31 January 2015


Did you know that you can use cable ties to tie cables?

Zip ties are so useful for so many things that for some reason I've never used one to actually contain a cable.  Until today.



28 January 2015

Pay It Forward

One of the local pawn shops Willard and I frequent has a 91/30 with a trigger flopping in the wind.  With the trigger like that, you couldn't get the bolt out.  With the bolt in, you can't really get at the rear trigger assembly screw.

Had, I should say.

I managed to get the rear screw out with a too small screwdriver and some patience, luckily it was not very tight.

Once that was out it was obvious the trigger pin was absent.

We just won't contemplate the effort it took to bull the bolt into the gun without being able to pull the trigger.

It turns out that one of the places that has lots of Mosin parts on the interwebs is local to us here, so a quick road trip down to Clearwater and Mark Kubes yielded the part and another quick trip got us back to the pawn shop where reassembly was simple and easy.

Now to resist the temptation of an M91/30 with a 1922 barrel and a hex receiver.  Not how it left the factory, but it's an interesting example.

Update:  For people linking in from Tam; this is the gun in question.

27 January 2015


I'll wait until 27 Nisan for Yom HaShoah, thanks. People like the UN and EU are why it happened in the first place so I'll be damned if I will commemorate the event on the day they've selected.

The Vargr Song!

Zungguzungguguzungguzeng by Yellow Man

I'm here all night, tip your wait staff!

Cutter Handling

The Broadsword class mercenary cruiser carries two 50 dton modular cutters and two spare modules for them.

Looking at the deck plans...

The cutter must be ventral surface in to accept a module from the storage area.  Likewise the modules must be oriented the same way.

The problem is the air locks on the cutters won't face in on C-deck.  Rotating the cutter in its tube 90˚ fixes the problem.  The large doors that access the module well also require the module be rotated to align.

It's just a detail that's accounted in the times given for module handling in Adventure 7: Broadsword.

Enter cutter well- five minutes.
Leave cutter well- five minutes.
Detach module in free space- two minutes.
Attach module in free space- five minutes.
Detach module in cutter well- two minutes.
Attach module in cutter well- two minutes.
Move cutter from orbit to world surface- twenty minutes.
Move cutter from world surface to orbit- twenty minutes.

The process is somewhat automated with a guide and alignment system that captures the cutter and pulls it into the well.  The same machinery will align the cutter with either the access hatches or module storage.

This machinery is controlled from the bridge of the Broadsword.

One neat thing about this machinery if the spare module is a small craft bay (GT: Modular Cutter p. 57) or fighter pod (GT: Modular Cutter p. 49) the module can be rotated so that the doors line up with the cutter well and the small craft or fighters contained in the pods can launch through the cutter wells.

Traveller Tuesday officially belongs to Erin, I'm just dangling from her coat tails on the idea.

26 January 2015

Retort From My Edjewmachayshun

1. “When shoppers see persistent price declines, they hold out on buying things. They ask, will I get a better deal next week, next month, next year? As a result, consumer spending flails. For most nations, that’s a big chunk of their economy, and any slowdown in consumption threatens growth.”
Actually that's only true for something that's purchased with price sensitivity or where demand is sufficiently elastic.

People don't hold out on lots of things as the price falls, they buy when they run out on consumables and price isn't always a driver for a purchase.

Cell phones get better and better and are generally getting cheaper, yet very few people really wait for the price to drop.  What waiting they do is based on contract expirations or the expectation of the next hotness.

Even with waiting for the price to drop...

If the demand is inelastic, a lower price means MORE purchasing not less.

The only commonplace item where he's right is gasoline.  People top up a lot more when prices are climbing, making more but smaller purchases; and they wait for the tank to be dry before filling when prices are falling, making fewer but larger purchases.  However, they purchase just as much gas regardless.

Little Things

For some reason Israel replaced the milled trigger pin on their Hi Powers with a roll pin when they arsenal refinished them.

Because there's been a rather massive influx of such guns through Cole's, there's been something of a run on the Browning part.

Numrich finally got some in stock, so I bought one.

Installation was simple and function is not changed one teeny iota.

But now 'tis right.

Sometimes it's the smallest things.


I just noticed that the two most criticized and yet enduring weapons we've ever fielded both originate with Fairchild.

25 January 2015

Common Problem

The Lovely Harvey's 2002 Civic EX sedan, formerly my Mom's 2002 Civic EX sedan has been throwing a code P1361 (Intermittent TDC Sensor Fault) and going into limp mode.

Because it's intermittent, it was a pain in the ass to nail down the cause.  P1362 is the steady fault.

It boils down to two causes, sensor isn't getting voltage because of a something wrong in the wiring harness and a bad sensor.

Yesterday I cracked things open and replaced the sensor.  The process of exposing the sensor also exposes the wiring loom so as an intermediate step I checked the voltage to the connector while moving the loom every which way.  Voltage was steady so I proceeded to remove the sensor and replace it.

This job entails removing all four coils, the wiring harness, disconnecting and removing about five brackets that hold hoses for the AC and power steering, taking off the "valve" cover and unbolting the the power steering pump to flop around on its lines.  Once all that is done you can get to the plug and cover over the sensor.

