Wednesday, April 30, 2008

More Gun Stuff

This time it's from a users, or maybe use-es perspective. Deadmeat2 works in a morgue, and has some extensive commentary here regarding what he's seen. Executive summary: bigger is better. Shot placement helps, and can make a mouse gun work as well as Dirty Harrys .44, but in a gunfight, you don't always have the time for this. Practice, practice, practice. 15 holes in the landscape behind the thug may frighten him away, but if he notices you're going click, click, click, and he has no damage, things could get dicey.

Gun Goodies II

Got out to the range and tried the new (to me) CZ 82. I found the trigger to be predictable and reasonably light. The amount of creep before firing is a new experience to me as my other autos are single action and have very short triggers. That said, I was able to put 12 rounds into one ragged hole about 1 in wide and 2 in high at 10 yards. I'm going to stick my neck out here and speculate that the 1 in is more the gun, and the 2 inch is probably me.
The magazine spring is a bear to depress, and I had a great deal of difficulty filling it.
There are 3 holes in the back of the magazines so you can get an idea how many rounds you have left.
The model 82 is a blowback operated gun, and pitches the spent brass up to 30 feet. The direction is approximately 15-30 degrees aft of due right. Some kind of shellcatcher would be a nice addition for routine target practice, otherwise you're going to lose your reloadable brass.

9x18 ammo is shorter and fatter than the more common 9x19 parabellum, and the reloadable stuff goes for around $.25/round. If you reload, this comes down to $.095/round, and 9x19 brass, picked up at the range, can be turned into 9x18 without too much trouble.
The case is trimmed to the correct length, and a special tapered inside sizing die is used to open the case up the .008" dia required. After that, reloading follows the usual steps. A word of warning: Made-from brass should be marked with permanent marker or steel dye so it won't get confused with unmodified 9x19, as the headstamp will not be changed.
My reloading dies are on back order. When they get in, I'll have even more to report. I was using S&B reloadable brass with 95gr FMJ bullets. I completely spaced out setting up my chrony but I'll try to remember that next time. Typical reported performance is 950-1100 fps, depending on load.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Big Brother

Check out this PSA from the BBC.

Those folks can out-Orwell Orwell.


Reverend Wright is to Obama as a huge explosion in a mosque, killing several people and described as a "work related accident" is to Islam.

Political humor

I got an invitation to see and hear an artist next week:

> Artist's visit will offer taste of what's to come August 21-29

My tongue-in-cheek comment:
Oh wow, man, I got tear gassed in Boulder when I was a student there, and really don't need to be reminded what that was like. Also, when the pigs arrest you, roll up in a fetal position, on your back, with your arms around your head. This minimizes the chance that the beating will do permanent damage.
Bone up on using a bandanna as a slingshot. You can toss a Molotov cocktail nearly twice as far that way.
Type your slogans into a Word document on your computer, and run spell-check BEFORE you get out the poster paint. If you reference anything historical, that is before 2000, run it by Wikipedia before you commit to indelible marker. "FDR din't free the slaves so Obama could be linched in Denver" may not get you on the news, but you will be all over the internet, just not in a good way.
I'll try to be there.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Workshop

The workshop of the idle mind, that is.

A couple years ago, a friend of mine described a pneumatic rat trap. As background, he was employed in a manufacturing facility which had a population of rats.
Picture a 4 foot piece of 2 in dia PVC pipe with a 1 in lawn sprinkler valve on one end. The inlet of the valve was connected to the shop air supply. The assembly was balanced so that the open end of the pipe tilted down, resting lightly on the floor. A switch was placed under the sprinkler valve which would be closed when the pipe and valve tilted back, which would happen if a rat were to run up the pipe. The inside of the pipe was rubbed with a piece of bacon, irresistible to rats. The assembly was laid on the floor with the open end of the pipe pointed toward a brick wall, the air turned on, and everyone went home on Friday night.

Monday morning, there were 3 bloody spots on the brick wall. No corpses either.

This thing struck me as so diabolically evil that reproducing it in some form or other seemed like a moral imperative.

I'm almost done. Film at 11.

Life and all that

The problem with screwing off for a living is that you have to work very hard at it to get anywhere.

