Sep 30, 2010

How did...

Bob S. (From Three Boxes of BS) asked in comments on my last post:
How did you get started; in shooting, collecting, activism?

What state law would you like to see: repealed or passed?

Now that is some serious blog fodder, and I'll answer in parts.

I started shooting like many young men: courtesy of the Boy Scouts of America. I had asked my parents (repeatedly) for a BB gun starting around age 10. They were not shooters, and there were not (to my knowledge) guns in the house. They held to their guns (pun intended) and told me I could get a BB gun after I had earned my Rifle Shooting merit badge. Our scout camp didn't allow shooting until you were 13, if I remember correctly. The summer I was of age, I made that merit badge my single goal for the week I was at camp.

I earned it.

I asked my parents for a BB gun. They told me I could start saving my allowance and when I had enough, we'd go get what I chose. I saved what I could, but as an early teenager, there were plenty of other things to spend my allowance on. Summer turned into fall, school started up again, and still no BB gun. My birthday came and went; nothing. I was convinced that I'd get one for Christmas.

Christmas morning, I remember being very disappointed that there was nothing resembling a rifle-length box under the tree. Turns out my parents, those clever people, had hidden the package elsewhere in the house. I tore into it when they brought it out, unveiling a Crosman 2100 pellet gun. I spent the vast majority of Christmas day outside in a foot of snow putting holes in tin cans and paper targets.

That air rifle went all over with me from then on. I added a scope and spent a large chunk of money on BBs and pellets. We lived in a pretty rural area, and property lines were a vague concept out there. All over the woods and fields, plinking targets of opportunity...

But as the scripture goes, "When I became a man, I put away childish things." (1Cor 13:11) I graduated high school, went off to college, and the air rifle got jammed into a corner of my parents' mud room. I shot it once in a while on breaks, but it had lost some of the fascination. (I think it may still be in that mud room, come to think of it.)

After I left college, I was living hand-to-mouth, and guns weren't on my list of hobbies. When I was 21 or so, I decided I wanted a .22 for plinking. I went to my local Kmart and bought a Remington 597 and a brick or two of ammo.

That 597 and I spent a lot of time at a coworker's vacant lot punching holes in tin cans and turning money into smoke and noise. I wasn't a great shot with it (hindsight: it was the rifle), but I had fun. A year or so later, a roommate's coworker invited us to a shoot. We showed up with the ammo he'd told us to bring and spent a day playing. Lots of guns, although nothing particularly high-dollar. A Garand, some Tauri, HiPoint, a few .22s, that sort of thing.

At the next shoot (a year later) my 597 fired out of battery and forcibly removed the extractor from the bolt. I stuck it in a closet and didn't think about it for the next couple years. My shooting was on hiatus.

When I was 25 or so, I started talking hunting with a fellow firefighter, and he VERY generously offered to take me turkey hunting with him the next day. I showed up, and we went. I was one-hundred-percent hooked, on the spot. (Tip: if you want to hook someone on hunting, spring turkey is a GREAT way to do it. Comfortably warm and exciting - none of this 20-degrees in a treestand for four or five hours nonsense.) That fall I bought my first grown-up gun - a Remington 870 Express SuperMag. I took my hunter safety class shortly thereafter, and shot my first deer late in the season (December 2005).

Initially, my guns were simply tools of necessity: I was hunting deer, turkey, and crows: the shotgun was fine. We went out for coyotes late that winter, and I picked up a .270. Overkill for coyotes, but I wanted a multi-purpose rifle.

Over the next two years, I picked up a few range toys and such. A T/C Omega muzzleloader, a Savage .17HMR, a Remington .30-06, and a Ruger Mini-14 all found their way into my gun cabinet. At some point I did get my .22 repaired, although it never was quite the same. Pure jamomatic.

Summer 2007, I moved in with the MrsZ-to-be, and took her shooting a couple times. We got an 870 for her (which is still new-stiff; we need to get that puppy out and broken in the rest of the way), and a few range toys appeared. I found out where the local gun shops were, checked out a couple gun shows, and applied for my NY pistol permit in spring of 2008.

Early summer of '08 found me with a crisp new pistol permit, and I promptly (the day I got it) completed the purchase of my first pistol. Two weeks later, the Springfield 1911A1 came home. The following two months increased the collection with a pair of S&W wheelguns, and I'd been bitten by the S&W bug. It could just have easily been Ruger or Colt. I went to the gun shop looking for a .357 wheelgun to have with me when hunting, and the 28-2 was the one that spoke to me.

Since then, the gun cabinet has become a gun safe, and the collection has increased in value by orders of magnitude. I've bought and horsetraded, and sold a few pieces here and there. I've learned what *I* like, as opposed to what ArfCom says I should like. (I have never owned a Glock. Not because they're bad guns, but because I don't like how they feel in my hand. I would buy one for a good price.)