The first steps of reassembly would have been greatly simplified if Honda had not placed a giant cube of an antilock brake system right on top of the fender in the way of being able to see into the spot where the sensor sits.  You have to flail around trying to line up the sensor with the tips of three fingers in a tight space until you accidentally get the locating pin in its hole with the bolt hole lined up.  It's very frustrating because in 2001 and earlier there's no ABS module in the way so this part is actually easy!

The same routine follows when you try to plug the sensor back in.

But once those irritations are done, it goes back together pretty simply.

The next problem was the car coming home from Iowa leaking oil everywhere.

Ancient seals be ancient and the exposure to winter cold was too much for them.  Since I had the "valve' cover off, that was an ideal tim to replace that gasket and then once that was done I replaced the "valve" cover end plug.  The plug is a plastic cup with an o-ring in it.  The o-ring was flat and hard as a rock, and there was much evidence that this was the cause of the leak.

Getting to this plug means getting the EGR valve off and and back on and that would have been simple except the tool clearance is just for 1/4" drive sockets and you can't get your fingers on the nuts to start them on their studs.  A lot of fiddling with a snitchy-grabber got things going and back in place.

Sadly, breaking loose the final bolt on the EGR killed the 1/4" drive ratchet I'd had since my first Camaro (part of a 200 piece mechanic's kit) in 1991.  Go Craftsman lifetime warranty!  Sadly (again) Sears no longer makes that model of ratchet so I came home with one of a different style.  The dead on had the selector in the center of the head and a knurled ring that let you turn the whole thing.  It came in handy a few times.  The new one is what I think of as an older style with the selector down on the handle and a release button in the center of the head.  The old style is generally better since the head is smaller and slimmer and it's most definitely stronger.

Comparison in 3/8" because they kept the broken 1/4".

Drop Forged Steel

Craftsman bottle opener: your argument is invalid.

23 January 2015

Redesigning Law - The REAL Story Behind the ATF and the Sig Brace

I've seen this on several other blogs, just in case someone reads my blog and not the others.


The LED bulb kit I ordered for The Precious has a lifetime warranty on the bulbs.

One of the bulbs had a couple LED that didn't want to run consistently.

I emailed the company and asked how the did the warranty...

"Smash the problem bulb, send us a pic and we'll shoot you a replacement."

Smushed it is.

I've been asked to prove that a part was defective before, but I've never been told to destroy it.

Never Mind Then

The pocket hammerless is going to be a limited run of commemorative guns not a regular production item.

Oh Colt...

More pictures of that 1903 Pocket Hammerless have surfaced.  Looks like it's going to be a genuine 1903 Pocket Hammerless.

While I applaud the decision to make more, I have to wonder if they considered that they're competing with a rather large vintage market.

If I can get a vintage one for less than a new one, well... the people who're the target demo here are the people who'd buy an old one.

A quick check of Gunbroker says that $800 for a new parkerized one should do OK against $1,500 for a vintage blue one in near new shape.  Until you notice that there aren't any bid for any of the .32's in that search; not even the $500 well loved one.

Dammit, Colt, I want you to succeed!  But I don't think another boutique handgun is going to get you there.

21 January 2015

Please Don't Be Vaporware

You must see this!

The grip angle is slightly different from an original pocket hammerless and the grip seems thicker.

I am intrigued.

9mm?  I am selling a kidney!

Thanks to GM for getting a pic at SHOT.


Judging by how much George Takei I'm hearing about this and how often I'm bumping into the picture, I think Colt has a winner if they can keep the price under $800.

Pederson Production Pause Permanent?

Anyone heard if Remington has any mention of the R51 at SHOT?

Their last press release seems to be from 25 July 2014 with "expected" resumption of production in October 2014.  I've heard nary a whisper about them returning to market and it's still scoured from their website.

20 January 2015

Um Yeah About That

I feared there'd be some own goal blaming going on about the recent ATF give and take.

Let's call the SB15 stock brace what it is.  It's a stock.

How did I come to this conclusion where someone at ATF missed it?

Three words.  Carbine.  Receiver.  Extension.  (also known as a buffer tube).

Prior to SIG putting their stock brace on the market ATF had been consistent that for your AR to be a pistol had have never been assembled as a rifle EVER and it needed to have a pistol receiver extension on it; not a carbine or rifle extension.  A carbine extension without a stock made it an SBR instantly.

What kind of extension does the SB15 use?

ATF is known to be mercurial and contradictory but something is well known, a letter from Tech Branch only applies to the person it is addressed to.  If I have a letter stating it's A-OK to put a <16" barrel on my AR as long as the overall length is >26" without a stamp, it doesn't apply to you.  This too is well known.  Without that letter you've no recourse when you're busted (and even then that letter might do you no damn good).

So when they ruled SIG's gun to be a pistol with the stock brace people wanted to be sure and they wanted to have a letter with their name on it, because one written to SIG doesn't help them unless SIG made the entire gun.

A massive deluge of letters really told Tech Branch they'd let SIG make legal SBRs without paying the taxes.

