Monday, March 30, 2009

Mr. Goodwrench?

Barack Obama, the new chief executive officer of both GM and Chrysler, entered into another social contract with American consumers today. His promise to GM and Chrysler customers worldwide is:

"But just in case there's still nagging doubts, let me say it as plainly as I can: If you buy a car from Chrysler or General Motors, you will be able to get your car serviced and repaired, just like always. Your warranty will be safe. In fact, it will be safer than it's ever been, because starting today, the United States government will stand behind your warranty."

It reminded me of what I shared with Peggy Joseph in November.

"When Barack is in the Big House at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., Peggy, 95 percent of us won't have to worry about changing the oil and rotating tires, either. We'll just drive our free cars into the free Jiffy Lube on the White House North Lawn. The newly nationalized Exxon Mobil convenience store dispensing full-service gasoline across the street in Lafayette Square, will be staffed by servants of the people, convicted Republicans on work release."

I should have anticipated White House GM and Chrysler warranty service. This shortsighted blogger regrets the error.

For an appointment or courtesy tow service, call the White House switchboard at 1-202-456-1414. Presidential Task Force on the Auto Industy staffers will take good care of you and your automobile.

Back to blogging

It's been a little more than a week since my last post. For some reason I doubt my legion of rabid fans, confined by the outer darkness as the result of my inactivity, are wailing, gnashing their teeth and rending their garments.

If I'm wrong and you're toothless, teary eyed and and digging through the shrinking supply of wearable Wal-Mart plastic bags--the modern-day equivalent of sackcloth--please forgive me.

In a few more days, I'll start the process of having cataracts removed from both eyes. I'm looking forward to wearing new, non-prescription, Wiley X shooting glasses and not stumbling around outside while blinded by the sun. I'm still waiting for repairs to be finished on the sheet-metal-covered shop door, which I punctured with a bale-loader tine. The sun bounced off a cloudy lens while I was performing a tractor equivalent of a chandelle. The turn radius was a bit too wide. I don't drive a computer as well, either.

I dream of fine May days at the range with my rifles and pistols. I assembled a billet AR-15 lower receiver the past week with a Stag Arms lower parts kit, an A2 stock pulled from a Bushmaster rifle, and an ERGO SUREGRIP by Falcon Industries, Inc.

For now it is wearing a post-ban, flat-top DPMS upper assembly in .223 Remington I purchased in 2003. I've contacted John Holliger at White Oak Precision about turning a barrel from a 6mm Douglas or Shilen 1-8" blank. He has reamers for several 6mm wildcats such as the 6mm WOA, 6mm-.223, 6mm PPC, and others derived from the .22o Russian case.

Conventional wisdom has changed. There's no longer any reason to mark down black rifles in comparison to turn bolts accuracy wise. Plus one receives a better workout when retrieving ejected brass.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Worried about the return of inflation?

If so, invest in gold and guns. Even better, buy a gold-inlaid gun such as this Glock Model 19 listed on GunBroker.

The two Model 19s are priced at $10,500 each. If you want something a little more compact, search for the two Model 26s listed for $8,000 each. These four Glocks are part a lot of 20 adorned pistols imported from Austria. With a little more than one day to go before auction close, there are no bidders.

Glocks, IMHO, are still butt-ugly even if they're golden.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Poodle Parading

Here's a tactical awareness exercise for you. How would you respond if a naked, 14-year-old male paired with a white, standard poodle approached while you were working in the yard?

Here's how this Michigan lady handled it.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

When Hogs Fly

Nope, I was plumb sober when I saw hogs flying overhead about noon today. I was operating the Allis Chalmers D17 above 4,000 rpm so I didn't hear the first one coming until it was just above and behind my back.

For a nanosecond or so, the sound of two General Electric TF34-GE-100 turbofan engines had me thinking the D17 was going to break apart. Then I saw the A-10 Warthog blast past, so low I could see barren hardpoints and the 30mm GAU-8/A Avenger muzzles protruding from its snout. A few seconds later, the second A-10 Thunderbolt II shot over the hedge rows and past the east ridge.

I suspect the two Warthogs were heading back to Whiteman Air Force Base, home of the 303rd Fighter Squadron. It is part of the 442nd Fighter Wing, an Air Force Reserve unit. The 303rd returned from a deployment at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, in June.

