Dec 30, 2011

I know this tune

Adaptive Curmudgeon (who you should have in your blogroll anyway) writes some real gems from time to time. I'm torn between gleeful laughter and rancid commiseration.

He had a plumbing issue. It's been detailed in four parts. Highly recommended reading.
Mystery Plumbing I
Mystery Plumbing II
Mystery Plumbing III
Mystery Plumbing IV

I commiserate because I also am the proud (?) owner of a mid-to-late-19th-century farmhouse, which occasionally does odd things and has had six-plus generations of interesting work done to it.

If you recall early this year, what started as a simple shutoff valve replacement devolved rapidly into a complete remodel of the downstairs bathroom and replumbing the kitchen drains. It's never simple, and an $8 valve becomes a $3000 bathroom-and-kitchen project in the blink of an eye.

Dec 29, 2011

Creative Editing, Memory Hole

Uncle posted a link to a non-NFA 14" shotgun arrangement. I think it's neat. I also foresee some potential problems.

I commented on the linked post as such. Specifically, I mentioned the ATF and constructive intent, and the legality of possessing both the as-pictured firearm and a bone-stock Mossberg 500 at the same time. You see, that's constructive intent - your 14" barrel could fit the stock firearm, or the stock could be switched over; either way it's a short-barrel shotgun and an unregistered NFA item. Big no-no.

I pointed out that while I think it's a nifty concept and I'd love to have one, I have no interest in being the test case and spending a whole lot of money on a legal defense. My final line was, "Neat. Pass."

The original poster edited my comment before approving it, as pictured here, with my followup comment - in case that gets ignored, or finds the white-out/memory hole.

Shady, unethical, distasteful.


Edit: I got an email from the original poster with an apology and my comments on his site were deleted as I requested. He also pointed out that thanks to the court decisions regarding Thompson/Center Contenders and their change-barrel/change-stock configuration that constructive intent wouldn't apply.

Personally, I'll stand where I am: it's a neat item, but not neat enough for me to take a ride and spend money on legal fees.

Thanks to Marty at Shockwave for doing the right thing.

Dec 21, 2011

Thought of the day

It's not a mid-life crisis car.

It's a, "I finally got all my debt paid off, the kids are out of the house, and I have the disposable income to purchase that car I always dreamed about when I was younger," car.

(I reckon mine is about six to eight years away.)

Dec 20, 2011

What's next?

I had an interesting revelation the other day. It's been a half-formed thought in the back of my head for a while, but it really struck home when I was skimming across a list of gun classifieds.

I have all the guns I need.

Truth be told, I probably have far more than I need. Now, don't go confusing "want" with "need".

I have a .22 rifle.
I have a smallbore centerfire rifle.
I have a midbore centerfire rifle.
I have a .22 pistol.
I have a pistol suitable for personal defense and carry.
I have a pistol suitable for field use.
I have a shotgun.

Fortunately, I have the luxury of picking out what interests me, at least to a certain extent. As my collection has grown I've picked up some oddballs and sent some on down the road to others. My tastes have evolved, grown, and changed a bit.

I won't say my collection is complete - far from it. There are lots of guns out there that I'd like to have, and as finances allow, I'll acquire some of them.

But I can open my safe and know that I've got the right tool for almost any circumstance I'm likely to deal with. Now I can focus on collecting what appeals to me on a more selective basis, and on upgrading what I do have. Some of the collection won't go away - my Ithaca 37 is a permanent fixture, for example. On the flip side, my Remington 710 will likely be supplanted by a Savage 114 or 111 (or if money allowed, a Dakota) in the same caliber (.270).

It's a neat and strange feeling all at once.

Dec 19, 2011

On the wagon...

Uncle posted a bit about diversity in carry pieces, and I decided I'd play that game. Mostly because my first instinctive reaction was, "Jesus! Pick one and stick to it!"

Then I got to thinking... "Just how many guns do I pick from as carry pieces?"

