Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Statists gonna state

In local (North Carolina) news, "State legislators expect to consider new regulations in 2015 for fast-growing “sharing economy” companies like Uber and Airbnb."

So much for all those "R"s getting voted in and all their "small government" rhetoric--at least around here.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Well heck

I have been trying to come up with something useful to toss out here.  I've got a number of things rolling about in my currently migraine-addled skull (woke up with the damn thing this morning and the meds are barely keeping it in check), so you're going to get a bunch of random thoughts on random shit.

The Recent Election
Well didn't the Democrats take a serious ass whippin'?  With a few exceptions, Democrats across the county were unelected in droves and Republicans put in their place.  This is a clear mandate for Republicans and their ideas on How Things Should Be Done.

Or not.  As has happened before, I think this is more likely a statement by voters across the nation that they didn't care for the shenanigans of the fools in power, so they voted the only other available fools into power.  Since these fools are, in realistic terms, pretty much the same as the fools that just got voted out, nothing much is going to change other than the rhetoric.  In a few years, the voters will get fed up with the new fools, and will elect a different group of new fools from the other side.

The single bright spot I see is that liberty-minded voters did get some ballot initiatives passed here and there, and Libertarian and other third party candidates polled well in many states.

The big dark spot is that anti-gun initiatives passed in Washington state.  The anti-gunners are going to start going after us even harder at the state level now.  Rather than a big national battle, we're going to be fighting them in every state legislature, county commissioners meeting and city council chamber in the country.

Oh, and Obamacare isn't going to be repealed.  They will amend it, tweak it, rework it, but never repeal it.  Too many people stand to make too much money from it for it to ever be repealed.

The Economy
If you believe the government, inflation is nearly zero, as are interest rates for savings, and unemployment is down.  If you, as I, believe Shadowstats, inflation is around 10% and unemployment is 24-ish%.  At least gas prices are down, as are silver and gold.  Real estate may be getting ready to crash again, and the stock market is running like an old steam boiler with the pressure relief tied down.

Lower fuel prices are good for consumers, bad for the shale oil and fracking-based natural gas producers.  I believe they are down simply because demand is tanking as economic activity slows.

Grocery prices, on the other hand, are going insane.  One thing to bear in mind is that hungry people do stupid things.  Very hungry people do very stupid things.

A corollary to this is that the food in restaurants, especially fast food joints, is going up in price and decreasing in quality in a hurry.  It's getting to be difficult to go out and have a decent meal these days in my area.  This seems to be showing up in the number of patrons at restaurants.

The smartest thing I've heard on interest rates is that they are being held down because if they go up, governments who are now all busily monetizing their national debt will suddenly find themselves using 75% or more of their annual budgets for debt service.

I still think that at some point that can't be predicted, we are going to see an economic collapse of epic proportions.  What it will look like and how it will play out are anyone's guess.  All we can do it prepare, try to arrange our lives to be as flexible and resilient as possible, and hope we survive it.

The Springfield XD Mod 2
Great Bleed Ghu.  I've watched Rob Pincus's shill piece for it.  I've looked at the ads and the web site.  I haven't see one in person yet, but I'm going to try to.  But I have to ask, "Really?"  I'm mean, did you have to actually mold "Grip Zone" into the freaking grips?  Somewhere, there is a marketer who needs to be unemployed.

While it may be an incremental improvement over its predecessor XDs, I doubt it's good enough to make anyone who likes their XDs rush out and trade them all for Mod 2s.

And the grips are ugly.  Have I mentioned that?

Lasers
By this, I mean the kind you mount on your guns.  My eyesight is getting bad as a byproduct of getting old.  Getting a sharp focus on my front sights is almost impossible.  This is a concern when you carry a pistol for protection.

Lasers are a big help in this regard.  Whether red or green, they move the point of focus further out to a place where I can focus.  It's taking a lot of practice to use both the front sight and the laser at the same time, but I'm slowly getting the hang of it.

They are expensive, but I'm putting them on every pistol that I carry on a regular basis.  I prefer the Crimson Trace products over anything else I've tried, mostly because of how they are activated (turned on).

