Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Lesser Evils

Marko at The Munchkin Wrangler has an excellent post on his reasons for no longer settling for the lesser evil when it comes to voting. He actually captures a number of reasons that I myself will no longer vote for someone only so that a worse choice might be avoided. I decided a few years ago that I will not ever vote against anyone again. I will only vote for a candidate whom I agree with.

Go take a gander.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

He Finally Caved

Lawdog has finally given in and gives us the now nigh-legendary tale of the Pink Gorilla Suit. Go, read, laugh yourself silly.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Gone Shootin'

Went to visit Dick today and get a little trigger time in at T's place. Dick broke out his new camera for the occasion. I tested out my Witness-P after polishing the feed ramp and swapping the recoil spring to the Wolff 18lb from the 20lb. Nasty tooling marks on the feed ramp. I was getting stoppages about 2-3 times per 15 round mag before working on it. The work seems to have paid off as I didn't have a single stoppage and Dick only had the last spent casing stovepipe. If that's the worst I see, then I can live with it. Recoil is brisk as always, even with the watered-down standard Remington 180 grain FMJ rounds. I'm still going to need to order another case of Winchester Silvertip and use the last 4 boxes I have from the old case for reliability testing before I can trust it. Here's a shot of it coming back into battery with a case caught in mid-flight. Also note the tactical blink being performed by that smooth operator behind the pistol. Yeah, I know, gotta work on that.

I also broke out the AR, more for a photo op than any real desire to shoot. We were at T's little pistol range and the AR would make Swiss cheese of the spinner target he's got out there (not that it matters too terribly much as Dick managed to hit the spinner frame and break it where it had been previously welded). The pic here shows the bolt in the full recoil position with the spent casing having just been ejected.

After returning to Dick's apartment, we spent a little while working on a lightbox for his new camera. He took a couple more pics of my gear that I haven't seen yet. He's going to email it to me as soon as he gets it cleaned up. He's also got a few pics of him shooting and his gear that I may show later with his permission. In all, it was a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Papa's Got A Brand New Bed

Mom and dad came down for a visit Friday night and the better part of Saturday. We did some running around while they were here as I have been mulling the purchase of a new mattress for a few months now. I always prefer to get input from both mom and dad on purchases of significant dollar amount on items with which I am unfamiliar. And this would be the first mattress that I've bought, ever.

We made the rounds to several furniture companies that I'd spotted previously and found a few likely candidates at each store. Then, we headed back to my house and dad picked up the phone book and started looking at furniture stores. That lead us to Bates Furniture in downtown Conway. Turns out they carry Dreamline mattresses, a brand that I had heard of before but was unfamiliar with. In talking with the salesman, we found out that the Dreamline mattresses are actually manufactured in Cabot, AR, less than 50 miles away. That was kinda the clincher for me as the mattress was just as comfortable as all but one of the others that I'd tried (that one being a $1400 model that I couldn't afford much less justify). The 25-year warrantee didn't hurt either. (Though the paperwork that came with the mattress says 20 years. Still better than the 5-10 year warrantees everywhere else.)

Long story short, the matress was delivered for free with a $10 fee to get rid of my old matress set. And mom got a free painting out of the deal (no thanks to Captain Observant, here). All told, it ended up setting me back a hair over $550. That's just less than the tires are gonna cost that I still need to get for the Tahoe. Good thing I've been getting overtime the last couple weeks.

I slept quite peacefully last night with only one instance of waking before my alarm went off. That's most unusual for me as I usually wake up 2-3 times a night. I think this is gonna work out just fine.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Arkansas Democratic Party Chairman Killed

Chairman Bill Gwatney was killed today by one Timothy Johnson of Searcy, AR. Johnson was also killed after reportedly fleeing and firing at police. No motive has been established at this time.

Prayers for and condolences to his family and loved ones.

Helena Curfew Extended

Helena's city council has voted unanimously to allow their police force to expand the area under curfew.

I've already made my position clear on the matter. This is a violation of rights protected by the Constitution. But these quotes by the mayor and a council member just leave me shaking mad.

From the Log Cabin Democrat's article:

Mayor James Valley:"Now if somebody wants to sue us, they have an option to sue, but I'm fairly certain that a judge will see it the way the way the citizens see it here. The citizens deserve peace, that some infringement on constitutional rights is OK and we have not violated anything as far as the Constitution."

So it's okay to infringe on constitutional rights as long as you don't violate the Constitution? Could someone explain that one to me?

Oh, and the citizens deserve peace? Really? I'm disinclined to agree with that statement. I'm in good company, too. Benjamin Franklin once said, "Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

Also from the Log Cabin's article:

The council rejected Dickson's claims, at one point questioning the Little Rock-based attorney if she'd live in a neighborhood they described as under siege by wild gunfire and gangs.

"As far as I'm concerned, at 3 o'clock in the morning, nobody has any business being on the street, except the law," Councilman Eugene "Red" Johnson said. "Anyone out at 3 o'clock shouldn't be out on the street, unless you're going to the hospital."

Any one care to lay odds on whether Mr. Johnson would feel the same way if it was his neighborhood that was under the curfew?

I'm not going to touch much on the assertion that local drug dealers "carry...AK47 assault rifles...". A rifle built around the AK's action, maybe, but I sincerely doubt that the local hooligans have access to true AK47s. You know, the full-auto, military-grade small arm that have been banned from importation since 1986. My bet is that it's the common WASR-type rifles that are built up on US-made, semi-auto only receivers and are dirt cheap right now.

In closing, I believe I need to make my position perfectly clear: Nothing the police can do will be able to save this neighborhood. Nothing the mayor can do will be able to save this neighborhood. Nothing the city council can do will be able to save this neighborhood. The only way for this neighborhood to be saved is for the residents to decide that they will not stand idly by when they or their neighbors are assaulted. They need to make life too difficult for the goblins who are causing the problems. They know who these people are. They know who and where to keep an eye on for problems. And since this state is one of the few that are still relatively free, they have the ability to purchase arms for their common defense.

