Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Not dead

Just...pleasantly busy. You could say that I've failed retirement, such as it was.

A ham radio buddy of mine called me (oddly enough, not on the radio) a couple of weeks ago and asked me if I was still considering a return to employment. I told him yes, but that I wasn't looking very hard at this point.

Honestly, after 6 months of looking, I'd reached the conclusion that a lot of us aging propeller heads do when we find ourselves seeking employment after 50--the tech world no longer has a place for us. We're viewed as relics of a bygone age. Besides, why hire us, and pay the salaries we command, when you can hire a kid fresh out of school who knows next to nothing but will work 80 hour weeks for comparatively nothing because they have to feed the student loan monster? Or someone a few years younger than me with a mortgage and kids in college and desperate as hell, willing to work for half of what they made in their last job because it's that or lose everything?

Bitter? No, I've just had my fill of being interviewed by people I can work a circle around without working up a sweat, just to see the job go to someone half my age with 25% of my skill. The next time someone in your company complains that your IT department can't get anything right, take a good look at all those fresh, eager, inexperienced faces. It isn't their fault--it's the penny-pinching bastards who made the hires that are to blame. Got to make those quarterly numbers, don'tcha know. God forbid I miss my bonus, I have country club dues to pay.

I've got nothing against new graduates or those who are early in their careers. I've employed a lot of them over the years. But I was one, once upon a time, and no matter how good your education, in the real world you are worth zero until you make the firm money. Few of them can do that reliably for the first few years of their career. Lord knows I couldn't, although I thought I was God's Gift To Computing. As a manager, you pull them along, teaching and coaching, making an investment in them in Year One so that they will hopefully spend Years Two and Three making at least some contribution to fixed costs. If you're really lucky they stay for Years Four and Five and really contribute to the bottom line, after which they get poached by a company that's smarter than yours and is willing to pay market rate or better for young talent.

OK, rant off.

So, my buddy was driving down the street and saw a sign in front of a local business advertising for a system administrator. Well, that's about half past old-fashioned. He thought of me and gave me a call. I wasn't worried about the job being something "well below" my last position. I've proven everything I feel the urge to prove to the only person I need to impress at this point in my life. Now, it's about keeping active and making a bit of money to fund my too-expensive hobbies. Why did I have to get interested in guns?

He wasn't able to get the phone number, so I got in the car and took a ride. Sure enough, there was the sign and it had a web site on it. Back hone, I checked it out and there was the job. So I shot them a resume. I wasn't going to get very invested in it; I was long since over that activity.

The next day Son and I were at the Southeastern Old Threshers Reunion when my email dinged. Lo and behold, they wanted to know when I could come in for an interview? How about 2 that afternoon?

Sorry guys, it's Son's birthday, and I'm busy. So we go back and forth. The Independence Day holiday was almost on us, so by the time we worked out a date, it would be nearly a week. Worked for me. As I said, I wasn't going to get too invested in this. Besides, they sounded a little overly interested, so I deemed it to my advantage to slow things down.

So the days pass, and eventually I go in and talk to them. It seems to go well. Nice people; small but interesting company. A couple of days later, the owner wants me to come back in for another talk. This was on a Saturday. At the end of it, I walked out with a job in hand.

For the record, I'm not running anyone's IT department, and that suits me just fine. I'm not working full time, and that suits me as well. I am making more, per hour, than I made in my last job, and that definitely suits me. I'm going to be doing various sorts of tech support for various client companies of the firm--anything from "I can't print" to "Time to upgrade the company infrastructure".  By my standards, none of it is going to be difficult. As I put it to Mrs. Freeholder, I could sleep through most of it.

The point is that I get out of the house two or three day a week, give or take. I have some imposed structure on my time, which I have found is something I need. It's too easy to get up in the morning and sit in front of the computer until noon, fiddling with this and that. Apparently I'm still not grown up enough to impose that on myself just yet.

The money will allow me to pursue my interests, as well as renew some charitable interests we had to cut back on when our income took the "retirement" hit. We now know a little more about what to expect when we retire for real, so we're going to do some more things to prepare for that eventuality. We will continue to spend less and save more, probably investing a little more aggressively.

Obviously, I won't have as much free time as I did, but I hope to manage it better. I was wasting a lot of it in "non-productive" activities, and that I need to stop. I have to learn to impose that structure I need myself, because one of these days I do intend to retire successfully.

Just not quite yet.

Sunday, July 09, 2017

Driving a ground rod

Ground rods are one of those facts of life that anyone who deals with them usually dislikes. Whether you use a sledge hammer, a rotary hammer or you're Conan the Barbarian's little brother and you can tote a electric jackhammer up a ladder to do the deed, driving them is a pain.

While I haven't tried this myself, it's an apparently near painless method of getting one of these long thin beasts into the ground. The only downside I see is that you aren't going to get it below ground unless you dig a pit.  

Friday, July 07, 2017

More on the battlesight zero

(Via Gunsite on Facebook)

A while back I wrote a bit on the subject of what distance to zero your AR. Just for giggles, here's some more information from Robar on that subject. It's some good stuff, so take the time to read and digest. I'd pay particular attention to the part about the ranges at which you can expect the 5.56 round to be more vs less lethal. That's some handy to have information there. I have an old article I clipped from Shotgun News years ago, this jibes with it 100% on that subject.

Thursday, July 06, 2017

Knot on my watch

I've heard knots called "an orderly tangle of lines". While that might be true, the knowledge of a few useful knots is something that is highly useful. You never know when you're going to have to tie down that thing you just purchased from the big box store on your trailer, for example. Or tie down a tarp over a hole in your roof after a tree lands on your house in a storm. Maybe you just need to tie a hammock between two trees to enjoy a lazy summer afternoon.

A guy can dream, can't he?

The Geek Prepper has an article with a link to some AMazon resources if you feel the urge to spend, and a nice printable card with useful basic knots on it if you don't. Unfortunately the card doesn't tell you what the knots are used for, so you have to figure that out yourself. Or you can look at this list of 10 of the most useful knots "that hunter should know". Or the 20 knots "that will keep you alive".

Just don't tie any grannies, OK?

Sunday, July 02, 2017

I have got to close some of these tabs

(As usual in this situation, I forget where these come from. I'm sure more than one was from Michael Bane on Facebook.)

I was hoping to write about these items in some more depth, but the two weeks just past and the week coming up make me wonder if a job hasn't sneaked up on me without my knowing it. :-) Although, on a serious note, I will be interviewing for one in the coming week, so wish me luck.

In the meantime...

How to Escape From Zip Ties. There is also a link to a much longer video on escaping from illegal restraint in general. It sucks to think that we may need to know these things, but with society in a mad dash to hell, you never know.

Learn Anything In Four Steps With The Feynman Technique. One of the serious geniuses of our time, physicist Richard Feynman was also noted as one of the greatest teachers of his time. This is why.

This is a rat hole I can go down for days. I love WWII history, and can't get enough of any facet of it.

Analysis: What Civil War 2.0 Looks Like. Yes, back to that unfortunate subject. Sorry, but until it isn't important any longer it's important.

The Philando Castile Shooting and Some Advice for My Cop Readers by Greg Ellifritz. Probably not what you think it's going to be. Spoiler--there was enough herp going around that night for everyone to get smeared with it.

Gabe Suarez on yelling during a critical incident. Gabe's an iconoclast and he keeps on being one here. But he's an experienced iconoclast, so it behooves us to consider what he says.

Racial Differences in Self Control. Yeah, if this one gets the publicity that Herrnstein and Murray's "The Bell Curve" got, it's going to start one major shit storm. I'm not a researcher, but based on what little I know about vetting studies they appear to have done most of their homework.

Any way, there's some stuff to entertain yourselves with. Enjoy.

Friday, June 23, 2017


I ran across this article this morning. It has three interesting points about the changing face of gun ownership in the US. It seems 2/3 of us have our guns for self defense these days, which is something of s shift from the historical reason of hunting. 38% of us keep a loaded firearm easily accessible while we're at home. Well over half of gun owners only own a pistol.

As Michael Bane has pointed out many times, these are hallmarks of Gun Culture 2.0. New gun owners are motivated by self defense needs rather than the traditional reasons for gun ownership that Gun Culture 1.0 felt. They see the crime on their streets and in their neighborhoods. They understand that the police usually respond after the deed is done. They have internalized the message "You are your own first responder."

