May 31, 2012

YouTube stumbles

It's probably better not to ask. Weerd, I thought of you, buddy. I know, it's not Dub. But I still thought of you.

And also fun:

May 30, 2012

DuraCoat: Small Parts Video

As promised, video of the DuraCoat process.

A few things I didn't mention:
- Most of these parts are parked or otherwise have a rough enough finish to take the DuraCoat without further treatment. The magazine needed a buff with a scotch-brite pad.
- Cleanup: acetone, promptly.

This was my first run with Premier Elements, and I'm pretty impressed. I spent twenty minutes or so reading how-to and watching a couple tutorials, then just futzing around 'til things went where I wanted. All the video was shot with my Canon point'n'shoot SX130.

Constructive criticism is appreciated.

May 29, 2012

DuraCoat, Second Run

Since most of the small bits for MrsZ's rifle are here - lacking only the upper and lower - I decided tonight was a good time to get started on coating the fiddly bits.

All the small pieces that show are going to be coated in [REDACTED], which requires a base coat of white.

So I did the white coating on the trigger, mag catch, mag release, bolt release, pivot and takedown pins, [REDACTED] and its [REDACTED], and the [REDACTED].

And I video taped it. I'll be dropping Premiere Elements on my laptop in the morning and fidgeting with things to see if I can turn it into a usable clip. Stand by for more!

Range report

After getting the M&P15-22 a couple weeks ago and getting the sights zeroed, I really didn't do much with it - because I had an "audience" at the range.

Sunday after work, I grabbed one of my friends and we took my new M&P and her new Savage MkII to the range.

We started with her rifle and got it roughly zeroed at about 12-15 yards, then started pushing it back. I'd forgotten my ShooBoy hammer and brass punch, but fortunately the windage was only off by about 2MOA. We got it set for a pretty good zero at 25yd, then she stopped playing with paper and started pinging steel.

She had a few failures to fire that I'm suspecting were a bad batch of ammo combined with a gunky firing pin channel. We ran a couple mags of her ammo through the M&P with similar results - around one in every magazine or two wouldn't ignite the first time.

Once she was settled in with that, I started playing with the M&P some more. Steel at 25yd? Almost boringly easy. Ten satisfying *tings* in a row as quick as I can get the dot back on the plate. Moved back to 35ish yards and it took a second longer to get the dot steady on the plate, but still running 10-for-10.

Once my rangemate was bored at that distance we moved the plate back to 50yd and kept plinking. I was doing 8/10 pretty consistently at that distance until my accuracy suddenly fell apart. Given the weather (mid to high 80s and humid) I'm fairly sure I had just reached my limits of endurance, so we called it a day. I'll confirm that the next time we're out.

Total round count? North of 300 between the two guns. Any failures were pretty clearly ammo issues.

Monday morning we tore down her Savage for a thorough cleaning and degreasing. The extractors and firing pin were pulled and cleaned up, the trigger assembly was torn apart and degreased, and that smoothed things out a fair bit. Unfortunately, there isn't a whole lot that can be done with the trigger pull itself. She got the rifle at Walmart ($119!) and it doesn't have an Accutrigger. I'm not sure it can be upgraded with one, but the truth is: it's not worth it. It's a great inexpensive plinker. The trigger will smooth out some as time goes by and she runs a few thousand rounds through it. It'll never be a match trigger, but it wasn't meant to be. My advice: leave it as-is, toss on a scope if she wants, and start saving for a new rifle.

She already wants a semi-auto (a few mags through the M&P decided that), so I rattled off half a dozen options. I look forward to seeing what she decides on. :-)

Yeah, we're still working on positions and form. Need to get the elbow down on the bench. But one step at a time.

Ooooooh... it's coming!

I got an email from Wally over at York Arms last night, consisting of one line:

It just hatched.... You are going to lurve it !

"It" in this context is the super-secret-ish lower for MrsZ's AR. I'm seriously excited for this; the upper should be arriving any day now. The lower still needs to go out for anodizing with some of its brethren, so I suspect that's a couple weeks out yet.

I intended to do some DuraCoating over the weekend on the small parts, but other obligations and a range trip precluded that... then yesterday was north of 90F, and there is NO WAY I'm strapping on a respirator and hunching over a spray booth with little fiddly bits in that kind of weather. It's supposed to storm today and the heat should break tomorrow. I may take a swing at it tonight, though - at least get the primer coat down on a few things.