I know lots of you are unhappy that they noticed the loophole they'd created and closed it.  It sucks.

But the reason that all those letters asking for clarification were written was to avoid ten years in a Federal pound you in the ass prison.

Let's also be honest, ATF would eventually have noticed and removed the approval from people shouldering the things in videos on YouTube anyways.  No matter what SIG claims, the damn thing is a stock; you know it's a stock; you were going to use it as a stock and you're actually upset that they noticed.

If you really, really need to be pissed off and do something.  Calling your congress-weasel is something.  You should do that!

Getting irate on the phone to your congress-weasel and demanding the stupid law be changed would probably go a lot farther than blaming your fellow gun owners for knowing ATF well enough to be prudent before proceeding with a  SBR pistol build.  While you have them on the phone be sure to demand that they take back their legislative authority from the executive branch agency that is the BATFE.

The real blame is with the authors of the NFA, the 73rd Congress who voted for it, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt who signed it, the the authors of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act, the 90th Congress who voted for it and President Lyndon B Johnson who signed it and the people at ATF who have been pulling rulings out of their asses for decades.

It is especially galling about that 1968 act in that it "corrected" a supreme court ruling that essentially voided the 1934 act!  Interestingly, Haynes is why we really don't have any prosecution of felon in possession.

Tropical Diseases For Science

Forgotten Weapons Full30 Channel

DI proves better than gas tappet short piston.

Big Time!

I've hit the big time with my little blog!

I've been made an offer by Brooks Clifford to write free ad copy for him!


I don't even have to send him credit card information at this time!


Brooksie, baby, I am a whore not a slut.  You want me in bed you must pay.  Handsomely.

Six or seven grand will do nicely as a retainer.

Additional emails from you will be regarded as acceptance of my offer and I will expect remittence within three calendar days from transmission of the email.


Mercenary Econ 101

A staple of the Third Imperium is the 800 dTon Type-C Mercenary Cruiser, personified by the Broadsword class.

In Book 2 it's MCr445.95.  That's a monthly payment of Cr 1,858,125.

In GURPS: Traveller, it's more affordable, MCr 222.912 with a Cr 928,800 payment.

In both versions it can carry about a platoon.

The problem surfaces that a platoon, in garrison duty, pulls about Cr 60,000 plus expenses, and your ship payment is not a valid expense.

Because Broadswords have 4x3 Beam Laser and 4x3 Missile turrets, they're pretty decent at ortillery (orbital artillery) and the two modular cutters allow a fast insertion of the platoon from orbit.

To make book the owner of a Broadsword is going to have to do a lot more than garrison duty.

The cruiser title is misleading.  While there's an age of sail definition for cruiser that simply means that it can operate unsupported and autonomously, a Type-C is really a corvette.  It's jump 3 and nearly 3g of acceleration (in GT) mean that while it can't keep up with The Fleet, it's fast enough to get where it's needed in a minimum amount of time.

It's got enough armament to stand off against a Type-T Patrol Cruiser, maybe two or even a System Defense Boat.  Clever selection of cutter modules could add some fighters to the mix as well.  For an extreme example one troop module, one weapon module and two small craft modules gives enough to land the platoon in one cutter, a spare cutter for support with a turreted weapon and four Iramda fighters.

Striker and Commando tickets pay best and are "success only" paid on completion.  What you need to do is find conflicts that require multiple tickets over a short period of time.  Most of these tickets pay salary plus a bounty, which is between Cr 200,000 and Cr 300,000.  So four or five of those a month should do to make the payments.

The thing is, these things aren't really bought and paid for new on credit.

As it says in LBB Supplement 9, "The [mercenary] cruiser design was specifically commissioned by the Imperium, and examples are used by independent military organizations operating with Imperial approval."

First of all that means there's surplus and used ships available.

Second, they're likely subsidized much like a Subsidized Merchant or Liner.  50% of the profits go to the Imperium for 40 years, they make the monthly payment for the full 20.  The owner pays other expenses and maintenance.  Good thing longevity is common in Vilani stock, is a dominant gene, and there's been lots of interbreeding with Solomani descended Imperials.

You'd think that mercenaries operating inside a nation is something a government couldn't tolerate, but the Imperium has a long stated policy that it only owns the black.  The worlds are left to govern themselves and can squabble among themselves rather freely as long as traffic is not unduly disrupted.  Licensed mercenaries tend to discourage the expense of a standing army, after all, why pay a continuous price for maintaining an army when you can rent one for a lot less?

Mercenaries tend to be more highly skilled and better equipped than local armies as well.

Traveller Tuesday officially belongs to Erin, I'm just dangling from her coat tails on the idea.

19 January 2015

Today's Vocabulary Word



1. Biology The existence among animals of the same species of two distinct forms that differ in one or more characteristics, such as coloration, size,or shape.
2. Botany The occurrence of two distinct forms of the same parts in one plant, as in the juvenile and adult leaves of ivy.
3. Chemistry & Physics Dimorphic crystallization.

American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Sexual dimorphism is where the two distinct forms differ along gender lines.