Another important aspect of this is that we as freedom loving individuals are winning. More people are "getting it" than there have been in decades. While Moms Demand Bloomberg's Money may be making a lot of noise, they're not making a lot of headway, and that's a Good Thing.

I like Winning. Winning feels good, and it lets me know that it's going to be a lot easier to teach my putative grand kids how to shoot when that time comes.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Friday, June 16, 2017

The GOP says its going to get strapped; the left loses its collectivist mind

I should have seen it coming--really I should. When I posted this morning about GOP Congressman Thomas Massie introducing a bill calling for concealed carry permit reciprocity in the District of Columbia and I said "I hope the Democrats shit themselves. Literally." I honestly didn't think that they'd do it in such a public manner or quite so quickly.

I didn't count on the power of Twitter and the Twits that inhabit it.

It seems that New York Rep. Chris Collins was interviewed today and he espoused some distinctly Second Amendment views. Ditto for Georgia Rep. Barry Loudermilk. I don't doubt that others aren't thinking along the same lines but simply weren't interviewed.

Predictably, the left is coming unglued. OMG, it's gonna be Saturday Night in Dodge City! I mean, just read the tweats from the twerps in the above referenced article. They know it! It's settled science!

Except it isn't. In every state since Florida passed their concealed carry statute, we've been told that the blood was going to run in the streets, that gun fights would be breaking out over parking spaces and so on and so forth. There's only one problem. The blood has stubbornly refused to flow. Ever. Anywhere. Any time. Period.

To make it worse, concealed carry permittees are, in study after study, the most law-abiding group in whatever jurisdiction is researched. Adding insult to injury, we accidentally kill fewer people every year than doctors.

So here they are, in all their pants-shitting hysterical glory: The American Left, once again pronouncing The Received Truth as only they know it.

Will no one rid us of these troublesome progressives?

DC reciprocity?

After the recent shooting at a GOP practice for a charity baseball game, some folks I know were predicting moves by Congress--on both sides of the aisle--to enact further gun control laws. To paraphrase one, "You just can't go around shooting politicians with impunity, especially the ones in power."

Now that's true, and it's a good thing that we can't. Despite the fact that some portion of our elected politicians aren't worth the space they take up, having folks shooting them out of hand just because they don't care for them is a good way to get a civil war started. Heaven knows we're doing a good enough job slow-walking ourselves into that already, we don't need to add rampant political assassination into that stew.

In this country we already have decades of practical experience that shows gun control doesn't work when it comes to lowering the rate of violent crime. The District of Columbia is one of the prime examples of that simple fact. The tighter they squeezed, the worse things got.

So this morning I got a very pleasant surprise when, trolling through the inbox, I see this headline in The Shooting Wire:  D.C. Personal Protection Reciprocity Act Introduced. Yes, you are reading that correctly. Congressman Thomas Massie has introduced H.R 2909, which would force the district to recognize valid concealed carry permit from any state. Even better, my Congressman is a co-sponsor.

I hope the Democrats shit themselves. Literally. They're ginning this up; it's time for us to put an end to it. It was only a matter of time before they graduated from their sticks, stones and bottles of piss to guns. In Arlington, a massacre was averted by two things--Good Guys with guns and the good fortune they happened to be on scene. Allowing the great mass of legal concealed carriers to carry in more places will help make sure those two things can happen the next time. Because all the blah, blah, blah in the media right now, there will be a next time.

They aren't going to paper over that civil war so easily.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Zeroing your AR-15

It's a deceptively simple subject. If you've ever been in the service of Uncle Sugar, he says 25 meters and you're done--or at least he used to, back in the dark ages of the 1980s. God know what he says now. My research says it's a lot more complicated these days, since we now have a number of different types of ammo (M885, MK262 (I think that's it; it's a 77 grain round), M193 and so on) that have to be taken into account. The first video gives you a lot of background on the subject, including the ballistics, so you can understand what is going on with the round and not just doing "Monkey see, monkey do".


The second video gets into the interesting question of "Well gee, I've zeroed for 25/50/100 yards, and suddenly I need to shoot a target at 5 yards."


 As you can see on the second video, if you're playing one of the 3 gun games, it really doesn't matter much what your zero is. You're going to get good enough accuracy that if you're aiming at the center of the A Zone on your target, you're going to hit it if you're doing your part no matter what your distance is.

Your issue is going to be that pin point accuracy you need if Marty the Meth Head has come barging into your home looking for money and has taken your wife/son/daughter hostage and is using them as a shield. Depending on how close you are, the difference between point of aim and point of impact could be 3+ inches. Depending on how much of Marty you can see, that may be the difference between hitting Marty and hitting Mom, or not hitting Marty and letting him have Mom. Neither seem to be good options.

So what can you do? There is the option of "maximum point blank range", an idea that's making the rounds. It isn't a new idea and it's a good, functional idea, but you may find it a little lacking in the accuracy department in the scenario described above. I certainly do. We can, as Aaron Cowan does (or in one case, fails to do) in the second video, use hold over to make the shot. If you've practiced enough, that can work, usually. Of course, if it doesn't, putting a target paster on Mom won't help much. You may be zero at a shorter distance, like 5 yards, but many AR sights don't have the ability to deal with that much parallax.

I'll grant that we're looking at a pretty far-fetched scenario for most of us. The odds that we'll have to pull off this shot are probably right up there with winning the lottery.

It will be some time yet, but I'm going to have to experiment with this. I've gotten my Form 1s back from ATF, and I'm going to be building a couple of specialized ARs for home defense. While these guns may well go shoot some sort of gun games, their primary purpose in life is the defense of the castle. The longest shots I anticipate with them is 100 yards, and the shortest is across the room.

It's a hell of a thing that we have to consider taking such measures.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Brevard County (FL) Sheriff Wayne Ivey Gets It

I wish I could embed this video, but it's on Facebook, so yeah. (Thanks to True Blue Sam for the lesson in how to embed videos from Facebook. I never knew you could do that.) Still, you should go watch it, if for nothing else to see what an elected official who actually understands the situation and who trusts the citizens who put him in office looks like.

For the record, he's warning folks that in the light of the ever increasing terrorist threat, they need to get their carry gun on. Oh, and by the way, if you need help with that, his department teaches a course, free of charge.

Hell, I'd consider moving just to be able to vote for the guy.

Friday, June 09, 2017

Just in case you've been wondering

I have to admit that all this Alt-this and Alt-that have had me a tad confused. Just what is the Alt-Right anyway, and what, all of a sudden, is Alt-Light? Do I dare wonder about the Antifa after the farce of Evergreen State? Well, I finally decided to put the Googles to work and I found these two articles, which seem to come from authorities in the field, so to speak.

What the Alt-Right Is
The 21 Theses of Alt-Christianity

And I managed to do this without linking to the Daily Stormer. Trust me, you don't want to go there. I'm not. Well, not again, anyway. Couldn't manage one for Alt-Light without linking an Antifa site, and I'm not going there, either. Sort of like the Daily Stormer for the other side of the street.

It's starting to feel uncomfortably like the late 60s/early70s these days. I'm just waiting on the bombings and airliner hijackings to start.


(Via SurvivalBlog)

How about a product you can mix on site and apply to your walls to make them bullet proof? If that sounds like something you might be interested in, check out BallistiCrete. Apply it thick enough (2") and it will stop rounds up to 7.62 x 51. This could be some handy stuff.

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

June 6, 1944

Once again, we remember the men of Operation Overlord. Here you see one of the iconic photos of that day, taken by Robert Capa, of the first wave of troops storming ashore onto the hell of Omaha Beach.

And once again, I am in awe of these men, and grateful that they were then when the world needed them.

Sunday, June 04, 2017

A bit of progress (Putting up a 6m/2m/70cm beam antenna, Part 4)

Yes, in the fading light of day, there it is in all its glory--an antenna mast. Some progress has finally been achieved. :-)

Actually, I have been gratefully busy with paying work, so most things other than the necessities have taken a back seat to that the past 2-3 weeks. This also explains the quiet around here. When you're doing the consulting thing, people expect to see results rather more quickly than they do from employees. It's why we can charge the ridiculous per hour rates we charge.

The mast has actually worked out well. The coupling wound up about 4 feet down from the support at the peak of the roof. I'm debating if I need to add a wall bracket at that point to give it some extra strength, but I'm leaning toward "No" on that.

