Jul 23, 2015

Standing guard for the recruiters?

Subject: USAREC Policy – Armed citizens at recruiting centers ATO’s,
Situation: The USAREC COC has received reports from two Brigade ATOs, social media and TV coverage that law abiding armed citizens are standing outside of our recruiting centers in an attempt to safeguard our recruiters.
1) Recruiters will not acknowledge the presence or interact with these civilians. If questioned by these alleged concerned citizens; be polite, professional, and terminate the conversation immediately and report the incident to local law enforcement and complete USAREC Form 958 IAW USAREC 190-4 (SIR)
2) Do not automatically assume these concerned citizens are there to help.
Immediately report IAW USAREC 190-4 (Suspicious Behavior)
3) Immediately report any civilians loitering near the Station/Center to local police if the recruiter feels threatened. Ensure your recruiters’ clearly articulate to local police the civilian may be armed and in possession of a conceal/carry permit. Ensure recruiters include any information provided by local police in their SIR reporting the incident.
4) Ensure all station commanders implement FPCON Charlie 6 (Lock and secure entry points) addressed in previous email.
5) I’m sure the citizens mean well, but we cannot assume this in every case and we do not want to advocate this behavior.
*** The timely and accurate submission of 958s (SIR) is imperative to track these incidents and elicit support from TRADOC, ARNORTH and NORTHCOM.

USAREC 190-4 is available here (pdf warning).

If I'm reading this right - and that's a big "if" since it's a government publication...

Pages 5 and 6 list out the rough chain of events, and since they are treating volunteer guards as "Suspicious Incidents" and Force Protection ... short form: within 24 hours, and likely within 12 hours, your information will be passed through the chain of command for that station up to Branch CID. You're going to be on One More List. Is that worth it? Your decision.

(Side note, I saw an absolute hand-wringing panicked headline that one or two of the Marines in Chattanooga may have returned fire on their attacker - and how dare they, how could they, because they aren't allowed to have guns. *spit* is all I can say to that.)

Jul 14, 2015

Something new...

... except something old.

We wandered through a just-opened Scheel's over the weekend, and I left a few noseprints on the glass gun cases. The Winchester 1895 in particular caught my eye, although I was a bit puzzled when I looked at the hang tag and saw it labeled as "Caliber: .30-06".

I craned my neck around and the breech was marked ".30 GOV 03". I'd been expecting ".30 US", aka .30-40 Krag, and this was a new one on me.

I did some research on the phone real quick before I said something to a clerk about a mis-labelled hang tag, and learned...

.30-03 was a midpoint cartridge between the .30-40 Krag and .30-06 Springfield, with some features of both. The long and short of it, near as I can tell, is that it is safe to shoot .30-06 in a .30-03 chamber, but you may see some cracked case necks. What I could find also suggested sticking to the 180gr and heavier bullets, as the .30-03 was designed around the 220gr bullet of the .30-40 Krag and most have twist rates to match.


May 28, 2015

I've been neglecting this blog lately; seems I have had Real Life happening. Not a lot that's been blogworthy, I guess.

Friend Brigid put up a post that's been knocking around in my head since I read it. She's not the first to say these things, but is perhaps one of the more eloquent:

The world is not a safe and happy place, something some people find when they least expect it. [...]
We believe that because we've always been the dominant political and economic power on this planet that it will always be so.
Duty and honor weren't archaic promises, they were words I was raised to live on, no matter how bad things got.
You see it in the eyes at the feed store, you see it in the determined step of those buying supplies and learning the use them. You feel it in the collective murmurings of concern as you chat with people at the gas station, or the grocers.
I hope those hands are strong enough for the tasks that lie ahead.

Click over and read the whole thing. Anything I've got to say can wait.

I've seen the same thing. Eyes are a little narrower. Brows are knit a bit tighter. Our grocery bill has been climbing, yet we're cutting back on the luxuries, or buying in quantity and storing. Gas prices are creeping up again.

People aren't as lighthearted and carefree as they were ten - or even five - years ago. We're all kind of wondering where we're going, and no one seems to have a clear answer. A full eighteen months before the national elections, we're in full-on media frenzy over who's running, who isn't, and the like. It's not going to be a pretty election cycle. Expect a lot of name-calling, party-blaming, and buck-passing.

If you haven't been, tuck away a little bit here and there when you can. Canned food, a bit of cash, maybe some precious metals if that's your thing. (Brass and lead are precious metals, by the by.) I know times are tight, but I've a bad feeling it's going to get a lot worse before it gets better. In that light...

There are a handful of books I would unhesitatingly recommend you own in dead-tree form:
Homemade Contrivances (and how to make them)
Handy Farm Devices (and how to make them)
Storey's Basic Country Skills
US Army Survival Manual (FM21-76)
Mountainman Crafts & Skills
Joy of Cooking
Ball Blue Book

If you have the budget and space, add a few more. Reference books, in particular - a solid encyclopedia, a good dictionary and thesaurus set (Webster and Roget's are my preference), and some literature. The Harvard Five-Foot Shelf would be an amazing addition and is on my "someday" list.

