10% of total revenue, someone should be upset, because the corporate tax rate is a lot higher.  I calculated that from sites giving me the percentages of GDP then percentages of revenue.  It's wrong.

Corporate tax income for fy 2015 was $344 billion, still a 374% return on the subsidy!

But it should not be consumers who are upset they're skating on their taxes!  Taxes are an expense, just like paying the rent and utilities and buying raw materials.  The costs of those expenses are rolled into the price of the final product and passed on to the consumer.  Every penny of that $344 billion is paid by a consumer in the form of higher prices on goods and services.

Consumers like those people being subsidized by social welfare programs!

Mount Up

I had to do something with the LaRue mount I'd never had to do before.  Tighten it up some.

They build in adjustment for the locking levers just for this, so no biggie.

It says something to the precision of how AR parts and LaRue are made in that the front to back motion from the lever being loose didn't affect the zero a bit!

12 December 2015

It's Shooterday!

Actually became a member of the closest range today.  Family membership so Harvey can go shootin' too.

Zeroed the Primary Arms 5x on Dottie.

10 shots, 25 yards, supported.  Need to get to a longer range to finish dialing it in.
Marv came up and wanted to test fire his M59/66, so I refined my zero when I went with him to the range.

Five rounds per circle, 25 yards.  Top right opened up when a round fell between my belt and shirt in back.
Then I put some rounds through Portia.

25 yards supported, 10 shots at the center, then 10 more spread around the surrounding three.
As predicted, Portia is just about recoiless.  A very pleasant shooting rifle, if I do say so myself.

Great Job Verizon Wireless

The Lovely Harvey's phone took a great fall and shattered the digitizer glass.

The LG Enact is a very difficult repair, not for the unskilled or faint of heart.  We've been quoted $100+ for the replacement if we brought in the $30 part I'd already purchased before finding out how hard it is.

An LG Lancet is an upgrade in every way and its full retail price is a mere $120.

$100 more to fix a phone with no guarantee of success or $120 for a new phone with a warranty?

"New phone!" she exclaims!

Cash in hand, literally CASH IN HAND we trundle off to the Verizon Wireless store to buy a new phone for her.

We talk to a nice sales drone named Mark at the Gulf View Square Mall, 9409 US-19 #183, Port Richey, FL 34668 location.  Phone picked out, accessories chosen...

He cannot process the sale.


Because our account is in arrears for $520.


No it's not.

But the computer says...

The computer does this every month.  We've been fighting it for ten years.  The bill is generated on the 5th and shows us late on the 10th.  But it's actually $260 not $520.

But the computer says...

Our paper bill says $260.  Want us to go get it?

The "manager" Edwin steps in here and haughtily informs us that our paper bill will match what's on his screen.

So Harvey and I go home, grab the bill, and return.  Mark has left for the day and Heather takes over.  Edwin is lurking nearby.

"All we need to do is pay the bill for one month and you can process the sale?" Harvey asks Heather.

"Yes," she replies.

$260 is handed to Heather, the payment is registered, and our balance drops from $520 to $0.  Heather is baffled, but bemused.  Edwin who is now comparing our paper bill to his computer screen is in full-on denial.

The real problem nowadays is they cannot sell you anything that has to be linked to your account unless their computer says your account is up to date.  You cannot buy a phone from them at all without an account either.

Slow clap.

I'd dump them in a heartbeat if I weren't constantly finding myself in places where they're the only carrier with a signal.

I need to add that Mark and Heather were excellent customer service people and were doing as good a job as their system would let them.  They were as much victims of it as we were.  Edwin could use a class or three on how to talk to people and once he's graduated those, then take some classes on how to talk to customers.

PS: Two people carrying guns were extremely frustrated and bordering on becoming very angry... yet no gun was produced, brandished or fired during the entire three hours this all took to resolve.

Fastener History

I mentioned fastener drive systems being designed to increase manufacturing speed or to lock the customer out of the machine.

I forgot to mention where the hex-socket drive came from!

A guy named William G Allen is the first person to manage to figure out how to make a hex-socket drive economically.  It's also why we commonly call a hex-key wrench an "Allen-key" or "Allen-wrench" here in The States.

His first product was a set-screw.

This is why the hex socket on many fasteners is ridiculously small for the the thread size on countersunk and cap screws.

The drive in a set-screw has to be smaller than the threads.  Metric standards have locked in the sizes based on the threads rather than the head style.  Thanks EU!

In the US we go willy-nilly on head standards for a lot of things.  This is how LaRue has a M5x0.8 threaded cap screw that uses a 1/8" Allen wrench.


If a gay couple has the right to force me to bake a wedding cake for them I don't wish to make; forcing me to sell something I don't wish to sell.