I wound up with almost exactly 6 feet of mast above the peak of the roof, which was my goal. That will allow the rotor and the 2m/6m beam and the omni-directional TV antenna. After those go up, I'm going to see if there is some way to add a discone for scanner use, but I think that may be pushing my luck. I have two other roof peaks where I can mount something on a bracket similar to this if I decide I really want that antenna up.

The next big step is to develop the routing for the antenna cables. I've vacillated over this for weeks. The ground height on this end of the house means that the penetration would be at or below ground level, which is not something I would like. Routing it around the back means lengthening the runs, increasing loss and having all that exposed ugly, which Mrs. Freeholder looks askance at. I could take it in through that vent you see and route a conduit down through a closet, but that just strikes me as asking for trouble at some unforeseeable future time--probably about the time something figures out how to get into the attic. It's a pity that my "wireless" as it's known in the former Great Britain couldn't be, well, wireless.

That, however, is the subject for another day. At the moment, I'm just happy to have gotten this far.

Friday, June 02, 2017

The definition of fun

At least for today, the definition of fun is shooting a 14" steel gong at 100 yards with a suppressed .22 pistol, from a rest, and hitting your target--repeatedly.

It would take a lot to get that grin off my face.

Monday, May 29, 2017

I was away from the Intertubz

But forgetting about today and the nature of it? I don't think so.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

The slow slide toward civil war continues

On both sides. At this point, we're chumming for sharks nearly as much as they are. It was inevitable. I catch myself doing it.

Can we drag ourselves back from the precipice?

Ocular dominance

There's a topic you don't often see on blogs. :-)

I'm one of the 30% or so of the population who is cursed with being cross-eye dominant. In my case, it's left eye dominant and right handed. It was never a big problem until I took up serious pistol shooting. I have and continue to shut my left eye when shooting rifles, and did the same with pistols. I'm MOA accurate with a rifle and I was acceptably accurate with a pistol.

I wanted better than acceptable accuracy with my pistol. I should have decided I wanted to do something easy, like world peace.

I've been shooting right-handed for something like 45 years. Even though my Dad was naturally left-handed, he was forced to be right-handed. It's just how things were done back then. I show some left hand tendencies (I carried a wallet and wore my watch left-handed for example), but I am right handed. I can't recall for sure, but I may have been forced to be right-handed as well. At this late date it makes no difference. I am for all reasonable purposes right-handed and left eye dominant.

It's a curse.

After trying this thing and that thing, one professional firearms trainer had me start laying my head to my right, all the way to my shoulder, so that I have a right-handed presentation but I can sight with my left eye. It looks weird and can be awkward until you get used to it, which I have. Every amateur wannabe firearms trainer in the world takes me to task for it, and I'm over being lectured by know-nothings.

Really. Those of you who think you know it all, you don't. If you're not cross-eye dominant, try shooting with your off hand, without doing anything to get your dominant eye lined up with the sights or closing the dominant eye, and see how well you do. You'll find that you suddenly suck at aiming. So how about you shoot your targets and I'll shoot mine. Notice that sentence didn't end with a question mark.

A recent run-in with the know-nothings that I wish I could detail but can't or I would blow opsec totally out of the water did lead me to the question, "Can you change your dominant eye?" Well, Wikipedia to the rescue, or at least the starting point.

Although that article is short, there were three interesting things to note.  First, the dominant eye can be changed. That alone was worth the price of admission. Second, a tendency toward of left eye dominance and left-handedness in migraine sufferers. Not important, but as a migraine sufferer, interesting. Third, and most frustrating, a methodology to change eye dominance but with insufficient details on how to actually do it.

So. We have an appointment in a couple of weeks with NuNeurologist. I'm going to ask his opinion of that piece of research and if he thinks an effort to change eye dominance might cause issues with the migraines, or maybe lead to improvements. I need to go to the ophthalmologist anyway, so I plan on discussing the concept with him as a part of the larger discussion of "Can we finally fix my old eyes yet?"

One of the downsides to retirement is time on your hands. You tend to start researching things that you may have been better off not knowing about.

Back to the gardening theme

At least for a moment. If we should happen to get that mini-Ice Age some are calling for, this document from the Alaskan Energy Authority could be very helpful. Biomass Heated Greenhouses. It's a big pdf file at 94 MB, lavishly illustrated and covers the subject not in depth, but in breadth. I think the assumption is that if you live in Alaska, you probably have the brains to figure how the details if someone points you in the right direction.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Food for the Fighters

That's the thing about YouTube. You can spend an entire afternoon on it, wondering from one interesting thing to another.

Shooting the double action revolver the FBI way

(From the Ruger Facebook group)

From 1961, the FBI opines on how to shoot the double action revolver. Don't snicker, there's a lot in it that is still apropos today.

Need to learn something?

(From Reccomendo)

You might want to try Richard Feynman's methodology. If a Nobel Prize winning physicist could use it to reduce complicated subjects down to a level where they could be taught to nearly anyone, it's probably going to work for people like us.

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Rethinking hostage rescue

(Via Michael Bane on Facebook)

For those among us who have had reason to be anywhere near those who work in this area, we know that this discussion has been taking place. The nature of hostage taking, at least when it comes to the big, world stage type events, has changed. The bad guys no longer want ransoms or media attention, they want body counts. In many ways, they have become more like our home grown spree killers in the US. Not that this is an improvement.

One of the big improvements in tactical doctrine following the Columbine shooting was a change in thinking from "Secure the perimeter and wait for sufficient backup" to "Get in there and take down the shooter/shooters". Even though this puts responding officers at increased risk, it lessens the amount of time the shooter has to carry out his work.

Hostage Rescue In The Age Of ISIS from the Havok Journal (yes, another link to add to the blogroll) takes an in-depth look at this subject from the eyes of a professional in the field. While I think it's aimed at the pros, it's something that anyone who is interested in armed self defense should consider. While an individual's chance of being swept up in one of these events is small, it isn't zero, and you would be well advised to know what to expect if it happens.

Myself, I see it this way.

 If you have the utter misfortune to get caught up in one of these events as a hostage, in all likelihood you are going to die. Accept the fact and own that bitch. Just be sure you take somebody with you.

Of course, I've lived most of my life now, and as such it's a little easier to say that. If you're in you're 20s or 30s and pissing yourself, trapped with a madman in the restroom of a nightclub, it's harder. But if there are enough of you, attack. Yes, some will die. The rest will disarm the bastard and stomp him into a greasy mess on the floor.

Let ISIS make political hay out of that.

This is getting to be too frequent

The gunny part of the blogosphere has lost another member, this time Bob Owens of Bearing Arms. It wasn't a frequent stop for me, but the loss of any of us diminishes all of us. Rest in peace.

Monday, May 08, 2017

You've got to be kidding me! (Putting up a 6m/2m/70cm beam antenna, Part 3)

So, I've taken the refurbed pipe die apart, and found...

That it has the "wrong" cutting teeth in it. In actuality, the teeth are just fine, they just don't seem to be the right teeth for for this particular die head. I can tell you they fit so tightly in their slots it's impossible to adjust them.  I've looked at several different videos on replacing the teeth and setting up these dies, and they all show them moving freely until you lock them down by tightening the screws that hold the die together. I had to very carefully knock these out with a hammer and punch after I had the die apart. I can't imagine that's right.

It's also not good that they're for "National Pipe Straight Mechanical" (NPSM) rather than the "National Pipe Taper" (NPT) threads that pipe fitting use, so that probably won't help matters when it comes to assembly time for the piece I already have already threaded.

I feel like Marvin the Martian--"Delays, delays."  The $30 replacement teeth should be here Friday. It would be cheaper if I just went back to work.

Gab is now open for business

Gab is now open to the public--1 zillion lines, no waiting! You don't need an invite to get in now, you can just sign yourself up and have at it. Come over and enjoy the fun. I can tell you that whatever you think it is, you're wrong and you're right at the same time. It really is a wide open platform where you can "speak freely". No censorship that I've seen, unlike some of those other social media platforms. If you find something you don't like, you have a couple of choices--exercise your free speech or use their filtering to turn it off. I've done both, and it's been a blast so far.

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Welcoming to the blogroll...

For the most part, I've stopped noting when a blog or web site comes or goes from the left hand side of the page. However, I'm making an exception for the Raconteur Report. There is a lot of good stuff there, and worth twice the price of admission.