May 25, 2012

Infidel American Pig-Do*thud*

Of course, while the Iranians are being helpful sorts (the only thing that would be weirder for me to type is "While the Norks are sending humanitarian aid to Somalia"), OldNFO has some buddies who did some impromptu re-education for some other Mid-eastern denizens.
Folks that I work with occasionally (Four women and two guys, both retired Marines) are getting ready to go into the buffet, one of the ladies opens the door, another lady starts through, only to be shoved aside by "middle eastern" male #1. She turns around and slaps him, he draws back to hit her starts the punch, and one of the retired Marines promptly face plants him into the glass by the door (looks like broken nose).
Hie thee forth, read the whole thing, and chuckle.

Well done, Marines!

Pirates! Help!

This story makes me smile, and just reinforces the bond among sailors:
Iranian sailors chase off pirates attacking U.S. Ship

Iranian navy vessels received a distress signal from the U.S. cargo ship Maersk Texas during patrols. The forces announced their willingness to help. As they closed in on the American cargo ship, the pirates scattered. The U.S. ship crew thanked the Iranian naval force and continued on its way, state media reported.
The clowns in DC and Tehran can't get their shit together - but a distress call on the open ocean doesn't give a shit what flag you're flying. Good on the Iranian Navy.

May 24, 2012

Look around you

Legion's Fate has a good post up on what is, at its core, competition for resources.
I don't live in Stafford, but I spend a lot of time there, and the amount of panhandlers and homeless camps here and in surrounding counties [...] has spiked dramatically. The cops have been arresting them right and left, and my guess is because they've been getting more aggressive, but I can't confirm that.
 I haven't looked at hard numbers - the UCR is out there for someone who wants to do the crunching - but from where I sit, violent crimes (robbery in particular, but also assault and assaults labeled as harassment*), property crimes (larcenies, burglaries, and criminal mischief), and fraud (especially counterfeiting) have been steadily increasing over the last few years.

When I started doing this, a robbery (that is, the taking or attempted taking of property by force or threat thereof) was Big Doings. It's become a nigh-weekly event at this point. Burglaries were not commonplace (except in student housing during vacations, but that's another story) - now they seem to be happening several times per week.

Your local police agencies may have a blotter available online; I know mine does. It's worth a skim on a regular basis to see what's going on in your town, and just how much doesn't make the local news-rag.

Look around you. The economy is in the tank and the government is scrambling to keep the curtain closed around the man in the corner. These problems are not going away. The mindset of, "They owe me X" is pervasive, invasive, and contagious.

* - I make a distinction here because "harassment" is not a UCR-reported crime; "aggravated assault" is. It is a well-known way for police departments to juggle numbers to make the violent crime rate look much lower than it actually is.

May 23, 2012

Some Animals...

... are far more equal than others.

Berkeley chief used police to look for son's phone (SFGate)

Berkeley Police Chief Michael Meehan, already under fire for sending an officer to a reporter's house after midnight, ordered police - some on overtime - to look for his teenage son's stolen cell phone in Oakland, authorities said Monday.
[A]t its height [the search] involved as many as 10 officers. Kusmiss said four detectives were paid overtime for two hours each.

Got that? Eight hours of overtime pay for Berkeley detectives to look for a stolen iPhone.

I went and looked at the Berkeley PD site, which lists "lateral officers" (that'd be officers who are already certified LEOs) at a pay rate of $7300 to $9100 per month. If we assume that a detective makes 20% more, that'd be $10,900/mo, or $68/hr (four 40-hour weeks). Time and a half nudges that just over a hundred bucks an hour.

Of taxpayer money.

To look for a $400 phone.

Yes, I get the "phone can be tracked", and that stomping on one relatively minor property crime can prevent/resolve many more issues. But that's the kind of thing that should be handled as routine by ONE patrol officer, not, "[The] property crimes sergeant, who deployed his team and drug task force officers to look for the missing phone."

Tar. Feather. Rail. Assemble.

May 22, 2012

Spray Booth

As I learned during my first run with DuraCoat, a spray booth is pretty critical. The fumes are horrid and lingering. Not only do I want to curtail overspray, but to exhaust the fumes.

I did some looking around today and some napkin sketches, then stopped by Lowes on the way home for pieces.