I don't consider myself a collector, though. A more accurate term for my kind is "accumulator". There are honest to goodness collectors out there whose goals are very specific, e.g., "I want one of each iteration of S&W Model 10." (That'd be a hell of a collection.) I accumulate what appeals to me, and if I have something that doesn't make my heart thump a little faster, I have no issue with sending it down the road to finance something that I *do* love.

So, that's the start of shooting and collecting. (Side note: Dad now owns guns, having received a few from his mother when they moved from their house to a senior home. I'm in no hurry to acquire them, but I do want to shoot that .25-20WCF.)


Activism? I don't know that I'd even call myself an activist. I'm strongly pro-gun, pro-carry, and pro-hunting, but I don't do a lot of things I'd consider activism. I make it known that I'm happy to take new shooters to the range, and if someone asks my opinions, I'm never shy about sharing them. There are decals on my truck ("Peace through superior firepower", a Gadsden Flag, a Sons of Liberty flag, and "Forget Tibet, Free America") but I don't rub peoples' noses in it either. I email and occasionally call my representatives, but haven't attended rallies. I tend to stay pretty far from politics on this blog, because other folks cover it better than I could.


State law to repeal - that's an easy one. The NY "assault weapon" ban. It's a mirror of the (expired) federal ban, and has continued the effects that had. A post-ban stripped AR receiver goes for market value in NY - $125-150, depending on whose rollmark you like. A documentable pre-ban receiver can run five times that much. For what purpose? An adjustable stock, an A2 "flash hider", and a bayonet lug. Post-ban magazines over 10 rounds are verboten, but fortunately there are lots of pre-bans floating around in free states that folks are more than willing to trade for brand-new on a 1:1 basis. (Side note: I would dearly love a handful of pre-ban 20-round AR mags. If anyone has them just collecting dust or something...)

Full-frame handguns are neutered to ten rounds, making it silly to carry anything double-stack. (8+1 of .45 or 10+1 of 9mm? Let me think.) Yes, there are pre-ban pistol magazines out there, but folks are a bit more protective of those than they are of AR magazines. A pre-ban 17-round Glock magazine runs nearly $70 on Gunbroker right now; that same magazine brand-new from Midway is $22. Not everyone tries to make that much on their magazines, but it does seem to be a trend. I've lucked into a handful of pre-ban mags for my S&W 5946 at reasonable prices.

The scary-looking-gun ban has had zero appreciable effect on crime; it's time for it to go. It was poorly thought out to begin with, and has served no purpose beyond sending dollars out of NY to folks in free states.

Now, what state law to pass? Again, easy. A complete revamp of the NY pistol permit system. The current system is a mess, dependent on the whims of a local (elected) judge to sign (or not) and restrict (or not) a pistol permit. The concept of waiting three to fifteen MONTHS simply to get the permit - and then up to a month waiting period for each individual purpose - is simply stifling trade. The vast majority of NY gun owners can't purchase a pistol at a gun show because they can't have them added to their permit that day.

New York needs to become shall-issue, at a state level, with a single format for permits, and start making reciprocity agreements. The registration of individual handguns, and the money-pit boondoggle of CoBIS needs to be ended, period. I'd be content to switch to a tiered FOID/CCW setup. Want to be able to purchase handguns for sporting purposes? Fine - go to the sheriff's office, fill out a one-page application, they run a criminal history, and issue a 5-year FOID on the spot. You can now purchase handguns and possess them for sporting purposes: hunting and target shooting. Want to carry? Go to the sheriff, fill out a two-page application - hell, add a character reference or two - add a set of fingerprints, and wait for the prints to come back. Two weeks, maybe three, you have your 5-year CCW. Purchase and carry. Simple.

I'd even be OK adding a training requirement to receive a CCW - *if and only if* the classes are free or extremely low-cost (a la hunter education). Charging $120 for a permit and another $300-500 for a CCW class simply prices some folks out of it.

There oughtn't be a law...

Thanks for the fodder, Bob!

Sep 29, 2010


As mentioned in my previous post, I'm hard up for blog fodder.

So I'm asking for ideas. Throw me a frickin' bone here, people. Ask me a question. Ask for a picture. Give me something to work with!

(Comments are moderated and will remain hidden 'til I use them for posts.)


... Any significant blog fodder of late.

The dog is a dog, work is work, and hunting season begins in three weeks. Aside from that, there is very little going on in the Z realm.

Update with a deal alert: has SureFire G2LED lights for $39+s/h. These are fantastic lights for ... well, just about everything. Normal retail is about $65. I just ordered two (one for each car).