Further thoughts on why you stay away from demonstrations

(Via Michael Bane on Facebook)

We've talked about how your presence at one of the current crop of demonstrations violates Farnam's 3 Rules of Risk Management. I spent a bit of downtime today watching a live feed from New Orleans where a large crowd of idiots argued with another large crowd of idiots about something that started out about taking down Confederate monuments but has devolved into monkeys flinging shit at each other (IMHO). Fascinating stuff, but 10 minutes of my time was enough to tell me that I really don't want to be anywhere near these events. While I saw no violence, all it would take is one person with an overload of stupid, and *boom*.

However, this piece takes the question on why you should stay away in a totally different, and much more frightening, direction. I have to admit I hadn't considered that our darling government might/could/probably would use it as an excuse to push through laws, especially firearms laws, that they could never get through in any normal circumstances. That's scary as hell, and I should have seen it myself. Remember, never let a crisis go to waste, and this would be a crisis that would make the Watts riots look like the Girl Scouts had ran out of cookies early. As with 9/11, you could use it to push through a lot of evil.

So now we are faced with the concept that staying away from the feces flinging monkeys isn't only good for our personal safety, but for our safety as a group. It's also important because it allows the current state to keep a lid on things a while longer, allowing us more time to get ready for whatever it is that we all fear is coming. After reading this, I have to wonder if maybe we're all fearing the wrong things. How deep do the plans run?

I'm becoming more of a conspiracy theorist by the day.

OK, so it's one groups opinion

(From the AR15 Builder group on Facebook)

The Best AR-15 Lowers for Any Budget, early 2017 edition. Nice to see Anderson in there, since I have two of them that I'm going to do Form 1 builds on. Time, time, time.

So, how hard can it be to put up one little mast? (Putting up a 6m/2m/70cm beam antenna, Part 2)


Since the original post, where things went swimmingly, it seems the Fates have been conspiring against me to some extent.

First we've been contending with Weather Control, who have apparently gotten into my calendar and planned high winds, rain, high winds and rain, tornadoes and other fun manifestations of unpleasant weather for most of the days where I was planning on working on this little project.

Second, there was an unplanned but very pleasant trip to the beach. Third, it seems that the NuNeurologist and I may need to get together and compare notes--the damn migraine attacks are starting to increase in frequency again. And fourth there are all the other duties of living--the guns don't clean themselves, you know.

Click to embiggenate
However, in between all those things, there has been some progress. Knowing that that end of the Freehold had both the cable TV line (which no longer carries cable TV but does carry the all-important Intertubz connection) and the power lines buried along it, I decided that discretion was in order and put in a locate order with our local "before you dig" folks. That took a week, but I got some pretty painted lines and flags to show for it, along with knowing for sure I'm not going to hit a 240v, 200 amp service line by accident.

If you look carefully, you'll see my white "flags" that define my digging box, the yellow flag that is approximately where the bottom of the mast will be and the pretty orange and red flags/lines that denote the location of the cable and power lines. This picture is from nearly 3 weeks ago, and fortunately unseasonably cool weather has kept those bushes from growing much in the meantime.

Also click to embiggenate
While this was going on, as I noted earlier I needed a 1" pipe threading die. I was able to find a refurbed one, and since I haven't threaded pipe in 40+ years, a handy YouTube video to refresh my memory on the process. Obviously, I don't have the nice new tools the dude in the video has. I have a old Rigid 00-R threader, an old Nye 2N pip cutter and an old Reed pipe vise. Outside of the 1" die, which is probably old, this was all inherited from my Dad, who had plumbed several houses with it over the years. I also have all the various size pipe wrenches to go with it.

Mrs. Freeholder continues to ask why I keep this old "junk". Well, dear, because I can't thread pipe with your Precious Moments figurine collection.

Interestingly enough, although it's pretty frustrating at the moment, after threading the ends on the first pipe, we (Son is playing assistant pipe fitter) ran into a problem that I'm hoping I have the solution for. We started to thread the second piece and around halfway through the operation part of the newly threaded section broke off. We cut it off and tried again, and again, and again with the same result. Googling has provided me with what I hope is the solution, information that pipe threading dies must be "set" and another YouTube video that demonstrates the procedure to properly set the dies. I'm betting my refurbed 1" die wasn't properly set, as the problems ascribed to an incorrectly set die sound remarkably like what's happening to us.

Being that it's a Sunday, I'm not much on heavy work, but I may try the setting procedure and then make another try at threading tomorrow. If that works, then it's put the entire mast together, get the hole dug, place the mast and pour cement. After that will be drilling the penetration in the wall, which I have already found out will be far more entertaining than I at first expected. Not sure when ll this will get done, as there are other things that I need to accomplish as well while the outdoor weather is still Spring-like.

The joys of retirement. You have more work than ever to accomplish, and it feels like less time to get it done.

The Ranger Roll

If you Google "ranger roll", you're going to find two things--a method to fold clothes, which is really handy, and this:

This is how to pick up a totally dead weight companion and transport them without hurting yourself. It's a bit long to be a 5 Minute Prepping post, but it's Sunday, so we're going to roll with it.

And wheterh or not you're a SEAL, don't grab the guy's nuts. Just sayin'.

Monday, May 01, 2017

Brass case ammo vs. steel case ammo

(As found on Facebook)

While this debate isn't as old as the Caliber Wars, it has been fought with the same level of...let's call them apocryphal tales. Lucky Gunner has decided to bring some actual empirical testing to the subject, and sacrificed 4 AR-15s (or at least their barrels) and 40,000 rounds of 5.56 ammo to put the question to the test. The results are most interesting.

If you want to shoot steel case ammo and you're hoarding it for TEOTWAWKI, you might want to stock up on some spare barrels and extractors.

The serendipitous landing of links

I have long since stooped being surprised, other than pleasantly so, by the seemingly odd coincidences that have been occurring in my life the last few years. I simply take them as evidence that there is a power beyond me using me for its own ends, whatever those ends may be. No, I don't pretend that it is God, nor to I pretend that they are positive ends. The Universe isn't that clear to us mortals.

Today I had two links come in over the transom. The first was from Mountain Man, and addresses what many of us Southerners see as the truth about Abraham Lincoln and The War of Northern Aggression. This is a subject which has recently been renewed in the public consciousness when NC Rep. Larry Pittman decided to note what many Southerners believe and had the temerity to do it out loud and on social media.

I don't bring this up to restart the discussion on what is the "truth" about the late unpleasantness. I'm bringing up to point out something--this country still bears unhealed scars from our last civil war and the essential nature of that war, over 150 years after its conclusion. A civil war, by its nature is the most bitter of all wars, given that it is fought between neighbors on home ground over strongly held beliefs. It is a kind of war where the battles will be carried on far past the point of good sense. I think it would be reasonable to say that no thinking person wants to have another one.

The second link was something from Michael Bane on his Facebook feed, where he noted this post from Gabe Suarez on the new enemy, the so-called anti-facists, or Antifa. While they are currently just slightly beyond the joke category, we're probably about one good shooting from some serious problems--and these hyperactive children are learning how to shoot. While they may look distinctly amateurish now, as far as I'm aware there is no political limitations on becoming a credible marksman (or as I'm sure they would require me to say, marksperson). There are definitely none on the purchase and ownership of firearms.

As a nation, we're not in a good place and we haven't been at a good place in a while. I don't see any indication that we'll be at a good place any time soon. This means that those of us on "our side" are going to need to keep our eyes and ears open, our wits about us and double down on our deployment of common sense. While we might be tempted to go to one of these Berkeley-like demonstrations in order make sure our voice is heard, discretion is the better part of valor and always has been. Stay home.

Our efforts are better put into the same things we've always done--training, prepping and building our communities. Let the fools argue with the idiots in the streets and confuse television audiences about identity issues. Stay focused and as the man has so often said, stay frosty.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

You want a civil war?

Because this is how you get a civil war. Remember Farnam's 3 Rules of Risk Management:

Don’t go to stupid places; don’t associate with stupid people; don’t do stupid things.

Because sometimes avoiding something truly horrible is really easy.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Before anything else comes up

I've been trying for days to get this posted. Life keeps throwing me curve balls, not all of them unpleasant, and keeping me from it. No more! I win! Mine is an evil laugh!

A while back, before I was kicked to the curb by my last employer and just before the fine, fine folks at the BATFE-I-E-I-O decided to change the rules on NFA trusts, I decided to set up a trust and toss some fun things into it. As per usual with such things, it took several months for them to show up, and I'm still waiting on some, but here is a videos of a couple of one of the trust members enjoying the fruits of that labor.

