Aug 27, 2014

Another Freedom Rifle complete:

I stuck this on the Pale Horse lower for the picture, because it adds one more naughty over the lower it's actually on. Let's count the New York no-no's:
- adjustable stock
- detachable magazine
- full-capacity magazine
- bayonet lug (with Ontario M7 sticker)
- A2 flash hider
- pistol grip

All of these things are E- and D-felonies.

Crimes with lower classifications include (penal code section):
- luring a child (120.70)
- possessing an obscene performance by a child (263.11)
- aggravated sexual abuse (130.65-a)
- promoting a sexual performance by a child (263.15)
- rape in the second degree (130.30)

There are several more, sourced here.

Because guns are worse than child porn and rape.

Aug 25, 2014

Quick thought

This popped in to my head today as yet another headline about Michael Brown scrolled by...

"He may not be the perfect case, but he's the case we need."

Let me expound a bit.

I don't think anyone will ever know exactly what happened in that street. Pathology reports will tell some, medical reports on the officer might tell more, but in the end, only two people know what happened - and one of them can't tell us anymore.

Michael may not have been an angel. It doesn't matter.

His death has opened up the conversation about policing, accountability, and drawn attention to something that's needed it for a long time.

Something we should keep in mind. Maybe it's time we, as gun owners, stop looking for the perfect case and find the cases we need. Kachalsky was turned down. Fine. There will be more. Open the conversation.

A few build notes

Regarding the AR pistol build from my last post, a few things that are worth mentioning:

- The PSA Pistol Lower Build Kit had an oversized bolt-catch roll pin that necessitated ordering a new pin after I mangled the first one. The trigger, however, is surprisingly good for a budget parts kit. It's no Geissele, but it's a tolerable single-stage.
- The AR small parts kit from Amazon is worth every penny and also included extractor O-rings (which are not pictured).
- The AIM Surplus NiB v2 bolt group is on par with the WMD bolt I have in another rifle, and $50 cheaper. The non-v2 version isn't quite as nicely finished but quite functional and another $30 less.
- The Brownell's upper receiver block is a great fit and will do both A2 and flat-top uppers. (Bought secondhand.)
- The Diamondhead VRS-T handguard is the cat's ass, but requires a low-profile gas block. Also, the barrel nut, while nice because it doesn't need timing to the gas tube, needs a 1-1/4" wrench to install. If you're going to torque to spec, get a crowfoot wrench. I didn't, I just got a big honkin' box wrench from Home Depot and cranked it down to "that's snug".
- The Kaw Valley Precision Linear Comp is a beautiful little piece of equipment and very fairly priced. Sure beats three times the price for a Noveske KX-3/-5.
- AR barrel nuts require a moly grease for installation. There are reasons not to use plain old bearing grease, something about graphite and dissimilar metals. You can buy an entire tube of AeroShell 33MS grease (meets the military spec) for $15-20 and have enough grease for a lifetime, or a 2oz tub of KG-11 Moly Grease for $18 and still have enough for lifetime. Note: this shit gets everywhere. Wear old clothes, put down newspaper, paper plates, whatever, and still expect to get some where you don't want it.
- CLP in a needle applicator is fantastic for small-parts assembly. And for $5, get a tube on your next Amazon order. Tip of the hat to Carteach for the original recommendation on that.
- A Primary Arms MicroDot/Fortis Mount combo is on the way to me. It's light, battery-efficient, and not terribly expensive. Also a plus, the mount is compatible with Aimpoint Micros if/when I decide to upgrade.

(All links are to where I sourced the parts for this build. It seems that several of them have gone out of stock since I ordered, which means either I got the last one or it's just that popular.)

Aug 23, 2014

Another notch for freedom

New York prevented me from owning an AR-pattern pistol even before the unSAFE insanity - magazine well outside the pistol grip and unloaded weight over 50oz - so I finally ticked that off the list.

It is (as usual) a York Arms lower, completed with a PSA pistol parts kit, ERGO grip, Diamondhead VRS-T rail, 10.5" 300BLK barrel, and KVP Linear Comp.

It'll be wearing a red dot soon, and a final picture should show up then.

When I have a bit of extra cash, I'll stamp-and-stock it.

Aug 22, 2014

Minor amusement: there are at least three or four firearms-industry companies close enough that their "cheap" shipping is still overnight or two-day.

Midway and Grafs are both within a hundred miles.
JoeBob's is perhaps 300 miles.
Brownell's is 200 miles as the crow flies, and 300 by road.

I can actually do same-day pickups from Midway or Grafs if I really want to - if I was ordering powder from both it might be worth it, but it is a four-hour round trip and gas ain't cheap.

Still ... it's nice to know that I can.

Aug 20, 2014

Now is the time...

It seems like the insanity of last year has finally calmed down. If you don't have an AR-pattern rifle and want one, now is the time.

You can buy a major-brand rifle for $800 (Colt, S&W) at friggin' Walmart.

Decent brass-cased ammo is running back in the $330-350/case range. Steel-cased is under $250/1000.

If you have an hour and a couple tools, you can build a complete entry-level rifle for $500:

PSA is running a "blemished" lower sale for $70. A lower parts kit is $50. M4 stock kit is $40. A middy stainless upper is $200, a bolt group is $100, and a charging handle is $20. Bam. $480.

