Jun 30, 2012


I put my kayak on the truck Thursday evening, with the intention of heading directly to the water after work for an afternoon paddle.

When I walked out the door to get the clothes I was changing to, that plan changed. Nudging 100, not a cloud in the sky, and pretty much miserable. Instead, I went home and puttered around the house for a bit, picked up our weekly farmshare with MrsZ, and when it had cooled off a bit (down to the high 80s) headed to the lake near the house.

I paddled out a few hundred yards and sat back to soak up the sun and light breeze and quiet for a while. Then I headed for the south end of the lake, which I hadn't been to in the numerous times I'd gone out last summer. Started down the creek and saw a beaver dip under and disappear. Plenty of birds were scolding me.

The water was just shy of bath-water warm, but the breeze was wonderful.

I stayed out until about 8:45; the sun was behind the hill and the lake was starting to darken down when I left to head home.

My shoulders are telling me about it a little bit, but it was well worth it. Next step: finding a better way to transport this thing on the truck.

Jun 29, 2012


To Lyman. I got out my tumbler a week or two ago for the first time in months and found that it had lost one of its rubber feet somewhere along the way.

I checked Lyman's site to see about replacement parts, but the feet weren't listed. I clicked their "contact us" and sent them an email inquiring about a place to purchase new ones. I got an email yesterday asking for my address so they could send me a few.

Customer service like that is what keeps people buying your product. Excellent job.

Jun 28, 2012

Deal Alert

From Woot!Sport: Gamo Lady Recon air rifle for $50.

Gamo has a pretty good rep, and if you can get past the pink stock (or repaint it) that's a pretty good deal on a basic plinker.

Jun 27, 2012

More than a handshake

CNN rattles off their "top 4 historic handshakes" here.

- Nixon and Mao Zedong (1972)
- Reagan and Gorbachev (1985)
- de Klerk and Mandela (1990)
- Rabin and Arafat (1993)

I think they forgot one of the big ones...
Stafford and Leonov (1975)


So desperate for spin control... After O's booing in Boston - by ticketholders to his fundraiser! - the dithering idiot on the box this morning suggested that the crowd was not saying "boo", but "Youk"...
No sir, they're saying Boo-urns!

Jun 26, 2012

Oh my...

Saw the beginnings of someone's build posted on ArfCom, and I love the look of this lower:
Seekins Precision

It's not a WallyLower, but it's DAMN sexy. And pretty competitively priced against a forged lower plus LPK...

Handy tip

Those hideous blogger spam-trap word and number puzzles? The ones Tam caught on to?

You can ignore the numbers and just translate the word.

Jun 25, 2012

The silver lining

Having to use a fixed stock on my ARs does have a silver lining...

... my beard won't get caught in them.

Even the pinned carbine stocks have a habit of eating my beard. It's painful, leads to profanity, and no one likes to see a grown man cry. A2s for everyone!

2012 Group Hunt

I'm going to give this another go.

I just put in a time-off request for the week following Thanksgiving (11/25-12/1). Plan on three days somewhere in that week. If you want in, email me - zercool/gmail.

Jun 24, 2012

I miss it

Borepatch writes up his thoughts on the Appleseed he attended, and one line really sums it up for me:

And on the drive home, he said "Thanks for bringing me here, Dad."

I still miss Appleseed instructing from time to time. It's a phenomenal camaraderie, a worthy cause, and almost always incredibly rewarding. I'm sure the teachers (inside and outside the schools) can attest to the immense satisfaction that comes when you see the light come on. The eyes focus, the brow smooths, the tightened lips curve up ... magic.

My work schedule made it very hard to make the commitment they asked of me; the gentle pushes and less gentle goads and occasional outright rudeness from senior staff is what ended up pushing me away as an instructor. (That ended with me being called a "sunshine patriot": the Jeffersonian way of saying, "Don't let the doorknob hit ya on the way out.")

That said, I still miss it. I may see if I can fit in a shoot this summer or early fall, and pick the brains of the instructors to see if things have changed or improved. Or maybe I'll just enjoy a weekend of shooting and relaxing with like-minded folks. Either way, I need to go again.

Insurmountable? No.