Most complex life on Earth is sexually dimorphic.  Including humans.

This fact, beyond all others, is why nearly all women aren't going to ever pass an honestly run Marine Infantry Officer's course, Ranger School or BUDS.  Men and women are simply different, and it's no human created bias that makes it so, it's simply nature.  Evolution.

Why are these courses set up the way they are?

Mostly because the product of these schools have mostly been successful.  That's why most traditions stand, they appear to work.

Which brings us to the goal of such schools.  What is the goal of the Marine Infantry Officer's Course?  If it's to make good officers for Marine infantry, you've got to prove that any change you make won't affect the output.

The standards of these schools were come to organically.  They developed slowly over time.  Is it possible that an officer who cannot pass the PT test is a good leader?  Sure!  But if you dig back you're going to see that there's a correlation between physical fitness and leadership acumen.  Perhaps not a causal relationship, but a real relationship nonetheless.

What we're doing with Ranger school is making changes so that the girls can physically pass it, without regards to the graduates being good Rangers.  Odds are they won't be.  At present they won't be going to a Ranger or infantry battalion.  It's literally just promotion points to them.

Promotion points.

Career enhancement.

Sick that the boys in combat arms are always promoted faster and higher.

Without regard that there could be a solid reason for that.  The boys in supply and JAG don't get those promotions either.  Almost as if it's been proven that combat arms, infantry in particular, breeds the officers you want in charge of your army when there's shooting going on.  Combat arms is someplace that women are presently banned from, so they're banned from the big chairs by design.

That link up there points out the physical problems about women in combat arms that's going to prove insurmountable.  It's not just the grunts with physically demanding work.  The example cited is loading the main gun round; but that's not even close to the hardest physical job on a tank.  I'd be curious to see how long a team of four women takes to break track on an Abrams.

Over and over the specter of upper body strength surfaces and it's simply dimorphism that's the underlying problem for combat.  It's a form of The Cold Equations and wishful thinking and good intentions won't change them.

Changing the standards only for the women and just so that they can pass is a disservice to everyone involved and is far more sexist than applying the existing standard to all comers.

Willard Says This Is Nearly Documentarian

Happy Deceased African-American Civil Rights Leader Day!

Today we commemorate Doctor Reverend Martin Luther King Junior's life and death by giving bankers, teachers and the post office the day off.

Someone should name a street after him or something.

18 January 2015

SIG Brace

OK, now can we start demanding the NRA start putting some of it's mass against the NFA?

Not even demanding Hughes be nuked, just to eliminate the BS that is SBR?

17 January 2015


I can't be the only person who's disappointed when they click on a link talking about a G42 and sees and article about a Glock instead of a rifle.

16 January 2015


A policeman received free ammunition to test fire a prospective purchase and has the audacity to complain about it?

Plus a free demonstration in the effectiveness of .380 ACP.

Some people just can't be happy.

Old Savage

Another $200 gun I am blamed for.

A .30-30 bolt gun in a world where thirty thirty meant Winchester...  And stamped parts where milled was expected.

Forgot to take a picture though.  The one I'm blamed for is missing an extractor spring, Numrich had them and it should be on it's way now.

Je Ne Suis Pas Charlie! Je Suis Arme!

Quote of the day. In the comments.

Another quote, this one from a movie, "I don't wanna get killed for lack of shootin' back!"  A film that also demonstrates the dangers of gun control.

I tend to not make fun of Islam.  I worry about some of the adherents, and I worry that our idiotic immigration policies will allow those adherents to reach some sort of critical mass that makes them a dangerous problem.

Still,I am a lot more worried, day to day, about the run of the mill criminal than Islamic terrorists.

Sooner or later, western civ. is going to wake back up and assert itself again. The longer it waits, the bloodier the awakening will be.  Ironically, it's likely to be the everyday criminal who wakes western society to the point where Islam becomes as innocuous as Christianity or Judaism.

As Tam has said (three quotes in one post!) "The EUtopians may seem all soft, docile, and toothless right now, but the recent immigrant welfare sponge class is playing with fire here. Euros have a proven zero-to-jackboots time lower than just about anybody on the planet. Get Gunter or Pierre all backed into a corner and feeling existentially threatened and you'll be wishing you hadn't, faster than you can say "Arbeit Macht Frei"."  Americans go a bit slower, but trend towards solutions that stick once we're riled up.  Grab a German or French historian and ask them about how their national characters have been altered since WW2.  The changes to Japan are more overt.

15 January 2015

Little Things

After, literally, decades of sniper scopes having blinking colored lights and meaningless number readouts...

It was super refreshing in American Sniper to see the correct reticule for a PSO-1 being used by a bad guy.

So refreshing I didn't register immediately that the 5-800m shot's victim filled the whole picture and not under the ranging stadia on the bottom left...

14 January 2015

Take Down

A dissection of one of Willard's favorite defense analysts.


There are a few guns in my collection that I own merely because I used to own one like it.

Yet there are a couple of guns I've owned (or been issued) that have zero nostalgic value.

I don't see me ever owning a Mini-14 again.

I've bought recreations of every non-crew gun I was ever issued; except an M9.