Saturday, April 26, 2008


Does it bother anyone besides me that there are multiple instances in which the largest percentage of profit on an item goes to the government? If something costs $1 to produce, and the producer adds 10% and sells it for $1.10, should the government(s) really be able to add 15% to the sales price for themselves? How about 115%? How about 300%?

Perhaps there should be a restriction in effect at both the Federal and State level along the lines of "No tax upon the sale or transfer of any item shall exceed the average margin of profit realized by the largest 2 producers of the item."

This would bring down the price of gasoline and other refined hydrocarbons, and drastically slash the cost of smokes and booze. This alone should raise the happiness quotient of the country.

Gun Goodness

Went out to my clubs monthly pistol "match" in which we all compete at defensive / tactical pistol for bragging rights, figuring that when I finished with that, I could shoot the postal match. Unfortunately the weather is not co-operating. 30 mph winds with temps in the low 30s, blowing dust and dirt mixed with snow is not conducive to any kind of precision shooting. Doesn't to the strictly tactical stuff any good either.

I tried the new CZ, wearing gloves. It was impressively accurate at the close ranges I got to shoot (12 whole rounds) at, and the trigger was not even noticeable, which I suppose is good.
Monday is supposed to be 45 degrees warmer, so I'll go back and try again, getting my postal entry in just under the wire.

Friday, April 25, 2008

You Know It's Bad..

When an august and respected source like the Wall St Journal starts recommending that you (/hoard/) invest in basic foodstuffs.

I recently attended a talk at which Bob Zubrin assured everybody that the US has millions of acres of unused farmland which could be easily put to growing corn for ethanol production. What he skipped over was where we were supposed to get the millions of acre-feet of water required to make this corn grow. The topic of millions of tons of nitrogen-based fertilizer, and runoff from same were also not addressed.

Health Week II

To follow up on the Health Week post from a few days back which noted that gun owners were happier than non-owners, today's Wall St. Journal features a letter to the editor that may just hit the nail quite squarely.

Andy Magid of Norman OK writes:

Gun Data Off Target

Arthur C. Brooks ("Trigger Happy," op-ed, April 19) points out that research shows people with guns at home are happier than demographic peers who don't own guns. He suggests the former are more self-reliant and charitable, both of which correlate with happiness. An alternative explanation: The non-owners are unhappier, probably because their spouses won't let them have guns at home.

Andy Magid
Norman, Okla.

McCain v NCGOP

John McCain is famously denouncing the NC Republicans for running an ad critical of Obama, citing his more dubious associates. The story goes on to mention that the McCain censure happened in spite of Mr. McCain not having actually seen the ad.

The controversy highlights the difference between McCain and the NCGOP: The NCGOP is trying to elect Republicans by making Dems look bad, and McCain feels the ad makes him look bad.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Penn Primary

The results are in, and I have to wonder about Rush Limbaugh's Operation Chaos. He claims to have gotten some large number of Republicans to switch their party affiliation and vote for Hillary to give her the boost she needs to come into Denver and turn the convention into a proper mud fight.
According to the WSJ this morning, 9% of the voters yesterday were recent converts to the Dem party, and they split pretty much 60/40 in favor of Obama. This says that new converts gave Hill 4 percentage points, and Obama got 5. This is neither decisive, nor falling in the direction Rush predicted.
I going to have to say that Obama shot himself in the foot with his derisive comments about "bitter" folks, and here's the result. The Dems are quite capable of self-destruction without any help from the right.
Remember the prime directive when dealing with conspiracies: Never attribute to conspiracy that which can be easily explained by simple stupidity.

The CZ 82

There is a short piece on this gun here, complete with pictures both assembled and dis-assembled.

Here's mine:

Note the ambidextrous holster with traditional east-bloc styling. The gun comes with all you see here, holster, spare mag, cleaning rod, and, down inside, a green lanyard.

Dis-assembly is a bit tricky, at least on the first step. You don't normally think of a trigger guard as being a rotating part, but it is.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Motorcycles and offspring

Among my other talents, I fancy myself a bit of a motorcycle mechanic. This is a useful talent for me as I am currently riding motorcycle #42, #43 having already come and gone. Anyway, my daughter has gotten the bug, and bought herself a Kawasaki 250 Ninja.

I tried to explain that a cruiser style bike would probably suit her better, making for a more comfortable riding position for the kind of short trips she would be likely to be using it for, but she felt that the fashion statement made by the swoopy sport bike was more to her liking.

