Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Musings on the “Survival Rifle”

Ask anyone who owns guns or who has made some effort towards preparing for a disaster about a “survival rifle”, and you are liable to get very strong opinions that range from basic, single shot packable rimfires to computer sighted behemoths that border on anti-tank weapons.

The problem is that each person has a different concept of what a survival situation is. For some, it might consist of becoming lost in the wilderness. For others, it might be defending the bunker from the Zombie Apocalypse. For most of us, it is something in between. You may live in the middle of a large city. You may live in the suburbs. You may live in a rural area. You may spend a great deal of your recreational time away from civilization. You may perform relief work in third world countries. Where you think you may encounter a survival problem influences what you would consider as the quintessential survival rifle.

There are different ways to categorize rifles. Three of the more common ways are

  • Chambering (I don't use “caliber” because caliber can refer to many different chamberings)
  • Action type
  • Typical usage

Chambering refers to the profile of the ammunition used in a rifle. Many people confuse this term with the word “caliber”. Caliber refers to the bore size of the barrel on the rifle. For instance, “30 caliber” would cover many, many different chamberings, including 308 Winchester, 30-06, 30-30 Winchester, 30 Remington, 30 Carbine, and a host more.

Some of the more popular chamberings in North America include .22 Long Rifle, 223 Remington (very similar to 5.56 NATO), 30-30 Winchester (sometimes referred to as 30 WCF), 243 Winchester, 270 Winchester, 308 Winchester (virtually identical to the 7.62 NATO cartridge), 30-06, 7mm Remington Magnum, and the ancient 45-70 Government.

Under well defined circumstances, any of these might be a good survival rifle. But, as my respected acquaintance Art Eatman is fond of saying, “no one size fits all”. Here is an example: Let's say you are flying out to the Kenai peninsula to photograph the spring wildflowers that grow there. Along the way, your bush plane crashes, but you survive the crash intact. As you pull out your pack, you remember that you packed your Springfield Armory M6 Scout.

So, you haul the Scout out of your pack and load it with a 22 Long Rifle cartridge and a .410 shotgun shell, and say to yourself, “I'll be OK. If I see a ptarmigan or a hare, I'll have dinner.” At that moment, an 800 pound Alaska brown bear tops the hill 100 yards away to see what all the commotion is.

Chances are, in this scenario, the “survival rifle” is not going to be adequate for the scenario or the location. I am always a little confused by people who think that a firearm chambered in 22 Long Rifle is a good option anyway. It doesn't deter most predators, even two-legged ones, and any game that can taken with it, I can be taken by other methods, like snares and deadfalls. Furthermore, in a situation where there may be multiple predators, say like a wolf pack in the Alaska plane crash scenario, a single shot (or, in this case a 2-shot) firearms don't offer a lot of protection.

Action type refers to a rifles mode of mechanical operation. The more common types in North America are the breach loader, the turn bolt, the pump (or slide) action, the lever action, and the self loader, sometimes referred to as autoloader or semi-automatic. As an aside, a true automatic rifle is one where multiple shots are fired when the trigger is pulled once and held. A semi-automatic requires that the trigger be pulled for each shot.

Breech loaders are simple guns. They may be able to be loaded with one, two, or three cartridges. Most breech loaders have a hinged action which enables the cartridges to be loaded from the breech end of the barrel, and the empty cases retrieved from the breech end once the cartridges are fired. Our M6 Scout is a good example of a breech loader. Breech loaders are slow to operate and have low firepower. In the arboreal forests of the southern regions of North America, where there are no large predators, a small caliber breach loader, like the M6 Scout, might make sense as a survival rifle. In Alaska, however, I would feel more comfortable with a Holland and Holland double rifle, which is also a breech loader.

The turn bolt action is largely thought of as America's hunting rifle. On a turn bolt, there is a cylindrical bolt with a handle that acts as a lever to rotate the bolt in order to unlock it from the rifle's breech so that a cartridge may be inserted into the rifle's chamber for firing. Turn bolt rifles, aka bolt-action rifles, may be single shot, but more often are “repeaters”, that is, they contain a magazine with additional cartridges, which may be loaded after firing the previously loaded cartridge by “repeating” the loading sequence. Below is a picture of a typical turn bolt rifle.

Pump or slide action rifles are not so common. They are almost always repeaters, and are chambered in 22 Long Rifle rimfire as well as most common centerfire hunting cartridges. Remington probably makes the preponderance of large caliber pump action rifles. They can be very fast and accurate in the hands of someone who has trained with them.

The lever action holds a nostalgic place in the minds of most people in North America. It represents the Frontier, the conquering of the Old West. For many people, it is a “cowboy” gun. Lever action rifles may be chambered for rimfire cartrudges, high power hunting cartridges, or for lower power handgun cartridges, such as 32-20, 45 Colt, or 357 Magnum. They are almost always repeaters and can hold anywhere from 3 to 15 cartridges.

And finally, we come to the mack daddy of rifles, the autoloader or semi-automatic. Autoloaders have garnered themselves an unenviable reputation in certain circles in this age of ignorant political correctness. Many times, the Eastern Establishment Press, has equated these rifles to machine guns, using the term “assault rifle” to describe them, when no nation on the face of the earth uses semi-automatic rifles in the role of assault rifles. Regardless, the features and functions that make these rifles desirable in the context of survival boils down to one characteristic: firepower. All autoloaders have a magazine which contains two or more cartridges. Sometimes the magazine is internal, and sometimes the magazine is detachable, and the autoloader fires a cartridges each time the trigger is pulled.

