Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Reloading Limits

A question that regularly comes up is how many times can you reload range brass. Being the consummate cheapskate, I should be able to tell you but unfortunately I never marked any of my ammo in such a way as to be able to keep track of it. What I have found out is this:

The life of a casing unsurprisingly, depends on the material and the load. Brass casings with low power loads last a good long time, although less in a carbine where the pressures get higher. For fun I reloaded some aluminum casings and kept track of them. In a pistol they lasted 3-5 cycles before they began to split. In the carbine only 1-3. If you need ammo and have nothing else, this can serve, just keep in mind not for long. I've had some brand new aluminum ammo blow out in the carbine on the first shot.

I have 500 rds of ammo, loaded to very mild levels for use in the pistol which I rotate through and 300 rds also modest power, for the rifle.. This also makes keeping track of it difficult since I generally use about 80 rds at a match, reload that and refill the 100 rd box, then put it into the rotation. Thus the first 80 rds in each case have seen the most use, and the last 20 or so are probably still in pretty good shape.

I've been averaging about 3 boxes a month x 80 rds/box for the last 3 years, and I can tell you the stuff is overdue for retirement. The first clue is when you finish up a stage and the SO says “unload and show clear” and you can't get the bolt to extract the last cartridge from the chamber by pulling it back. There is likely nothing wrong with the extractor, just the cartridge is now so out of spec that it's been press fit into the chamber. Definitely time to retire that one. This implies that the brass has been through the gun once a month, for the last 3 years, minus a few canceled winter matches, or 25-35 times over its life. To be conservative, and using modestly powered loads, I would venture to say that 15 reloads is probably about it, after which you'll begin to have trouble extracting unfired rounds from the gun. I've not had any of the brass cartridges split on me, but this is masking the problem with overly reloaded brass. It works OK when you fire it and almost always gets ejected that way. When you start to see failure to eject or experience difficulty extracting an unfired round, this is a hint that your brass is in need of a trip to the scrapyard.

1000 rds of S&B .40 S&W from Lucky Gunner costs about what it would cost me to make if I had to buy everything, including the brass. If I keep my losses to a minimum, that's about 4 months supply. If I don't lose too much, I can reload it 10-15 times and get the price down to manageable levels, and not wind up shooting worn out ammo. Even adding in shipping and taxes (~20%) and limiting reloads to 10 times, I'm still not doing too bad.

Anyway, now you know.

Plodding Into The 21st Century

In the course of human events here at casa Billll, the kids decided that the wife's TV was in need of an upgrade. Not only the TV, but the furniture it sat on, which would have been too small for the new TV they were envisioning. They also figured that they could include us on future SILs family plan which would expand the available list of time wasters available.

The kids duly took the Wife out shopping to a furniture store where FSIL had some favors waiting and came back with a TV big enough to be watched from across the street. Call me an old fogy, but as a child, the TV was generally demonized as some kind of plot to produce fat, brain dead, kids who would be easy pickings for the onrushing hordes who were probably commies, and wanted our country and our TVs. Thus the admonition to “Go Play” with the word “outdoors” unspoken but clearly understood. The flickering screen was not called an entertainment center, but pretty universally “boob tube.” Oh yes, and back then that referred to the watchers rather than the programming.

They also noted that Wifey's phone was woefully out of date, and arranged to get her a new one. This seems to include new icons, new buttons, the discontinuation of tapping the icons, replaced by swiping them, and several other updates to the point that when the living room furniture had been rearranged to accommodate the new TV, very little in the way of operational training had been imparted. There also seemed to be no operating manual included. All updates were presupposed to be intuitive. Eventually we noticed that the owner needed to set up the phone so it would actually ring when called, something that was not automatically included. There is also some clever combination of swipes required just to answer a call, assuming you knew one was coming in. My daughter spent about 2 hours training d”wife on the phone, and left muttering that training time would come out of the time she would otherwise have spent finding us a nice nursing home. Also the remaining time before she started getting us installed in one.

Anyway, the old TV holder, some 5 ft wide, six feet tall, and 18 inches deep, and the bookshelf next to it had, over the years, become the resting place of every piece of detritus to float through the living room, and when it was replaced with a piece from the basement, 6-1/2 feet wide and 2 feet high, all the detritus got moved to the floor. Admittedly most of it should have been moved to a dumpster, but one was not immediately available and setup time was a-wastin'. The piece from the basement is ½ of a stackable assembly which served the same function as the now removed piece from upstairs, so it too was covered with “stuff” which now resides on the floor down there. Most of the downstairs stuff is of the same status as the upstairs stuff so the required dumpster is getting larger and more trips up and down the stairs are called for.