The 303rd won the 2006 Hawgsmoke competition and hosted the 2008 competition at Smoky Hill Weapons Range, a 54-square-mile area near Salina, Kans. It wasn't the first time people from Missouri crossed into Kansas for shooting practice. Nonetheless, I was pleased to see warriors on the wing today.Godspeed!

Let's Sue AIG

I'm outraged. AIG, of which we the people own 80 percent as the result of massive infusions of monopoly money, is still contractually obligated to pay incentive and retention bonuses to some of its past and present employees.

This burning rage is something I share with President Obama and many members of Congress such as House Financial Services chairman Barney Frank. The Honorable Frank said this morning that taxpayers should file lawsuits to kill the bonus payments.

Last weekend, President Obama said:

"This is a corporation that finds itself in financial distress due to recklessness and greed," he said, in a rare flash of public anger, at a White House event with owners of small businesses.

"Under these circumstances, it's hard to understand how derivative traders at AIG warranted any bonuses, much less 165 million dollars in extra pay," Obama said.

"How do they justify this outrage to the taxpayers who are keeping the company afloat?" he said, adding half in jest that "I'm choked up with anger here" as his voice caught at one point.

Perhaps the word, "outrage", repeatedly flashed in red on his ever-present teleprompter.

Barney has a good idea, and it needs to be moved forward a step. We the people should file lawsuits to recover every penny AIG has paid out to politicians. Barry, write a $101,332 check to the U.S. Treasury. If not, we the AIG stakeholders will have to get a court order to garnish your White House paycheck.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Pat's Day!

Cead Mile Failte to all the Irish out there who happen to stumble by this post.

My great-great-great-great grandfather came to New World shores from Argyll in western Scotland, once part of the ancient Gaelic Kingdom of Dalriada. The Scoti, from present-day Northern Ireland, spread across the North Channel, or Sruth na Maoile, and warred with the Picts for nearly three centuries. The Scoti and the Picts fused into the Kingdom of Alba under Kenneth I in 843. My clan descends from Kenneth I and ninth-century Viking interlopers, the dark strangers.

I'm wearing green in honor of my cousins. May you all have a lovely day. I'll think of you as I watch the spring grass grow. EZ, a two-year-old gelding, is straining to reach every bit of the new grass from inside his pipe-fenced prison. I'm going to let him out a bit to have at it.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

S&W wish list

The S&W forum has a thread, The Wish List: Guns you WISH S&W would Manufacture. It's fun to read, view suggestions that parallel your own desires, and then delve into other possibilities other hardcore S&W aficionados have presented. Hopefully, the Smith and Wesson product development people drop by from time to time for ideas.

Here's one of my pet peeves--K, L or N-frame revolvers with less than three-inch barrels. Anyone who's had to pluck out empties from a revolver such as my Model 10-5, 2" barreled .38 Special despite using proper extraction technique will understand. The shortened extractor rod can be a liability.

This Model 327 could singe Princess Vespa's hair.

Another pet peeve of mine is heavy barrels, especially ones with full under lugs, on concealed-carry revolvers. So something like this Model 686 with a 2 1/2", lugged barrel will cause Dusty to break out in hives. If one's toting a Model 327 with a 2" Lothar-Walther Custom German Rifle Barrel with polished button rifling, Dusty thinks that person, on behalf of the dark side of The Schwartz, came t0 suck oxygen out of indoor ranges.

This long-time wheelgunner would like to see the return of tapered barrels for the K-frame models still in the S&W product catalog. If I could transform my 10-5, it would have a round butt, wood boot grips, and a 3-inch tapered barrel that would allow me to swap out front sights. I'd mount a tritium-insert sight blade on it.

Dusty's Model 10-5 snub stays home

A .357 equipped with a trim, fighting-weight, 3" barrel similar to the Model 66 S&W produced for the U.S. Treasury when it controlled the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center at Glynco, GA, would be ideal. I had one, a contract overrun, that I had to let go later to pay the rent. I wish I still had it. It carried like a dream in either a DeSantis Thumb Break Scabbard or a Milt Sparks Summer Special IWB rig. It was tough to control with the 125-grain Federal JHPs I used in my Model 28 Highway Patrolman, so I stoked the 66 with Winchester's 145-grain Silvertips.