The list got long, so I decided to take a picture. Every gun pictured has been in my carry rotation at some point in the past twelve months. What I carry is determined by wardrobe, location, activity, and so forth.


Clockwise from 12 o'clock:
S&W 642, .38+P, carry with Federal 129gr +P Hydrashok JHP
Kahr PM9, 9mm, carry with Winchester white box 147gr JHP
S&W 21-4, .44Spl, carry with handloaded 240gr LSWC (this is a field/hunting gun)
Kimber Eclipse Custom II, 10mm, carry with Federal 180gr Hydrashok JHP
Springfield GI, .45ACP, carry with Winchester white box 230gr JHP
S&W 5946, 9mm, carry with Winchester white box 147gr JHP
S&W 4053, .40S&W, carry with Winchester white box 180gr JHP

Seven guns in the carry rotation. Weights from a hair over a pound to north of three pounds. Muzzle energies from "moderate" to "massive". Only two patterns, though: double-action, and 1911.

They get carried IWB, OWB, pocket, and off-body in some cases. All with at least one reload, and all ready to shoot. (Full mag, one in the chamber, and the 1911s are cocked'n'locked.) When I shot IDPA it was a 1911, so the thumb-sweep of the safety is habit. All the rest are just point-click-bang.

And for a slightly better size comparison:

So, what's in your holster?

Dec 13, 2011

Hunting Hypothermia

It's worth mentioning this, because (A) it can happen to you, and (B) it happened to me last week.

Hypothermia is a very real concern in hunting: you're likely to spend hours sitting in one place or moving slowly, in all kinds of weather. It's easy to get cold - it kind of goes with the territory. The trick is learning when "cold" has moved to "dangerously cold", and there's no easy answer.

Here's what happened to me:
I went out for an afternoon, getting on stand just before 1:00, and intending to stay all afternoon - until about 4:45 when legal shooting light ended. It was chilly - in the low 40's - with a steadyish breeze. The weatherman was calling for showers, but it had been just overcast.

I sat in the stand and watched the world go by, flexing fingers and wriggling toes to stay warm as best I could. The afternoon dragged on, a tiny doe went by (at perhaps ten yards; I drew my pistol and had her lined up with my finger on the trigger before deciding she was too small), and the afternoon continued. It started to mist a little, and I shivered a few times as I sat there.

Eventually I decided that it was not a good day to hunt, even with 20-30 minutes of legal shooting light left. The mist had turned into a light drizzle and the wind had continued to blow. I was cold, damp, and pretty miserable.

I made my way down the ladder and plodded the quarter-mile back to the truck, set down my hat and gloves, and tried to unload my shotgun. Tried.

The Mossberg 500 has a catch in the shell feed opening that allows you to eject the shells one at a time without cycling them through the action. It's not hard to operate once you know where it is - just push "out" and catch each shell as it slides out. I couldn't get it to work for me, so I ended up cycling the slide and ejecting the shells into my hat.

Then I tried to get my coat off. I knew I was cold, but it was when I couldn't make the zipper on my coat work that I realized just how dangerously cold I was. I finally got out of my coat, tossed my gear in the back seat of the truck, and sat up front with the heater running for the next ten or fifteen minutes.

My only early warning sign was that bit of shivering (that I ignored). I'm used to being chilly while hunting: no matter how many layers you put on, sitting still in the cold wind leads to a chilly hunter. This went beyond chilly to true hypothermia. The difference on this particular day was the precipitation and the humidity. Overcast and windy isn't unusual around here, but the weather was, simply put, damp.

It's easy to stay warm when you're dry. As soon as you get damp or wet, things can go downhill in a hurry.

I related this incident to my father a few nights ago, and he remembered his army days: stationed in Alaska, where temps were well below zero, he was never miserably cold. Walking post in Georgia at 38F and raining? That was the most bone-chilling cold he's ever experienced.

Take care of yourself out there, kids.