More than a few autoloader rifles are patterned after military rifles. The autoloader in the picture above is the M1 Garand, one of the first successful military autoloaders, and it has an internal magazine that holds 8 cartridges. Below, is a picture of the most popular autoloader in North America today, the AR15. It has a detachable magazine which may hold 5, 10, 20, or 30 cartridges.

Now, let's take a look at potential scenarios where we might find a survival rifle useful and see what we might realistically consider. So far, we have identified “lost in the wilderness”. What other scenarios are we likely to find ourselves in?

Since the vast majority of human beings live in cities, potential survival situations in urban environments seems likely for most people. This could include a breakdown in civil society, rampant, uncontrolled crime, oppression by the authorities, or invasion by a hostile force. In the city, chances are you will not be hunting, unless it is for long pork. Of course, I could be wrong, and there are always rats, but if you are reduced to hunting rats, chances are you need to be doing it quietly, and a firearm is not the way to do that. So, in most urban environments, your survival rifle will most likely be against predators of the two-legged variety. A breach loader is probably not going to hack it since most predators tend to hunt in groups, so you are going to need firepower. Because of the urban environment, there is a lot of cover for someone or something that wants to cause you harm, so you are going to need a relatively powerful cartridge to penetrate that cover. That means the 22 Long Rifle is probably a poor choice. In this scenario, the best choice would be some sort of repeater or autoloader chambered in one of the more popular rifle cartridges.

OK, so you don't live downtown. What about the suburbs or a semi-rural setting? In this scenario, there are quite a few variables, some of which are housing density, terrain, homogeneity of the population, and how well you know your neighbors. There may be hunting for a short while, but in most of suburban and semi-rural settings, the hunting will peter out in a matter of days or weeks. Then the issue becomes defense. Suburban areas by definition means proximity to cities, and cities mean raiders. It comes down to self defense again, whether due to a breakdown in society or due to natural disaster. Because the density is probably much lower than in the city, firepower becomes less of a concern, unless the raider group is very large, but accuracy and range become more important. In fact, the less density of the population, the more range comes into play. So, you need a rifle with range and the accuracy to use that range.

One scenario that both urban and suburban inhabitants always gravitate towards is “bugging out”, that is leaving their primary residence for some location in a lower density setting, sometimes called a “retreat”. If the civil authorities are still in control, this might be a viable option, and chances are that whatever survival rifle you have chosen will be sufficient, since by virtue of the authorities still being in control, most people will be behaving in a rational fashion. On the other hand, if civil authorities have lost control, you are fooling yourself if you think that bugging out is a viable option and you wait until everyone else has the same idea. If you wait until the last minute, it does not matter what your survival rifle is; you will be road kill, and someone else will be carrying your rifle.

Let's say you make it to your retreat. You didn't wait till the last minute. You are stocked up on food, water, and ammo, and you have your friends and family with you. Guess what? In about a week or 10 days, the hoards that bugged out of the city will show up. They may have organized into raiding parties. What kind of survival rifle will you need? Again, it will come down to firepower, range, and accuracy. Again, that means a repeater chambered in one of the common rifle cartridges.

About hunting – quite a few of the people who come to the conclusion that they are going to but out also think they are going to subsist on hunting. Even people who live in rural settings think that hunting might be an option. History tells a different story. During the Great Depression, wild game, especially big game was wiped out in the Southeaster United States. It was so bad that deer and turkey had to be reintroduced during the 1950s from northern tier states. There was still some small game around, but it was not easy to harvest, and a lot of it was harvested with traps and snares because no one had money for ammunition.

I know it sounds like I think that the primary purpose of a survival rifle is to used in battle. Human nature being what it is, I believe that the most likely scenarios will be related to competition among humans. Firearms are not necessary for hunting. Heck, humans hunted for at least 75,000 years without firearms. A rifle might make it easier in most circumstances, but it is not truly necessary.

So, to reduce it to its simplest terms, when choosing a survival rifle, consider the most flexible tool. Flexibility would include many of the factors we have touched on here – accuracy, range, and firepower. It will also include things that we have not touched on, and that I may cover in a future posting, things like how common the ammunition for your rifle is, whether or not the rifle is field maintainable, and how easy it is to repair the rifle if one of its components breaks.

Regardless, I would say that any rifle is better than none, and some are better than others.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Mental Illness and Mass Murder

Over the last few years, there have been some spectacular mass killings by crazy people with guns. Seung-Hui Cho in Blacksburg, Virginia.  Nidal Malik Hassan at Fort Hood.  James Egan Holmes in Aurora, Colorado. Jared Lee Loughner in Casa Adobes, Arizona. Adam Lanza in Newtown, Connecticut. And now, Aaron Alexis in Washington, DC.

There is a common theme throughout these mass murders. No, it is not violent video games.  It is not mind altering drugs. It is not religion or lack thereof. It is not guns.  It is mental illness.

But, it's not the mental illness of the shooters.  It is the collective mental illness of our society.  This mental illness is expressed as "gun-free zones".  In every case cited above, the perpetrator targeted one of these areas where individuals are not allowed to possess the tools to defend themselves against aggression.  And here is the mental illness: the refusal to recognize the logic that making someone more helpless cannot make him safer.

Just because someone is crazy does not make them stupid.  The mentally ill often exhibit exceptional powers of perception, intellect, and intelligence.  Of course, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out, that if you want to get attention by murdering a lot of people, the best place to do it is in a gun-free zone.  You can pretty much count on 15-20 minutes of uninterrupted murder and mayhem while the cops organized, get to the site, and begin to attempt to get the situation under control.  You can kill a lot of people in 15 minutes when you are the only one with a weapon, whether that weapon is a blunt instrument, an edged blade, or a firearm.