The Holidays
I've been reading a lot of stuff from folks on why the upcoming holiday season sucks for them.  They've lost family on or near a holiday, been kicked out of their family (always wrongly from their point of view), they are far from family, they are in a tight position monetarily, soon and so forth.

Hey, I get it.  I've spent a few sucky ones myself.  Everyone does.  One particular Thanksgiving at Ft. Knox, KY springs to mind.  And then I consider my Dad in World War II spending several Thanksgivings and Christmases much further from home and probably unsure if he would see the next day, more or less the next holiday, and that sort of puts it in perspective.

Folks, the holidays are only going to suck if you let them.  OK, you're by yourself.  Money is tight.  Like I said, I get it.  Been there, done that.  It won't kill you--really, it won't.  It's all in how you chose to look at it and how you choose to take it.  In all but the smallest of places, there are going to be Thanksgiving get-togethers at recreation centers, legion halls, churches and other places for those who are alone for one reason or another.  Some are bring a covered dish, others are show up and let us feed you.  All of them will let you share the day with others, and I'm betting that if you approach it with the right attitude, you'll leave knowing a few more people than you did when you arrived.

The secrets are in finding them (they advertise, but it's PSA sort of stuff), putting on your game face and going and allowing yourself to get into the swing of things.

You're only going to be miserable during the holidays if you want to be.

Winter
Here in the Northern Hemisphere, it's winter.  I know the calendar hasn't quite gotten there, but screw the calendar.  The time has changed back, plants have been brought inside, firewood has been carried up to the house, the wood stove is burning, the trees are bare and it's damn chilly outside.  By my definition it's winter.  Another year is going to flip off the calendar soon.

As I get older and know for a fact I have fewer years ahead than behind, I wonder how the scorecard of my life looks.  I believe I've raised a couple of good kids.  I've done some good work.  I've helped out a few people here and there.  Have I made a difference in the world?

I don't know.  It's not me filling in the scorecard.  I know that history is made up of millions upon millions of people like me, who will be essentially anonymous after we're gone.  I've seen the world change a lot since I was a kid, and I expect to see more before I take my leave.  I wonder what the far future holds for my kids and grand kids.

One thing is for certain--I'll not be around to see it.  Best thing I can do is enjoy what I have left.



Well, that is probably enough randomness.  If you've read this far, you're probably a glutton for punishment, bored beyond belief, or stuck in an airport waiting for your flight to be called.  But if you have stuck with it, I appreciate your doing so.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Saturday, November 08, 2014

History Lesson

(Thanks for the pointer, Hugo.)

Lawrence Joel is one of those real, certified hero types--and he has the Congressional Medal of Honor to prove it.  How he earned it is, as it usually is with winners of the CMH, an awesome and amazing tale.

What makes his story special to me is that he is from Winston Salem, North Carolina, a town not far from where I write this post.  There is a coliseum named in his honor there, though I doubt one in a hundred have any clue who he was or why it is so named.

Lawrence Joel earned his medal on November 8, 1965 in the green hell of South Vietnam.  There's a song about it...



And a documentary as well...



It's going to take you a while to watch both.  Settle in.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Speaking of M1 Carbines

It seems that Inland has risen from the dead and is going to bring us new commercial production near mil-spec M1 Carbines.  (There are some minor differences so that they can't be mistaken for the "real" WWII era item.)  Given the $1000 price point and the fact that they are coming from MKS Supply, home of the Hi-Point,  you've got to wonder a bit about the ratio of quality per dollar.

I think I'll keep an eye open for some reviews and a stocking dealer before I get too enthused about this development.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Here I go again

Apparently, it is my place in this world to provide a home for abandoned cats and mistreated guns,  This time it is a mistreated gun, in particular, the Plainfield M1 carbine you can see in pieces to the left.

I am not sure how I wound up with this job.  What does one do in a previous life that makes one's karmic destiny "savior of Gandpa's unwanted firearms"?

At any rate, I'm pretty sure that I bought another of Grandpa's guns at the recent Dixie Knife and Gun Show in Charlotte, NC.  I noticed a pair of folks who were about as out of place at a gun show as I would be at the opera, wondering around sort of randomly looking at things.  Seeing the M1, I decided to ask him to dance.