90 minutes of work in the garage later, and this is the result:




The inside dimensions are 48" wide and 18" high. The floor is 30" deep and the top is 18". Six eyes on the top will let me hang pieces, including barrel assemblies, for easy coating. The box is big enough to hold nearly any rifle in one piece, and any shotgun with the barrel removed.

The fan is a $15 bathroom fan rated for 50cfm. A furnace filter will keep overspray out of the fan motor. I clipped the outlet off an extension cord and connected the fan to that. A length of flexible duct (not shown) will be run to a board that I can put in a window.

I need to add lighting of some kind, but for the immediate future intend to use a clamp-on or hanging work light.

Materials list:
1 sheet 1/4" plywood, cut into one 30" and three 18" sheets
3 2x2x8s, lengths will have to be measured based on your own assembly
1 box of 1-1/4" drywall screws
1 bathroom fan
1 8' grounded extension cord
1 furnace filter
1 length of flexible duct

All told I think I have about $70 and two hours in. Piece of cake, and it should suit my needs beautifully. If anyone wants more detailed info, drop me a note.

Disclaimer: this isn't a proper spray booth. The fan isn't rated for hazardous/flammable materials. I'm trusting that the quantities I'll be using are so small that it won't matter. If you're doing this regularly, for-profit, or in larger quantities, consider spending the money on a correct assembly.

Gander Mountain

Bowing to political pressure, Gander Mountain in Wisconsin has cancelled an NRA-backed meeting for Governor Walker. (h/t Sebastian)

You can tell them what you think of that decision here:

I already have. Be polite, but be firm. I've spent several thousand dollars at Gander over the past few years, but they will not see another dime from me.

Roberta is right - they just Zumbo'd.

DuraCoat: First run

I've been reading non-stop about DuraCoat lately, as I got ready to try it out. I finally accumulated all the pieces in one place to do some testing, and decided to start with a couple of my pre-ban AR mags. They're functional, but both are date-stamped 1991, and showing the wear you'd expect from a 21-year-old magazine.

I highly recommend watching the videos posted by IraqVeteran8888, in particular this one. (Thanks to BubbleHeadLes for that lead!)

When I ordered the colors for MrsZ's rifle, I added in a bottle of "Extreme Tactical Grey" for myself. I had in mind doing some kind of a brush/camo job on my 870, possibly before doing her rifle. If I screw up the coloring on my 870 ... eh, who cares? It's a utility gun. On MrsZ's rifle? Not ok.

Before I take on a full-size gun, I wanted to do a trial run on something smaller, to get a feel for how the stuff goes on. The magazines seemed like the perfect option. I neglected to take a "before" picture, but this one scraped from the internet is a pretty fair representation:

Step one: disassemble. The DuraCoat instructions say (in reference to a firearm) to disassemble "as far as you are comfortable with". With the mags, that's easy: floorplates off, springs and followers out. Done.

From this point on, you need to wear gloves. Not only are you playing with nasty chemicals, but the oils from your fingers will prevent DuraCoat from adhering and curing properly.

Step two: degrease. Even if they don't feel greasy. You can order the "TruStrip" from Lauer directly, or use a can of BraKleen from the auto parts store. Lauer even says that people have good results with the brake cleaner, with the caution that it must be residue-free. Hose 'em down and let 'em dry.

Step three: hang them wherever you're going to paint. Word to the wise: you want very good ventilation and minimal dust. Then put down drop cloths on anything you don't want to get sprayed.

Step four: set up your airbrush and anything else you're going to need. Rags, thinners, lights, whatever. Once the DuraCoat is mixed, the clock is ticking and you can't really screw around with things. Hang your parts in a box or from the ceiling or whatever is right for you. Get your compressor on and rough in the pressures you want (I did 50psi working pressure on the primary regulator, and 25psi working on the brush regulator. Seemed about perfect.)

Step five: Shake and mix the DuraCoat. Seriously, shake that color can. The instructions say 3-5 minutes after you hear the ball rattling around. They mean it. Mix carefully - and a little goes a LONG way. Lauer says that 4oz will finish 1-4 firearms, and I can believe it. I decided to be cautious and mix a little extra. (Handy tip: syringes sans needle are perfect for careful measurements of this stuff. Available from Amazon and ag-supply stores.) I mixed 6cc of DuraCoat to 0.5cc of hardener; right on the 12:1 ratio they recommend. Shake the mixture well, then put it in your airbrush.