Where is my right to force them to buy something they don't wish to own?

Freedom of association has warts.  Haters are going to hate.

You aren't going to make a hater love by forcing him to act happy.  You're just making the hate fester and grow worse.

And to be clear, any gay couple wants me to bake them a wedding cake, I sure as heck will!  I don't have a problem with gay people getting married.  However, I assure you that I am NOT a good baker and they can certainly do much better than ordering their cake from me.

I'm a notary though...  Still have not been asked to perform a gay wedding.

11 December 2015

Good News

Now that animal military testing is complete, XSTAT is moving to the human testing phase.

Optical Observation

I am going to bet that most of us, when we buy a scope for a gun; it the scope that gun gets and few people buy more than one scope per gun.

But lots of gun reviews seem to be swapping scopes around like they come one per box of ammo.

And it's not the cheap stuff either.  They do the 500 yard test on Night Force, then when they do the "close in" shooting at 200 yards an ACOG magically appears.

On one hand, the picatinny rail and modern mounts that keep the zero, swapping scopes is something that's possible now that just wasn't 20 years ago.

On the other hand, scopes and mounts cost money.  Money that some people don't have; or gets pissed away on other things.  Like another gun.

On the gripping hand, I trend towards general purpose rather than specialized, so I prefer something that is OK at most things rather than excellent at one thing and sucking at all the rest.

Additionally, spare glass takes up space, is awkwardly shaped and weighs something.  Lugging it out in the woods would probably get old fast.  I think where it could really shine is where your needs are radically different from trip to trip and you can put the tailored scope for that need beforehand with a simple flick of a lever and have the confidence that your gun is still zeroed.

Technology is amazing, no?

Some Assembly Required

What the Trump campaign reveals is that, to populists and Republicans, the political establishment and its media arm are looked upon the way the commons and peasantry of 1789 looked upon the ancien regime and the king’s courtiers at Versailles.

A guillotine is an amazingly simple machine too.  Gallows are more American and even simpler.

The trick, once you start building them, is to stop before you get to the Reign of Terror stage.

10 December 2015

Wine Whine

Dear National Rifle Association.

Please offer me something I can use for a monthly club.

I don't like wine and don't appreciate it.

Beer club?  I'm in.

Scotch club?  Sign me up.

Whiskey, whisky, bourbon?  Where do I send the check?

Wine?  Meh.

Sometimes It's The Little Things

LaRue is a whimsical place.

Every order comes with a beverage entry tool shaped like an armadillo and a shaker of a wonderful dry rub called "Dillo Dust".

For Christmas, they change the entry tool's color and add "Happy Holidays" to the laser engraving.

My first Christmas Dillo!  Oh, the Holidillo has two holes in its spine that lets you hang it as an ornament if you're so inclined.

Poor Fastener Selection

The Primary Arms 5x Prism sight came with a mount that attached to the rail with two nuts.

I don't want to carry a 1/2" wrench with me in case the optic goes tits up, so I ordered an LT-681 mount for it.

Primary Arms states that you can use any mount that's compatible with Trijicon's ACOG line, and LaRue's mount certainly is.

The problem isn't mount compatibility.  The problem was getting the mount that came with the scope off!

The threaded holes in the scope are M5x0.8 threads.

The screws Primary Arms uses are grade 10.9 (grade 5 equivalent) counter-sunk hex-socket heads.  The key-hole is the standard 3mm hex.

The screws are generously Loctite'd into the holes.

This is where it all goes wrong.

The first screw took a LOT of force to get out.  You can see the deformation on the hole from the stresses.  The second... the hex-key wrench stripped out the hex-socket.


Because it's counter sunk and tight quarters, and because I'm pissed now...  To the Dremel tool!  Yes, there are ways to get that screw without hurting the mount, but have you ever experienced the catharsis of destroying the offending part?  It is joyous, you simply must try it sometime!

So I made it into a flat-head slotted countersunk M5x0.8 screw.  And took a lot of the Primary Arms mount with it getting the cutting head in there.  I also applied a judicious amount of heat to the area to help break the Loctite.  GRRRRRRR!

I will say it again:  Countersunk screws should be flat-head slotted.  They bind like no other screw so they need more torque to get unstuck than any other type.  Flat heads Slotted are the best at getting torque applied to them.  Every, EVERY other form of screw driver is to speed manufacture (Phillips) or to lock the customer out of repairs (Torx) none were designed to be stronger than the basic flat-head slotted.

I cannot help but wonder what someone who is not mechanically inclined would have had to do to get this mount off.  I have tools and some know-how.

Good thing the LaRue mount came with its own fasteners!  Metric threads with an inch spec hex-socket button head...  Mark LaRue must have worked at GM once.

All's well that ends well!