Sep 22, 2010

Brain Dump

First and foremost:
RobertaX has a sick kitty. Slinky passed away last week, and Tommy is having a rough time of it. Please send some good thoughts to Tommy, Roberta, and Tam.

Losing a long-time pet is one of the hardest things in life. To many of us, a pet can be even closer than a family member. Unconditional love is a powerful bond. One of my hesitations in getting a dog was knowing how attached I'd get to it ... hell, I already am. Dixie is only a year and a half old, so hopefully we've got lots of good years ahead.

On to the rest of the news...

In Madison, WI, a group of gun owners went out for dinner, open-carrying their pistols. This is entirely legal in the state of Wisconsin: they do not have any provisions for concealed carry in their laws, so if you want to carry a gun, it has to be open.

A passerby called 911 to report it, and officers were dispatched. Two of the folks having dinner declined to provide ID (as is their right in Wisconsin), and were subsequently (wrongfully) arrested for obstruction of justice.

Madison PD is now in a world of hurt. Not knowing the law is not an valid defense for you or I, nor is it a valid defense for an officer.

In this instance, there is audio recording of the incident - linked in the above post. Two of the folks having dinner chose to bring a recorder of some kind with them. It could be argued that they were looking for this kind of reaction. It could also be argued just as easily that while they weren't looking for trouble with the police, they wanted to make sure they had an unbiased "witness" if they were confronted.

I'm a supporter of recording the police. Not the media snippets and sound bites that cause riots, but "if you're on-duty, you are being recorded. Period." Audio at the minimum, and preferably audio and video. Knowing that anything you say could be subpoenaed and published on the front page of the local rag tends to keep you from saying things you will regret later. Before someone chimes in to say that I've no idea what that would be like ... you're 100% wrong. I work in a dispatch center, and everything I say on the phone or radio is recorded. You try very hard to never, ever, ever, say something you wouldn't say to your grandmother.

Having an unbiased recording of events can prevent a LOT of issues - from both sides of the badge. There is a video that was posted by the CATO Institute last week covering this exact topic. It's worth the ten minutes to watch it.

Also of note, from the update posted by Guns & Coffee:
Not a big deal really, however, as has happened several times in the past, the dispatcher has not simply told the caller that it is legal, and maybe had a squad drive past, but instead dispatched officers, who then unlawfully detained and charged individuals. Poor practice by MPD.
I don't know what the setup is for calltaking at MPD. Many municipalities have gone to a consolidated dispatch setup, wherein all 911 calls are routed to one central Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP), and handled entirely within that center. A dispatcher working in such a PSAP is generally NOT a sworn officer, and does not have training in the finer points of law. They won't give legal advice. See above: it's ALL recorded.

Is it a bit of CYA? Absolutely. In our litigation-happy society, I will not be the one sitting on the stand while an attorney says, "Now, Mr. ZerCool, have you received any legal training? Are you qualified to provide advice on the legalities of carrying a pistol? Are you a sworn officer of the law? So would you care to explain why you told this caller that open-carrying a pistol was legal, just prior to the crazed maniac killing three people?"

Once the call has been received, there really isn't such a thing as "ha[ving] a squad drive past". The officers are going to be sent to a report of several subjects with guns, not brandishing or threatening, and caller feels the situation should be checked out. No metro police force in its right mind would send one or two officers into a situation with several known-armed subjects. When they arrive, they're going to assess things and handle it from there.

I'm not defending the actions of MPD after they arrived on scene: they stepped on the ol' crank. Big time. It's going to cost them. But I don't have issue with the initial handling of the call or the number of officers dispatched.

This headline on caught my eye:
"Georgia baby sitter, 11, charged in death"

Read the article for details, if you wish, but this sums it up:
An 11-year-old baby sitter in suburban Atlanta, Georgia, has been charged in the death of a 2-year-old, authorities said. [...] The baby sitter [...] was caring for Zyda White late Saturday.
You can not possibly tell me that the parent(s) of the infant are not partially culpable in this incident. I have NEVER met an ELEVEN YEAR OLD who is mature enough to be solely responsible for the care of a toddler. It's one thing to say "you're going to baby sit" and have the child keep an eye on a younger sibling while mom or dad does chores around the house. "Late Saturday" suggests that the parent(s) were out of the house, and the story as published seems to confirm it.

To further compound it, if I'm reading right, the baby sitter was caring for the toddler in the sitter's home - so where were HER parent(s)???

Eleven years old. Facing a felony murder charge. While I'm sure there will be naysayers who think the parent(s) have suffered enough, they are, IMHO, guilty of endangering the welfare of a child, and possibly some kind of negligence charges. Same goes for the parents of the sitter.