Some lucky dog's Model 66 3-in. carry revolver

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Speaker's Carbon Footprint

It's not smart for bailout-seeking, corporate executives to take business jets to D.C. to appear before Congressional committees. Americans learned this firsthand from those House Financial Services committee meetings last fall.

"It's almost like seeing a guy show up at the soup kitchen in high hat and tuxedo. It kind of makes you a little bit suspicious," Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-NY) told Detroit's Big Three auto execs. "Couldn't you all have downgraded to first class or jet-pooled or something to get here? It would have at least sent a message that you do get it."

Ackerman's house boss, Nancy Pelosi, doesn't get it. She has an affinity for travel on U.S. Department of Defense Gulfstream V long-range business jets, which are designated by the military as the C-37A. When told no "G5s" were available for Memorial Day travel, a house staff member, Kay King, said it would result in a very unhappy [sic] "peaker."

Ridin' High: Nancy on board?

Nancy, keep it up. All the carbon from the government jets in the gulfstream will impact weather patterns and throw the Earth into a Algore-anticipated heat wave. It will cause more mudslides, fires, water shortages, coastal flooding and other calamities that require massive infusions of federal assistance.

If not, people might lift up their heads from the slop trough long enough to see. When angry people go to the polls in mid-term elections such as those in 1994 and 2006, the House speaker has to downgrade.

SNL Skit, the original draft

Here's a take on the economy one doesn't often see in the mainstream media. And it wasn't seen there long.

NBC/General Electric pulled the original SNL skit, edited it so it would meet its "standards" and offered this explanation when caught. This instance of corporate-controlled news media gatekeeping has been bouncing around the Internet since October, but it brought to mind a political science concept, the iron triangle.

It doesn't pay for GE to piss off Barney Frank, chairman of the Financial Services Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

"War on" replaced by "never waste a crisis" mentality

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, "Never waste a good crisis ... Don't waste it when it can have a very positive impact on climate change and energy security," during a speech to Friday in Brussels.

Rahm Emanuel, White House chief of staff, detailed this hope-filled opportunity for change Nov. 19 at the Wall Street Journal CEO Council in Washington, DC. "You never let a serious crisis go to waste. ... And what I mean by that it's an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before."

President Obama will take various "urgent and immediate" actions that aren't "shortcuts or quick fixes" to "stabilize the patient" who is "
likely to get worse before it gets better." He's told us, "Full recovery will not happen immediately."

The Obamacons refrain from using the phrase, "War on" followed by whatever crisis best fits in the blank such as poverty, drugs, terror, etc., like past administrations. All of these wars were lost or not completely resolved despite trillions spent and entire executive departments formed and reorganized. We still have the wars--they're just dire crises now.

There's opportunity lurking in all these crises, President Obama said in his weekly radio address released today. He hopes to sign a bill later this year to fix the national health care crisis.

My dad used to tell a joke about applying turpentine to a dog's rear to fix a race. It worked--the dog outran a motorcyle. There's a whole lot of turpentine spreading going on in the White House.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Looking back at the week

It's been a great week adorned with early signs of spring. The bluebirds are fixing their nests, and colts are romping around the lots and pastures with their ears pricked and tails up. The grass is starting to show a touch of green.

My son, who will turn 17 later this month, mailed off an application for the NRA Foundation's YES program Monday. The program, funded in part by Friends of the NRA, is certainly one out of many ways NRA members "teach freedom". Every July since 1996, 40 high school students are selected to spend a full week in the District of Columbia developing and honing their debate and public relations skills. They also spend time on the range and visit the Marines at Quantico.

I took it as a good sign to quit waiting for the ideal time to upgrade my NRA membership. I upgraded briefly, painlessly and securely via the NRA membership services web portal. Too, it saved me from ingesting envelope flap sealant and worrying about whether I put the 42-cent flag stamp upside down or not. While I was logged in, I signed my son up for a junior life membership using the EPL, or easy-pay life, plan.

I couldn't help but remember sister and brother NRA members who taught me skills that later kept me alive. With NRA instruction programs and resources aiding me, I taught others as a police firearms instructor. The NRA does more to support rank-and-file law enforcement officers than any government-funded agency or program--I know this from personal experience. Studying the art of marksmanship has also brought me great joy and has filled so many hours that would have been duller without that pursuit.