We need to fix this.  The answer is easy and cheap.  We need to outlaw gun-free zones.  There is no place for a gun-free zone in a free society (not that the USA is a free society; we have not been one for many decades).  Gun control will not work. guns are old tech.  High quality ones can be built in most home workshops. Ammunition too.  Heck, the Pathans manufacture the worlds most popular assault rifle, the AK-47, in large numbers without the benefit of electricity.

Each American needs to be responsible for his own personal safety.  Put some risk back into the deed for these nut cases.  You cannot count on the police to protect you.  You obviously cannot count on rules and metal detectors to protect you.

We can defeat this collective mental illness. It is time to get rid of gun-free zones once and for all.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Someone Is Finally Taking A Stand

It appears that the management at market-ticker.org is getting fed up with the incursions on our liberty by all branches of government.  They are demanding three things:
  1. A cessation of all non-court-ordered surveillance and the destruction of all data collected without court orders.
  2. Stiff criminal penalties for any civil servant or government agent, elected or otherwise, that attempt to surveil without a proper, constitutional court order.
  3. The use of audio and video devices to be worn involuntarily by all officers with arrest powers at all levels of government when exercising jurisdiction, and that evidence gathered by these devices be admissible in court. Failure to produce the evidence gathered by the devices would trigger a dismissal of charges if an arrest had been made.

I think these are excellent ideas.  I think we should get behind market-ticker.  I hope other firms do the same thing. 

I have witnessed national strikes in other countries.  It might be a good idea to do that in the USA to get these ideas across.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

CMP: Sadness at the South Store

Yesterday morning, I heard about President Obama's executive order barring the re-importation of US military arms that were loaned to foreign countries during the cold war. There are two particular rifles that I am interested in that are on the list: the M1 Garand, and the M1 Carbine. Unfortunately, the largest lot – tens of thousands of Garands and even more carbines – are in storage in South Korea, and until the EO is overturned, they will not come back to their rightful home.

With the stroke of a pen, President Obama drove the price of Garands and carbines up. Demand for these fine pieces of history has been on the rise for a while, and now his actions have fixed the supply.

So, figuring that waiting would only cost me more money, I headed over to the CMP store in Anniston after finishing my work. I had not been there for a few years, but I expected to find rack grade Garands, field grade Garands, and service grade Garands, along with the totally overhauled CMP Special Grade, which have been retrofitted with new and military parts to bring them up to “new” condition.

Alas, it was not to be. The last time I was in Anniston, there were at least 1,000 Garands on the racks, along with some carbines, some 1903s, and even a few Enfields. This time, there were around 150 Garands. There were no rack grades, no field grades, and heck, there weren't even any service grades. What there were on the racks were M1C and M1D sniper rifles, a few ragged National Match rifles, and around 3 dozen Special Grades. The Specials were the most economical at $950, and the snipers started at $1,500 and went up to $3,000.

Also on the racks were about 2 dozen Garand drill rifles, which all had the barrels plugged, and many had cheap plastic stocks on them. There were the usual parts and barrels, and for someone who had the inclination, WWII barreled receivers with the period correct barrel and bolt for $350. The only other shootable rifles present were 20 “rusty” Kimber three-position .22 target rifles. At $450, these were probably the best deal going, and they come with bolts and sights. The rust on these rifles was a light sheen, and could be cleaned up in about 10 minutes with some automatic transmission fluid and some four ought steel wool.

I had originally planned to buy a rack grade and a field grade gun yesterday. I was planning on overhauling the rack grade to be a shooter, and refinishing the field grade. But since there were none, I purchased a Special. At the check out, I got another huge surprise. The state of Alabama has hiked its sales tax to 10%. This means that the sales tax on the Special would be close to $100. Since the shipping to my front door is only $24 (Fedex), I paid the shipping tariff, and sadly left the CMP South Store.

Gone are the days when you could spend hours browsing racks and racks of Garands. With the new EO, I expect the days of the CMP are numbered. Demographics being what they are, there is no hope of the United States electing a president that would rescind the EO.

I have witnessed the end of an era.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Sabre Rattling Over Syria

Here we go again.  Another economic boost for the military industrial complex.

The chicken hawks are calling for war in Syria, ostensibly because of a chemical attack on unarmed civilians.  At least, they tell us they were unarmed.  Pictures were circulated of dead people, and especially of children and we were told they were killed by poison gas.  Unfortunately, there are a few problems.

  • We don't really know what the people in the pictures were killed by.
  • We don't actually know if chemical weapons were used.
  • If chemical weapons were used, we don't know which ones were used.
  • If chemical weapons were used, we don't know who used them.
However, there are US politicians on both sides of the aisle calling for war.  We don't need to go to war with Syria.  What is going on in Syria is no threat to us.  If Syria's neighbors want to intervene, I could probably live with that.  But for the US to spend its money, and potentially blood on punishing a country (with a popular government, by the way) on an incident where there is reasonable doubt that it even occurred at all is totally insane.

Insanity may be the rule of the day.  Independent journalist Niel Clark says:

"The UN team will go there, they may find chemical weapons traces or they may not. But if they do, the US said quite clearly that the Syrian government is the only party capable of using chemical weapons, so they have made their minds up. If they don’t, then the Syrian government will be accused of moving them. The Syrian government will be damned if they do, and will be damned if they don’t, whatever the UN inspection teams find. The decision has already been taken. "
I fear that Mr. Clark is correct. 

The other thing that bothers me is why is the West so up in arms over poison gas.  If the Assad regime did actually kill those people, would there be any difference if they had executed them by firing squad or run over them with tanks?  Would we be talking about intervention then?