... but probably not an easy task. I've toyed with the idea of an FFL01 over the years, and after the DuraCoat experience (and yesterday's pictures) had an inquiry about doing a firearm for someone.

The short answer is this: I'm not going to be able to refinish/coat firearms in anything resembling the near future. The long drawn-out answer follows...

The firearm is the serial-numbered portion of the gun. Doing any work on a firearm in exchange for money is "gunsmithing". Being a gunsmith means obtaining a FFL01 from the ATF, and since I'm in NY, an additional license from the state.

The federal license is $200 (which, by the by, the ATF doesn't list on their site - only "include the correct fee with your application"), plus an interview and premise inspection from the ATF... and there's the rub.

I don't have a premise. The ATF in general, and NY especially, have tried to put an end to "kitchen table" FFLs - guys who would get a license simply to handle their own incoming/outgoing transfers, or maybe take care of a few buddies for a case of beer now and then. (I've spent FAR more than $200 on transfer fees in the past three years, which is the term of the license.) By requiring posted business hours and doing random inspections, they've made the home a bad place to do FFL business.

I have a garage which could potentially be used... but the idea of having a business on my land doesn't sound good. If the business tanked, or worse yet got sued, the entire house and property becomes an issue. Forming an LLC would help, but that's getting into a pretty gray area.

And finally, NY's scary-looking-guns ban. We mirror the expired federal AWB, which means that without an FFL (which is exempt from the law) I can't possess guns with things like bayonet lugs and flash hiders.

Is all of this insurmountable, if I wanted to get into firearm refinishing or even run my own shop? Not at all. But it's not in the budget for the time being - because it would be a pretty hefty investment no matter what. Finding a business space - or buying a small parcel of land and building a small shop - is the first hurdle. Following that is capital investment: shop tools, fixtures, and so forth. And once all that is in place, the licensing process - which could still be denied. Serious gamble.

At the same time, the idea of running a gun shop - even part time - appeals to me... and I'm going to start exploring this a little bit further.

(In the meantime, if one of you wants something coated that isn't a firearm - an upper, slide, magazine, knife, blah blah blah - and aren't keen on doing it yourself, drop me a line. We might could work something out.)

Jun 23, 2012

Mysterious post is mysterious

Knowing that something you've done is going to end up with some Very Good People is a very satisfying thing.

Being compensated for it makes it doubly so.

Jun 22, 2012


It's been a while in the works, but the Delicate Flower AR is finally done!

Without further ado:






For the gun geeks:
York Arms lower receiver
MAGS EFX stock (A1-length)
KNS Gen2/Mod2 pins
Battle Arms Development Ambi Safety
ERGO overmold grip
Stag 3H post-ban upper

Colors are Lauer's DuraCoat in Purple Goddess, Bronx Rose, Sunburst Yellow, and Tactical Extreme Gray.

I'm pretty damn happy with how this came out; it meant a whole lot of hours in the spray booth and a lot of patience with masking and cutting and so forth.

RAW and you

Part of this re-acquiring of photography has been a desperate desire to bring my images up a notch.

Last year, Carteach put up a post with some of his first playing with RAW files. The image of the burning log really got me, because that's a tough subject to get good exposure on. Intense oranges - almost white - and deep blacks, with grays and everything else in between.

RAW is a wonderful thing: it records just what the sensor sees, without any in-camera processing. All the processing is done after the fact, where I can adjust white balance (critical), saturations, exposures, and so forth. All these tweaks can be done in a JPG file, but it's not as precise - changing one tends to have a more dramatic effect on other aspects of the image.

I started shooting "Large/Fine + RAW" over the winter, and am slowly getting the hang of it. Being able to make those tweaks has really proved positive. I did a shoot with one of the derby girls last week for a promo that's coming up, and this was what the straight-from-the-camera JPG looked like:

Blue cast, dark, colors are bland, and really pretty uninteresting.

I ran the RAW through PS Elements and played with the white balance to correct the blue cast, the exposure to lighten it up some, saturation/intensity to pop the colors a bit... and this is the result:

Perfect? No. But a far cry better than the original.

Obviously, this is a crop from the full image; I'm reserving those until after the bout is done so the team has first publication of the images.