Step six: start spraying. A small piece of plastic, metal, or cardboard is great to check your pattern before you start spraying for real. Once you are spraying, smooth even strokes and multiple thin layers are the way to go. Put on one thin coat, and wait for it to "flash off" - stop being shiny - before adding another. This took about five minutes for me today, but it's somewhat weather dependent.

Step seven: WALK AWAY. Seriously. Once your parts are sprayed, don't touch them for 24 hours. Yes, Lauer says you can handle it in an hour, but why bother? Start doing the cleanup ASAP.

Step eight: Clean up. Take apart the needle of your airbrush and dump it in a pan or jar of acetone*. Same for your color jar, mixing jar, anything you want to save. Flush things with acetone and dry them off. Dispose of your waste acetone properly, please. Don't pour it down the drain, save it for hazmat day at the dump. Don't burn it, that's ... dangerous. ;-)

And here's the final result. You can see one bright-ish spot that didn't coat as well as I'd like; that's my own fault for not having enough light where I was working. No big deal in this case. (My "spray booth" was a large rubbermaid tub. It mostly worked, but I'll be investigating a more proper setup ASAP.)

Other tips I picked up:
- a respirator and safety glasses of some kind are essential. Seriously. Go spend the $30 for a half-mask respirator at Home Depot or Lowes (link is to Amazon), and USE THE DAMN THING. You're spraying nasty stuff inches from your face.
- buy a box of exam gloves or prep gloves from a restaurant or EMS supply shop. Change them frequently.
- 3cc syringes are perfect for small batches, 12cc are good for larger. ($2 for 6 of the 3cc and $3 for 4 of the 12cc from Tractor Supply here. Much cheaper in larger quantities online.)
- coverage is impressive. I had 6.5cc of mix and made two-plus complete coats on two thirty-round magazines. And spilled some. And had a fair splash (half a cc, maybe a touch more) left over. I absolutely believe an ounce will give you a fair coat on a gun, but if you need to make 2-3 coats - well, that's the 4oz covering 1-4 guns.

If there's any interest, I may take a crack at a video when I actually start coating a gun.

* - Lauer recommends using their reducer for cleanup. Various places suggest that their reducer is simply acetone, but I can't confirm that. If you're reducing the DuraCoat, use their reducer. If you're doing cleanup, acetone worked great.

May 19, 2012

Raccoon: 0

I re-set the Hav-A-Shot last night with some bones and scraps from making ribs.

I woke up this morning to a trapped coon.

Three rounds of .22 from the M&P15 later, I had a dead raccoon.

And I re-read this post from Marko, whose 'coon took two shots of .38.

The trap is re-set.

May 18, 2012

More boxes arrive...

For what it's worth, Stag seems to have a fair number of parts and pieces (including LPK's) still in stock. I ordered MrsZ's buttstock from them (M.A.G.S. EFX-A1) early this week and it arrived today. $90 for the complete set: stock, buffer tube, spring, and buffer. Seems like a nice sturdy stock, lightweight, and A1 length for those with shorter limbs (or heavy coats).

The only things remaining are the uppers (another two weeks or so) and the WallyLower. I spent some time with photoshop today and figured out the color scheme.

[Flounder, as done by JayG]
"Oh, boy! This is gonna be great!"

May 17, 2012

Watch out for Wookies

Ambulance Driver has been singeing some wookie fur lately, and when I need a dose of the crazy, I scoot in there and read some comments.

This one has been puttering around in the back of my head since I read it:

AD: It isn't a "line of work" for me. It's who I am.

Commenter: If you are so wrapped up in what you do that it defines who you are--what happens if you get fired? What happens if you injure your back and can't be a paramedic anymore?

I'll tell you what happens. You either curl up and die inside, becoming a bitter shell of who you used to be, or you grit your teeth, find another way to make a living, and enjoy all the other passions in your life.

AD is one of the lucky people who found an avocation and turned it into a vocation. It helps that he's pretty damn good at what he does. If you've never had that experience, I'm sorry. I paralleled my avocation (fire and EMS) into a career as a dispatcher. I've been doing it for more than a handful of years now, and I still like going to work most mornings. Every day? Of course not. But more often than not, I like my job. It's who I am.

Kelly identifies as a paramedic. I identify as a dispatcher. It's who we are. 