Some people are worried about the US reputation since Obama made his "line in the sand" comment a year ago over the use of WMDs in Syria.  They say that President Obama may have a credibility problem.  Like he doesn't already have one.  The president's credibility is almost nonexistent when it comes to foreign policy, especially in the Middle East. 

And yet, according to former UN ambassador John Bolton, we may cause ourselves more problems than will be solved by intervening in Syria.  A White House spokesperson claims that the President has incontrovertible evidence that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons, and yet, that evidence is yet to be presented.  Where is it?

Friday, August 23, 2013

The Legacy of Barack Hussein Obama

In 2016, the United States will be electing a new president.  After the 2014 election in Congress, Barack Obama will be a lame duck president.  It's not too early to begin thinking about his legacy.

Here is what history will tell you:

  1. His economic policies bankrupted the largest economy in the world.
    I honestly believe that you could take the telephone directory of any of the major cities and pick a name at random from it and find a person who understands economics better that President Obama.  Not only has his administration failed to provide the leadership to Congress to pass a budget, he has allowed Congress to spend, spend, spend, so that when he retires, the United States will have over $18 trillion in debt.  That is a debt that cannot be repaid under the current financial system.  There are tricks to pay it off, but none of them bode well for the citizens of the United States. 

    Some of the things particular policies that have hurt the US economy:
    - Blocking drilling and pipelines that raise energy costs
    - Imposing $70 billion worth of new regulations on businesses causing massive unemployment
    - Higher costs of student loans so that more money can be funnelled to Obamacare
    - Amnesty for illegal aliens which drives down wages
    - Higher health care costs. Obamacare. 'Nuff said.
  2. His foreign policy was totally incoherent.
    President Obama gives much lip service to peace.  Heck, the guy won a Nobel Peace Prize.  And yet today, we have more soldiers fighting in more countries in any time since World War II.  During his presidency, there have been US troops conduction armed operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, Libya, Nigeria, Somalia, Mali, Panama, Guatemala, and Honduras.

    The US still props up dictators under President Obama, dictators like Hosni Mubarak, that is, until there is a political advantage not to.  And the most stable country in the Middle East?  Well, Israel is pretty small.  In addition to supplying arms to Al Quaeda affiliates in Syria, President Obama "draws a line in the sand" over the use of chemical weapons in the Syrian civil war, yet when there is evidence of the use of such weapons, he goes on a bus tour to tout his [doomed to fail] economic plan.  Consequently, the US inconsistency, incompetence, and ineptness has made the US irrelevant in the Middle East.
  3. His administration was one of the most corrupt, if not the most corrupt.
    The scandals associated with President Obama's administration are almost too numerous to list in a blog like this.  And these are the ones we know about.  Another site will give you more details, but I will list a few of them here:

    - IRS targets Obama’s enemies
    - Benghazi Coverup
    - Spying on AP reporter
    - The James Rosen affair
    - Attorney General Eric Holder's perjury regarding the Rosen Affair
    - The BATF “Fast and Furious” scheme
    - Attorney General Eric Holder's perjury regarding “Fast and Furious”
    - Sebelius demands payment donations from companies HHS might regulate
    - The Pigford scandal
    - The General Services Administration boondoggle of an $823,000 training conference in Las Vegas, featuring a clown and a mind readers.
    - Veterans Affairs in Disney World to the tune of $6,000,000
    - Sebelius violates the Hatch Act
    - Solyndra
    - Lisa Jackson using the name “Richard Windsor” when corresponding by email with other government officials
    - Refusing to investigate the New Black Panthers voter intimidation
    - Attacking Libya without Congressional approval 

    And on, and on, and on...

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Racialists in America

Last Friday, two male Negro teenagers and a third teenage male who appears to be a mulatto, murdered an Australian jogger on the streets of Duncan, Oklahoma. The three teens said that they did it “because we were bored”.

Now, it has been five days since the incident, and only now is this becoming national news. Curiously, the usual cast of characters in interracial violence news coverage is absent. Where is Jesse Jackson? Where is Al Sharpton? Oh, wait! The victim is an innocent white person minding his own business! No problem!

There is a growing sense of outrage over the hypocrisy. Jackson and Sharpton were very quick to call for action in the case of the thug wannabe Trayvon Martin, who attacked George Zimmerman, an Hispanic man, and was killed in self defense for his trouble. Yet, in the case of Christopher Lane, they are strangely silent.

Alan Colmes explains it this way on Fox News this morning: “Blacks are underrepresented by the system, so they need people like Al Sharpton to bring attention to their issues.” Well, I have news for Mr. Colmes. If murder is an alternative for boredom among Negro teenagers, the Negro population in the US needs Mr. Sharpton to bring attention to that issue.

I have often thought to myself that the most racialist people in America in the 21st century are Negroes. My experience has been that in almost every interracial altercation where Negroes are involved, the Negroes automatically assume that race is a factor. And the mainstream media falls right in line. Unfortunately, they just don't get it, as pointed out in this post over on Vox Popoli.

Fortunately, some leaders in our country are asking the right questions. Former Rep. Allen B. West, Florida Republican, hinted that there may be a racial double standard at play, given the lack of outrage from Mr. Obama and civil rights leaders. He tweeted:

Three black teens shoot white jogger. Who will POTUS identify w/ this time?

It is an interesting question. Our illustrious president, who campaigned on the platform that he will bring people together, has actually accomplished the opposite on several fronts, including the racial front.

Donald Trump (of whom I am not a big fan, but he has his moments) tweeted:

Why isnt mainstream media all over this like Trayvon Martin story?Will there be justice for Chris Lane?

Indeed. Where is the mainstream media? Where is Jesse Jackson? Where is Al Sharpton. Can Christopher Lane get justice in post-modern, politically correct America?