Yes, by doing this, uninvolved people are likely to get hurt. But the question is, which is more acceptable? A few people hurt over a short period of time while the neighborhood does the right thing and tries to sort itself out? Or a few people hurt by goblins who then go about their evil ways unmolested and are thereby emboldened to continue hurting more and more people with no end in sight?

Think about that for a minute.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Mandatory Curfew in Helena Neighborhood

It seems that Helena's mayor James Valley has decided that its gotten too dangerous for the residents of certain neighborhoods to go outside. Therefore, he's ordered that anyone caught outside without a good excuse is to be arrested.

Says Valley, "It's something akin to martial law. It got to the point where somebody was going to get seriously hurt or killed if we didn't do something."

And we can't have people getting hurt or killed now, can we? After all, it's not like that can happen driving back and forth to work, right?

Uhhh...wait a minute...

But seriously, it seems that if the police see you on a public street, they can just toss the Fourth Amendment right out the window, having you and your vehicle searched. 'Cause, you know, only criminals would have any reason to leave their homes. Or maybe they're using the old standby justification of "if you don't have anything to hide, then you have no reason to worry."

Thankfully, the Arkansas branch of the ACLU has jumped on this, sending a letter demanding the curfew be lifted. Valley, however, doesn't seem to take them seriously. Here's one of my favorite quotes in the articles: "I invite them to move in on Second Street and be up all night with people shooting at them. That's my comment to them."

Well, no offense, Jimmy but be careful what you wish for. This is Arkansas, after all. I think the last thing you'd want is a bunch of independently-minded and/or rights-minded people moving into an area where they're likely to be shot at. 'Cause in all honesty, they're more than likely to shoot back. Which is exactly what should be happening in these neighborhoods in my opinion. Nothing like responding gunfire from multiple locations to put the damper on your attempted drive-by.

Hopefully the ACLU will pursue this matter further. I'd be tickled to see a lawsuit or organized civil disobedience. What makes me nervous, however, would be the possibility that the courts would back up the mayor in this matter. It really wouldn't surprise me any more.

Just Wrong...?

Would it be completely wrong and evil of me if I were to have the top front portion of my Puma's receiver tapped for one piece of a two-piece scope mount and mount a Burris FastFire reflex sight to it?

Yeah, I thought it would.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Puma M92 .357 Mini-Review

As stated previously, I bought a Puma M92 in .357 mag (imported by LSI). That evening, Dick, L, and I took it out to T's to wring it out. What is the verdict?

This gun is a BLAST! Its light weight and short overall length (~33.5") make it easily the handiest rifle I own.

It fed FMJ truncated cone 38 spl. with no problems. Unfortunately, the only .357 we had on hand was some old Hydra-shock that Dick had lying around. We ran a few rounds of it through the gun, which seemed to be a bit finicky with this cartridge. The recoil, even with full house defensive .357 is negligible.

On the down side, the sights were difficult to see against any dark background and hit a few inches high at ~20-25 feet. In order to remedy this, I ordered a new front sight with brass bead and a Marble rear sight. What I didn't know is that Rossi seems to have decided to use a completely different dovetail for their sights than EVERYONE ELSE IN THE GUN INDUSTRY! Yeah, I'm a bit miffed about that. Usually lever-action rifles utilize a 3/8" dovetail for both the front and rear sight. A bit of searching turned up that Rossi's dovetails are slightly larger which I confirmed when the front sight slid all the way through the barrel dovetail.

At any rate, I've purchased a Williams FP-94/36 receiver peep sight. It should allow me to fairly easily adjust for changes between ammo types. Now I just need to get the receiver drilled and tapped for the sight. This sight should also make it easier to adjust for having a suppressor on the barrel. I'm seriously jonesing to have this thing set up for a suppressor, especially after seeing the job this guy did on a 44 spl. Uberti 1873. To use a slightly out-of-date pop culture phrase: "That's hot."

Right now, I'm still up in the air as to specifics on the idea but I'm pretty sure that I'm gonna have to get the mag tube set back slightly in addition to having the barrel threaded. And I don't know of any local gunsmiths who aren't just swamped who are capable of doing this kind of work.

I'm currently looking at these two suppressors: AWC's Titanium Abraxas and Yankee Hill Machine's Wraith QD combo.

The advantage to the Abraxas is size. It's only 5.7 inches in overall length and weighs in at 3.3 ounces. The Wraith's stats are 7.5 OAL and 5.8 ounces. I'm also curious as to whether the Abraxas will need to have the mag tube set back. In the picture on AWC's website, it appears that there is a stainless sleeve that threads onto the barrel that is significantly reduced in diameter compared to the suppressor body.

The Wraith's advantage is ability to remove the suppressor easily. This could come in handy on occasion but I'm not sure if it's worth having that crazy-looking flash suppressor on the end of the barrel when the suppressor isn't attached. The only real concern I have is that a suppressor might not be legal for hunting. I've given Arkansas' state hunting regulations a cursory glance and didn't see anything on the subject but I'm thinking it's probably not permitted. And even if it is, I'd probably have a hard time explaining that to a G&F officer.

Anyway, that's my short review and hazy future plans for this little carbine. I'll have a few more short reviews once I get in a few more of the items I have on order and get the Williams peep attached.

Dang Funny!

This is particularly intended for the other electrical engineers in the crowd but I imagine anyone who spent any amount of time in college can relate to it.

Electron Band Structure In Germanium, My ***

That's just funny right there.

H/T to Kevin at The Smallest Minority (the link's a bit dated).