What happens if I can't be a dispatcher anymore? I grit my teeth and go looking for something else that I enjoy doing and can make a living at. In the meantime, I'll find some way to pay the bills, and enjoy the other things I love: my wife, my house, my animals, my guns, my photography...

Morning chuckle

"DeGarr, Overwatch. I think Spoon's gonna shoot somebody again."

Read the whole thing. And thank the nearest Specialist you see.

h/t BorePatch

May 15, 2012

Pointless, but desirable

Utterly pointless, which is the vast majority of buying it. Available here. I desperately want one but can't really justify spending the money for now. ;-)

May 14, 2012

AR parts update

Yes, kids, parts are getting scarce again. Lower parts kits in particular. Uppers are still out there and not priced too high (yet).

How picky you are and what you're looking for is going to define how long you're going to wait.

Stag is a few weeks lead on uppers. I've heard rumor that RockRiver is out to 60 days or more.

Those of us in ban states are actually at a slight advantage here: things like fixed stocks and HBAR crowned uppers aren't in quite as heavy demand. Yet.

(But the local big-box store has Stag and Bushy ARs on the rack, if you want to pay big-box prices ... prices that aren't terribly out of line with the current reality.)

As things stand, I've ordered all the parts I need to finish MrsZ's AR and the lower I have sitting around, less optics. And a couple extra firing pins, because if there's one thing I'm likely to break, that's it.

Expect to see updates as things arrive and get tested out, assembled, installed, etc. I'll be DuraCoating a couple shotguns before I do the rifles, and will try to document that.

Once MrsZ's rifle starts going together, I'll document - but won't post pics until she has it in hand. Final form is a surprise!

Range report

I made a short trip to the range today. I had some specific goals in mind, too:
- pull a trigger.
- repeat.
- zero the new rifle irons
- zero the new rifle optics
- get a feel for the new sights on the M&P9
- range-test the M&P40c
- pull a trigger some more

Good news: all goals accomplished.

I picked up a new M&P15-22 the other day, based on numerous reviews around the blogs, the forums, and a bit of trigger time granted to my by a shooter at my range last fall. A few calls to local shops didn't quite result in laughter when asked if they had any in stock. The local Phallus Sporting Goods, however, did have them. Several of them, as a matter of fact (in a rack of 15-20 black rifles). Probably a lot to do with target marketing and the fact that they want $50 more than the gun shops. I could have gotten one on gunbroker for less, but by the time I paid shipping and dealer fees I'd be right to PSG's price anyways - so I just went for it.

After convincing the droid that I did, in fact, know what I wanted ... no, I don't need to look at it again ... yes, I'm sure, I want that one ... yes, I've done a 4473 before ... please stop trying to explain the 4473 to me. please. stop. please. No, I don't need any ammo. No, I don't need a light/laser/sling/foregrip/tactical anything. Nor a cleaning kit. Please just call the nice NICS people now. Please. Yes, I know I want that one.

I ogled some sights while I was waiting, considered a scope and decided I wanted a red dot/reflex sight. Found one I liked, too. Wasn't sure on the pricing, so left it there. The droid, to his credit, offered me a discount on it, and when I told him I needed to think about it he told me he'd honor the price all week. Came home and checked pricing, and found that their price was on par with the market, and with the discount it was pretty good. Add in a coupon I'd gotten and it was very good. So I went back the next day and picked up a Truglo Tru-Brite reflex sight. Before I bought it, the deciding factor was whether it'd co-witness with the irons. They stuck their display sample on a gun and it lined up beautifully. Home I went.

Today I got to the range, snugged the sight down, and started by checking the zero on the irons at 50 feet. About an inch right. A few clicks of windage and I was spot on. Then it was a simple matter of turning on the dot and lining it up with the top of the sight post. Perfect. I punched a few more groups to check it, and it looked good (or at least good enough*):

I scooted outside and tossed up a zombie target at ten yards or so, burned the carry ammo in the M&P40c, a few more magazines of range ammo, two or three mags of 9mm in the full-size M&P, and then started plinking the 50yd gong with the .22. 8/10 off-hand rapid fire on a 6" gong... yeah, I'll take that.

Not a bad trip, albeit abbreviated (maintenance guy was doing outside work, so where I'd normally have burned a half-brick of .22, I only had his meal break for the outside stuff).