The US media is playing this incident down, I suspect because it does not fit their agenda.  For instance, Yahoo! News does not mention it at all, and Yahoo! is a major news outlet for the 15 - 25 year old demographic.

Here is what you are not hearing from the US major media:
  • The alleged trigger man was a member of the Crips gang.
  • The other two alleged accomplices were Crips wannabes.
  • Facebook pages of some of the alleged perps glorified in rap lyrics which included selections about murder and mayhem.
There is a feral subculture in America.  Many academics posit that gang behavior and rap music are the result of the more affluent turning their collective backs on the ghettos in American cities.  I am calling horse-puckey on that.  There are so many examples of subcultures in America that had the same thing happen, but instead of going feral, those groups took a higher road.
So, at this point, I am thinking that boredom was the icing on a very rotten cake.

Friday, August 16, 2013

The Epitome of a Good .22

I like to shoot.  I got my first projectile launcher when I was 6 years old.  Like many first time experiences with guns, mine was with a Daisy Red Ryder BB gun.  I got if for Christmas, and my dad would not let me do anything with it until (a) he had a long talk with me about safety and the consequences I would suffer if I violated the rules, and (b) he had taught me the rudiments of marksmanship.
I just about wore that Red Ryder out.  It served me well up until I started junior high school (now referred to as "middle school"), at which time, something internally broke, and while I was at school, my mom chose to dispose of it in the trash.
Long before the demise of my Red Ryder, upon my 10th birthday, I received a single shot .22 rifle of the Sears & Roebuck brand which was made by Savage Arms.  This diminutive rifle handled .22 Short, Long, and Long Rifle, all of which were available back in the '60s.  This was the first real firearm I cut my teeth on. All of the rules associated with my BB gun applied, only on steroids.
As part of the birthday gift, I was informed that I was responsible for providing my own ammunition.  This was probably a wise move on the part of my parents, as they estimated I put close to 200,000 rounds through the Red Ryder. I mowed lawns, raked pine straw, and did general labor for my neighbors to feed that little .22.  Back then, a box of .22 Short was around $0.50, including tax.  I hunted squirrels and rabbits, and when hunting season was over, many of the neighborhood kids would hang out and have informal target matches with our .22 rifles.
As I got older, my dad reckoned that I was old enough for an autoloader, so, on Christmas of my fifteenth year, he presented me with a Remington Nylon 66 in Apache Black.  The 66 only shot long rifles, but that was OK, because by then I had a job at the local car wash, and I had plenty of money for a kid in those days.  The Nylon 66 was surprisingly accurate for a mass produced "cheap" .22 rifle. I think at the time, the MSRP on them was around $50.  I scoped it with a 4x Weaver K4, and the number of squirrels and rabbits I brought home was stupendous.
Time moves on. After college, I got interested in centerfire rifles, and did not touch my rimfires for literally decades.  I competed in NRA Highpower Match.  I took up big game hunting.  I started handloading and spent thousands of hours punching paper.  But, as my kids became of age, I heard the lowly .22 calling out to me.  My kids cut their teeth on shooting with .22 caliber rifles - the same ones I did.
After my children left home, I found myself wanting to spend more time on the range.  Even though I had a plethora of centerfire rifles of various chamberings at my disposal, I wanted a good quality .22 bolt action rifle to spend the majority of my range time with.  I still have the two .22 rifles I grew up with, but I wanted more of an "adult" rimfire.  I was down at my local gun store one day, and there was a really nice looking bolt gun on the rimfire rack.  I asked the clerk behind the counter if I could hold it.  He handed it to me.
It was a CZ 455 American.  I was very familiar with CZ firearms, owning several examples of their handguns and big game rifles.  CZ products are made in Uhersky Brod, Czech Republic.  CZ firearms are known for their rugged, no-nonsense reliability, and often times innovative designs.  The 455 is no exception.  It is a high quality, switch barrel rimfire rifle which can shoot .22 Long Rifle, .22 WMR, or .17 HMR, depending on which barrel is mounted.  This particular rifle had been bought as a present and brought back to the store 30 days later, unfired.  Qualified as a "used" gun, I obtained it at a significant discount.

Off to the range.  The 455 American, scoped with an old Bushnell Banner I had laying around, shot everything well, but with CCI Standard Velocity and Wolf Match Target, I was getting sub-half-inch groups at 50 yards.  Needless to say, this became my go-to rimfire for all shooting chores that called for a rimfire, and has given me hours of paper punching pleasure.
More recently, I was in a very large, nationally known gun store in the next town over, just browsing one Saturday afternoon.  A CZ rimfire in the used rack caught my eye.  It was a CZ 455 Varmint with a short, heavy barrel.  While examining it, it was obvious that someone had put it through its paces, but the evidence consisted of brass drag marks on the magazine follower, and a little residue in the barrel.  This rifle cost me about the same as I paid for the sporter (American) version.  At the range, it did not disappoint. Like the sporter, it shot everything well, and CCI SV and Wolf MT the best.  In fact, if I put the targets in front of you, you would not be able to discern which target went with which rifle.

The 455 Varmint has the same barrel-swapping ability that the sporters do. You can get the Varmint with a single set trigger or not. Mine does not, so I will probably fit it with a Yo Dave trigger kit.  The standard trigger is distinctly two-stage, and a little heavy for consistent precision shooting.  It is a great hunting trigger, however.
On the rimfire forums, like rimfirecentral.com, many shooters refer to the CZ rimfires as "the poor man's Anschutz".  Anschutz sporting rifles start in price about the same point that CZ rimfires top out.  Yet the CZ rifles shoot almost as good.  I say "almost" because there are a few shooters I know that own both brands and tell me that the Anschutz is ever so slightly better, but that it takes a superior shooter to tell the difference. I don't, and probably never will, own an Anschutz, so I will have to take their word for it.
If you can only have one .22 rifle, I highly recommend the CZ 455. It has become my absolute favorite rimfire, and one of my top 5 rifles of all time.  True, it is not a high-capacity autoloader, and it does not have a lot of gizmos, nor does it have Picatinney rails to hang a lot of crap from, but it gets the job done in a more accurate fashion than most everything else I have tried.  That is why I give it the title of "The Epitome of a Good .22".