DuraCoat update

I put the final color coat on MrsZ's lower last night. Following an email from Wally, I checked the upper fit and it was snug but went together. Then I started checking some of the other pieces.

Tonight's project: removing overspray from the pivot and takedown holes, and mag catch. Derp. I already tried using DuraCoat reducer - it's far too cured for that to work well. I may run through Lowes and find a small grinding stone for my Dremel, then grit my teeth and get to it. The trigger and hammer pins took a little convincing but did get through.

To-spec receiver plus a thousandth or two of DuraCoat = too tight.

Live and learn, and a minor problem to correct.

Jun 21, 2012


A couple weeks ago, Borepatch put up a piece on what happens when you fake fudge fill in supplement estimate your data points. In particular, he mentions urban bias.

It's been warm around here today, and I glanced at the Wunderground for the local weather stations, finding this:

Average temp across those stations? 90.4F.

Out in the boonies and on the hills, the temps are ringing in the mid-to-upper 80s. The second one there, "Neighborhood", at 95? That's downtown. It's in a tree-lined shady residential area. Two lane streets, lots of shade, but lots of houses.

Nix a few of those outlying areas - say the lowest three temps - and the average is now 91.2.

But what if we "extrapolate" our data from "Neighborhood" and fill those in for the three lowest? The new average is now 92.

Urban bias is real. Picked data sets aren't real data.


My photography tends to go in fits and bursts; I've been doing more lately and mostly enjoying it. Now I'm starting to get the itch for some upgrades.

The camera is still meeting my needs for the most part - although I'd love something with a bit higher resolution. The 30D isn't a bad camera, by any means. It focuses fast, meters well, but ... it's six years old. (And about 16,000 shutter clicks in that time.) An EOS 50D would be a nice step up, but the body alone runs $600+ ... used. The 60D with an 18-135 kit lens is $1200 from Amazon. Out of the current budget, but something to shoot for.

In the meantime, new lighting is on my want-sooner list. I have a few battery-operated remote flashes that are fine for close/portrait stuff, and barely make it as fill for anything else. I'd love to get a few AlienBees (two 400s and an 800, specifically) and the wireless remote - but again, that's a significant investment and not in the budget for now. *wry grin*

Something to save my pennies for, I suppose.

(A new desktop to work on these would be nice too, since I'm dreaming.)

Color Shot

So, as I blurted yesterday, the lower arrived. My dealer emailed me around noon to let me know he had it; we traded a couple emails about time, and I was at his door at 2:00 to pick it up. 4473, phone call, process done in ten minutes.

I had commitments for the afternoon, so couldn't get right to the spray booth, but when I got home I snapped a few pictures:

In case there's any question about the capabilities of Wally and York Arms: don't worry. The little burbles in that flower were 100% me; things I didn't clean up and correct in the original drawing and didn't think would transfer. They do. So make sure your artwork is CLEAN.

After I finished these pictures, I gritted my teeth and took a ScotchBrite pad to the lower. Not fun, but necessary prep for DuraCoat. Degreased, and then it was off to the spray booth. First a coat of white:

And a shot of purple went on afterwards. No pictures of that because it was still hanging to dry (the buffer detent hole is a perfect spot to hang a lower from, by the by). As careful as I was to get the coat even and clean, I still found a spot I missed when I checked it this morning. I'll mix up a tiny batch of purple when I get home tonight and touch it up.

Jun 20, 2012

It arrives!

Hey, Wally... It's here. Already in the spray booth with the first base coat done. :-D

Jun 19, 2012

Sunshine patriots? Not here.

(This is a copy/paste from the AR15.comJune 2012 Newsletter. Read the whole thing, please. - Z)
Birmingham Michigan Protest re: Sean Combs
by TheOtherDave

Monday, June 11th marked a day of protest in Michigan for Second Amendment activists. Members from Michigan Open Carry, Michigan Gun Owners, the Southwestern Michigan Volunteer Militia and AR15.com gathered to speak out on behalf of a person who had his Second Amendment Civil Right violated.

(Sean Combs meeting to speak with protestors to explain what happened and thank us for being there for him.)