* - I know those groups are nothing to write home about, but the zero is there. I'll be doing some tweaking for accuracy in the future, but also acknowledge that my eyes may limit the accuracy to not much better than what you see - short of my going to a magnifying scope.

AR time

In addition to the custom rifle I'm putting together for MrsZ, I'm finishing off an AR lower I've had sitting in the safe for years. Just called LegalTransfers and ordered a pair of Stag 3H uppers. It's a plain-jane 16" carbine setup, nothing special, but a good utilitarian rifle. Pete (the owner) quoted me 2-3 weeks lead time. Excellent!

May 13, 2012

First-world frustration

... not being able to get all the various AR pieces I want from ONE shop. I'm looking at orders from at least four different merchants!

May 12, 2012

Ouch... Range trip, stat

With last night's acquisition (pics and details pending), I'm up to at least three things in the safe I've never shot, and another needs a function check following sight installation by the 'smith.

Range trip imminent, and critical.

May 11, 2012

Pork chops with maple-bourbon glaze

Whipped this up for dinner the other night. Quite tasty; the glaze didn't reduce long enough but otherwise wonderful. Recipe reproduced below:

4 boneless center cut pork chops
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika [subbed chili powder, excellent choice - Z]
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/4 cup low-sodium chicken stock

3/4 cup bourbon (I used a cherry bourbon – yum!)
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a small saucepan, combine bourbon, sugar, maple syrup, garlic, worcestershire, vinegar and mustard. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, then reduce to a simmer and let cook for 10-12 minutes, stirring every now and then. Remove from heat and let sit to thicken. [Leave on the lowest heat possible and continue simmering to reduce by about 1/2. - Z]

Pound pork chops with a meat tenderizer, then season on both sides with salt, pepper and paprika. Heat a cast iron (or oven-safe) skillet over medium-high heat. Brush with canola oil and once hot (I let my skillet heat for almost 5 full minutes), add pork chops. Sear on one side for 2-3 minutes, or until golden Flip and cook for 2-3 minutes more. Turn off heat, add chicken stock to skillet, then place in oven and bake for 15 minutes. My pork chops were about 1 inch thick, so if yours are a bit thicken they may need to bake a little longer.

Once finished, pour glaze over top and serve immediately.

(I served these with rice and peas; fantastic. - Z)

Irony, thy name is

... my new glasses.  ... Yes, that says "US Army (tm)  Army Strong .... FRAME CHINA".

May 10, 2012

Near and dear to me

Pocket calls burden 911

Nearly 4 million of those calls were made to the city's emergency call centers in 2010 [...] That's more than one-third of some 11 million emergency calls made in New York [City] each year[.]
They note that each call takes about 19 seconds. That sounds about right; we call these "butt dials", and each one takes a second or two to answer, and then enough time listening to the open line to be confident that there isn't a valid emergency. How long we listen varies, but in the 15-18 second range is about right. That background noise - is that a loud party, or someone screaming for help? The loud banging - are we listening to a construction site, or a shooting?

4 million calls at 20 seconds each. That's north of 22,000 man-hours of time - or eleven full-time positions - just to deal with people who butt-dial 911. NYC dispatchers make around 45-50k before overtime; add in benefits (30% over base salary) and we're talking in the neighborhood of $700,000 a year for this.

What they don't mention is that many of these calls come from the same number, over and over - as the caller's pocket pushes and re-pushes the end/send buttons. After two or three calls, we'll often try to make a callback to let the person know there's a problem and they need to fix it. That doesn't usually work, but we try anyways.

Do us all a favor: if your phone has a keypad lock, USE IT.

Didn't see this coming

The fellow I mentioned in this post ... has dropped off the face of the planet.

Was he intentionally trying to circumvent laws? Maybe. Maybe he just didn't know and doesn't want to deal with the hassle of a transfer. I'm not going to re-open that line of communication.

So ... the Walther is still available, if anyone is interested. ;-)

ammo contest


May 9, 2012

Can you tell me how to get...

... how to get t-*BLAM*

(h/t TheMiller)

Yeah, I chortled. I need to get some tannerite and a place to shoot it. (My range expressly forbids targets quite that reactive.)