"Are you selling the M1?"

Blank look.  OK, then.  I pointed this time.  "Are you selling the M1 Carbine?"

"Oh yes!  $250."  We stand there.

"May I have a look at it?"  Thankfully I had Daughter with me, so I had an extra set of hands who could relieve me of the 7.62x25 ammo I was already carrying (a story for another time).  I took the gun from him and examined the customary location on the receiver.  Blank.  Huh.  I looked a little more, and found the name "Plainfield"  on the front of the receiver near the barrel along with the manufacturer's location and the caliber information.  What the heck is a "Plainfield"?  Never heard of that one.  It has a little surface rust on the barrel.  Well that's not a surprise.  Bore is dirty, but not too.  Rifling is distinct.  Crown is in good shape.  Can't function check it, security has the works tied down so we can all be safe and secure.  Wood is decent, one nasty spot on it, no cartouches in sight.  Gr-r-r.

"How much do you want for it again?"  Can't hurt to see how desperate he is.

"$250."  Not desperate, but $250?  M1 Carbines are selling for a minimum of $650 hereabouts and can range over $1000 depending on exactly what model you have.  I figure at $250, I can part the thing out and more than make my money back if it doesn't shoot.

"Will you take $225?"

"No, I need $250."

Well, I don't know the maker, so it's a bit of a header, but I see enough GI parts I'm still confident in my assessment.  "OK, $250."  I hand the man $250, the gun show loophole is exercised again, Diane Feinstein gets another mysterious goose, and we're both on our respective ways.

Daughter arches an eyebrow but asks no questions.

Did you know that carrying an M1 Carbine at a gun show is the surest way to meet people known to man?  Well, it is.  How the previous owner managed to get as far back into the show as he did without selling it started to concern me.  So I danced the dance with a couple of dealers, was offered $350 for it both times and decided that it was some sort of dumb luck.

I now know better,  The gun was looking for me.

The next day, I Googled "plainfield m1 carbine" and learned all about the Plainfield Machine Company of Plainfield NJ and their foray into the production of commercial M1 Carbines.  Further searches got the usual gun fora posts of "they suck, they misfeed, blah, blah" and a few "never had any trouble with mine", reminding me yet again why I don't go to gun fora any longer.  Searches on Gun Broker and Gun Auction got an idea of the going price.  Nope, didn't get hurt if it shoots.

Time to get to work.  On the workbench, I pulled the barreled action from the stock.  The barrel band screw is not peened, which is unusual.  The whole works that couldn't be seen is gooey.  Grandpa liked 3-in-1 Oil, I see.  At least not enough to screw up the wood, so that's good.

Cleaning the barrel took maybe 10 minutes.  Using Eezox, I first scrubbed the barrel a few times with a brush, then started running patches.  Maybe 20 patches later, it was clean.  Nice.

The outside got 0000 steel wool and Eezox.  That took the rust right off.  At first I thought I had misread the rust and that the surface was pitted, but an examination with a magnifier showed that it was simply a less than great quality original machining job.

After this, I took the gun down to pieces, took the pieces outside and took the brake cleaner to it.  A can and a half later, it was de-gooeied.  Shit.  There was surface rust all over the place, hidden under the goo.  I guess when the oil had dried out enough, the rust managed to start.  Nothing pitted, but man, rust, rust, rust, rust, rust.  Nothing for it but steel wool, a brass brush, Eezox and elbow grease.

I have heard, but never actually seen, guys talk about steel soaking up oil.  Well, I've now seen it, or something that looks like it.  Not sure if the steel actually soaks it up or not, but when I put a light coating of lubricant on a part and let it dry I did not have not a properly lubed part, but a dry metal part instead.  Some parts took 3 applications, and heavy ones at that, before they began to appear to have a proper application of Eezox on them.

At any rate, that is the story to date.  Mrs. Freeholder rang the supper bell, so the gun is lying in pieces, just as it is in the picture.  It will probably stay that way for a few days, my work being what it is these days.  But with some luck I'll get it back together and get to the range in a week or two and we'll see if I have a gun, a project or some parts I need to sell.