She picked up a 92 model in black, with 9200 miles on it. Close inspection reveals that it has only been dropped a couple of times, and apparently at quite modest speeds, possibly even in a driveway.

9200 miles in 16 years = spoiled gas as a result of a lot of garage time.

Removing the carbs is much easier than I had expected. It helped that the first 4 times were done without the help of the service manual. The official, approved method starts with removal of the gas tank and rear fender. Getting the carbs off by this method is similar to rescuing coal miners trapped at the bottom of a really deep hole.

5th time is the charm, I guess, finally removing the last bit of whatever was in there, the bike is now a lively, fun-to-ride machine, if you don’t mind getting out-dragged by soccer moms in mini-vans.

Did I mention that my current bike is somewhat bigger than the little Ninja?

You can get a learners permit for a motorcycle in Colorado. When I first heard about this, I was aghast that the state thought that a more experienced rider would be willing to ride along with a rank amateur on the pillion seat. Turns out this sort of thing isn’t required, you just ride along with the newbie on your own bike. The more experienced rider(s) ride like they normally do, only a bit slower to provide protective cover, and the newbie tries to keep up.

Now that I’ve got the Ninja mostly sorted out, darling daughter is coming to the conclusion that a cruiser-style bike would probably be easier to ride, and more comfortable than the sport bike.

It’s a waste of time, trying to impart wisdom to kids who are bright enough to figure it out for themselves, you know?

Mad Science

There is a fun trick that amuses children to no end in which you put about a teaspoonful of water in an otherwise empty pop can, and heat it on the stove until you see vapor wafting out the hole in the top. Next to the can, you pre-position a cookie tray with about 1/8 in of cool water in it. When the can is steaming, you take it with a pair of tongs, and quickly invert it onto the cool water. The can will collapse, pretty completely, and quite rapidly.
On a somewhat larger scale, here's a video of somewhat the same trick being done.


H/T: Big Stupid Tommy

This Day in History

Today is Earth Day. It's also Lenin's birthday.
I don't think so.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Health week

Saturday the wife went to the local health fair where the blood draw went wrong, the BP cuff broke, and she was given an 8x11 whiteboard "to put up honey-dos" by a suicide prevention group. The board, naturally, came pre-printed with a list of the signs that someone might be getting ready to end it all. That ones spouses unending list of chores might trigger the impulse apparently has not occurred to them.

Anyway, item #6 was "Recent purchase of a firearm".

The day before, the Wall St. Journal had published an editorial quoting researchers who have discovered that gun owners are happier than non-owners.


Yes, Republicans are on average, happier than Democrats, but within the groups, gun owners, of either stripe, were happier than non-owners.

I suppose it has something to do with the fact that when the zombie hoards rise from their graves and walk the streets, as they do on Nov 4 in Chicago, New Orleans, and other large cities, that they'll be equipped to deal with the ones who get lost on their way to the polling places.

Gun Control Works

...about as well as you'd expect. First warm weekend in Chicago, and the bangers come out of the woodwork:

via Drudge

According to the story, one miscreant was picked up toting an AK-47. If his gun was a real AK, I'll eat it, ammo and all, with hot sauce.

Cue the calls to disarm the innocent. I swear, the pols must get contributions from the gangs rivaling those from the trial lawyers, otherwise they'd be calling for more prisons instead of more gun control.

Saturday, April 19, 2008


Men have a genetic predisposition to turn money into smoke and noise. I am no exception, and neither are my friends, so to that end, 4 of us bought some Check police/army surplus CZ vz82 pistols. These things are in current production, and are available OTC brand new as the CZ-83. Ours are chambered in 9mm Makarov (9x18) which is halfway between 9x17 (.380 auto) and 9x19 (typical 9mm).
In a completely unsurprising example of Russkie thinking, the 9x18 round is also just a smidgen larger in diameter, both the case and the bullet itself, allowing west bloc ammo to go through the gun in a pinch, but preventing the Russian stuff from being used in west-bloc pistols.
I'll have a range report as soon as my supply of ammo arrives.

Post #1

OK I've succumbed to the suggestion to start my own blog. I expect to be talking / writing / ranting about a wide variety of things ranging from politics to firearms to mad science. I like to build stuff, so no telling what may show up here.
Stay tuned, film at 11.