Add either an inexpensive fixed-rear iron sight or a budget optic of preference and you're still under $600.

$250 will buy you a thousand rounds of blasting ammo.

$100 will buy you ten 30-round magazines.

Under a thousand dollars for a complete AR setup. Top of the line? Nope. Reliable? Should be. If you don't want to build it, or want the comfort of a warranty, it's real tough to beat this Colt 6720 price. Ditto the above, spend a couple hundred on a case of ammo and another hundred on a handful of magazines. Add an optic if you like, but you don't have to.

Aug 18, 2014

Accidentally recorded...

Half-watching CNN this morning to keep an ear on Ferguson happenings, and it is interspersed with other items of "news".

Breathless newsreader is aghast that Germany recorded calls placed by SecStates Kerry and Clinton. Germany is saying it was an accident. (Or at least it was an accident that they were caught doing it.)

In other news, I have a great price on a vintage bridge in the NY Metro area...

Aug 17, 2014


I've been pondering this tonight as I've occasionally clicked over to CNN to see what's going on in Ferguson - I'm nowhere near there but it's a fair barometer of what's going on in the minds of people.

And what I keep coming back to is this:

What's the difference between the questionable/intimidating actions of the various agencies in Ferguson MO and the questionable/intimidating actions of the various agencies in Bunkerville, NV in March of this year?

The population is angry.

In Ferguson, they're risking arrest (and a bit of tear gas) and staying out past a government-ordered curfew. There was a temporary no-fly (under 5,000 feet) the other night after a helicopter took some ground fire... All this as a result of a questionable police-involved shooting.

In Nevada, citizens were bearing arms against the perception of an overreaching government agency.

In both cases, we're not getting the full story - and probably never will.

But it's got me thinking about what the difference is, if any.

Aug 15, 2014

Layers on layers...

If the click-to-embiggen doesn't work, that caption reads, "[...] Pictured above, a bullet is loaded into an assault rifle."


Aug 12, 2014

Crème Brûlée

In the oven, right now.

I started with the recipe from Pioneer Woman. I've made it twice and it's just more than I want. Ten eggs and a quart of cream is a LOT of crème. It's also a hair sweeter than I'd prefer.

So I adjusted as follows:
1 pint heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
5 large egg yolks
1/3 cup vanilla sugar
1-2 tablespoons good bourbon

Preheat the oven to 325F. Put a kettle of water on low to warm up.

Put the cream, vanilla caviar, and bean hulls into a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Bring to a gentle simmer, stirring regularly.
Beat the sugar and egg yolks together until it is a pale yellow consistency - this is key. PALE yellow.
Whisk the bourbon into the egg mixture.
Strain the cream through a sieve into a large (1qt) measuring cup or bowl.

Now the tricky part, and this is even more important than the color of the eggs and sugar:
With your mixer on medium, TRICKLE the hot cream down the side of the bowl into the egg mix. If you add it too fast, you're going to cook the eggs and end up with sweet scrambled eggs. Once you've tempered the eggs with about half of the cream (which should take one to two minutes), you can add the remainder a little faster.

Put your ramekins (this should make 4-5 6oz ramekins) in a baking dish with a towel underneath them.
Pour the egg mix into the ramekins evenly. Pour hot water in the dish to about halfway up the ramekins.

Bake at 325F for about 30-35 minutes, until just set.

Remove from the oven and the dish. Cool on a rack about 30 minutes, then cover with saran wrap and put in the fridge for 2-3 hours until completely firm.

When it's time to enjoy:
Sprinkle a thin layer of sugar on top, then torch it 'til it's brûlèe'd to your taste.

Aug 3, 2014

It's never Lupus... it's Ebola!

There are a ton of half-formulated posts rattling around in my head, but I haven't had the time or energy to get them banged out into something cogent. I still owe y'all a couple reviews of things.

Work has been insane. The rollercoaster mood swings associated with a mass layoff are tough and neither management or our union *spit* have been very helpful. Still no firm date.

And now ... Ebola on our shores. In chat last night, two People Who Know indicated that this is a Very Serious Concern. A direct quote was, "This strain of Ebola should scare the shit out of you."

I wrote a term paper on Ebola in high school. That was a long time ago, but the rough facts have hung out in the back of my head: short incubation, then a rapid spiral down with usual case fatality rate in the 90% range.

Apparently this new strain has a longer incubation and a slightly lower fatality rate ... which is BAD. With earlier strains, infection to symptomatic was usually 3-7 days. Short enough to be able to associate the early exposure with the present illness, and then death was quick. The pandemics burned themselves out in a hurry.

The new strain? 15-20 day incubation during which time you're not contagious, then a few days of low-grade fever, aches, chills ... you know, a summer flu. How many of us have gone to work with a minor case of the blahs, and then sneezed and coughed all over our cube, break room, restroom, etc? That's where this strain is going to be a problem if it actually manages a foothold here. On top of that, its lower mortality actually increases the potential number of deaths - because people won't associate the symptoms soon, will think they're getting better, and infect more people.

Just for comparison sake, the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918 had an estimated mortality rate of 3-5% (and a case fatality rate of 10-20%).

I'm not panicking - but I am sure as hell going to be more aware of what's going on around me, and an extra bit of food in the larder might not be a bad thing.