I've no fascination with anything Soviet in 7.62x39.

Seems a short list, but I can honestly say there are guns I don't want and guns I won't own that are good guns.


Alternate Title: It happened again.

Starting to see 5.56 gun blown up by chambering a .300 Blackout about as often as someone blowing up a Glock now.

As the link says, pay attention to what you're doing!

We probably didn't hear about this from the .300 Whisper crowd because it was never really popular.

There are lots of things you can do to guard against doing this, one of them picks at an advertised advantage of .300 over 6.8 or 6.5; that it uses the same magazines as 5.56.  Dedicating specific magazines to each caliber and marking them clearly mitigates caliber confusion somewhat.

13 January 2015


No, Dancing Monkey, there aren't too many guns out there in the world.

There are too many guns in Hollywood.  Especially considering how you bleat so bitter about them while you portray characters using them.

Sadly, also another example of an immigrant coming here to tell the natives how to live.

Remember, if you're not stealing movies on the internet, you're paying for drivel like this.

Star Wolf

Vargr (Traveller: Alien Races 1 p.88)
4 Points
Attribute Modifiers: ST-1 [-10]; DX+1 [20].
Secondary Characteristic Modifiers: FP-1 [-3]; SM 0.
Advantages: Acute Taste/Smell 3 [6]; Acute Vision 1 [2]; Blunt Claws [3]; DR 1 (Fur) [5]; Enhanced Move 1 (Running Fatigue begins after five seconds -30%) [14]; Fur [1]; Temperature Tolerance 1 [1], Sharp Teeth [1].
Disadvantages: Cannot Kick [-5]; Chummy [-5]; Curious (12) [-5]; Easy to Read [-10]; Proud [-1]; Reputation -2 (Unreliable, Disloyal) [-10].
Features: 4” Shorter than Human average.
Racial Skills:

Those are the GURPS 4e stats for a Vargr converted from GURPS: Traveller Alien Races 1 (which were 3e stats).

The reason for their unreliable reputation comes from them following whomever has the most "charisma" and if that individual loses sufficient "charisma" that another begins to outshine them, they will change allegiances.  Additionally their loyalty is far more attached to their physically present leadership than abstract concepts or remote leadership.

There's some precedent for societies like this in Terran history, notably the Dakota Sioux mentioned in the book, highlands Scotland as well.

To a Vargr, it isn't disloyal to abandon a leader who isn't demonstrating the skills and charm required to lead.  It isn't traitorous to begin following a new leader whose star shines more brightly.  The old leader may have a place in the new order and he might accept it as how things should be.  He won't resent it; but he will strive to regain their former station and those who replaced him don't resent that either.  It's felt that if they'd been a good leader then they'd not have been supplanted, and the dispossessed tends to accept that, or go slinking off on their own.

The Vargr really don't have a concept of treason and are rather confused at the grudges humans carry about betrayal.  It's also very rare for any stigma to follow an individual once they've been punished for a given crime.  "They've been punished, it's done." is how they view it.

They are almost hard wired libertarians by nature.  Almost, it's a dangerous trap to associate any human ism to Vargr in general.

The thing about the Vargr is that their reputation isn't really all that well earned.  The range of behaviors of actual Vargr is well within human norms, it's just that they're, well, alien.  They construct their societies and associations differently, but the same functions are created.

The person in charge of the sewage treatment plant is a bit more fluid than either the Imperium or Zhodani would have it, but there is a treatment plant and it does the same job as it would in human space.

Ownership of things past a personal level tends to be by cabals of the employees and there are very few "public" works.  Much of what humans would consider government jobs are done by "private" organizations.  Strangely it's not ownership, but control that is the motivating force.  The sewage plant might be owned by family A, but control over sewage might be held by someone else who then hires the family to run their plant.  That someone else is controlling the plant's use doesn't change the ownership or local management of the place.  That Mr. Dhell ran the place until that embarrassing spill last week and Ms. Rerdonkhuerrdaerrkha is running it today doesn't affect who owns the plant or necessarily who controls the sewage in an area; but if Ms. Rerdonkhuerrdaerrkha is better at running the plant and makes more money for the joint ownership, she will retain the job longer than the unfortunate Mr. Dhell.

It's alien!  It's the similarities between Vargr and Imperials that trip you up.

There are scientists and researchers dedicated to the research, just who they report to is not as fixed.

Their troops are capable of heroism and bravery.  Sometimes their small units are much more effective than human troops because effective combat leaders are possessed of high charisma and are skilled in their roles.  The nature of Vargr loyalty is a harsh crucible and the incompetent are weeded out mercilessly.

One of the worst things about using the Interstellar Wars era for your Traveller game is the Vargr really haven't been encountered yet.

Edit to add:

While every Vargr say they want a higher position in the pack, there's quite a few status quo archetypes.  Socially, Vargr rise to their natural level and no higher most of the time.  In most groups you'll have the natural second in command who will fight to stay one step from the top.  In nearly every group there's a low-wolf who consoles himself that he's not on the bottom of the pecking order, and will go to extraordinary lengths to prevent it.