Jun 17, 2012

Duplicate Post Detected

I know I've talked about this before, but that's ok. It's my ice cream machine, and I'll put in whatever flavor I want.

Flipping through the morning's ads, I'm seeing point'n'shoot digital cameras on sale (big graduation present, of course). $240 for 18MP, 10x optical zoom... others with WiFi built in so you can go straight to storage/shares.

Fifteen years does amazing things in technology, that's all. I'm still remembering my battery-sucking QuickTake200.

I wonder if this is how my great-grandmother saw the evolution of flight; she met the Wright brothers on one of their early test-flights when they made an unscheduled landing in a field near the school she taught at. Sixty years later trans- and inter-continental flight had become common.

Jun 16, 2012

At heart, I am...

... still a 13-year-old boy.

While reading LabRat's post regarding the kerfuffle about vaginas in the Michigan state (Assembly? House? Senate?) legislature, she throws out this gem:
This also brings to mind the horrifying question of what Mike thinks an appropriate term for the place he must have put his penis at least once is. My imagination is unhelpfully volunteering “vajajay.”
I therefore submit that if JayG ever moves to Virginia, he is obligated to get the vanity plate "JAYJAY".

Range trip: accomplished

Two friends wanted to hit the range today, so we did. I brought guns, they brought ammo, and we had FUN.

I wasn't competing. I wasn't focusing. I wasn't calling my shots.

I was shooting for the sheer joy of shooting with friends.

We shot trap - starting the process of breaking in a 20ga 870 that's been lurking in the back of the safe for a few years.

We shot a lot of .22 from the M&P.

We shot a couple boxes out of the A2.

We shot a box of .30-30 from the Contender.

Yeah, it was a great afternoon.

(Do anti-gunners have a group weep once in a while? Like this?)

Security FAIL

A couple years back, I wrote a quick post about some phishers that tried to collect my WoW account. I pretty much view any email that even mentions my password as suspect, so when this arrived yesterday from BestBuy, alarm bells started ringing:

Dear Valued Best Buy Customer,
At Best Buy®, we work hard to keep BestBuy.com® secure for our millions of customers, and we routinely conduct security assessments of the site. While we continue to vigilantly work to protect your information, we are asking you to take a few minutes today and update your account.
We are currently investigating increased attempts by hackers around the world to access accounts on BestBuy.com and other online retailers’ e-commerce sites. These hackers did not take username/password combinations from any Best Buy system; they appear to be using combinations taken elsewhere in an attempt to gain access to BestBuy.com accounts. (For additional information on this fraudulent activity, please visit the Merchant Risk Council website.*)
Our investigation indicates that your account may have been accessed by these hackers. We are taking action now to help protect your account; we have disabled your current password, and ask that you take a few minutes to reset it. [Emphasis mine - Z]
To reactivate your account, please do the following:
     • Visit BestBuy.com Password Reset
     • Establish a new password
     • Validate that your personal information is correct
We recommend that you change your password regularly, and choose a username and password combination that is different from those you use elsewhere online. For more information on how to protect your personal information, view the BestBuy.com privacy policy.
We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. Thank you for your help.
Lisa Smith Vice President Best Buy Enterprise Customer Care 
(All those "links" are dead by my hand.)

The "from" header appeared legit. It was sent to the correct email address. The links appeared to go to bestbuy.com sites when I hovered over them. Out of curiousity, I scooted over to BestBuy's site to see what was what - and sure enough, my account had been disabled. This lends some credence to the email, but clicking links in an email is foolish.

I used the on-site "I forgot my password" link and changed my password using the link they sent - that I requested. All seems to be OK at this point, but I have to give BestBuy a loud and wet Bronx Cheer for approaching the problem this way. Next time, send your customers an email asking them to go to the site and change their password there, don't give them suspicious emails with links - those links that security professionals and your own company tell people not to click:
The spoofed email will look extremely similar to one you’d receive from your financial institution or another company you do business with. It might ask you to “verify your account information” or “confirm your billing information”. The link will direct you to a spoofed site that also mimics that of the company they are posing as. When a user visits the fake site, their personal information can be used to create fake accounts in the victim’s name, ruin their credit or even prevent them from accessing their email or account.