Jay, I have just spiked my rage-o-meter.

Sep 19, 2010

More dog

The pooch is socializing very well. She loves everyone, wants nothing but attention, but also does a good job accepting, "No, not now".

We took her for a walk at the state park Friday afternoon, and I got a better picture:


However, this picture is a lie, because you can actually see the dog.

This one is FAR more accurate:


She does great in her crate overnight, hasn't had any more accidents inside, and we're slowly working on leash manners. Commands are next...

Sep 18, 2010

Now I am...

... become death, the destroyer of worlds.

Uncle links to a NY Times photo collection covering some of the early nuclear testing.

Something about nuclear power (for war and peace) has always fascinated me. I started reading everything I could get my hands on somewhere around 6th grade. I worked my way through the (very limited) selection in the school library and then started working through the public library offerings about anything nuclear-related.

In 7th grade, we were required to do a public speaking bit in our English class. It was to be a 5-7 minute lesson to the class on "how-to". We got to pick our own topics, and there were quite a few cooking lessons, a bit of drawing, and so forth. I taught the class how to do nuclear fusion. (Yep, I was a nerd.) Hydrogen isotopes, add heat/pressure, get helium. Piece of cake, right? :-)

I've watched nearly every "nuke" movie I've heard of. Not the Toxic-Avenger type stuff, but "Fail Safe", "Manhattan Project", "Dr. Strangelove", etc. Documentaries about Cheyenne Mountain, Los Alamos, Oak Ridge, Y12, Pantex, Bikini Atoll, and so forth.

It's easy to imagine the fear that my parents' generation lived in; look at pictures 14-20 in the above link. When you're feeding that kind of thing to school children, and supplementing it with Bert the Turtle (he ducked, and covered - ducked, and covered...), fear makes sense.

I grew up within a short drive of the Seneca Army Depot, anecdotally known (and denied, with a wink and a nudge) as the East-coast storage facility for tactical nuclear weapons during most of the Cold War. When I was old enough to understand what that meant, I was well into learning about nukes: I figured that if things went south we'd be sitting under a large quantity of Soviet MIRVs and it wasn't worth worrying about. (Bend over and kiss your sweet ass goodbye, kid.)

The base has been closed (since 2000) and is slowly being repurposed:
- some of the ultra-secure Q-section bunkers have been leased out to a local technology group for off-site secure data and document storage.
- NYSDOC has opened a maximum security prison
- the NY State Police have (or will have?) a training facility
- the runway has been used for SCCA rallies

The nuclear war we face now is not one of strategic bombers, ICBMs, SLBMs, nor even Davy Crocketts. If we are attacked by someone using nuclear device, it's going to be either a "dirty bomb", a homegrown low-yield fission device, or, worst case, a black-market ex-Soviet device.

In any of those cases, how can we respond appropriately? Even in the case of state-sponsored terror (Iran, Libya, I'm looking at you here), could we possibly justify eye-for-an-eye vengeance? The US is the only nation in the world to have used nuclear arms in anger, but the sea change in world politics over the past sixty-five years would make us a pariah among nations if we did so again. It's easy to say, "So what? We don't need 'em!" - but it isn't true.

Without a very long tangent into the economics involved, the US is, in my opinion, on the edge of losing its position as world leader in R&D and manufacturing. We need the other nations of the world to keep us going. Pretty heavy stuff to consider.

Does that mean we can eliminate our entire nuclear arsenal? Probably not. Teddy Roosevelt had it right, and five thousand nuclear warheads is a hell of a stick. Unfortunately, that stick is so big that if we start swinging it, we will have trouble checking the swing. Nuclear winter isn't a pleasant concept - you think oil costs too much now, wait 'til you see the price when heating season is twelve months a year!

All that aside, I am always amazed at the mesmerizing intricacy of explosions - and these are more fascinating than most. Examine images five through seven - if you were not told in advance that these were images of nuclear detonations, they could be almost anything. Photomicrographs? Abstract art? Deep space imagery?

On that note, I'll leave you with something to smile at:

Sep 17, 2010

Four-legged Friends

When did I become a dog person?

We had two dogs when I was young; a generic black mutt and a collie (think "Lassie"). They got old and passed away in due course. Mom and Dad never chose to get another dog. A cat made an appearance early in my teen years and just passed away this summer.

I got my own cat somewhere around the end of 2003. Heinlein is still alive and kicking, having been adopted by former roommates when my living situation changed to preclude pets (2006 or so).

In 2009, MrsZ and I bought our house, and shortly thereafter adopted a pair of young barn cats from one of my former coworkers. I love cats - they're relatively low-maintenance, can be friendly, and they get rid of mice... but they aren't dogs. There is something just right about a good dog.