I give you the Palmetto State Defense Minilith, mounted on a Smith & Wesson SW22 Victory.


All because of a fat kid in a turd whirled country

I'm getting rumbles via various channels about things nuclear. Chances are these will come to nothing, just as they always have. However, ignoring such things isn't in my nature, and if you're even the slightest bit interested in keeping body and soul together, it shouldn't be in yours.

I'm not recommending going out and going crazy doing last minute prepping. Nothing I'm hearing says that anything is imminent. I do recommend that you read this first, then read over this, and perhaps take a look over the entire web site as an educational excercise.

If you don't have enough food and water for at least a couple of weeks, plus a way to prepare it, this would be a good time to consider that investment. Face it, it's something you can always make use of even if nothing happens.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Complacency kills

Most people figure that if they follow John Farnam's "3 Rules of Risk Management":

Don’t go to stupid places; don’t associate with stupid people; don’t do stupid things.

That they will probably go through life without the need to ever defend themselves from bad guys. And they right--right up until they're wrong.

A series of events, relatively local to me, is finally drawing to a close, and that motivates me to write a little something on the subject. You'll notice it has a crapload of tags, because you can't pigeonhole this one easily.

If you read the article I'll eventually link, you'll get all this background, but I want to state this myself. In May, 2014, 3 men attempted to rob a local business. The owner, who was armed, shot one and all three were arrested. The 3 were gang members. Other members of the gang began to stalk the owner and his wife, who took some steps to beef up their security posture. These steps were, as we'll see, ineffectual.

In October, 2014, there was a knock at the door of the owner's home. His wife answered and was immediately shot and killed. The owner armed himself and returned fire, but his gun jammed after the first shot. He was shot and left for dead. The shooter left, but heard the man sobbing and returned to deliver the coup de grace. A third individual in the home, the owner's son, was uninjured. I speculate this is because he was out of sight during the event.

It has taken some time, but everyone involved in this is being brought to justice, for various values of justice. There will unfortunately, IMHO, be no executions. The victims' son is keeping a low profile out of fear of further retribution by the gang.

I don't want to speak ill of the dead. They didn't know what they didn't know. Those of us who have been raised around guns, who have used guns as a tool in their work, who have trained in armed self defense or in law enforcement, we can all see the series of mistakes that were made that led to this unfortunate conclusion.

What I want to do is jar you the hell out of your complacency. COMPLACENCY KILLS. You need to understand this at a gut level.

We're all guilty of it. We've bought gear, spent money, time and effort, irritated our spouses, used time off for things other than vacations, and you simply get tired of all that effort with no obvious return. God, but I just want to go to the beach, sit under an umbrella and drink!

No one says you can't.  We all need a break. No one can live in Condition Red, or Orange or even Yellow, forever. You'll lose your mind. But remember, it's a break. Eventually, you have to come back and live in reality, and the reality is that COMPLACENCY KILLS.

I don't care if you live in a "good neighborhood". I do, and my house has been burgled. These folks lived in a much nicer one, and they're dead. Criminals don't care about your neighborhood. They don't care that the cops usually spend more effort on the nicer areas than on the crappy ones. They know where the good stuff is, and that's where they're going to come. The gangbangers really don't give a crap. They pretty much figure they're going to die young anyway, so they don't have much in the way of fear. They are particularly dangerous because They. Don't. Care. About anything. As the old saying goes, they'd as soon shoot you as look at you.

I don't care if you have a gun, or a couple of guns, or a bunch of guns. Do you do any sort of training, even if it is just watching videos on Youtube? It's been said before, but a gun is not a magical talisman whose presence keeps evil at bay. It's a tool, and you have to know how to use it and when you can use it.

I don't care if you've had a training class, do you practice? Do you get to the range? Do you even shoot at all, bro? You have to get to the range and practice with that gun in your hand, and punching holes in paper doesn't count. You need to move and shoot, shoot from behind cover, shoot on the move, draw from a holster, draw from concealment, draw on the move. If you can and you're willing, shooting sports like IDPA and USPSA are good things to participate in; they'll give you plenty of practice at these things.

We have to face some ugly facts. We all know the police aren't everywhere; they never have been. But things are changing around us, and not in a good way. Violent crime seems to be starting to trend up, and there are stories in the news that crime stats in various locations may have been cooked for some years to make the politicians look good. There are chief LEOs who are telling their citizens that they need to arm themselves because their departments are over stretched and they are, in effect, on their own. While there is no hard statistics, it appears that criminals are getting more violent in their attacks. Last but hardly least, we have had and will probably continue to have terrorist attacks on our own soil.

While the likelihood of any one of us being involved in an incident is small, it isn't zero, and the effects of it can change your life--or end it. Just as with prepping for a hurricane or an economic displacement, preparing yourself to defend your life and property takes time, effort and money. But the chances you'll need to use that equipment and those skills are probably higher than any other thing you will prepare yourself for.

Remember, complacency kills. Don't be complacent.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Climate change

Does climate change? Of course it does, over vast amounts of time. Are human actions influencing it? Unclear, but unlikely. So why are well-known scientists, as opposed to TV wanna-bes like Bill Nye, not Marching for Science?

Because they refuse to bow to the new religion.

He was Trump before Trump was Trump

“We rolled the dice with the future of this country,” he tells me. “And I think it’s going to come up snake eyes.”

I'm not a fan of Politico, and even while this article has its moments where it sets my teeth on edge, it has a point of view that's worth consideration. Pat Buchanan was indeed espousing the same ideas as Donald Trump decades before Trump was elected. Unfortunately, he was far ahead of the public consciousness of the seriousness of the situation. Most people were too busy being lulled into semi-consciousness by a steady diet of cheap consumer goodies to notice how the country was being hollowed out by a succession of  Presidents and Congresses intent on cuddling up to a "New World Order" that the public was told would bring peace and prosperity for everyone.

Instead, it's brought vast riches for a few, a vastly decreased standard of living for many, an improved standard of living for many others, constant "terrorism" and a world-wide sense that we have fucked up but no agreement on just how, where or when we did it. The election of Donald Trump, Brexit and the rise of nationalistic politicians everywhere are simply indications that we now "get it" and want something done--we just aren't quite sure how or what to do.

I can remember when the Berlin Wall fell a few people warning that we would miss the Cold War. I never figured I would be one of the ones doing so.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

It's been a while

I really owe you some good, original content of some sort.  I even have some, but Mrs. Freeholder and I have been at an Undisclosed Oceanside Location with Old Friend and Mrs. Old Friend for some long needed rest, recreation and re-connection. Without going into a lot of detail, let's say it was good. It's something that we should do more often, especially in these times of apparent uncertainty.

At any rate, after driving a couple of hundred miles home, finding that Daughter and Son had not held up their end of the bargain and that the Freehold was somewhat trashed (and yes, there have and will be repercussions), gotten the the mess cleaned up and now having eaten, I'm beat. I'm basically indulging in Mindless Intertubz Surfing, or I was until I ran into a mention of this.

Yes, I've said before that I will no longer join in the National Day of Sackcloth and Ashes every year, and I have no intention on going back on that. But this is something special. On September 12, 2001, in an unprecedented gesture, Queen Elizabeth allowed (read that as "directed") the Coldstream Guards to play the US national anthem at the ceremonial changing of the guard as a show of solidarity and to comfort the US citizens who were stranded in Great Britain when all flights were grounded in the aftermath of 9/11.

I remember those empty skies--the first time in my life I could look up and not see planes in the air. I can only imagine what it would be like to be stranded on a foreign shore, knowing your country had been attacked and knowing you weren't going to be able to get home for some unknown period.

Hell of a thing.

Saturday, April 08, 2017

You gotta read this

I'm not sure I can describe it with any real justice, but it's about Israel and its defense, terrorism and one Israeli general's thoughts on our current issues in the West with Muslims. Seriously, go read it and draw what you will from it.

Putting up a 6m/2m/70cm beam antenna, Part 1

The weather is getting back to spring, and it's time to launch into some spring projects. One of many is the installation of a Cushcraft 6m/2m/70cm beam antenna. Now, if I were an real, old-fashioned ham, I'd build it. And I'd have nearly as much money in the parts and specialty tools as I'd have in just buying it. When I consider the hassle/swearing factor, plus trying to dial that sucker in, I'll just put up with being called an "equipment operator" and buy the antenna.