Fail. Utter and complete fail.


The barber I've taken to frequenting opens at 6 on Saturday mornings. Well, officially he's open at 6 - but he mentioned that he's often there by 5:30.


I've gone in before work on a couple Saturdays now, and there's always people there. The man found a market - and it's real nice to not deal with later-morning traffic and trying to fit in the trip around the rest of my day.

Giveaway alert

GearHog is giving away a Voodoo Tactical rifle case.

Enter here.

Jun 15, 2012


In a comment over at Tam's, someone puts up the link to this video:

I about died laughing, especially when I yelled "WOLVERINES!" at the end...

The project continues...

Wally sent me a quick cell-snap of the lower last night; apparently his anodizing guy jiggered the order and they're already done!

It looks AWESOME and I can't wait to have it in-hand and build into a finished rifle!

Corollary to that: I ordered a box of 1cc applicators (syringes with blunt needles) to do some engraving color fill. A box is 100. I suspect I won't need more than about five. Anyone need a few for their own project(s)? Let me know.

Jun 12, 2012

Costs of Shooting

In a post noting some deals running local to him, Linoge tosses out this gem:
Unfortunately, it is not the range fee that is the expensive part any more.
Sad but true. I said about the same thing this morning:
I don't have the ammo budget to blow five cases of centerfire anything in a year
There's a reason I'm shooting a lot of .22. I was doing the math on the way home from the range last night. If I stick to my promise of 100 rounds of .22 and a magazine of centerfire every week, that's 5200 rounds of .22 and 520 rounds of centerfire. For the sake of round numbers, we'll say 5000 and 500.

5000 rounds of .22 is ten bricks, at $20 a pop. 200 bucks a year.

500 rounds of centerfire - even of white box 9mm - is $125. .40 or .45 or .223 will push that closer to $180.

A round trip to the range is almost exactly a gallon of gas, or $4 ... so $200 in gas for the year.

My range membership is $60 a year.

Ten times as much for ammo and gas as I'll spend on the membership. Ouch.

Jun 11, 2012


Clicking from MattG's post on Martinis (the drink) over to Spear's piece of tube, I found his two-months-old post on the AR-pattern rifle.

I’ve got no issues with them. [...] I have a problem with all the crap that people hang off of them.

This is smart stuff, kids. RTWT.

I'll admit to not being a fan of the AR as an early shooter. Didn't quite "get it". Of course, my own abilities weren't up to par with the rifle, either. (Truth be told, they probably still aren't.) I saw them as an expensive way to turn money into noise, with magazines I couldn't own and plenty of features I couldn't have.

Now that I'm a bit better shooter, and have a better clue about what they are, I like AR-pattern rifles. I don't think they're the be-all end-all of rifles, but for all-out versatility they're tough to beat. Pop two pins and change from .17HMR to .50Beowulf? 5.56NATO to 6.8SPC to .300BLK? Varmint guns to anti-materiel? There's a certain sexiness in that. It's like the girl you met in Carhartts and Muck boots putting on a Little Black Dress and a string of pearls: same woman underneath, but a totally different look.

I picked up a stripped lower at a gun show about five years ago, then a parts kit and stock, then tried to buy an upper in early 2009. That didn't work so well, and I scoured classifieds for a while until I found something close to what I wanted, and the 20" A2 arrived.

A bit later on, Oleg posted up some work from an acquaintance of his, and MrsZ and I ordered two of the limted-run Second Amendment lowers from Territorial Gunsmith. Those arrived and occupied a corner of the safe. One got completed with a pinned carbine stock and standard parts kit (but no upper), and the other just stayed in a bag.

I play in the forums over at AR15.com regularly, mostly for the entertainment value - but there are definitely some folks over there who Know Their Stuff. If you care to read the tech forums with an open mind and a good noise filter, you can pick up an amazing amount of information. I've learned things about MPI, and semi- as compared to full-auto carriers, twist rates, "tier 1" (I'm not), and SIIHPAPP. But I also spent a lot of time looking at setups, and what I think makes sense and what doesn't.