Last winter we started kicking around the idea of getting a dog, but it got put off while we continued to settle in to the house and get life in order. I kept half an eye on the local SPCA web site, but none of their dogs really grabbed my attention. We were being moderately picky about what we wanted in a dog: female, medium-size (40-70lb or so), preferably short-hair, good disposition, non-puppy, and preferably not a senior citizen. We also wanted a dog that had potential for some kind of training, be it hunting with me or hanging out with the livestock.

Monday of this week, I glanced over the list of dogs at the SPCA and found one that looked promising. A year and a half old (or so), 60lb, hound mix, and female. We went over to visit her Tuesday evening and promptly fell in love. "Sugar" was low-key, attentive, very good about being handled, and seemed like an ideal dog. She didn't have much (any?) training, but that's correctable.

Paperwork was filled out, and we spent Wednesday picking up all the assorted stuff that a house needs to have a dog. Leashes, collar, bowls, crate, toys, food, treats, run, and on and on. We got everything set up, gated off our dining room (laminate floors, easier clean up!), and this evening, we picked up the dog formerly known as Sugar formerly known as Lady.

We went home via a stop at the pet store for a harness, and she spent the trip sitting up in the back seat of the truck watching the world go by. At home, we took her out to the designated Potty Spot, and waited ... and waited ... and waited. After twenty minutes of standing there while she sniffed around the area (and nothing else), we wandered over to meet the goats. She was thoroughly intimidated by the goats and never got close enough to the fence to get zapped.

We went inside, let her explore the dining room (still on a leash), meet the cats through a gate, find her water bowl, and then took the leash off.

She promptly made a puddle on the floor. *sigh*

Back out we went. She heels well, so when I got down to the Spot, I looked down at her ... and was looking at an empty collar. I turned around and found her standing three feet behind me, waiting. Proper adjustments were made, and we wandered around the yard a fair bit more.

Housebreaking is going to be a long process, I think.

But, she's awful sweet, and I think she's a great match for us.


Sep 16, 2010

How big is a million?

Jay has just found out.

Head on over and congratulate him; if you don't read him, you should.

You don't come up with a million visits by writing crap - unless you are supplementing your written crap with pictures of very nice boobs. (Playboy in the past fifteen years, I'm looking at you here.)

I've met Jay.

He does NOT have nice boobs. (Nice pecs, perhaps, but pecs are not moobies.)

Obviously, he must write pretty well. And he does supplement with pictures of very nice guns.

Sep 14, 2010

Ammo Spam, Part II

I mentioned a couple days ago that I'd gotten what appeared to be spam from a "new" ammo company requesting free advertising.

I put it up here then: I'm for sale, but I ain't free.

They sent me another email today, "following up" and they'd "really appreciate" a link, and btw, here's a coupon code for your readers.

I hadn't identified the company before, but now I will. I'm not hot-linking them because they are spamming me and numerous other gunbloggers. I googled the name on the email, one Steven Otterbacher, and found mentions of him and the ammo company across several blogs.

Steven: stop spamming me. The internet is a big place, but the gun blog community isn't. It doesn't take much to put a bad taste in our mouths. Your company will NEVER get free advertising from me, and in fact, I'll do as much as I can to send business elsewhere. Unsolicited commercial emails aren't appreciated. One I could grumble about and ignore. A second one makes me angry, and this is the result.

So, folks, for your ammo needs, here's my suggestions off the top of my head:

The only one up there I have not ordered ammo from is Natchez. All the others have gotten business from me over the past couple years and all have had fair prices and prompt service and shipping.

And yes, I'm sending a link to this post to Mr. Otterbacher. Anyone who wants to link this, please do. Spread the word.

Sep 11, 2010


Over at Daily Pundit, Bill relates a classic example of the unreported defensive gun use. No shots fired, no one injured. Just knowledge that the intended victim was awake and armed was enough to send the cretins the other direction.

He wasn't the only one, though.

Last night after supper, MrsZ and I were sitting on the couch (a large green affair, very comfortable) reading. Out of the blue, our vicious guard cats (siblings, gray and white, one looks Siamese and I think is kind of special) went nuts and bolted to the living room window, where they sat snarling and growling. I got up and peered out the window but didn't see anything. The cats settled down and I went back to my book. Thirty seconds later, they were back up there and hissing at someone outside. I grabbed a flashlight (my Leatherman Serac S2, always in my pocket) and shone it outside, but still couldn't see anything.

Then I decided I wasn't going to live my life in fear.