First however, you have plan the installation. My "ham shack" (actually, ham shack in waiting), which is actually nothing more than one end of 40-something feet of L-shaped workbench, resides in the basement of our house, which is a stereotypical brick ranch house. Fortunately, it's located on the end of the house where I plan on putting up the mast, which makes for nice short cable runs. This is important to minimize transmission and reception loss in the antenna cables themselves. Even using LMR-400 cable, which is a good low-loss cable, I want to keep my runs as short as possible.

The antenna itself, per the manual, can be installed on common thin wall antenna mast. Given that I need 20' of mast, that seems to be a bit on the light side to me, especially since it isn't easy to place stabilizers in the middle of the mast. This is due to the distance to the side of the house and lack of adequate structure to tie into. The brick makes for a nice house, but it's a veneer, not a structural element. The only place I can get to structure is at the peak of the roof.

I've decided to use some 1" galvanized pipe I have had lying around. Originally it was top rail on an old chain-link fence that dated from the early 1970s. Much heavier than what they use for top rail these days, it's far heavier than antenna mast. It will have one coupling somewhat above the middle of the mast, but that I can't help. It's better than the 5 joints I would have with the thin wall mast, which I can only get in 5' sections.

So, having purchased a Rohn antenna mast bracket to secure the upper end, I made sure I had the appropriate tools, lag screws, drill bits and so on on hand. There's nothing like being in the middle of a project and needing to make a run to the hardware store. Then it's up the ladder to mount the bracket.

This turned out to be far easier than I expected it to be. Son was available to assist by spotting in case his old man decided to increase the family net worth by pitching head first off the ladder, but all went relatively well. The only unexpected thing was that I didn't hit as much solid wood on the right side as I expected, and I hit more on the left. When I had scoped this out in the attic, it appeared that there was a gap between the last rafter and the fascia board, so I had prepared for that by getting a couple of 6" lag screws. I also took a couple of 2" screws with me, just in case I hit fascia backed by an unseen rafter. So what did I hit? Fascia backed by an unseen rafter on the right and something solid for the length of a 6" drill bit on the left. So I used one of each.

That sucker is up there.  The one thing I would like to see is the legs spread wider apart for some extra stability. I may try to find some sort of bracket to the middle of the mast after all, but for now we're going with what we have.

After this, I dropped a plumb line and marked the approximate center of the mast so we can dig the hole for it to sit in. I don't think I'll hit any utilities, but I think I'm going to call the "One Call" folks Monday. I know my cable comes through that area, but right next to the house, and I believe the power does further out.  Even though I'm hand digging, I'd hate to find either by accident.

Next up is threading the ends of the ex-top rail. I dig out my Dad's old pipe vise and his pipe threader and dies. I start looking for the 1" die and...there is no 1" die. I would have sworn he had dies from 1/8" up to 2", but nope, they stop at 3/4. Bad Language. At least I found a refurbed 1" die for that antique threader on eBay; theoretically it will be here before the end of next week. What was that I said about having to make a run to the hardware store in the middle of a project?

I can continue by drilling the hole through the wall of the house, but that one is going to take a while, and I would rather have a full day to do it, so I packed up and called it a day. More when I circle around to this next week.

Friday, April 07, 2017

Here we go, lobbing cruise missiles again

Last night, we launched what appears to be a pretty well designed and targeted attack on a Syrian government airbase. From all reports, it achieved all its goals, including minimal causalities on the ground. Today, the news and opinion is all over the place. I've seen just about everything you could imagine:

  • Trump was right
  • Trump was wrong
  • The Wall St. cabal has co-opted the Presidency
  • Now both parties and the media love him
  • Europe loves him
  • The Syrians love him
  • We just helped out ISIS
  • That we were suckered in by a false flag op
  • That is is long past time we "did something"
  • Why did we "do anything"--it's not our problem
  • The chemical weapons were actually in possession of the Syrian rebels and were accidentally hit by a Syrian government bomb
  • The neocons have won control of the White House
  • The Alt-Right has officially abandoned Trump
I'm probably leaving out a few, but I'm anxiously scanning for word on space alien involvement.

I also have a few not exactly rhetorical questions I'd like to toss out there for consideration:
  • How is this supposed to improve our relations with Russia?
  • Why in the world did you do this with the Chinese President in your own house? Please don't tell me you're trying to make a point about the South China Sea in some sort of bizarre twofer.
  • What happened to that campaign promise about keeping out of Syria?
  • Am I alone in seeing the Mideast as the Balkans of the 21st century? With the commemoration of the US entry into WWI ongoing, this one is especially frightening to me. Hell, I thought Mr. Wilson Trump was going to keep us out of foreign wars for a while.
I guess it was nice while it lasted. Now we're back to reality. At least we got Gorsuch on the Supreme Court. Hopefully that will work out for us.

Thursday, April 06, 2017

I hate cleaning guns

My least favorite thing about shooting is cleaning my guns. While I do think that a gun needs to be cleaned after it's shot, I'll also tell you that I've at gotten over the whole "the patch needs to come out as clean as it goes in" thing. There needs to be balance in all things, and gun cleaning isn't immune as far as I'm concerned.

I've used a lot of gun cleaning products over the years, although I've hardly used them all. I haven't conducted any sort of exhaustive testing, though I have read a number of tests (and I think I've probably blogged a bit on some) and some of them have influenced the products I use. Just to have something to blog about today, I'm going to bore you with just how I've arrived at my process for gun cleaning and lubrication.

Back in the days of my youth, it was Hoppe's #9 and 3-in-1 oil. That's what my grandfather used, it's what my dad used and therefore it's what I used. Of course, they also knew they had to clean their hunting guns after they had sat in those old glass-doored gun cabinets over the summer or they would be gooey enough to be problematic in the woods. I still have a bottle of Hoppe's around that I use for the initial cleaning of any newly acquired "old" guns.

(Speaking of cleaning newly acquired "old" guns, sometimes harsh methods are called for. For me, that's Brakleen. (Yes, I can see some of you shuddering. Feel free.) Take the action out of the stock and make sure any plastic or polymer parts are removed. If you think it might be anything other than metal, remove it. Then spray away. Brakleen will remove everything except the metal.  Beware, that means every bit of protective lubrication as well, so relube the cleaned parts quickly. Of course, if you have a nice ultrasonic cleaner, that's preferable, but not everyone has one handy that will handle a barreled action.)

In the military, we were given a CLP, usually Break Free CLP. Yes, it's been around since shortly after dirt. And it works tolerably well if you do your part and don't shirk on the elbow grease. It also does a pretty good job on protecting. It never seemed to be so great at lubrication, which is why we all kept a bottle handy. If we were having problems with an M-16, our first action was to squirt a bunch in the ejection port. You'd be amazed how often that fixed the problem.

When I got my first couple of guns, I fell back to old habits, and then I actually read the instructions on the bottle of Hoppe's. Who knew it would work as a gun oil, if probably not a very good one. I mean, it said right there on the bottle to put it on a patch and push it through the bore to prevent rust after cleaning. Well heck, if it worked there, it ought to work for the rest of the gun. Thankfully I shot enough that I never had to find out just how much protection it did or didn't provide.

Eventually I had enough guns and shot them enough that I had to put some actual research into the subject. I was spending an inordinate amount of time cleaning guns and I simply needed a better way. Luckily, by then we had this Intertubz thing, and gun forums, and the know-it-alls who infest gun forums. You could ask a question and get all kinds of answers, some of them even knowledgeable. I went through an extended period of trying this and that cleaner and lube and learned a good bit along the way. I finally found some actual good advice and decently done test results, and I've wound up with the system I'm using today.

I'm going to outline it, but don't take it as something Moses brought down the mountain in his back pocket. It works for me. You may think it's the height of lubrication lunacy, and I'll be more than happy to listen to anyone who can cite actual evidence that shows a better way.

For cleaning, non-critical lubrication and protection from rust, I use Eezox. It was a little hard to get used to using, because a little goes a very long way--a quart lasts me a couple of years at this point. (I'm not shooting as much as I did at one time.) It cleans everything including lead residue, it has protected my guns from Demon Rust without failure and it doesn't smell horrible. I clean guns in the basement and so far I have not gotten a complaint from the upstairs inhabitants. You will find that, if you clean a new gun before shooting, clean up goes much easier.  An old gun will take several cleanings, the first couple of which you will get crap out of your barrel that you won't believe, but eventually it will also become easier to clean. For me, a normal cleaning will be a few strokes with a brush and Eezox, followed by alternating wet/dry patches, usually a dozen or so. At that point, it's as clean as it will reasonably get. Wipe the metal surfaces down very lightly with Eezox and let them dry.