Living under the thumb of NY makes some things annoying, but not impossible. I can't have an un-pinned carbine stock, which is annoying but not a huge deal. I can't have a bayonet lug, which is unfathomable to Jay but still not a big deal. My pet peeve? Flash hiders. I can't have one. A muzzle brake is fine, but a flash hider is a dangerous evil feature.

Regardless, I looked at the market and what things are doing right now, and decided that if I was going to finish up the lowers I had, sooner was better than later. I spent some time discussing with MrsZ, negotiating (read: begging/wheedling), and ended up with a sizable chunk of money budgeted for ARs. I had just ordered a York Arms lower for her, so spent some time picking out what I thought would be a good setup for her as well.

I looked at - and still want - a Rock River ATH. It's a beauty of an 18" heavy-barrel upper... but RRA is currently giving a 60-90 day lead time. I wasn't real keen on waiting that long. MrsZ wanted lightweight, and I wanted a carbine setup anyways... so we ended up ordering a pair of Stag Arms 3H uppers.

I toyed with numbers a bit more, and decided that if my option was to finish out those two rifles completely - sights and everything - I'd be within budget and be done. I made a different choice, and picked up the S&W M&P15-22. I don't regret that choice at all. It means I've got two ARs sitting in the safe that are not-quite-done but could be put into service simply by taking the scope off another rifle, and a .22 plinker/trainer.

Do I think the AR-pattern is the epitome of rifles? Nope - but I think it's a hell of a platform just the same. It's light, accurate, reliable, and just plain fun to shoot. I went from being relatively indifferent to having four of them in almost no time... And there's still a stripped lower tucked in the back of the safe, for a rainy day.

So, what's YOUR thoughts on the matter?

Gauntlet: picked up

Last week Uncle threw down a challenge to shoot a hundred rounds a week this year.

I already know there will be weeks I'm unable to do that, but I'm going to try.

Since I don't have the ammo budget to blow five cases of centerfire anything in a year, I decided I'm going to shoot at least a hundred rounds of .22, and one magazine of centerfire. If I'm shooting rifles, that'll probably be ten rounds of 5.56; pistols it could be almost anything.

I started yesterday. I took the newly-finished AR and the 15-22 out and had the range to myself. Ten rounds of brass and ten rounds of steel 5.56 later, function was 100%. I don't have sights on the rifle yet, so it really was just a function check.

Then it was on to the 15-22, and I lost count on rounds. Well north of 100. It's REAL easy to burn a whole lot of ammo in that thing. Fortunately, .22 is still relatively cheap. The rifle continues to impress with it's accuracy and reliability: iron sights zeroed for 25yd (3/8 on the elevation knob) and then rear elevation clicked up to 4 puts me right on the plates at 100yd. The reflex sight (seen above with the donut-o-death reticle) is bright and easy to pick up quickly. I'm toying with the idea of pulling off the existing fixed irons and putting on a set of flip-ups - but at the same time, I'm moderately reluctant to drop MORE money into a plinker. (g)

To satisfy the gun-geeks: S&W M&P15-22 with a TruGlo TruBrite reflex, Stag 3H upper on a Territorial Arms 2nd Amendment lower.

Jun 10, 2012

I have this old gun...

A friend asked me to take a look at some old guns that had been in her family and no one was quite sure what they were or what to do with them. We got together last night and pored over things.

The last time I played this game, I ended up being handed a Volcanic Volition repeater - which by chance had been discussed in previous month's issue of "American Rifleman".

This time around was similar, except that instead of a Volcanic, I was handed a complete receiver group for an Eddystone Arsenal US Model of 1917. No stock, and the barrel had been chopped just in front of the chamber (need to dispose of that, come to think of it). It's not clean, but it's mostly there. Bolt is complete, trigger and safety seem to function, ladder sight is there. Ordnance stamps on the receiver and bolt handle are there. Fair bit of surface rust, but it really does seem to be just surface. The floorplate and follower are both in the magazine, but there's no spring.

It's not a museum piece, and my friend has no interest in it. I *think* it would make a fine basis for a project gun if someone is interested, and the 1917s have some nifty history behind them. If anyone wants more details or pictures, drop me a line - it is for sale.