Jay says it best:
[I]t'd sure be nice to have an AR-15 with an adjustable stock so that I wouldn't have to swap out my stock every time I wanted someone smaller than me to be able to comfortably shoot my rifle.
Amen. Like many of us, I'm a relatively tall dude. 6'0 or 6'1, depending on how much I'm slouching that day. I have correspondingly long arms. An A2 stock on an AR actually fits me pretty well, as does a standard-length stock on a Remington shotgun. The stock on my Mossberg feels a hair short, but it's tolerable.

Now, MrsZ is closer to average-height; about 5'6". An A2 stock is too long for her (not to mention the upper on that particular rifle is a 20" stainless HBAR with a free-float tube), a pinned carbine stock is essentially the same length, and from there they go down to "entry" length - which is way too short.

But you see, having an adjustable stock so other people can shoot my rifle safely makes it dangerous. Turns it into an assault weapon, as a matter of fact.

Unless it was made before September 1994. Then it's safe. You see, rifles made after that date were forged at Mount Doom, and are imbued with the power of Sauron. Putting on something like a collapsible stock is akin to handing Sauron the One Ring - it's the end of The Shire, Helm's Deep, Rivendell, Mirkwood, Gondor, and pretty much Middle Earth as we know it. There will be carnage, blood in the streets, dogs and cats living together, and quite possibly a hundred-foot-tall marshmallow man.*

All because I wanted a rifle to fit my wife.

This is why stupid laws are stupid.

* - OK, none of those things would happen, but I (and/or whoever had possession of the rifle) could be charged with a Class D felony. Fel-oh-knee. As in, "loss of rights forever and ever amen", "go to jail" felony. Since I don't have a particular attraction to large men named Bubba, this sounds like a losing proposition.

Magazine bleg

A new post by Carteach0 brought this to the forefront of my mind...

I have a small pile of 10-round magazines. They're fine for the range, and I have further blocked a couple down to five rounds for use when hunting.

What I do not have enough of is standard-capacity feeders. I picked up two shortly after getting the AR, and haven't found a fair price on any since. (People here behind enemy lines treat them like gold, and price accordingly.)

I'm not made of money, but I'd like some new-to-me magazines. Pre-ban, dated if at all possible, with a slight preference for 20-rounders (they don't monopod the rifle when prone).

So here's my offer: a new-in-the-packaging Magpul PMAG, 20- or 30-round, your choice, for each functional pre-ban you want to send behind enemy lines. I'll have them direct-shipped from wherever I can find a good price.

And in parallel, I will offer two new mil-spec stripped lowers (York Arms, perhaps?) for a documentable pre-ban lower.

May 8, 2012

Educate thyself

I occasionally list a gun on armslist, and have put the Walther up there.

One nibble from a guy who decided he wanted one in better condition (I don't think it's bad at all, but it's no safe queen), and another email exchange today with a fellow from Ohio who wanted to do a face to face.

I'll give him the benefit of the doubt that he just doesn't know (he wasn't familiar with the term C&R, either), but please, folks, if you're going to dabble in firearms, know the laws. A transfer of a non-C&R gun from person-to-person across state lines is A FEDERAL CRIME.

I've written back to tell him as much. Any bets on whether he drops off the face of the earth now?

May 6, 2012

CRufflers, Milsurps, anyone?

Evaluating the contents of the safe the other day and what I have vs what I'd like to have, right now there's only one white elephant that's worth moving (let's face it, the single-shot 16ga with the rattly forearm isn't worth the price of shipping)...

Anyone interested in a Walther P38?

AC42 marked (in other words, actually Walther-made, in 1942), numbers-matching on the major parts, small CAI import on the underside of the barrel, no capture stamp, "bh" stamp on left side indicates Bundesheer (Austrian) service following the war, and the softshell holster is correct for that. Two magazines, un-numbered. I ran it past the guys at the P38 Forum, and one of them had this to say:
The BH above the trigger on the left side of your frame shows your pistol was used by the Austrian Bundesheer (Austrian Federal Army) after the war. Your left grip is numbered on the inside, which dates it to a 1940 or early 1941 Walther made pistol. The coarse grooved hammer dates from late in the war. Austrian marked pistols usually show some refurbishment, so replacement parts are more or less normal. The postwar Austrian holster is correct for this pistol.

I have *not* shot this yet, but probably will in the next week (just to say I have); the de-cocker doesn't seem to be working but I will confirm that at the range.