For internal cleaning and lubrication of trigger assemblies, especially ones I don't want to take out of a gun or disassemble for some reason (or I'm in a hurry), I use Hornady One Shot. It cleans out the gunk and leaves a light dry lube behind. It also seems to be safe on synthetic parts, so you can use it in polymer guns.

On gun rails, I use grease. I'm not super picky on what grease, just as long as it is a reasonable quality grease. When you consider that the environment isn't some huge number of PSI or temperature in degrees, you really don't have to be super picky--the stuff isn't going to break down because of stress.  I suspect in a pinch you could use Vaseline. I've been using up some Mil-Tec that I got as a sample a long while back, and I'm just about out of it. When that runs out, I'm going to use a good quality, yet inexpensive, general purpose synthetic grease that I already have purchased for the purpose. I figure the 4 ounce tube will last me the rest of my life.

There are a few places on some guns (Hiya, Glock) that actually want oil. Plus ARs like to be wet, although I've successfully ran mine with dry lube only for a couple of hundred rounds at a time with no observable wear. So you'll want some oil on hand. Again, I believe you can go with anything that doesn't gum up over time--I suspect a quart of synthetic motor oil would work and last a lifetime. I can't tell you that for sure, since I just take what I need from whatever quart happens to be open at the time. I use Royal Purple, and so far, no problems with weights from 5W-20 - 10W-40. If you're picky, they do have an oil specifically for guns, if you can find it in a store. I never have. I have a needle oiler meant for machinery; I just fill that bad boy up and lube on.

Bear in mind it doesn't take a lot of lube to properly lube a gun, even an AR. Too many people over do the lubrication of their guns. Any lube that stays wet will attract dirt and the crap that comes out of the chamber after firing. None of this is good for moving parts. Keep an eye on the parts you're lubing, and if you aren't seeing wear, keep reducing the amount of lube until you see a little, then increase one step. That's how much lube you need. Don't sweat that tiny bit of wear you'll cause, it isn't going to hurt the performance of the gun; at least I've never noticed it causing a problem. You've probably just scuffed off some high spots.

So that's how I do it. Your mileage may vary, offer not good in Alaska and Hawaii, so on and so forth.

I suppose there are outlets for most everything

Body Armor Outlet

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

For the electronics geek in you

If there is no electronics geek in you, you may as well skip this post. If there is, ElectronicsNotes has a series on YouTube on oscilloscopes.

Something else to spend time on. :-)

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

About that light blogging lately

Yeah, totally my fault. I've been out enjoying the weather for a while. We took the RV RVing, I've been working in the yard, getting some things organized for some outdoor projects, sitting on the porch reading (hey, got to enjoy the retirement thing while it lasts) and talking to a former employer about some "casual" employment.

That last one, kiddies, is why you never do any of these, no matter how bad you think your job sucks. You may later determine that you were wrong. Burned bridges are bad things.

But this afternoon, my reading was inside on the Intertubz, in particularly SurvivalBlog. I really don't read the folks on my blogroll like I used to, so when I do, it tends to be a binge read sort of thing. Probably good thing I went by there, because I found several goodies for you.

Here's one for the Glock owners. Guns break, even Glocks. While some Glock owners think that is a heresy, I'm here to tell you that all guns break--it's in their nature as mechanical objects cursed with moving parts. It really doesn't matter what brand they are, they break.  Greg Ellifritz at Active Response Training has a listing of all the parts that commonly break in Glocks. Spend a few bucks and buy spares.

One for the prepping folks is Wertz's Home Grown Beef and Pork. I've not tried this myself, but the review at Survivalblog is glowing. They have a variety pack that seems made for sampling. It's not cheap, but good meat is expensive and this stores for 15 years. It's also pre-cooked, which means in an emergency you won't need a lot of fuel to use it. Remember, this is prepping we're talking about, not grocery shopping.

Here's one that didn't come from Survivalblog, but something they linked lead me to it. The gun safety types are going to go apeshit over it and reasonably so--it could have been done without exposing anyone to risk. I wouldn't have done it this way, but the info is important. If you've never had the experience of having incoming rounds "thwip" past you, this is what it sounds like. Commit it to memory, because you may not realize the sound of gunfire is pointed at you. You will, however, hear the rounds pass you if they're still supersonic. It's a nasty little sound.

Meanwhile, in La La Land

Some of you may know that Kamala Harris, California'a Attorney General, has been running for Barbara Boxer's US Senate seat seemingly forever. You probably also know that the woman is rabidly anti-gun. You may even remember that she ginned up a questionable raid and seizure of a firearm collector's sizable collection a couple of years ago, and she got a lot of media attention for that.

You will not hear in the legacy media that she has lost in court and had had to hand all 541 guns back to their owner. This does not fit into the narrative and will be buried as deeply as possible.

But you will know it.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Glorious weather leads to saving money

With the exception of a round of thunderstorms Tuesday night, we have been blessed with some seriously wonderful spring weather, and I've been doing everything except blogging.

You are probably wondering how nice weather leads to saving money, since most people do things that cause them to spend money. Well, one of the things the nice weather has done is keep me very busy, busy enough that I haven't had time to indulge in a certain guilty pleasure--watching TV in the evenings.

Like most people, we have cable and pay a pretty penny for it. But for several years, I've noticed that our TV viewing habits here at The Freehold were changing. Mrs. Freeholder watches primarily two things, "Ru Paul's Drag Race" (none of us get that one) and Atlanta Braves baseball in season. Son watches Netflix and Hulu Plus. Daughter is mostly the two cable cooking networks, with a couple of other cable network series and a lot of binge watching of series on Netflix. (The girl has a job, but she needs to land a position in her career field soon, and I'll leave it at that.) I watch the gun shows on Outdoor Channel (I know that's a shock) and since my "retirement" have been slowly working my way through "NCIS" on Netflix.

Out cable provider, Time Warner, soon to be Spectrum, also hauls our Internet traffic.

Seeing a pattern here? We're paying for something that we don't use much of. If I had been paying closer attention, I would have noticed that.

Que my email yesterday evening, which delivered the coming month's bill.  Which went up. By a third. This is after the previous month's bill, which had went up $16 due to the 4 little black decryption boxes we had to install last year when Time Warner encrypted their cable channels. At least they were "kind" enough to let us have them free for a year. Oh, and last month's bill was the end of our 1 year contract, and specifically noted that fact, and that our cable contract would be continued at the same rate.

Needless to say, I was unamused and called TW customer dis-service immediately. After the usual conversation with the first level person, who had no explanation for what was going on, I gave her my yearly ultimatum: "Figure out how to keep the bill level or you can cancel the cable and sell me Internet access only."

This method has worked for 6 years now. I get transferred to a higher level and they figure out a way. This year, apparently Spectrum has decided they have all the cable TV customers they need, because they didn't even try--they simply processed the cutoff order. When I arose this morning, the little black boxes were all blinking "no signal".

I'm cool with this. I spent yesterday evening profitably. I spent the first month's savings ordering an outdoor TV antenna, so we can get all the local channels, something like 32, over the air. I already have a good distribution system in the house, so all I need to do is mount it and run the cable to the distribution point.

I also didn't miss watching TV on the last night of cable. Oddly enough, no one else watched any, either.

I've built a spreadsheet that compared the service we had with online services from SlingTV, Playstation Vue and DirecTV Now. Not only should we be able to get nearly if not all the content we really watched from cable, but we'll get some new content that may be interesting, and it's all less expensively and without a contract. Most of the services will throw in any device you need to access them for free or at a cut rate as a bonus.

While pulling all the TW devices I need to return (4 decryptors and a DVR), something else struck me and I did some math. We were using a bit over 12 kilowatt hours of electricity per day to keep all that stuff powered. Extend that out to year and it's just short of 4400 kilowatt hours, which is roughly 2 months of our total electricity usage. Think on that concept a second. For us that's well over $300 of electricity per year just to keep all those devices powered on.

All that money for something we really didn't use that much. Damn, but that irritates me. It also motivates me to start checking all the other "vampire loads" around the house and see what can be done about disabling them.

It appears that I'm going to save around $700/year, which isn't a huge amount of money, but it's something. For some folks, it is a huge amount. Spent wisely, it could be a huge amount of beans, bullets or bandaids for you prepping stocks.