I picked up my carry gun (a S&W 642-1 no-lock, with the original factory stocks, and stoked with 5 rounds of Federal HydraShok 129gr +p) from the coffee table, hefted it in consideration, and set it back down. I opened the safe and considered my options. The front row of long guns holds two 12ga shotguns (a Remington 870 with 26" vent-rib barrel with a modified choke, and an Ithaca 37, also choked modified) , a 20" AR (Anvil Arms lower with a DPMS LPK, 20" DPMS 1/8 upper and match A2 sights), a .270 boltgun (Remington 710), and a .22LR boltgun (Savage MkII BTVS w/ Nikon scope). None seemed appropriate at the time, so I picked up the S&W 4053 (with night sights) and slapped in a magazine full of 180gr WWB JHP.

I headed for the back door while MrsZ remained on the couch as my backup, the entire contents of the safe within easy reach for her. I looked out the door and to both sides before opening it, keeping my strong side back from the door and one foot behind the door to prevent someone from trying to slam it out of my grasp. The deck was clear.

I stepped out onto the deck with the pistol held down by my leg and flashlight in my weak side hand. I'd gone two steps and heard someone running for the back edge of our property. I flicked the light on and swept the area just in time to see a black and white cat disappear into the woods.

No shots fired, no one hurt, and successful home defense!

(No MS Paint, sorry hivemind.)


(Seriously folks; go read Bill's post. I'm not a fan of the "racking the shotgun always scares away bad guys" mentality, but it is step one to "9 pellets of #00 buck stops bad guys" and that I am a fan of.)
(And if you didn't catch that this is ArfCom-esque tongue-in-cheek, I'm sorry.)

Sep 10, 2010

Acquisition, disposition

I finally put my C&R license to use. I've been sitting on it for better than six months, and keeping half an eye on classifieds and sales from the usual sources. I didn't want my first purchase as an FFL(03) to be something generic - a Mosin-Nagant or an SKS. It had to be something with style. Additionally, all those pretty 03-eligible handguns? No go in New York. They have to go through an FFL(01).

Last week, a fellow posted an Ithaca Model 37 on the S&W Forum classifieds. Good condition, great price. I sent him a message and snagged it immediately, beating another poster by a whopping two minutes. :-D The serial is 667xxx, dating it to 1957, and comfortably inside the window for a C&R (all guns are automatically considered eligible fifty years from the date of manufacture).

It arrived yesterday afternoon, and was even more than I'd hoped for. The trigger is VERY heavy, but I can run it down to Diamond Gunsmithing for some attention to that. The finish isn't perfect, but it's by no means in bad shape. Looks like once upon a time it may have gotten sprinkled on and not dried off promptly - just a bit of off-color freckling on the receiver. The front bead has been replaced with a fiber optic dot; that will be one of the first things I expect I'll have changed. Either a gold or ivory bead is much more period-appropriate, and pleasing to my own sense of propriety.

I'm definitely looking forward to getting this out on the trap range, and quite possibly out for some upland and small game.


That's the acquisition. Now for the disposition.

I've decided to move along my S&W 242Ti. Yes, I just got it a couple months ago. It's a fine gun, but it's not the right one for me. I've shot it a fair bit, and have found that some combination of the grips and my hand isn't "right". I feel like I'm struggling to get a sight picture, and that's not appropriate for a CCW. So, down the road it goes.

Seven-shot AirLite/Titanium L-frame hammerless, .38+P rated, with a Lobo Gun Leather IWB holster (1.25" and 1.5" loops), 7-shot dump pouch, and Master trigger lock.

It's been carried (by me and others before) and has a bit of character. There is a small ding on the bottom edge of the barrel shroud, picture below. The recoil shield has a wear line from the lock stud, as usual for alloy-frame guns. The finish is a little shiny on a few high points.

Extractor is straight and true. Cylinder is intact. No flame cutting that I can find. Forcing cone is intact, as is the frame. Screws are un-buggered. I had the sideplate off once for a more thorough cleaning immediately after purchase, internals all look good.

$800 shipped/insured FFL-FFL, three-day non-firing inspection, otherwise as-is.

Trades +/- cash will be considered; of particular interest are flat-top AR carbine uppers, mid-grade 1911s, S&W/Ruger/Colt revolvers, or anything from Ithaca Gun.

Please email me with questions/offers, zercool at gmail.






gunleather 008

Rise and Fall

OldNFO has a post up lamenting the lack of properly-trained and -qualified replacements for a retiring generation.

He writes:
But seriously, what's the next generation going to do? Forfeit the capability to the Asians? Hope they can pay somebody to do the work for them? Just stop doing R&D? I don't know, but I'm not getting a good feeling here...
Hie thee forth, RTWT.

Sep 9, 2010

Ammo Spam?

I got an email today from an ammo sales company I'd never heard of, suggesting I link to them because they have ammo in stock and have a coupon code that all my readers can use.

