Archive for June, 2010

06/29/2010

North Carolina is up next!

by wfgodbold

They should probably just go ahead and change the law before wasting taxpayer money defending a lost cause.  Declaration of a state of emergency does not mean you give up your civil rights; if this is successful, it should prevent shenanigans like the gun grab in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina.

I said Alan Gura was devious; it looks like he’s got a plan, and he’s working his way through it step by step.  Being in his way just results in a loss of taxpayer money, as D.C. and Chicago can attest; if they hadn’t had unconstitutional restrictions on basic civil rights in the first place, they wouldn’t have had to spend money defending those restrictions.

If you want to read about how the 2nd amendment came to be such an issue, Kevin has an uber-post that goes into as much detail as you can probably stand; it’s around 13k words and is meticulously researched and cited, and takes you through RKBA history from the early 19th century to the present.  Read the whole thing, as they say.

06/28/2010

McDonald vs Chicago

by wfgodbold

5-4 against Chicago; outright gun bans have now officially gone the way of the dodo.  Unfortunately for the residents of Chicago, they will most likely be inflicted with heavily regulated gun ownership a la New York City or Washington, D.C.

The court did leave open to interpretation the phrase “reasonable regulation,” this, of course, has been lauded by the Brady Campaign and Bloomberg (head Mayor against Illegal [but really legal as well] Guns) as a great victory for gun control.

Their statements can’t hold a candle to the Violence Policy Center’s opinion; they predict blood in the streets.  This is certainly bad news for Chicago: with the gun ban in effect, this past weekend only 26 were shot; an improvement from the weekend before, when 52 were shot.  Just think how much worse the violence will get now that their outright ban has been overturned!

It’ll be interesting to see where Alan Gura goes from here; narrow victories in both the Heller and McDonald decisions have certainly made him beloved of the RKBA community; while it would be nice for him to go after the Hughes Amendment or the National Firearms Act, he’s more likely to focus on something that will be better received by the public.  Trying to make machine guns easier to buy would play right into the gun banners hands, and would probably be a PR disaster.  Nothing would swing momentum back towards the anti-gun groups than a bunch of hysterical opinion pieces talking about how the NRA and the gun lobby want everyone to have a machine gun.

I disagree with a lot of what Bush did in his tenure as President, but he did get the SCOTUS nominations right; had Gore or Kerry been president, this case (and Heller) would have turned out far differently.

06/27/2010

Top Shot Episode 4

by wfgodbold

If you haven’t watched it yet, beware the spoilers that follow!

The competitors start off today having to identify targets and shoot quickly, using an AR-15; they have to spin and shoot plates of the color called as quickly as possible.  The blue team and red team both mostly do well, but a couple people on each team had issues with either accuracy or speed.

The challenge adds in a memory element; they have a short time to study the board before it’s covered up and they have to shoot the correct targets without seeing them.  It should be interesting to see how everyone does.

Kelly on the red team had problems in the practice, but in the challenge, he hit 6/7 blue targets; Jim was really slow on the practice day, but he really pulled through in the challenge and got 3 points for the blue team.

In the end, though, the red team pulled through and won their first challenge.  This week, the blue team has to send someone packing!

The challenge is Iain against Jim; the blue team is trying to be cold-blooded about who they kick off the team.  That seems like it’s easy to do now, but if they get some more people eliminated, it’ll be harder; I wouldn’t be surprised if things turn political before too long, like they have on the red team.

The elimination challenge goes back to pistols; they’re shooting a TZ99 at moving targets, instead of a rifle at stationary targets.  Jim did fine, but was slow, and Iain was quick; if the challenge is timed, Jim will be at a disadvantage; if not, it’s looks like a toss-up.

For the challenge itself, they have to score points by hitting red swinging plates (hitting blue plates deducts points); they each have 4 rounds and 15 seconds.  This plays more to Iain’s strengths; both competitors hit all 3 red targets.  Jim was unlucky, though, and lost a point for hitting a blue plate that was hidden behind the red plate he shot.

Up next week: cowboy weapons and blue team drama!

06/26/2010

I went to the gun show today

by wfgodbold

And prices are out of control.  I saw a FNP 9 for $250 more at the show than on gunbroker, and that wasn’t the only ridiculously high price.  Even with transfer fees and shipping, it still ends up about $200 cheaper online than in person.

I looked at several Sig P226s (and other models); those are really slick pistols, and they’re a lot easier to get a good grip on than my own undersized handgun.