The new TV being installed, and the cables plugged in, it seemed that it wasn't giving us all the channels we had before. Much fussbudgeting and a visit from a technician later, it seems that although the TV was “smart” and “HD”, HD input was not asked for in the contract, so is not available. Cables from the box to the set must be the old RCA type and not the HDMI that came with the box upgrade. You would think that a “smart” TV would notice little stuff like this and put up a warning on the screen: “Yo! Dummies! Upgrade your contract or use the other cable set!” It also seems that due to better speakers, when the sound is good enough to be heard in the living room, it can also be heard anywhere in the house. I suggested some big styrofoam Corinthian columns, one on each side of the TV to deflect the sound away from the hallway, but this got vetoed. Even when I suggested a Temple frontage across the top with friezes and statuary of gods on top, say, Cthulhu and Aphrodite. Some people have no appreciation for the classics. All that's left now is the cleanup so I'm looking for a front loader that will fit through the doors.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Tomorrows News Today!

Riffing off the news that Washington is considering letting people vote by phone. What could go wrong?

So the 2020 elections will be a replay of 2016 with Trump winning the electoral college by a lop-sided margin while the popular vote will run Trump: 67M, Clinton 1.6Bn, with 1.54Bn of those votes coming from Washington.

 Mrs Clinton becomes the Dem party nominee when original nominee, Bernie Sanders, commits suicide by shooting himself twice in the head, and leaving the nomination to Mrs Clinton in the suicide note found pinned to his body.

This news from the Potsylvanian News Agency. Our motto: Tomorrows News Today!

Thursday, January 16, 2020

New Gun

Sort of. 9 years ago I got one of the  first Hi Point 4095 carbines to hit the market. I've been shooting the dickens out of it since to the point of using it exclusively for IDPA competitions to the tune of around 1000 rounds a year. December of last year it had a failure that the factory opined was probably terminal so I sent it back via Triple J Armory in Littleton.

Had rather a crush Tuesday with the new gun arriving around noon and the club having a scheduled match that evening. The shop had to log it into their inventory, me arriving at 2:30, and the BC and all taking to 3:30. I showed up with the red dot and the rest of the match gear and left the shop directly for the match with the parts in bags and boxes.

Arrive at ARPC at 4:15, assemble the gun with the sight, set up a target and get the sight more or less dialed in. It adjusts with an allen wrench and all I had was one that was pretty close to the right size. Hard to feel the clicks. I decided the lower group was close enough.

Helped with the stage setup and shot the thing. The gun worked great. Had one failure to feed from the brand new (really ought to take them apart and clean them before use) magazine, and one brain fart loading the wrong mag for the stage and coming up 1 round short (5 down). Finished the match in 4th overall but the fellow who finished 3rd was some 20 points ahead of me so the -5 didn't hurt my standing any.

From the look of those groups, the new gun is noticeably tighter than the old one so any complaints I had about looseness before can now be safely disregarded.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Bloomberg Program I Can Support

What? I hear you howl. Well yes. He has stated that he's willing to spend all of his not inconsiderable money to try to get rid of Trump. Fine then, as I think his odds of success are sufficiently small as not to worry me. If he bankrupts himself, he'll have nothing left over for his idiotic anti-gun crusade, so win-win, no?

Friday, January 10, 2020

Prescient Software

In a demonstration of some facial recognition software for the City of Denver, the software identified 9 of the 13 members as registered sex offenders. Opponents of the use of the software say this should end any consideration of its use, but knowing that the city council has been screwing their constituents for years while managing to remain, for the most part, unarrested, I'd have to say the software was better than advertised, and classify it as "Prescient" rather than inaccurate.

Science Marches Onward - Gene Editing

Here is a link to an article in the New York Times on the state of the art in genetics that's lengthy, but well worth reading.
Imagine you could make a genetically transmitted trait super-dominant. The example here was to make all offspring of a batch of mosquitoes male. How long before the entire colony is wiped out? The answer is not very long if the bug is a fast-reproducing type, but in any case extinction will happen eventually since the trait is always passed along. Super-dominant, see?

The researcher is looking at the malaria-carrying mosquito as that is a clear and present threat. The opposition to wiping the little bugger out is irrational, but surprisingly strong. It seems to be coming from the same sort of anti-vaxers who travel from village to village in Pakistan, checking all the children and cutting off any arms that show signs of a smallpox vaccination.