Snarky got the same email, it appears. And a quick google reveals that Patrick over at WAFTT got it too.

Short answer, in public:
Mr. Otterbacher: My blog is not a commercial site. Somewhere, far in the future, I MAY consider accepting paid adverts, but probably not. I will NEVER provide free advertising to a company that I have no experience with.

As it says in my sidebar, anything I review here is something I have direct experience with, without receiving compensation.

I'd hope that most of my fellow bloggers would feel the same way.

Minor Change

Astute readers will notice that the blog title changed.

I'd been toying with it for a while, and gently kicking myself for not thinking of it when I first titled the blog.

I have a long habit of remaining tied to brand identity, such as it were.

You know what? It's my brand. I can change it if I want to!

Sep 7, 2010

Pocket knife

I've mentioned many times that I nearly always have a knife with me. Often it's two knives - a standard folder and a multitool.

Up until I lost it, I had a SOG Twitch II and felt it to be just about perfect. Slim, assisted-opening, took and kept an edge, and felt good in the hand. After I lost it, I tried a CRKT Point Guard for a while, but that was chunkier than I cared for. I dug into my drawer o' knives and pulled out a CRKT Bandera.

The Bandera is a decent knife. Slender, nice blade profile, kept an edge... but. BIG negative: the back edge of the blade has a very sharp corner that sits forward if you use the pocket clip of the knife. I scraped my hand many many times reaching into the pocket for other stuff, and more than once actually cut myself enough to bleed.

I finally got tired of it.

I went to the local Dick's for a few other things and gritted my teeth to buy another Twitch II... but they were out of stock. Since I had an expiring coupon, I looked over the other options, and ended up getting a Kershaw/Ken Onion "Chive".

So far, I like it, with the minor complaint that it's a tad small for my hands. The blade is a great size, but the scales are shorter than I'd like. My opinion may change somewhat when I try to sharpen it - recurve blades are a pain in the ass to sharpen on anything but Croc sticks, and I'm a diamond-whetstone kinda guy.

Sep 6, 2010


Well, vacation ended this morning (last night). Tossed the usual assortment of stuff in my bag and trundled back in to the office.

Truth be told, five weeks was a great break, but by the end of it I was beginning to get a little twitchy. I spent the first week or two turning my body back around to a daytime schedule, then we travelled for nearly two weeks, and I had intended to spend the last week or so finishing up projects around the house.

Unfortunately, the weather didn't cooperate. I don't handle hot weather well, and 90+ with accompanying humidity just kills me. I got a little bit done, but there's plenty remaining, and a fair bit is now time-sensitive as winter approaches. As if to reinforce the point, the sugar maple in our yard dropped its first few leaves this past week; a nice crimson counterpoint to the green grass they laid in.

Much as I enjoyed the respite from Other People's Problems, coming in to work tonight was also something of a relief. I enjoy what I do, and more than a month disconnected was a bit more than I was ready for. Next time ... four weeks, max. But it's over now...

Last fall, my parents gave us a gift certificate for a very nice local restaurant for our anniversary, and we decided to use it Friday night to celebrate the end of vacation, the end of summer, and just because. I called early in the afternoon and asked for a reservation at 8:00 or 8:30, and was told both were available. I opted for 8:00 and asked for a specific section; one that is graced with full-height windows overlooking a park and the lake.

We arrived a few minutes early and were directed to the bar; I ordered a Manhattan and MrsZ ordered a glass of red wine (Bresca?), which we took to the porch and rapidly gathering twilight. Our table was ready in short order, and eventually we got around to ordering our meal. This restaurant is the epitome of elegance in that regard: you are NEVER rushed. We browsed the menu, listened to the specials, nibbled on the sweet bread and butter, sipped our drinks, and when we closed our menus and looked up, the waitress appeared within moments to take our order.

A meal here is something of a prix fixe arrangement; each entree has a (different) price but all will include bread, appetizer, salad, entree, and dessert. I opted for the seafood bisque, garden salad, prime rib, and a blueberry crisp; MrsZ had a fondue, caesar salad, Frenched pork chop, and blackberry trifle.

We ate at our own pace, enjoyed our conversation, watched the dark outside (too dark to see the lake, sadly), and enjoyed coffee with our dessert. Two and a half hours after we got there, we strolled back out to the car, full, relaxed, and with a box of leftovers for an upcoming meal.

Now, I won't lie and tell you this meal was cheap. It wasn't, by any stretch of the imagination. The tab would have bought most of our groceries for a week, perhaps two.

However, what they offer is value. For the same amount of money, we could have gone to any chain restaurant two or three times, and had generic food with generic drinks. We could have sat in uncomfortable booths, stared at the TVs over the other's head, and tried to talk over the conversations and too-loud music around us.