You have to love beautiful spring weather.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

I've been trying not to go into politics

But I just can't help myself. Great Bleeding Ghu, how tone deaf do you have to be?

The nation votes in President Donald Trump, in part because they want Obamacare to die a horrible death sooner rather than later. However, the Grand Ossified Party, who has voted over 60 times to repeal that same law, when finally faced with a chance to do so and make it stick, comes up with a replacement that can best be characterized as Obamacare: The Sequel.

Paul Ryan, Speaker of the Dead Horse House, ignoring the hue and cry from all corners, including the Freedom Caucus within his own party, forges ahead, business as usual. President Trump for some unknown reason decides that the ones who got him to the White House suddenly no longer matter and signs on to this unholy offspring of the GOP and the insurance and healthcare industries. We're gonna close us a deal!

And it gets shot down. Never even got to a vote because Ryan would rather not have the vote than watch it go down in flames.

Personally, I'm glad they pulled it, and grateful to the people who helped kill it. I'm actually enjoying the glee on the other side of the street. I hope it stings like hell on our side--you idiots deserve it.

Now Trump has decided to go on to tax cuts (There's a stupid idea, with healthcare costs now scheduled to go to the moon, Alice, to the moon!), but he has said he'll be happy to work on a bi-partisan version of Obamacare repeal--as if the Democrats have any interest in that. They're all to happy to follow Napoleon's dictum, "Never interrupt your enemy when he is doing something foolish."

This was off to a fun start, but everyone took their eye off the ball. They've forgotten why they got elected and figured they could go back to the Same Old Thing and we'd put up with it. Wrong-a-rini. A few highly principled folks stopped you, and God bless 'em for doing it. Now stop futzing with taxes and go back to work and bring us real healthcare reform. Or 2018 is going to be a really fun election for you.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Can you train with 50 rounds?

Now that's an interesting question--Can you do effective training with 50 rounds of ammo? After all, many of the training drills we see require much higher round counts.

The answer is a qualified "yes". Of course, we're assuming that you already have the basics down, in that you can handle the basics of running your gun safely and can hit your target reasonably well. I wouldn't recommend this as your only training. There are going to be times you need a 200 round afternoon, or a 1000 round class. There is also a place for dry fire training (and allow me to note I have a NextLevel SIRT pistol, bought with my own coin, and it is a great dry fire training tool--but some of the Laserlytes are calling me), and you should do a lot of it, since it's cheap over time and it works.

Without further ado, live fire training on 50 round ammo budget.

How to train on a 50 round budget from NextLevel Training on Vimeo.

What a crappy day

Today hasn't been one of my best days. I woke up with a migraine attack starting up--something I haven't done in a long while. Even though the new neurologist, who specializes in migraine and associated disorders, has helped me improve by several orders of magnitude, the reality is that I have a have a neurological disorder that is going to be with me for the remainder of my life, and every so often it's going to make itself known. At least today it wasn't one of the Oh-My-God-My-Head-Is-Going-To-Explode attacks, it was one of the "new", much lesser attacks that I have now that I'm getting appropriate care. You feel crappy, but you can still function at a reduced level. And I only get them somewhere between every 5-14 days.

Hey, it beats having the OMG ones 20 or 25 days of the month, trust me. That isn't living, that is existing. I had one of those a few days ago, first one in months, and I honestly don't know how I was able to do the things I did, in terms of holding a job and such, for as long as I managed it. I guess I was good at hiding it or going through the motions or something.

At any rate, I decided that another day of burning brush piles wasn't going to be happening. Instead, I took on more domestic activities, like laundry (yes, retirement is exciting) and a lot of random walking the Internet. I've found a three things of interest.

The first two can fall under the headline of "Your Government At Work". Unfortunately, I don't think anyone really wants this to be how our government works. Encouraging police agencies to steal private property for profit and strong-arming some citizens to entrap other citizens into criminal enterprises just doesn't match up with the things I was taught in civics class about "how our country works". Neither of these is exactly news if you've been paying attention, but they both just felt like slaps in the face today.

The third goes back to a topic I've touched on any number of times, the impending disruptions and changes in society. This article is written from a leftist perspective and looks at the election of Donald Trump, Steve Bannon's part in it and in particular, Bannon's interest in Strauss and Howe's book "The Fourth Turning".

This particular piece can take a while to read, especially if you chase down all the linked articles. But it was interesting, because it shows that someone on that side of the street understands that the reason for Trump's pimp-slap of the Clinton candidacy wasn't just because a bunch of redneck pissed off white guys voted for him, and he isn't screaming for Teh Resistences to get out in da streetz and PROTEST! As you might suspect, I don't agree with the author's conclusion, which calls for us to in effect step outside of history and find some mystic group of people to help us "level up".

Spare me the gamer talk, please. We won't be stepping outside of history or, as he says we must, our genetics. While it's possible for individuals and small groups to do such things, asking the mass of humanity to do so simply won't happen. Think of it as a human form of inertia. You can't make 7+ billion people move easily, even with the threat of the dissolution of the old system and the fear of a new unknown system. Things are going to change, whether anyone likes it or not, but you can't control the change. If we can do anything in terms of effecting this change, we need to do what we can to keep it as non-destructive as possible, especially in terms of such things as large wars. Our war-fighting tools are a bit too effective these days, and things could get out of hand. That would lead us to one of the population bottlenecks he notes. This would not be a Good Thing.

At any rate, it was an interesting afternoon of reading, even if it was a bit on the dark side.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Glock G30--the results are in

This afternoon, I took my Neighbor and Daughter to the range. I also took the replacement Glock 30 and the gun that I'd purchased as Plan B, a Springfield XD Mod. 2 in .45 ACP. When I first got the word from Glock that they were going to warranty replace the G30, I felt a little foolish that I had jumped the gun with Plan B. After this afternoon, I don't feel so foolish.

I'm forced to the conclusion that there is something about the G30 Gen 4 that simply doesn't work with certain shooters. I find it difficult to believe that two guns produced at two widely different times would have the same malfunction. I also find it difficult to believe the gun is a "bad gun"; if it was the Intertubz would be lit up with that news, and it isn't. The gun may be stupidly ammo sensitive and it wouldn't be the first or the last. Whatever it is, I'm over it.

This particular example is both better and worse than its predecessor, if that can be said. Between myself and Neighbor, we managed 100+ rounds through it before calling it quits. With RWS Match ammo, it functions fairly well--I only took a single piece of brass, and that was off my right shoulder.  Neighbor took none. The PMC Bronze was a disaster when I shot. Nearly every round resulted in the brass hitting me before it hits the ground. Neighbor did better with perhaps 3 in 10 impacting him.

We videoed this from the start, slow motion on an iPhone 7. For the life of me, I can't see anything other than my oddball shooting stance that could be an issue. I'm doing a good job of controlling the recoil, not limp-wristing and so on. But from some of the video, shot from dead behind, if I had my head in a "normal" position, I'd be complaining about the RWS Match ammo as well, as I would have caught a significant fraction of it in my face. I doubt I would have caught much less of the PMC in that position.

The video shows both types of ammo ejecting in roughly the same patterns. There appears to be a difference with the force of the ejection--the PMC seems to eject less forcefully. I noted a distinct difference in the sound of the report between the two, with the PMC being a much sharper crack than the RWS. These two observations made me wonder if the PMC was loaded significantly differently, but a quick Google search shows that the manufacturers are claiming a muzzle velocity of 850 fps for the PMC and 853 for the RWS. While I could chrono examples to be sure, I doubt the difference is going to be that drastically different, so that's probably a wild goose I don't care to chase. I could try other brands of ammo, but I've done that before and I don't think this will make any more difference now than it did then. If this ammo was a problem, it should have showed up earlier with other guns--I've nearly finished off the case of PMC and I'm halfway through the RWS, and most of it was shot in other guns.

The Springfield, on the other hand, digested both types of ammo and performed with the sort of competence that I've come to expect from their pistols. The gun just runs.

I have three other Glocks, a 19, 21, and 23, that I have zero issues with and that I plan on keeping. This one, unless I have some moment of epiphany in the very near future, is going to be on the "thinning the herd" list. I hate it, because it's a very likable gun, if you leave out the whole brass in the face thing. It shoots well, the recoil is easy to manage and the size is easy to conceal. But when you keep getting brass in the face, you develop ugly flinch, and that's not an advantage in self defense situation.

Sorry, G30, you're getting kicked to the curb. I hope your next owner has better luck with you.