I've never bitched about the numerous NRA fundraising requests I've received. I'd never dream of snapping at a NRA member who volunteered to work a match where things didn't go the way I expected. I don't believe NRA programs are a service owed me simply because I've paid my dues. If I could put $1,000 in every one of those reply envelopes Wayne LaPierre sends me for the rest of my life, I'd still be in debt to the NRA upon interment.

I'm not a sexist. I plan to give a gift life membership to my 14-year-old daughter sometime in the next couple of years. And maybe I'll get back to working on a range or doing some teaching when I get these damnable cataracts removed later this year.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

It's not pretty, but it works.

During my last range session with the 9mm AR-15 built with a Bushmaster lower receiver and Rock River Arms 9mm top end, the bolt failed to go fully forward a few times.

This problem grew worse as the bolt grew more fouled, which can be a problem with carbines chambered for pistol cartridges. At times the bolt wouldn't have enough momentum to strip cartridges off the top of the magazine. Sometimes an empty would not completely extract and blocked the bolt's travel. I took the bolt out, wiped it down on a leg of my faded, holey, blue jeans, and noticed an improvement. However, every so often I'd have to slap the upper receiver opposite the ejection port to jar the bolt home.

Colt 9mm buffer assembly, 5.2 oz.

I am running a Hahn Precision dedicated magazine well block that uses the standard 5.56 bolt catch, a standard carbine spring and a Colt 9mm buffer. The Colt buffer, as well as the RRA 9mm equivalent or DPMS counterweight buffer used in pistol-caliber rigs, allows the bolt to travel far more than it needs to for a 9mm. The maximum overall length of a .223 round is 2.26 inches. The max overall length for 9x19mm ammunition is 1.169 inches. Because the bolt travels too far back, I've had live or ejected rounds trapped between the fully retracted bolt and the ejector.

So I decided to buy a spacer to place in the far end of the buffer tube to limit the bolt's travel. However the one I first settled on would have cost me more than $30 including shipping, which was more than I paid for the Colt buffer assembly.

The frugal gene inherited from the Scot ancestors kicked in, and I dug a prime bolt out of a bin. I rounded the hex bolt head and turned it down to .980 diameter. I also turned the shaft down to .78 diameter after cutting the bolt to an overall length of 1.08 inches. I thought that length, .011 in. shorter than the difference between the two cartridges' overall lengths would be close.

Colt buffer assembly, left, and spacer fitted to CAR action spring, right

The opposite end of the carbine action spring fit the bolt shaft perfectly. The overall diameter of the spacer allowed it to slide down the CAR-length buffer tube. However, it fit tight enough to not allow side-to-side rattles. However, I had to cut the overall length down to .906 so the bolt stop would engage.

After the dimensions were set, I polished the piece, gave it four baths with cold blue, oiled it and set it aside to cure. What little testing I've done has been flawless. I'll put the carbine to a more extensive test Thursday.

The bolt does close with a bit more snap despite not traveling as far. The end of the recoil spring sits .54 inch, the thickness of the spacer's base, forward of its former resting point at the end of the tube. Because the 9mm carbine is blowback operated, the slight boost in spring power will push a little more gas out the muzzle and less fouling will result. It also takes less effort to chamber a round by working the charging latch.

Don't try doing this at home if you're already running high-pressure ammunition such as NATO M882 9mm ball, +P, +P+, or your home-rolled zombie stoppers. Go slow, don't blow stuff up and rearrange your body parts.

Hahn Precision sub caliber buffer assembly, 8 oz.--note the longer full-diameter section that increases action spring tension.

If I were to build another 9mm carbine, I'll probably try Hahn Precision's sub caliber buffer. It is longer, heavier at 8 oz., and has the thicker base to increase spring tension. It does all the stuff my 5.2 oz. Colt buffer and homemade spacer does. Despite costing twice what I paid for the Colt buffer, a bolt and cold blue, it is a whole less trouble.
UPDATE: I shortened the spacer, reducing the overall length to .840 inch after more range work Thursday afternoon. The bolt catch would sometimes fail to activate before the spacer was shortened a bit more. The carbine is running 100 percent now. The empties land in a much more consistent and tight pile nearly eight feet out at 2 to 3 o'clock from the ejection port. Also, the extractor hook isn't scarring the case rims near as much.