Other pieces that showed up:
- a J. Stevens Model 1915 single-shot .22. Some pretty nasty rust on the receiver but it can be cleaned up. Seems complete and functional otherwise; she's probably going to get it cleaned up at some point and give it to her nephew.
- a Baker Gun Company "Batavia" double in 20ga (I think; I didn't drop a shell in to check) with damascus barrels. Pretty good shape overall, the stock has years of field dings in it. It'll make a beautiful wall-hanger for her.
- an unidentifiable muzzle-loading double shotgun. Roughly 20ga, external hammers for percussion caps. Rusted almost solid, the hammers only move with serious force. Questionable value beyond wall decoration and maybe not even that.
- a freakin' gorgeous LC Smith/Hunter Arms 12ga double. This was pretty clearly a bespoke gun: fancy walnut, extensive engraving, color case-hardened receiver, a fitted leather case - and the owner's name engraved on the trigger guard and a brass plate on the case. Little touches really make this one stand out: an ebony inlay in the fore-end, engraved screwheads - on the inside of the fore-end where they're rarely seen, and the buttplate... it's not a buttplate per se, but an adorning ring. The center of the plate is cut out, the end grain of the wood is flush to the plate, and checkered. The ring/plate is essentially a 3/8" wide strip of engraved metal around the checkered wood.

... and here's the down side: it looks like the owner fell on the gun at some point, because the stock is broken in half right at the wrist. *sob* If anything was worth restoring, it's this one. Obviously, Doug Turnbull would be first choice - but he's big bucks. A long-ago friend's father runs a smithy nearby and I may get in touch with him for a price. The metal needs some love, but not much - most the case hardening is worn off.

I don't have pictures right now, but I'll ask for permission and see if I can post a few. For the nonce, everything was wiped down with a silicone rag and is now residing in my safe.

Jun 9, 2012

DF Rifle

I decided I didn't want to try hiding the various pieces of MrsZ's rifle until the WallyLower arrives, so I pulled the stock and upper off my A2 setup and put her rifle on that. The small bits aren't on yet, but that's ok.

I zipped it into a rifle case and gave it to her. She opened it, and the first thing she said was, "Wow, that's bright."

I suppose she's right:

I didn't snap a picture of things all together. Maybe tonight.

When the WallyLower gets here, it'll be coated to match the upper (Goddess Purple), with color fill on the marks and the small parts mentioned before.

We don't have the money to put sights on it right this instant, so I may slap a cheap red dot I have in the safe on top, and when the money is there I'll put on the scope I'm planning on.

I have to say: I really like the size and feel of the MAGS EFX stock. Nice balance, nice look, and I may put one on my carbine at some point.

Jun 8, 2012

Well said ... very well said

Commencement speaker tells class, "You're not special." (WaPo)

You are not special. You are not exceptional.
Yes, you’ve been pampered, cosseted, doted upon, helmeted, bubble-wrapped. Yes, capable adults with other things to do have held you, kissed you, fed you, wiped your mouth, wiped your bottom, trained you, taught you, tutored you, coached you, listened to you, counseled you, encouraged you, consoled you and encouraged you again.


I've been everywhere, man....

Not really. But it sure seemed like it when I was travelling for work on a regular basis. I had a bulletin board in my cube where I kept stacks of my boarding passes from each trip; it was completely covered with trips. More airline miles and hotel points than I could shake a stick at.

I've done similar things to this map before, and it's getting harder to tick off new boxes - I just don't have much call to visit Arizona or New Mexico, for instance. I'm hoping to make the NRA convention in Houston next year, which will take Texas off the list. MrsZ has family in Alaska whom we owe a visit - the guys are going to go hunting and the gals are going to stay home and chatter, by their choice.

h/t OldNFO and DaddyBear

Create yours here.

And a little Cash for Friday morning:

Jun 7, 2012

Starting the upper...

I looked at things and decided to pull the forward assist out before doing the coating. I tried to get the dust cover off, but I don't want to screw with pulling the barrel/gas block/gas tube/D-ring and couldn't pop the C-clip... so that'll be dealt with in other ways.

The white base coat is done; color coats are next.

Jun 6, 2012

Lauer Weaponry - thumbs up

I had a process question about DuraCoat. I HATE making phone calls. HATE. Lauer has an 800 support number open six days a week. I chose to email them instead using the generic mailto: link on their page.