Traveller Tuesday officially belongs to Erin, I'm just dangling from her coat tails on the idea.


Rhymes with botox!

I have renewed my indenture to the mighty Red V.

All hail the mighty Red V!  Teacher.  Mother.  Secret lover.

Living in the future!

Hop on the internet on your tablet, order a phone custom configured on Wednesday.

It's assembled and boxed in China on Thursday.

Shipped and delivered by Tuesday morning.

You have to special order it.  You cannot order a 32gb Motox from Verizon Wireless or pick one up in a store.  Motorola has a spiffy webpage called moto-maker that walks you through all of the various options (which except for the 16gb or 32gb storage choice are all cosmetic).

I chose 32gb, black front, purple trim and the Mighty Red V exclusive football leather back.  One prays it's actual pigskin.

In exchange for my chains, it was just $25.

12 January 2015

Went To Sleep Watching The Wrong Movie

Woke up to the dog going nuts.

Grabbed the gun and headed to check it out.

Just me missing the FedEx guy.  He's just putting the truck into gear as I get to the window.

I open the door to try and catch their eye, to no avail.

The Hollywood lobe of my just woke up brain says, "shoot out a tire!" to make the truck stop.

This is why we only WATCH Hollywood Lobe and never let it be in charge of anything.

Shooting out the tire of a FedEx truck...  Yeah the last thing you get from that is your package.

As it is, I watched the driver drive away and I've arranged to pick up the package from their "local" facility.  I've danced this dance before with them.

The drivers can't learn "doorbell" so they knock just loud enough to wake the dog, slap the notice on the door and run as if their very lives depended on not being seen by the customer.  I would wait for redelivery tomorrow, but there's very little chance that they'll be here at the same time as today.

10 January 2015

Free Tuition

As if some people weren't already getting free rides...

As I mortgaged my life getting my bachelor's in business admin I had many fellow students who weren't paying a dime of their tuition.  Tuition is a welfare benefit.

Because we were taking economics classes it was easy to recognize that a student without debt could accept a lower wage than one with outstanding student loans.

It worried me that I'd have to compete with those people once we graduated.

Turns out that the vast majority of the students who are getting their tuition covered by welfare don't complete their degree.  Of those who do, vanishingly few go on to get a job.

How do I know that?

The Lovely Harvey worked in financial aid for a national for-profit university and part of the job was tracking the people who were receiving welfare tuition and their success rates, including placement.

Sadly, giving nearly all of these students an education is a waste of money and I needn't have worried that I'd be competing with them in the workplace.

PS: Thanks to Harvey's position, I ended up getting half price on tuition so I didn't borrow near what some did, and since I was a good student, got quite a bit of merit grant money too.


It just occurred to me to check something.

There's 13 changes made from M16A1 to M16A2 (according to The Black Rifle 2).  None of them are aimed at a reduction in mean rounds between failures.  Most are aimed at making the gun more durable to the rigors of being handled by the infantry.

1.  New flash-hider.
2.  Beefed up barrel from the flash-hider to the muzzle.
3.  Square front sight post.
4.  Round handguards.
5.  Delta ring.
6.  Case deflector.
7.  Range adjustable rear sight.
8.  Round forward assist.
9.  Beefed up lower.
10.  New pistol grip.
11.  3-round burst.
12.  Longer stock made from tougher materials.
13.  New buttplate.

That's not a list made by a customer who likes the gun except the reliability.

Not mentioned in this list is the changes to accommodate the NATO standard M855 ball (which was simply a change in rifling twist) and the ejection port door (which was another soldier-proofing modification).

Digging into several years worth of 23&P manuals for the M16 series...  The only part that's not part of the 13+2 listed above that changes over the years is the extractor spring.

The black extractor spring is introduced with the M4 and M4A1 and is allowed for M16's at the same time: but the old spring is still in the system and is the preferred part.

The gold hue extractor comes along some time before 2008 and now all AR-15 family guns use the same bolt assembly.  The gold spring should be used to replace older springs as the weapons are brought to the armorer.

Then there's the M4 series...  Except for overt changes (stock, barrel, handguards, gas tube, upper) and the extractor spring; it's the same damn parts as the M16A2 for the M4.  The M4A1 actually gets some throw-back parts to the M16A1 because it's full-auto not bursty.

The heavier "M4A1" barrel isn't an M4A1 part, but a SOCOM substitute that becomes standard later.

Looking at the parts lists I am struck over and over at how many parts are exactly the same from the M16A1 to today.

Over and over I see the powder change in M193 blamed for the Vietnam reliability issue; but I'll be damned if I can find where it was changed again to fix the issue.  What I have seen are reports that the chambers were out of spec and the original buffer design was faulty; but those changes were made during the war.  In fact, near as I can tell, all of the changes for reliability happen between the time it was XM16E1 to when the buttstock with a storage compartment was added to the M16A1 in the early '70's.

I've also found, (again) over and over, that veterans I've talked to about the M16 have no idea which combination of parts they had.  The buffer retro-heads call an "Edgewater" was the early one and the conical springs would collapse causing problems.  The present design rifle buffer is heavier and slows the cyclic rate down nearer to the old powder.