Virginia Gun Laws

Here's an excerpt from a newsletter I get describing a proposed law restricting the kinds of ammunition you will be permitted to have in Virginia:
Delegate Levine has also introduced HB 899, which would ban the possession and use of “restricted firearm ammunition” in the state, and makes it a felony to own any ammunition that meets the following criteria:

(i) Teflon coated or coated with a similar product;(ii) commonly known as “KTW” bullets or “French Arcanes”; or(iii) cartridges containing bullets coated with a plastic substance with other than lead or lead alloy cores, jacketed bullets with other than lead or lead alloy cores, or cartridges of which the bullet itself is wholly composed of a metal or metal alloy other than lead, but the definition does not include shotgun shells or solid plastic bullets.
So you would be allowed only lead bullets. Next up is banning lead I suppose. Note that the all-copper slugs are already banned.

A handful of billionaires have figured out how to game the system to their own benefit and are making the most of the knowledge. First off you don't have to fund every Democrat in a state. Most of them have safe districts and would get re-elected if they came out in favor of cannibalism. Identify the close races and concentrate the funding there. It's cheaper to buy 2 or 3 seats than to try to buy the whole party.

Second, keep your people in line. Make sure they understand that if they get out of line, primary races cost comparatively little and they can be replaced very easily that way. Again in most districts the incumbent party has a huge advantage.

Third, know that over reaching can cost you some seats, but unsurprisingly not very many. See note 1 above. Timing is everything. Take the trifecta in a year ending in 0 and you get to draw the district lines in time for the next 5 elections, by the end of which opposition parties will be safely banned.

This will get the left safely entrenched. The next problem is staying there. If over reach is limited, they are probably safe for 20-30 years or more as witness Illinois, California, or New York, pretty much no matter how bad it gets. Keep in mind however the adage about leftism that it's easy to vote yourself into it but you must shoot your way out of it. Ex: Cuba, Venezuela. OK eastern Europe got out without shooting, but it took about 60 years and required the collapse of the parent government first.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Projects - Scooter Chair

At this point I'm ready to call this one done. All the elements are in place and about as neatly as I care to make them given that I have no plans to use this thing for transportation.
Hop on, hook up, take off.
Fairly simple to use, and not that hard to make now that I've made all the mistakes on this one. It's entered in a contest for assistive devices at which is now over. No bikini girls with oversized checks have shown up at my door yet but I think if I'd won I'd have heard by now. Oh well.

I guess I'll see if I can find a wheelchair user who wants to try this out and let them have it for a while. There's a Northern Colorado Maker Faire coming up in March in Longmont and I'll have it there.

UPDATE: Oh wait! voting is still open till the end of today it would seem. Hope springs eternal!

Prosperity Comes, Prosperity Goes

The Wall St Journal today has a lead editorial (paywall) describing how, in addition to population shifts from one state to another, the bigger story may well be the shift in state GDP that moves along with it. It doesn't move directly with the population of course, if one rich entrepreneur moves out of a state and takes his business with him, it has a much greater effect on the states economy that having several hundred "refugees" with no notable talents beyond an ability to apply for assistance and vote Democratic.

Shining examples of how not to do it include the usual suspects, California and New York, with special mention of the way population flows reversed in Connecticut after they established an income tax, and then raised it annually to one of the highest on the east coast.

Mentioned on the other end as a net gainer, is Colorado, where I live. We've seen a modest increase in state GDP over the last few years as disgruntled Californians and Chicagoan's move here to escape the taxes and regulation that have made their former home states such garden spots. A word of warning to any more who might be considering the move: The legislature this year has several taxation bills on offer that would eliminate our TABOR law which allows the taxpayers a veto over taxation proposals and establishes a modest 4.2% state income tax rate.

The problem with TABOR is that the now democratic-controlled legislature has a lot of splendid and worthwhile projects they would like to impose on us, and has discovered that the state cash cows are not providing enough milk to fund them. At the same time, there is a strong party-based movement to penalize charter schools as they seem to have a way of making the public schools look bad. The solution to all these problems is: Higher Taxes and no accountability. The legislature has some 30 proposals slated for the upcoming ballot which would abolish Tabor, make the income tax progressive, drive the oil and gas industry (5.6%* of the states economy) out of the state, and impose crushing burdens on the charter schools. Oh and did I mention, give Colorado's electoral college votes to California and New York?