If someone is interested in a trade, that'd be my preference. A ban-compliant AR upper (16 or 18") or a complete M&P 15-22 would do nicely.

Several pics here:


55-gallon drum of water-based personal lubricant? Yeah, we got that.

Comments/reviews are the best part, though...

As a Fertility Specialist for Pachyderms, this was exactly what we needed to help rebuild elephant populations all over sub-saharan africa. It's not all just Medications and IVF treatments. Some times you need a loudspeaker, a Barry White CD and a 55 Gallon drum of Lube. 

May 4, 2012


Alright, so I'm trying this whole airbrush thing for DuraCoat.

Yes, there are single-use sprayers for applying paint, but they are fairly expensive ($6/can) for minimal use - I'm seeing numbers in the 8-12 minute range. Since I'm new to airbrushing, I expect I'll need more than ten minutes of time to figure out what I'm doing. Not to mention that I'm planning to do more than one gun - my 870 will get a coat, probably after I coat a beater single-shot 16ga for practice, and possibly a decent single-shot 20ga.

I did some quick research on airbrushes and ended up with a pretty basic model - a "single-action, external-mix" Badger 350. Online these run about $45-50, with a coupon at the local Michael's Crafts it was $35. I spent another $25 to get the air line to connect to my existing shop compressor, and then $30 at Lowe's for a desiccant and secondary regulator.

Another run through the craft store netted me a roll of heavy paper and a bottle of India Ink, which is suggested as a good analog for practicing with an airbrush - and far cheaper than DuraCoat or other suitable paints.

I'll be connecting everything together this afternoon and doing some practice, and hopefully ordering some DuraCoat in the next couple weeks. I'll post pictures as things progress!

May 3, 2012

Deal Alert

Via DealNews: Kidde Smoke/CO alarm for $30 at Home Depot.

I'll admit to not being in love with this style of alarm because it needs to be plugged in. CO alarms can be placed anywhere on a wall and function correctly; smoke alarms need to be in the upper third of a wall (but NOT right on the wall-ceiling corner - that 6-8" either side of the corner is dead space) and very few of us have outlets that high on the wall.

That said - this is a good price for the alarm, and if you have a higher outlet (laundry room, basement, garage, whatever) it's a good idea.

Also, both types of detectors should be replaced every 5-7 years. If you don't remember when you got them, replace them. (I replaced every detector in the house the day after we bought it, and added several.) When you put up the new ones, put the date on the back with a Sharpie.

York Arms, DuraCoat

Jay ups the ante and channels his inner Rooster. You'll note the caliber is "556Poodle", which I personally find pretty inappropriate. Rooster had a Colt Peacemaker in .45LC and a Winchester saddle-ring in .44-40, according to the IMFDB. The appropriate upper for this rifle is obviously something starting with .4, so a .450Bushmaster would be a pretty fair choice. (I'd go with .45-70, but that's a rimmed cartridge and will get into feed issues.)

Since he put up the pron, I'll let the cat out of the bag here ... I also have a custom lower coming for MrsZ. She knows about it ... sort of. Not all the details, though. And those won't be posted here 'til she knows them. Seeing the picture Jay posted of his in-process lower makes me VERY excited about the work Wally is doing. I'm pretty jealous. ;-)

And as for DuraCoat ... I did some research and found that the I don't need a special compressor - the one I have for the shop is just fine, with a dryer and good regulator in line. Knowing that, I picked up an airbrush (Badger 350) and some india ink and paper to practice with. I'll be ordering DuraCoat in a bit and will try to take pics of the process. (Side note: Michael's Crafts puts a 40% off one item coupon in their ads. Well, they also put it online - and accept it digitally. I showed them the coupon on my tablet, they scanned it, and boom, 40% off. Well worth it; took the airbrush down to $35.)

QOTD: Sean D. Sorrentino

Sean posted this gem over in comments at Jigsaw's.

Killing an attacker is not "escalation."


What's the golden rule that we all learned way back in grade school? "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

Well, SumDood is doing unto others with a knife/bat/gun/whatever...  Karma's a bitch.

May 1, 2012


Anyone out there in blogland done any work with DuraCoat before? My 870 is showing its age (7 years?) and abuse (every kind of game and weather imaginable) and I'm planning to do the barrels and receiver. Not sure on colors (or maybe even a pattern?) but I'm looking for any advice. Techniques. Quantities. Equipment. Etc.