I had an answer - not a form "thanks for contacting us", a real answer - in 35 minutes. Fantastic!

I can't post today's work because it will give too much away... but it's looking like the last piece of the puzzle will be waiting for the WallyLower to arrive and get its coating.

Another step along the path...

I did another color coat last night. The lighting doesn't do them justice.

I need to call Lauer for some technical advice today, and may get started on the upper.

Jun 5, 2012

A father writes

EvylRobot knocks this one out of the park.

Indeed, I can laugh at Teen Bot, but it’s only because it seems like I was just there. I know it sucks. In retrospect, it’s actually quite comical, and he will discover this as well. He’s honestly got a great sense of humor about it already.
I don't have kids of my own (yet - but we're talking about it) but I can certainly identify with a lot of what he's written.

Sounds to me like he's doing just fine.

Call a Shark

Because this is a pretty clear-cut case of unreasonable search, unlawful arrest, and probably a violation of 18USC242.


Police in Aurora, Colo., searching for suspected bank robbers stopped every car at an intersection, handcuffed all the adults and searched the cars, one of which they believed was carrying the suspect.
“We didn’t have a description, didn’t know race or gender or anything, so a split-second decision was made to stop all the cars at that intersection, and search for the armed robber,” Aurora police Officer Frank Fania told ABC News.
 “Most of the adults were handcuffed, then were told what was going on and were asked for permission to search the car,” Fania said. “They all granted permission, and once nothing was found in their cars, they were un-handcuffed.” The search lasted between an hour and a half and two hours, and it wasn’t until the final car was searched that police apprehended the suspect.
No description - at ALL.

I have just pegged the rage-o-meter. If that had been me, they'd have found at LEAST one loaded gun, several boxes of various ammo, and all the other detritus that accumulates in my truck. And as soon as I was out of cuffs, the first call would be the slimiest greediest lawyer I could find, and the second would be the press.

Jun 4, 2012

Not bad, not great

I color-coated a magazine last night for MrsZ's rifle. Once it had flashed off, I stenciled on some flowers.

The stencils look pretty good but not perfect; there's clearly-defined edge that I don't care for. But I think it'll do. Maybe a shot of clear DuraCoat would smooth it out... Hm.

Jun 3, 2012

Color Coat

Just put the first color coat on the small parts. Most of them are fine, a couple will need a little touch-up.

Wally, you're gonna love the end result. I think. :-)

Jun 2, 2012

Quick update

This is what the spray booth looked like last night:

Tonight, I hope/intend to do some color layers.

Also, I learned that the DuraCoat flows MUCH better with a working pressure up around 25psi.

Optics bleg

So these shiny new uppers are flat-top, which means I need to find optics. Things I'm looking for:
- relatively low magnification
- able to handle some bumps and rattles in the safe or in the truck
- weatherproof
- relatively compact

I know Oleg has done some photo work with Primary Arms, and I'm actually pretty tempted by their 3x compact or the 1-4x24. The reviews I'm finding online are generally positive, but if one of you has some personal experience, I'd be thrilled.

Other items under consideration are a Leupold 2.5x20 Ultralight, Nikon M223 1-4x20, or a Bushnell Banner 1.5-4.5x32.

Price is not the sole factor but does matter, which means the Leupold and Nikon are at the far top end of my budget. I have a Banner 3-9x40 on my .17HMR and think it's OK but not exceptional. I love the Nikon ProStaffs we have (two of them, on .22s) but the ProStaff is bigger/bulkier than what I want.

I considered a red dot or a reflex sight, but my eyes don't appreciate that out at 250-300yd.

Is there something I'm missing or forgetting?

Jun 1, 2012

Brown Truck

I missed the delivery yesterday, but caught it today. Brown Truck of Joy brought two identical boxes from Stag.

Two gorgeous 3H uppers: flat top, 16" (17.5 with the brake, I measured), wonderfully lightweight, M4 cuts, everything. One has already been slapped on the built lower I had waiting and needs some kind of sights. The second? The handguards are off, the bolt carrier is out, and it's all going to the spray booth shortly.