The chambers being found out of spec in the field are a nasty combination of corrosion and possibly UAW intransigence.  Colt had labor problems about the same time as the XM16E1 was becoming M16A1, some of the work might be sloppy (like not bothering to check wear on a chamber reamer).  It's a line of thought I've seen allusions to in several places, but nobody really seems to chase it to prove or disprove it.  BUT the chamber problems end when chrome plating is added, which coincidentally is around the same time the labor disputes are settled (and new reamers procured to account for the thickness of the plating).

These aging vets I've been talking to on the whole don't dislike the gun.  I've got a skewed sample set since the vets I talk to are car guys.  Car guys trend towards mechanical inclination and might take better care of machines with moving parts.

Then I have my own experience with the worn out M16A1's in OSUT.  Admittedly, I am a tanker and we didn't train on the M16 near as much as grunts.  Where I experienced jams was when we were using blanks.  One area where I did get more trigger time than my fellows was my platoon in training being fifth of five, we got range clean-up most often.  We got to "get rid of that ammo, private!" a couple times.

If ever there was a time for a worn out M16A1 to fail it'd be at the end of a day of rifle qualifications being sprayed and prayed by enthusiastic teenagers with the full encouragement of their Drill Sergeants.

The recent desections of what happened at Wanat make one wonder...

How many M16 failures in Vietnam can be attributed to overheating the guns?

How much of the controversy was related to lobbying efforts?  Robert MacNamara ran rough-shod on several time-honored ways of doing things in the ordnance bureau and their suppliers.


I've got about five posts in drafts.

I'm basically afraid to open my mouth anymore.

I'm wrong, no matter how carefully I research the topic.

I'm sick of being wrong.  Well, I'm sick of being told I am wrong.

09 January 2015

Comms Restored

Got a stylish new router!

Two day from get a human on the phone to back up isn't too bad.

I'm pretty sure that what died in the old router is actually the wall wart because its status light was dark.

So far everything is communicating with the new hardware with just The Lovely Harvey's phone to give the wifi name and password.

The new router seems faster, but that might just be withdrawal talking since I've been sucking the 4G tit on my shitty tablet for two days.

08 January 2015


First my cellphone, a Motorola Droid Razr M, decided to not restart after reinserting the sd card.  I remembered that there was a forced restart button combination that made the phone act like you'd removed the battery, so I tried to Google that.

Then Verizon's FIOS box rolled tits up.


Should have a new box on Friday.

New phone will take about a week. Moto X, 32gb with the football leather back and purple trim (not available in stores) using the free upgrade and the "my way" option. I'm giving up the sd card slot, but it fits my hand WAY better than the LG G3 and I just don't like Samsung.

Living in the future is a mixed blessing sometimes.

06 January 2015


I get a bit of schadenfreude when I use PayPal to renew my NRA membership.

Space Combat

Space combat will likely have a lot in common with the age of sail.

You can spot the enemy a long ways from where you can identify or shoot him.

You'll know who he is long before either of you can shoot; but you're so close that you'll swear you should be in range by now.

There really isn't any place to hide.

Once the shooting starts the ranges are terrifyingly short.

The weapons don't do as much damage as you'd think they'd do from watching movies.


Going through my Traveller pdfs...

In the 1977 edition of the original boxed set pulse lasers are DM-1 to hit.

In the 1980 edition, there's no combat difference between beam and pulse lasers.

In the 1982 The Traveller Book pulse lasers are DM-1 to hit but do two hits when they do.

That's some frustrating stuff there.

Traveller Tuesday officially belongs to Erin, I'm just dangling from her coat tails on the idea.

05 January 2015

Something Rotten In Denmark

Willard's purchase of a Carl Gustav Mauser led to an acquisition of some Danish ammo.

Lots and lots of warnings about not using it.

Got to the bottom of the warnings, I think.

The cupro-nickel jacket on the bullets is very soft and when combined to the very sharp edged rifling in the Swede it fouls something fierce.

Fierce enough to affect chamber pressures after very few rounds it seems.

04 January 2015


I can get a holster for my M&P 9.

I can get a holster for my M&P 9 that accommodates a weapon light.

I don't see a holster for my M&P 9 that accommodates my pistol bayonet.

I sense an untapped market!


I percolate.

Not sure where I picked up that phrasing for it.

What it means is I make indications that something is coming, but the noise and smells aren't the product.

It increases the noise to signal, but...

Well it's free and no warranty express or implied.

While percolating I'll go all around the world before arriving at a point a millimeter from where I started.  Sometimes the destination cannot be derived from the route.

While percolating I can, and have begun a rebuttal to someone else's position that became a defense of it in mid rant.  Those end with, "and you were right then."

When percolation begins I cannot mean what I say because I cannot say what I mean.  Yet.

I could be wrong, I often am.  Just saying so doesn't really help much though.

I am obstinate and opinionated, but:  I.  Can.  Be.  Taught.

To say another way, I am an egg.  The shell is too thick, but an egg nonetheless.