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

UK Murder Rate Less Than US? I Don't Think So...

Turns out that the "official" figures released by the Home Office do not cover the vast majority of deaths of interest to the police in the UK.  In the USA, on the other hand, every death that is not readily related to natural causes is a homicide.  It's not an "apples to apples" comparison.

"As a result, murders that have not been solved are not included. If indications in the Telegraph are correct, that would substantially reduce the homicide rate in itself. Murders that have resulted in an arrest but no conviction are not counted. Convictions that have not been appealed are apparently not counted. And the number of minorities reported as murder victims is far below either the demographics or of reason.
If the media reports of a total of 4,760 “violent fatalities of interest to the police” from 1 January 2011 to 30 November 2012 are correct, the murder rate is 4.7 per 100,000 population, the same as our much more inclusive homicide rate, and substantially higher than the United States murder rate."

What is sad is that the mainstream media does not explain this, and about the only place you can find any information is in the alternative media, such as blogs like this one:

"Sorry about the long aside, back to murders. Remember that 657 number from the Home Office? The Coroners only called 229 of the cases they determined a cause of death on a homicide, and in 4400 cases they filed a "narrative verdict" describing the cause of death in a narrative manner without putting it in a category. If those 4400 cases are what we would normally call murders ... that would suggest that the correct number of "violent deaths of interest to the police" is on the order of 4700 for 2011, then the UK murder rate is 8.5 per 100,000 or about 177% of the US murder rate. Now, honestly, we don't know what conclusion as to cause the coroner would have reached if they weren't using  It's entirely possible that very few of them would have been classed as homicides. We don't know.  My point here isn't that the English death rates should be quoted from the highest available but rather, no matter which source I attempt to use, I can't actually get an apples to apples comparison.  The data simply isn't available."
"Note also that this is the MURDER rate, irrespective of the METHOD of the murder.  I utterly refuse to get into the discussion of 'gun violence.'  A death is a death."

So, next time someone tells you that the UK has less murders than the USA, ask them how they know. Chances are, they don't know, and they are parroting some drivel they heard on CNN (which is increasingly coming to be known as a news organization which does not check the facts).

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Zimmerman Vindicated

Well, now that the verdict is in, it turns out that Martin's death was not a "mindless murder" as many race-baiting pundits, but rather a justified case of self-defense. 

This case should never have been brought to trial.  The police clearly stated they had no evidence.  The Sanford police department did not arrest Zimmerman because they had no evidence to use to support any charges.  The city administration, in frustration fired the police chief. The attorney general did not return charges for the same reason, so the governor steps in, and reassigns the case to another attorney general.  I fail to see how firing the police chief and reassigning the case can produce any evidence that was clearly not there.

While I have sympathy for the Martin family in the loss of their son, I do not have empathy.  When one looks at peripheral evidence, much of which was not allowed in the trial, instead of the portrait of the "innocent teenager" that has been painted by the medial outlets  sympathetic to concept that Martin was "racially profiled" and "singled out for murder", we find that in actuality, he was a troubled youth who had a history of violence and was a habitual drug user, and may have been involved in the illegal trafficking of firearms.

There is no question that self-defense is a human right.  As far as anyone living knows, besides George Zimmerman, Zimmerman did nothing wrong.  Yes, the police operator advised him not to follow Martin, and Zimmerman chose to ignore that advice.  However, in the state of Florida, it is not illegal to follow someone, even with a gun in your pocket.  There is no law in Florida against confronting someone that you suspect may be engaging in unlawful or unsafe activities. There is a law against attacking someone who does confront you, and smashing that person's head on a concrete sidewalk.

We can only hope that Zimmerman can sue and get a judgement against the city for wrongful arrest, and that the fired police chief can sue and get a judgement against the city for wrongful termination, and that the judgements are large and hurt the city.  Maybe then other municipalities will take note and work to keep politics out of the justice system.  This trial was politically motivated from the start and should have never been brought to trial.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Stop Having Sex ?!?

Vivian Norris wants women in Texas to stop having sex with men who do not support late term abortion.  She thinks that this will change mens' minds about the issue.  The Texas legislature was very close to criminalizing late-term abortions in the state, and the measure was only defeated by a last minute filibuster by pro-abortion state senators.  The legislation would also require abortion mills to be certified medical facilities, which to anyone but a pro-abortion advocate would seem to be common sense.

What Vivian does not realize is that there are men who can think logically and remove emotion from arguments. She bases her justification for withholding sex on a woman's right to have dominion over her body.  But this is just a fallacious argument.

Here is the problem with the argument: Women don't have rights and dominions over their own bodies.  Neither, for that matter, do men.

If a woman decides to ingest cocaine into her body, and she is caught by the authorities, she will be incarcerated.  If she decides to inject heroin and is caught, she will be incarcerated.  She cannot sell a kidney for profit.  She cannot rent out her vagina for profit.

So, I am calling BS on this "right and dominion" argument.  Furthermore, the "product of conception" has its own unique DNA.  It is not part and parcel of the woman's body. What about its "right and dominion"?