Learn to preserve your food. Learn to garden. If you can find a place, learn to hunt.

Learn to communicate. Get a ham ticket and know how to use your equipment. Even a simple 2m set will give you some communications when the rest of the grid is gone. GfZ jokingly calls my ham shack "nerd weather channel" - it gets information faster and more localized than anything the weather service or local media can put out.

Network. Quietly, discreetly, cautiously, but make some friends who are local and might be worth working closely with if things go south.

Be aware. Keep an eye on who's in your neighborhood, try to know names, habits, vehicles... if something is out of place, notice it. A strong community is the best protection many of us can have.

Be ready. There's a storm brewing.

Apr 16, 2015


I actually can't remember the last time I participated in Buy A Gun Day. I never actually plan for it - when I've saved up the pennies for the next gun I want, I go get it.

This year, it happened to work out. I have a soft spot (in my head, according to some) for Ithaca-Ithaca firearms. (I say Ithaca-Ithaca because "Ithaca Gun" has worked out of at least three locations in its history: Ithaca, NY; King Ferry, NY; and now under new ownership in Sandusky, OH.)

I troll through classifieds and auctions, and occasionally throw a stupidly low bid at a gun. In this case, it happened to pan out for me. I snagged this little darling:

... Er, the one in the middle. The other two were already in the safe. It's what I describe as "project-grade", although that may not be quite fair.

It started life in 1956, according to serial number records, as a 12ga, 2-3/4", fixed "full" choke, likely with a 28" barrel. Great field gun for long birds or waterfowl. An early owner had installed either a PolyChoke or Cutts Compensator on it, and that had been hacksawed off at a later date - removing the bead and leaving it choked roughly at cylinder bore.

The finish is nearly gone on the back six or eight inches of the barrel, the trigger is worn smooth, and the stock shows years of time in the field with dings and small scratches. But it also shows love. There is not a spot of rust on the gun. The bore is clean and bright.

As it sits, it'd be a great gun for close shots on field game, and probably be OK shooting skeet singles. The lack of a bead might deter some shooters, but it's not the end of the world. Adding a bead is an inexpensive proposition for any competent gunsmith. For a bit more versatility, two hundred bucks and a trip to Briley would thread it for chokes in any flavor desired.

But me? I've been looking for a 37 in this kind of condition for my own project. When I've saved up a few more pennies, the barrel is going off to York Arms for shortening (to around 14", right at the front of the barrel lug), a tritium bead, and perhaps threading for chokes. I'm still kicking around ideas and timing with the Wizard.

These old Ithacas are a treat for shooters - nothing handles or points quite like one, and the bottom-eject makes it a great gun for southpaws. The field-grade 12-gauges like I have can usually be had in the $200-250 range, and 16- or 20-gauge scatterguns don't run much higher. (I'm keeping an eye out for a fair price on a 16; those are just sweet little guns.)

A word of caution, though: these older Ithacas don't have a sear disconnect, so they can be "slam-fired". Just hold the trigger back and pump, and it will go bang every time until the tube is empty. For a new shooter, that can be a safety issue, so be aware.

(The other two Ithacas pictured date to 1947 (116xxx), and 1957 (667xxx). The BAG version is 622xxx.)

Mar 22, 2015

Long strange trip...

Truckin, got my chips cashed in. Keep truckin, like the do-dah manTogether, more or less in line, just keep truckin on.

The Grateful Dead had it right.

In January 2013, the New York legislature made a literal middle-of-the-night deal and passed the (un)SAFE Act, without public comment. It was signed into law that same day.

Within a week, I was looking for jobs out of New York.

Two years and two weeks ago, I made the first of three drives out to the Midwest to test and interview for a couple positions.

In May of 2013, I accepted an offer and gave notice at my job of eight-plus years, and in June I (over)loaded a UHaul trailer and put the dog in the truck, heading west and leaving behind hearth and home, kith and kin.

I spent the next eight months alone out here. MrsZ made a few trips as time and finances allowed, and delivered a truckload of our belongings. GfZ made a few trips as well, eventually deciding to make the move as well.

In February 2014, our house finally having sold, MrsZ made the move out here to join me.

In March 2014, GfZ joined us as well.

In May 2014, the agency I was working for announced that due to budget cuts, they'd be closing their communications division "sometime in the next 120 days." Nine of us were to be laid off, with maybe a few openings at the agency taking over the services we were providing.

September 15, 2014, the lights went off and I was officially unemployed.

October 14, I walked in for my first day at a new agency - this one with a residency requirement.

In November, we started house-hunting.

We closed on a wonderful three-bedroom house in a newer neighborhood last month.

Yesterday, with the help of friends, we loaded a 26-foot moving van and moved our entire household the 40-odd miles from a two-bedroom duplex to our new home.

I don't know what the next two years hold, but I'm hoping it's a bit less dramatic than the last two have been.

I can't begin to thank everyone who's helped us over the last couple years. Family members who sent job listings. Friends along the road who provided a hot meal or soft bed or cold drink. Friends and family that helped us pack, sell, load, move, and unload. We couldn't have done it without each and every one of you.

What a long strange trip it's been.