Unfortunately, I didn’t find any good deals on a rimfire pistol or rimfire upper receiver; the only .22 upper I saw was $70 more expensive than I could get it for online.  The Chiappa .22 cal 1911 pistols all felt like they’re made out of plastic (I think they mostly are, actually).  No one had any buffer tubes for sale; anyone selling those had them bundled with stocks, and I don’t need another stock.

After eating lunch (pork loin sauteed in bacon grease and mashed cauliflower!), I went to the range and did some shooting.  I really need a .22 handgun.  Badly.  Shooting the AR went pretty well; even out to 75 yards I did a pretty good job of getting on paper (using iron sights); I may place an order over at Primary Arms for one of their scopes or red dot optics.  Their prices are low, and while you don’t get a product that will stand up to hard abuse, they are well reviewed over at arfcom.

Ninety minutes in the nearly 100 degree sun was enough for me; maybe if I were a better shot, I’d be more amenable to staying longer (or if ammo were cheaper!).

06/25/2010

Behold the Regulator!

by wfgodbold

It arrived today, and as promised, I give you pics!

Scrapyard Knives Regulator and cordura sheath

That doesn’t really show the size of the knife, so I took another photo with it next to my Leatherman skeletool (as well as the CTR stock that was stuck on a buffer tube (paracord and beating the hell out of it with a rubber mallet solved that problem)) for scale.

Regulator, sheath, skeletool, and a mil-spec CTR stock

It certainly is a hefty knife; the blade is at least a quarter inch thick, and the grip fits well in my hand.  It’s pretty sharp, too; I don’t have any other fixed-blade knives to compare it to, but it seems like it should serve for doing pretty much anything short of chopping down a really big tree (I say really big because I have seen photos of people chopping down small trees with this and similar knives).

The back of the sheath has MOLLE loops and a strap for attaching it to other MOLLE equipment; it also has a belt loop, as well as two riveted holes at the top and bottom of the sheath for tying it down.  I’m not sure what to put in the pouch on the front of the sheath.

All in all, I have no complaints with the knife; my only complaint with Scrapyard Knives is that when they shipped my order, they didn’t include a tracking number (or even say if it was shipped UPS or USPS).  No big deal, but it would have been nice to know when to expect it.

06/24/2010

The only thing better than a movie about zombies

by wfgodbold

Is a whole TV show about zombies!  It starts airing on AMC this October, and from the photos released so far, it looks great!

Zombieland was great (and hopefully the sequel will be great as well), but after it and Shaun of the Dead, it’ll be nice to have a serious treatment of the dangers that come along with the zombie apocalypse.

My own emergency preparations leave a lot to be desired; I keep intending to make a bug-out-bag, but I’ve only bought a few items for it (I also don’t have anywhere to bug out to).  I have a new fixed-blade knife on the way from Scrapyard Knives; their Regulator (their current production) is the most affordable (since all other models they’ve made are only available second hand at a mark up) and should be an effective all-around blade.  It should be here in a few days; until then, I’ll have to make do with the folding knives I already own.

I doubt the end of the world is imminent, though; I should be safe for now.

06/22/2010

So much is going on!

by wfgodbold

And I can’t think of anything to crack wise about!

Sure, McChrystal is in dire straits for mouthing off about the C-in-C to a pop magazine (he had to know that would land him in hot water, so maybe he did it on purpose), but unless the White House decides to fire him and replaces him with someone who will ease up on the rules of engagement, I doubt there will be much change in Afghanistan.  On the other hand, it smacks of “Do as I say, not as I do.

That’s not all, though!  A federal judge overturned the administration’s ban on deep water drilling (an appeal is sure to follow).  The president claims that he only allowed drilling to continue because he was assured it was 100% safe; nothing is 100% safe, whether it’s an engineering project in the middle of the gulf or just walking down the sidewalk.

And lest Arizona feel left out, the feds are suing them (presumably for making them look bad).  They’re in good company; Mexico also thinks the law should be struck down.  Of course, the rumors that immigration enforcement is lax because that’s the only way “comprehensive reform” (cough cough amnesty cough) will pass should be taken with a grain of salt.  After all, the president might think that, but surely he would never come right out and say it!  On the other hand, if there were only the two of them in the room, we’ll never know who said what.

All in all, it’s not shaping up to be a good week for the White House.