For the money, I'd rather go out to one really nice meal every three months than a chain restaurant every month. It makes going out to eat a treat, instead of expensive calories because we didn't feel like cooking.

But now, it's shoulder to the wheel, to infinity and beyond!

Sep 3, 2010

Deal Alert

While in Seattle, MrsZ and I wandered through Federal Army-Navy, a rather large MilSurp store with the usual assortment of stuff. I noticed they had SureFire lights on sale. I managed to pass them up, but have since found out they are also offering the same prices on their web site.

Looks like it's "until they're gone" pricing; they had a G2L up for $51 that has since disappeared, but there are some good deals to be had yet.

Side note: I'd have jumped on either the G3L or one of the E2 models if I hadn't just dropped a fair bit on a new-to-me piece ... pics pending next week.

Blogroll Update

A sad farewell to Cowtown Cop, whose blog had been un-updated for several months and has since been removed from the webs. He wrote a good tale.

Welcome to the 'roll:
New Jovian Thunderbolt

Sep 1, 2010

Two is one...

Well, you know how that little tidbit ends.

Had a "first" in guns for me the other morning, and just now figured out what happened.

I got up at oh-dark-early Saturday morning to try filling a nuisance tag with a friend. (Nuisance tags are officially "deer depredation permits" and allow the taking of adult anterless deer outside the regular hunting season.) I hadn't gotten all my hunting kit together the night before, having been out celebrating a night off with a friend who has a six-month-old.

My hunting kit, like many hunters, ends up sort of scattered and jumbled as the various game seasons progress. By the end of winter, there is usually a large pile of RealTree/MossyOak/jungle camo "stuff" stashed into my closet.

The alarm buzzed, I slammed it off, grumbled and rolled my way to vertical. I fumbled on my undershorts and camo pants, grabbed a t-shirt from the pile, unburied my camo jacket, and stumbled my way downstairs to the safe. I pulled out my .270, a magazine for it, and a sling. After getting the sling attached, I stuffed the rifle in a zippered case and dug out four rounds for the magazine, then slipped that in a pocket.

Next, sidearm. I reached for the 21-4 out of habit, and started digging through the pile of leather on the top shelf for its holster ... Found one for the 9mm ... one for the 242 ... retention holster for the 1911 ... yaqui slide for the 1911 ... but no holster for the N-frames. Chances are its still sitting in the pile of hunting stuff, cast off at the end of regular season as muzzleloading season started.

I muttered and decided to take the 1911. Slipped on the retention holster, grabbed a magazine of ball ammo, and slid it into the pistol... Or tried to, anyway. About halfway up it hit some firm resistance. I nudged the mag catch and it went in the rest of the way, albeit a little stiff. Worked the slide and popped the catch to drop the magazine - except it wouldn't drop.

After pulling the magazine out with my fingers, I grabbed the next full magazine of ball off the shelf and slapped that in. Same issue - first half is fine, and as soon as it hits the mag catch, it got real sticky. I decided to take a chance and go with it as-is; it's a backup gun when I'm hunting and the slide felt fine. I didn't have to use it, although I did reach for it when I saw a doe standing in the brush 15 yards distant - she ran before I had it out.

This afternoon, I finally got around to checking the pistol. I presumed some gunk or corrosion had found their way into the mag well and was slowing things down. I field-stripped the piece, and looked down the well from both sides. A bit of powder residue, but it looked clean overall.

I grabbed the mag I'd been using and tried it... sticky insertion and wouldn't drop free. Grabbed the second one, and had the same result. A third magazine, however, inserted cleanly and dropped free easily. Hmmm...

I emptied the cartridges from the first two magazines and looked closely... sure enough, the feed lips had been bent out just enough to widen the magazine at the top. In fact, the follower was just barely being retained by the lips. Looking at the third magazine - the follower was clearly in further.

Now, these were cheap magazines, I won't deny that. My sort-of-local Surplus shop had a bin full of contract overrun GI magazines, new-in-the-wrapper, at 3/$25. They are 7-rounders, and stamped "COLT 45 AUTO" on the (welded-in-place) floorplate. They've functioned 100% until now. In truth, of all the magazines I checked tonight, only these two had issues - and they are NOT the only milsurps I have. All purchased at the same time. All have been kept fully loaded. It IS possible these two have seen more rounds cycled than some; most of the others are loaded with JHPs and don't get unloaded at the range.

In any case ... the failure point was certainly not what I was expecting, and a few new 1911 mags are now on my shopping list ... and yes, I'll probably be coughing up for 8-round stainless from a known maker. When I have a moment I'll run the calipers across them to see how far out of spec they are.