This discussion was spawned by late term abortions.  Late term abortions = viable babies.  Following this logic, if the baby is viable, what meaning does passing through the birth canal have?  If the only difference between an abortable baby and a child is passing through the birth canal, why not legalize post-partum abortions.  If a new mom doesn't think she can handle her newborn, should she be allowed to "abort" it?  After all, the only difference between it and a late term aborted baby is that it travelled about 8 inches through a vagina.

Let's be intellectually honest here.  The issue is not about women's bodies.  It is about the power over life and death of a human who may become an inconvenience.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Some Folks Just Don’t Keep Up With The News

The US Center For Naval Analysis has decided that global warming is the biggest threat to America and that a focus on in-country drilling for oil is a bigger threat to national security than dependence on foreign oil.  I guess that the CNA did not get the word that the earth has been cooling since 2007.  Satellite evidence shows that in the last year, Antarctic ice has exceeded its own long term average.  Carbon dioxide levels are rising while temperatures are flat or declining.  Indeed, there has never been a definitive peer-reviewed study which conclusively indicates that a rise in carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere always precedes a long term warming trend.

One can only surmise that the CNA has a political agenda related to regulating energy, or rather, micromanaging energy use.  The problems associated with the data management and data veracity should have been enough for CNA to stay away from the global warming issue.  However, being funded by the taxpayers via an administration with a clear preference for prevarication when it comes to political agendas, I suspect that this is just one more ploy to move the US closer to a nanny state and collectivism.

Besides, no one has really defined for me why a little more carbon dioxide is bad or what is wrong with warm weather.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Longboard Lager

I just spent a week on the Big Island of Hawaii.  While I was there, I thought I would sample some of the local beer fare.  One of the more heavily advertised beer lines on the west coast was that of Kona Brewing. So, I decided to have a couple.

The Longboard Lager is advertised as having "... a smooth refreshing lager fermented and aged for weeks at cold temperatures to yield its exceptionally smooth flavor."

Now, this is a drinkable beer. It is priced to compete with mass produced premium beers, but has a richer flavor and heavier body than most mass produced lagers.  Overall, I liked it, but it was not all that special.

After a hard day of hiking up one of the Big Island's 5 volcanoes, Longboard Lager is quite refreshing.

STYLE:  Lager
COLOR (0-2): Blonde. 2
AROMA (0-2): Malty smell with a hint of hops. 2
HEAD (0-2): Very pale color. Falls rather quickly. 1
TASTE (0-5): Bitter and malty.  Medium, leaning to heavy body. Feels good in the mouth. 4
AFTERTASTE (0-2): Bitter, which is good if you like it. 1
OVERALL (0-6): Better than most premium mass produced beers. Doesn't quite feel or taste like a craft beer. 4
TOTAL SCORE (0-19): 14

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

American Heroes

He was of the opinion that his own government was oppressive.  He was very concerned about government overreach.  His government was inserting itself into his daily life and the lives of all Americans in a way that he considered unacceptable.  So, he decided to do something about it.

He joined a group that was actively resisting the government.  He put himself in a position of being able to obtain information about what the government was doing to the American people, and he shared that information, fully knowing that if caught, it could result in severe penalties, including death.  He did it because he felt he had a moral obligation to push back against the government.

He was Nathan Hale.  The year was 1776.  Nathan Hale was a traitor to his lawful government.  He stands in good company: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Patrick Henry, Button Gwinett – they were all traitors to the lawful government of King George III.

Now, another American has taken action in the cause of freedom.  He is Edward Snowden.  He is fighting back against government overreach, against a government which is increasingly becoming more oppressive, and which increasingly violates its own law.

Snowden has revealed details about the NSA’s PRISM program.  Snowden, a contract employee allocated to projects at the National Security Agency, has revealed these details which, from many points of view, constitutes a violation of the Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution.  For this, many people are branding Snowden as a “traitor” and the federal government has announced that it is preparing criminal charges against Snowden.

I guess the question becomes, what part of your personal information is personal, and what part belongs to the government, and if the government can collect any information it wants because it is easy to do so, do you as an individual really have any personal information?

And, what happens to this legal language?
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Now the federal government is trying to get us to believe that PRISM is not spying.  But understand what the NSA is collecting information and how the NSA is using that information.

-       The NSA is collecting data at the source.  It literally has equipment on the premises of the major internet and telephone companies where it collects everything that is transmitted on their networks.  It makes these collections without specific warrants and without probable cause.
-       The NSA stores all or part of the information it collects.  Government spokespersons are telling us that the NSA only stores metadata, but the federal government, especially under the last two administrations, has lied about these kinds of issues before.
-       The NSA uses the information to search for patterns. Unfortunately, call and email patterns are not contextual, and therefore, based on arbitrary criteria, false positives may be generated, and trigger investigations where there has been no wrongdoing.
-       The NSA activities that require judicial involvement are handled in FISA courts.  FISA courts have been characterized as a “kangaroo court with a rubber stamp” by at least one former NSA analyst.
-       All this adds up to the potential for US citizens to be railroaded into prison, in secret, when the citizens have done nothing wrong. Since there is no public oversight of how the data is used and no public oversight of court proceedings, people can disappear in the US at government insistence, just like they did in Peru and Argentina in the last century.

What happened to “probable cause”?  What happened to “privacy”?  What happened to “oversight”?  Considering that the current administration has unilaterally deemed it has the right to assassinate American citizens without due process by the use of drones, I find this scary.  And considering that the chief law enforcer in federal government, the Attorney General, can lie to Congress without consequences, I find this scary.  But what really scares me is that the average American is not offended by the fact that the government sees all of its citizens as guilty until proven innocent and takes that as a license to spy on everyone.