Too often I am told I am wrong and then left to figure out how and why all by my lonesome, which often doesn't lead anywhere.

Over On The Side Bar

I've added http://pistol-training.com/

I'm going to start reading it and seeing if I can unclog my receptors.

If I do, it's good that I already have some tasty crow recipes.


Is it just me or do some of the characters seem lifted from Sven Hassel?

Bolt In

Helped Marv with the final stages of installing a new radiator in his '96 Collector's Edition Corvette.

The plastic tanks on the original radiator had failed.

Because there was nearly no price difference between the stock part and the shiny, sexy all aluminum unit; he went with sexy.

Because the aluminum radiator was a three row instead of the stock two row, he emailed the seller to ask if it was a "bolt-in" and received a reply that it was.

I cynically commented, "yup, you sure can use bolts to attach it."

Sadly I was right.

Everything on the new radiator is thicker.

Mox nix.

Marv trimmed the rubber mounts and shortened the duct-wall between the fans.

As with everything on a C4, you've got to remove ten things to get to the one thing you want to work on and the manual tells you that you need to remove 40.  I got there in time to help with reassembly, which was handy since when some parts come out, they kind of guide themselves and don't when you try to put them back.

The LT1 and LT4 engines with their reverse cooling flow have some quirks about refilling the cooling system.  The low hood on the Vette means there's lots of high spots in the system, which trap air.  You basically have to fill it, almost overheat it, shut down, "burp" the hoses and open a steam vent.  Lather rinse repeat twice.  Then apply a lot of lateral g to slosh the fluid around and get the last bubbles to get up into the overflow bottle.

Before the old radiator started leaking at the bottom hose fitting, Marv was seeing 208˚ in and around town with spikes to 211-212˚.  On the shake-down we saw 207-208˚ steady.  On a speed run the old radiator would slowly climb to 225˚ as the heat made by the engine overcame the ability of the cooling system to shed it.  Last night the speed run got a slow climb to 211˚ where it held.

An extra row of fins and an extra half gallon of fluid seem to help.

As a bonus, no puddle under the car!


Or overspecialization.

Tam linked to this.

While I think that he's not wrong, I don't think he's precisely right either, plus he expressed it in the most contemptuous and insulting way he could.  Has he applied to H&K?  He hates me and I suck.  (also a couple of years later kind of reverses his position a tad by suggesting that there isn't one true way to learn).

Shooting the same gun with the same loads will improve your shooting with that gun.  But does that mean your getting better at shooting?

Inadvertently doing the challenge with my .38 Super Gov't Model did noticeably improve my shooting with that gun.

It didn't seem to improve my shooting with other guns as much.

Shooting my Glock 17 recently taught me more about my technique than several hundred rounds through the .38 Super.  The change in shape and grip angle led me to notice that I was holding all of my pistols in such a way as to pull to the left.  The Glock accentuated this tendency.

I saw the improvement in my test firing of both Harvey's and my M&P 9s.


What I've noticed more than once at the range is the people who shoot a large variety of guns tend to shoot solidly similarly with most of them.

The people who specialize tend to be miserable with unfamiliar guns.  I get to see this because variety is interesting and I get more than a couple requests to try out something strange Willard or I have brought to the range.

03 January 2015

Not It At All

I have a security box full of guns because I am fascinated with the history, design and construction of firearms.

I don't have a safe full of guns to correct a deficiency with my shooting skills.


I do have a box full of holsters trying to find a better way to carry...

The post that made me blurt out this defensively toned missive suggests a one month or 500 round (whichever takes longer).

I realized that already did!  I liked shooting the .38 Super 1911 so much I shot it exclusively for at least that many rounds.

"Disappointingly" the Colt also failed to explode or malfunction.  I think it's defective, I was assured that it would do one or the other by the internet.

PS: I did get a lot better at shooting my 1911 too from exclusive use.


Someone who's a lot richer than me deciding that I make so much that a portion of it must make up for the fact that someone else doesn't make as much...

02 January 2015

New M&P VS New M&P

The same but different.  The Lovely Harvey's doesn't have a thumb safety has a plug where the lock would have been if it'd been so equipped.

Hers is a 2008 model and mine is a 2011.  There've been lots and lots of changes made over those short three years and even more since 2011.

Both have had their OEM sights discarded and replaced with TruGlo.


At one time this revolver was the ubiquitous police sidearm, and could readily be found in the arms-rooms of much of the military in the United States.

The ubiquitous police sidearm is now a Glock.

Technology marches along.  At one time the old M&P was as state of the art as the new M&P is today.

Moses Brothers Self-Defense Engine Frontier Model B Starter Kit

The much maligned Taurus 85.
For the record, this particular example has never given the present owner any problems.

More details on the Serenity/Firefly prop here.

01 January 2015


Willard has what he refers to as a "real" M&P.  An original S&W Military and Police revolver.

In one respect he's absolutely correct, the semi-autos S&W makes today are just "and Police" so far.

Still, it'd be cool to have a photo comparing the two...

HINT HINT HINT, Mr Willard...

Happy Arbitrarily Assigned Not Associated With Any Celestial Event Annual Holiday!