Dec 6, 2011

Outta the park...

Go over to The Gregarious Loner and check out this post. Watch the video. It's eight minutes of Mike Rowe and he's not hard to watch. He's making a pretty important point, for those who are willing to listen.

TL;DR: we're afraid (as a society) of hard work, and it's going to break us.

It's true. Think about it. You call the garage because the Open-Wallet light on your dashboard came on. When are they going to get you in? A week from Tuesday? Do you think that's because they have a card game going on that they won't put aside for you? No. They are *busy* - doing skilled labor. Think those mechanics all have college degrees? Unlikely. Most of them have been turning a wrench for years.

Call a plumber because a drain is clogged. Same thing - you're going to wait. They're not hurting for business.

Welding - which Mike touches on in the video - is a dying art. An former coworker of mine had a son who took the VoPro welding track at the local BOCES during high school. He finished the track, graduated on time, and took the state welding certification test (or something like that). He had three offers of employment when he got his high school diploma, and not one of them was under $40,000 a year.

During my time at BBHIS, I saw this disconnect first-hand. Customers would come in, ask for advice, then argue with the answer they got because "it doesn't sound right". That red vest pretty much guaranteed that I was going to be treated like furniture at least once a day. I'm not a construction expert, but I know the basics and know where to find the answers I don't know.

Related anecdote: had a customer come in because she wanted to pour a new front stoop from concrete. 4x4 and eight inches thick. Anyone who's worked concrete knows that's a fair pour. Not huge, but fair. She wanted to know how many bags she'd need. I did the quick math and told her it'd be about twenty bags of concrete and a piece of re-mesh to do it. She told me I was wrong and she only needed eight or ten bags and no mesh.

*shrug* Whatever you want to do, ma'am.

I'm not skilled labor. But I have a clue. And you know, that welding certificate is looking better every day...

Dec 4, 2011

Alan Gura video

Rolls put this in comments to my previous post, but it's worthy of it's own post:

LaserLyte - again

I don't recall if I mentioned this or not, but after LaserLyte replaced the defective Rear Sight Laser on my M&P, I took it to the range, where it promptly began having issues and has since failed completely. I bought a set of TruGlo TFO night sights and the slide is at the fun shop now having those installed.

I also decided it was time to mention the issue to LaserLyte, and sent them the following via their "contact us" link:

Back in May of this year I purchased a S&W M&P9 with your RSL. The original unit was defective and was replaced by your company (quickly and efficiently, much appreciated) with a new RSL. I installed that and some time later took the pistol to the range. Unfortunately, the new RSL had significant issues as well. Initially it would cycle modes with each shot - from off to steady to flash to off etc. Eventually the switch failed completely and the laser will not turn on at all.

At this point I can only assume one of two things: a bad lot of switches, or the switch was never up to the demand of recoil (115gr Winchester 9mm, btw) and the motion of a slide. I have since purchased and installed a set of tritium night sights which are meeting my needs nicely.

I'm not sure what you can actually do about it at this point. I have no confidence in the RSL arrangement, and feel that another replacement would be a waste of your money and my time, as I wouldn't install it on the pistol. I just felt you should know that there is a clear issue with the product. If you have any questions, suggestions, ideas, or requests, I'm open.
(The original RMA was ####, if you care to look into that one as well.)

We'll what, if anything, they choose to do, and I'll post results here.

Dec 2, 2011

Great Hunt: Fizzle!

For those of you who were intending to attend the Great Hunt and had to postpone 'til next year: you didn't miss anything.

Yesterday's weather was gorgeous, and I saw ONE deer. A tiny button buck with a semi-recent injury that I won't shoot on principle.

Today's weather was horrid: low 30s, windy, and intermittent rain/snow showers. We saw ... NO deer. Almost sixteen hours of hunting in two days; two of us out yesterday and three today.

I'm sore and exhausted and not sure if I'll go out again tomorrow. The hills and mud have taken their toll.