Is Edward Snowden a hero?  I don’t know.  Time will tell. Either way, he is definitely a traitor.  All indications are that he is a traitor like Nathan Hale.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Is Your Wife Hot?

Barnabas Piper doesn't think you should call your wife "hot".

Hahaha! I think someone has got some severe emotional/maturity problems.  While I never use the term “hot” with anyone but my wife when referring to her, for a guy to make a big deal about this with respect to his friends/acquaintances indicates that he is probably one of those males that the rest of us real men refer to as “gamma rabbits”.

This is what real men do.  They show pride in the things that matter to them.  They might call their automobile “cool” or their AR15 “badass”.  If a guy wants to call his wife “hot” in front of me, even if I don’t think she is, I am very happy for him and share in his pride over his wife.  I might not think his car is cool or his AR15 is badass, but I am not going to make an issue of it, because it is a personal preference based on his choices and abilities.  I may not know what all the criteria are, so I cannot fault his judgement.  And judgement is what Barnabas and his friend are engaging in doing here.

The converse is even more worrying.  Do you have any idea what happens to a man when he quits having pride in his wife?

Like I said, I don’t use that term with respect to my wife with anyone.  However, I do brag on both her inner and outer beauty in more subtle terms.  That’s what Real Men do.  Like in the Song of Solomon.

Monday, May 20, 2013

No Longer A Nation of Laws

The former acting chief of the US Internal Revenue Service sees nothing wrong with harrassing conservative advocacy groups.
First, they came for the Tea Partyers,
And I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Tea Partyer.

Then they came for the conservatives,
And I didn't speak out because I wasn't a conservative.

Then they came for the taxpayers,
And I didn't speak out because I wasn't a taxpayer.

Then they came for me,
And there was no one left to speak out for me.
"Absolutely not illegal", indeed. 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Eat Bugs!

I have been working 18 hour days for the last couple of weeks and have not had a chance to write.  But last night, at around 1AM , I took a little while to catch up on my reading, and I ran into this article, where the United Nations wants us to quit engaging in animal husbandry and turn to eating insects.

I can pretty much guarantee that the fat cat bureaucrats on the East River won't have caterpillar casserole or beetle soufflé on the menu.

For justification, the unelected wannabe world rulers cite advantages such as raising insects takes less water per unit of protein, and insects can be fed human waste, and that this could be the solution to world hunger.  Unfortunately, such a strategy does not address the causes of world hunger, which for the most part is caused by government interference in local economies through taxes, duties, fees, and regulation, which work in concert to hamper the free flow of food and money.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Cops are not your friends

Every year, police officers die in the line of duty.  It goes with the job.  Much of the time, police officers deal with sociopaths, scum, drunk, and drug-fueled miscreants.

But, every year, police kill many more people than are killed in the line of duty.  Many more, but we don't know exactly how many because no one is keeping that statistic.

Since the beginning of the "war on drugs", which by any measure was lost long ago, police have become more militaristic, more aggressive, and much less flexible when it comes to dealing with the public in general, and tense situations in particular.  The conduct of the New Orleans P.D. in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the recent Keystone Cops episode in Boston following the Marathon Bombing are good examples.

One of the more troubling trends in police departments across the nation is their tendency to rally round their own bad apples.  It appears that in the Miami area (Opa-Locka, to be precise), we have a police sergeant who is about to be fired for the ninth (yes, that's right, the ninth) time.

Now, considering that police unions are relatively strong, you might assume that he was not fired for minor infractions.  You'd be right. The list includes:

  • busting the skull of a handcuffed suspect
  • beating juveniles
  • having dope and booze in his squad car
  • ripping off suspects
  • falsifying reports
  • participating in an unauthorized chase where four people were killed
  • calling in sick … from Cancun
So, you might ask, why is this guy able to work in law enforcement at any level?  The answer is provided by the officer's union provided attorney:  "It’s allegations. Allegations are not convictions."

Uh-huh.  And who did the investigations?  Other cops, of course.

It is any wonder that public trust of police officers is plummeting?

Saturday, May 4, 2013

The Terrapin may be slow, but he knows how to hop!

After a tough day at work and even tougher day at home, I took the old lady out for a late bite at our local tavern. I tried another beer that I had not had before – Terrapin Hopsecutioner. I have mentioned before that I like hoppy beers, and this one was not a disappointment.

Terrapin Brewery is located in Athens, Georgia, which also happens to be the home of the University of Georgia, a beer-drinking town if there ever was one, even if about half the beer drinkers are not of legal age.

Terrapin Beer Company was started in 2002 by two men, Spike and John, who were both working for a microbrewery in Atlanta. They figured they could do better, so they moved to Athens and struck out on their own. Their first beer, Terrapin Rye, won a prestigious award, and they were off and running.

Terrapin describes their Hopsecutioner like this:
You love hops, you ask for hops and this killer IPA delivers! Hopsecutioner earns its name by using six different types of hops giving it a fresh citrus and pine hop nose with a beautifully bitter finish. A strong malt back bone keeps this aggressive IPA well balanced. This IPA is made for hop lovers a you may lose your hop head over this one!
Hopsecutioner is an India Pale Ale style beer. It's made with 6 different hops for a delightful blend. It has a very hoppy odor, but the taste is not overwhelmingly hoppy.

COLOR (0-2): Amber. 2
AROMA (0-2): Hoppy smell. 2
HEAD (0-2): Pale color. Persistent medium volume. 2
TASTE (0-5): Excellent hop and malt blend.  Medium body, bordering on light on the tongue. 4
AFTERTASTE (0-2): Good follow through. 2
OVERALL (0-6): A good dringking beer; the kind you would like after a hot day in the sun or when eating a heavy meal, like steak. 5
TOTAL SCORE (0-19): 17