06/20/2010

Another week, another episode of Top Shot

by wfgodbold

Tonight’s weapon of choice is the English longbow.  In the introduction, they mention that it was so important that Englishmen were required by law to practice.  I think at one point, golf was outlawed because the king was afraid that people would spend their time on it instead of practicing their archery.

Requiring archery practice by law seems a bit draconian; on the other hand, they seem to have forgotten to take those laws off the books.

Spoilers follow:

They’re focusing on the red team’s interpersonal dynamics; I imagine they’ll lose the team challenge again.  On the other hand, it might just be a red herring (heh).

Caleb finally gets some camera time!

The team competition involves everyone shooting a giant target; when they hit the center, giant flames will shoot up in the back.  They have to do it quickly, too; this is going to be timed.  Unlike the Beretta 92 challenge was, they only have 30 seconds each to get off as many shots as they can, before it’s the next person’s turn.

The blue team won the challenge again (this week it came down to the wire, though).  They’re going to be three people up on the red team next week.

And now the politicking starts.  I guess backbiting and dealmaking gets the ratings, so they probably put the teams together with a token nod to ability and mainly based it on personalities.  You wouldn’t want to make both teams have people who get along great with each other all the time, cause then there wouldn’t be any conflict.

The elimination challenge is with the crossbow instead of the longbow; maybe that’s similar enough to a gun that Brad won’t complain incessantly about it.  Bill didn’t seem to pick up the loading operation as well as Brad did.

This should be good; they have to shoot an apple (not off anyone’s head, though) at 4 different distances.  Time to see who’s the better William Tell!

Up next week: shooting different colored plates!

06/19/2010

Now I just need to learn how to shoot

by wfgodbold

The rifle works just fine; I shot 100 rounds of Wolf steel-cased ammo through it this afternoon, and the only problem I had was one failure to extract.  I shot it at paper targets at both 25 and 50 yards, mainly using a rest.

The lower receiver with the UBR stock shot better at both distances.  I have no idea why that would be the case; I also shot more accurately when using the smaller aperture on the rear sight.

 

Holes made with the most expensive hole-punch I've used.

 

Those are 1″ squares.  I know most people are far better shots than I am, but since I haven’t fired a rifle since Boy Scout camp in the 6th grade, I’ll take it (for now).

If I’m still shooting so poorly after turning hundreds of dollars into noise, I won’t be nearly as laid back about it.

Those fine folks at the Revolutionary War Veterans Association are having an appleseed shoot in August about 45 minutes from me, so I will probably sign up for that.  If nothing else, it will give me a good basis to improve from.

I also see why rimfire caliber rifles are so popular.  Wolf is just about the cheapest ammo you can use, and it still cost me almost $30 at the range.  If I’d been shooting .22 LR, I’d have only used $3 worth of ammo.

I’ll definitely have to pick up a .22 upper receiver for my AR; if I get one of the less expensive conversions, I can get one for the price of a thousand rounds of 5.56mm.  Even the more expensive dedicated upper receivers pay for themselves in 2-3 thousand rounds; I may get one of those just so that I don’t have to worry about low quality parts or materials.

I’ll have to check out the rimfire forums on AR15.com to learn more.

Maybe next time I’ll see how poorly I can shoot off-hand!

06/17/2010

Congress is playing bad cop again

by wfgodbold

It seems that’s all they do lately; ToyotaApple (though they didn’t show up when summoned), and BP have all been called to testify before that august body.

While I don’t condone BP’s negligence regarding the massive oil spill in the gulf, I do think that the posturing done by the government and the press is way out of line.  Oil is where it is, and you can’t drill for it where it’s not.  Congress in its infinite wisdom has decreed that drilling in shallow water and in ANWR is verboten; in response, the oil companies have followed the oil deposits out into deep water, where drilling was allowed.

They did this in pursuit of the almighty dollar, not out of any sense of charity.  That’s the same reason farmers grow corn, ranchers raise cattle, or Toyota builds cars.  These items are necessary, but they are not made from hopes and dream, but from people working to make a profit.  If Toyota lost money on every car they made, they’d go out of business.

Oil, and our dependence on it, makes the luxury we in the west have grown accustomed to possible.  The president spoke of our “century long addiction to fossil fuels;” if we are addicted to oil, you could say that we are also addicted to food, water, and air.

Petroleum is the lifeblood of our civilization; it, and it alone, makes our comfortable lives possible.

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