Locally the powers that be in Denver and some of the surrounding towns are trying to make themselves more tolerant of the homeless. We all know how that worked out in L.A. and Portland. It's heading that way here with 2 or 3 panhandlers on every significant surface intersection in town.

Colorado look like a nice place to move to? Don't worry, by the end of 2020, if the legislature gets its way, it will be just as desirable as California or Chicago.

*Revised down. real numbers seem to be hard to come by and if you want a second opinion, that's easy as 6 or 7 will pop up on any search.

Monday, January 6, 2020

NICS Checks - A Record

Although December checks did not top the 2015 level set following the San Bernadino shootings, The happening of note was that NICS checks exceeded 2,000,000 every single month of this year. Decembers total of 2,936,894 is now the second highest ever.
Buy guns and ammo. They may soon come in handy. I'll put in a plug for my friends at Lucky Gunner for the ammo. Guns, I'm constantly assured, can be found lying in the streets, stalking the innocent with evil intent.

Saturday, January 4, 2020

QOTD - The Twenties

From Peggy Noonans column in todays Wall St Journal:

The past decade saw the rise of the woke progressives who dictate what words can be said and ideas held, thus poisoning and paralyzing American humor, drama, entertainment, culture and journalism. In the coming 10 years someone will effectively stand up to them. They are the most hated people in America, and their entire program is accusation: you are racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic; you are a bigot, a villain, a white male, a patriarchal misogynist, your day is over. They never have a second move. Bow to them, as most do, and they’ll accuse you even more of newly imagined sins. They claim to be vulnerable victims, and moral. Actually they’re not. They’re mean and seek to kill, and like all bullies are cowards.
Everyone with an honest mind hates them. Someone will finally move effectively against them. Who? How? That will be a story of the ’20s, and a good one.
It's behind a paywall but if you can get there, the whole thing is worth the effort. I would remind the woke progressives I come in contact with that professional help is available even though some percentage of it will simply affirm their world view.

Friday, January 3, 2020

Trumps Benghazi

Now this is how it's supposed to be done:

From what I've been seeing, there were 7 dead and 2 arrested for the day:

Sulemani - 2-star general of Quds, #2 or 3 in all Iran
Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis - "The engineer" deputy chief of Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Forces)
Nurn Qasm - #2 man with Lebanon Hezbola
Redha al-Jubri - Head of protocol for Popular Mobilization Forces, Iranian sponsored militia in Iraq

Arrested the same day, 2 high functionaries with the Iranian presence in Iraq.

Quais al-Khazali - As head of the Special Groups, Khazali directed arms smuggling, formation of death squads to participate in sectarian violence, kidnappings, and assassinations, most notably the January 20, 2007 attack on American forces in Karbala.
Hadi al Ameri - the reported leader and secretary general of the Badr Organization, an Iranian-sponsored Shiite militia and political party based in Iraq.
 “One of [al-Amiri’s] preferred methods of killing allegedly involved using a power drill to pierce the skulls of his adversaries.”

The remaining 3 were likely chauffeurs and/or aides to the above.

All in all this looks like a huge win for Trump and Iraq. One hopes the 2 arrested are somewhere remote and quiet where they are filling our people in on the latest news from Tehran.

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Fun With Headlines In The New Year – Iran

Found on Strategypage, this article looking at how the world is and speculating on how it might be

I found the bits on Iran to be interesting in light of their recent adventurism in Iraq. President Rouhani says Iran never bows to superpowers but their history tells a different, and much longer story.

From Strategypage this:
First there is Iran, which has been a regional superpower for thousands of years but fell on hard times after the 7th century because of a succession of damaging visits by invaders. First came conquest by the Arab revival (the initial wars of conquest by newly converted Moslem Arabs). This was humiliating because Persians never thought such a thing possible. That was followed by a devastating visit by the Mongols (1219-1221) after which came a series of exhausting wars with the Ottoman Turks and finally the Western nations and all their new tech and ideas.

The protests in Iran which have reportedly resulted in over 1500 deaths by the regime include some interesting demands by the protesters who are acutely tired of the Islamic dictatorship and are proposing some interesting changes:
Even more disturbing was that some of the protesters are calling for Islam to be banned and replaced with something else, like Zoroastrianism, the ancient Persian religion that Islam replaced, violently and sometimes incompletely in the 7th and 8th centuries.

Replacing Islam with almost anything would be a big help to Iran or anyone else. RTWT, mainly the first link. It's lengthy but covers most of the world and in a lot more detail than you get from CNN for sure.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020