Monday, January 30, 2006

Weekends Are Why I Blog

You ever wonder what kind of weekend Yosemite Sam (Bill) and I have? Remember, we’re two gun-nuts who are married to each other. Well, read on if you’ve ever wondered.

We spend a lot of time asking each other what range to we want to go to today. We discuss what guns we want to take to the range and how many. We keep a sharp eye out on the weather so we don’t chill significant body parts. Rain is fine, heat is welcome, but cold is not fun when one is shooting outdoors. We both have used recently fired barrels to warm our hands. (Why the hell we live in New England is another story all together).

There’s more to the weekend than just shooting though. We clean gun afterwards. We use a lot of patches and CLP Breakfree because we usually take several guns each to the range. And, I like the smell of Hoppe’s #9 so I’ll often pop open a bottle of that for a little aromatic variety.

Then, there’s nothing like a visit to a gun store or show. The allure is heady. The chance to find a new gun at the right price, to buy more cleaning supplies, and to buy more ammo. It’s hard to resist even when we’re trying to hold onto our money for whatever reason.

This past weekend, I was shooting well, although I wasn’t competing in a match (naturally I would be on my game in practice) and shooting was a joy. Sunday morning, I monkeyed around with our reloader and ran up a little ammo to replace most of what we shot. Here’s one box of it.

I use a tumbler to polish the brass and then load double-ended wadcutter bullets made by Rainier Ballistics. My reloads here are target rounds. I place the bullets on top of 4.6 grains of Accurate #5 powder.

I’ve had really good luck with these loads. They’re accurate, relatively mild, and fun to shoot—you can actually see the hole they make in the paper target at 25 yards. (Note: Rainier Ballistics’ bullets are soft lead coated, not jacketed, in copper. Be sure to use their recommended load tables available at the link above, because they tend to have different requirements than hard lead or jacketed bullets.)

So, that’s what we do on most weekends. Shoot, go to gun stores, clean guns, reload pistol cartridges or shotgun shells. Unfortunately gun-grabbers would end how we spend our weekends. That’s why I blog.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Carnival of Cordite, the .45 Edition, Is Up!

It's simply amazing. Gullyborg at Resistance is Futile has posted the .45 Edition of the Carnival of Cordite. You will read about all things .45 including gun p0rn, see pictures of .45 rpm records (well...), range reports, and everything else. So drop what you're doing and head on over to the Carnival.

Friday, January 27, 2006

On Shooting Poorly-Redux

I’ve blogged before about shooting poorly. It seems that about once a month I end up doing so bad that I’m ready to stalk out of the range, kick my cat, and generally make an ass out of myself. Well, fortunately I handle frustration a little better than that, but you get the idea.

I had one of those sessions last night. Yosemite Sam (Bill) and I attend shooting matches every Thursday night during the winter. Hey, what do you think New England folks do when it’s cold out—skeet shoot? (Come to think about a few hardy souls do just that.)

Here’s what we do on Thursdays so you’re in the picture. The matches are held in an indoor range and ran by a rangemaster (“ready on the left, ready on the right, ready on the firing line”).

We use NRA bullseye shooting rules. We use one hand to hold and shoot a pistol at a target twenty-five yards away. We shoot three different stages, shooting a total of ten shots during each stage, and shooting two stages of each type. The stages are slow fire (we use a reduced-size target since this stage is supposed to be shot at fifty yards), timed, and rapid fire. The highest score possible is 600. (Here's an op-ed by a man who shoots similar matches, hat tip to Alphecca.)

So now you know what we do on our Thursday evenings. Well, last night I couldn’t hit the floor with a bullet if I dropped a cartridge. I scored only 445 points. I kept telling myself to calm down and don’t let a few bad shots wreck the next one. I told myself to concentrate on the trigger squeeze, sight alignment, breath control, stance, grip, follow-through, and everything else. You know it’s a wonder it’s even possible to shoot a gun accurately at all.

What’s ironic is that Bill was having a similar time last week. He was not a happy camper going into last night’s match and I told him to center himself; to not think about the score; to shoot for the sheer joy of it. He did and had a ball shooting. Meanwhile, I’m standing next to him muttering curses I didn’t know I knew while he’s enjoying himself. Where’s the justice in giving someone advice when you don’t follow it yourself?

I know I’m going on about my bad shooting and you’re probably tired of my whining by now. But let me tell you last night felt like a root canal performed by a dentist who has large fingers with coarse hairs on them. But, there’s always next week [/grumble mode off].

To make the most out of my bad night and to save an otherwise depressing post, here are a few tips if you shoot bullseye:

* Never try to think about shooting during a match, just shoot;

* Never shoot next to a guy who is so good that he thinks putting a shot in the nine ring makes it a flyer;

* Never throw your gun down range, it’s bad sportsmanship, and you may have to repaint the range floor;

* Always enjoy yourself because you’re shooting and that’s just about better than anything else you can do in public.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Auntie Pinko's Gun Advice

Long-time readers of Ten Ring know that I sometimes troll Democratic Underground’s (DU) “gungeon” to see what they’re saying. The gungeon can be an interesting place. In it, a number of very pro-gun people who happen to be lefties argue gun rights with a virtually equal number of anti-gunnies who are also lefties (DU doesn’t let non-lefties post in forums). Sometimes their exchanges are fascinating and sometimes boring in their predictability. Still, it’s worth a look every now and again.

Gungeon denizens discussed a column written by DU’s advice columnist, Auntie Pinko (be sure to skim that thread too). She received a letter from a gunnie who’s become a leftist. Now, it’s possible the letter’s a plant, a phony statement ginned up to gain sympathy for whatever point the writer wants to make. For the sake of argument, I’m going to take the letter and Auntie Pinko’s response at face value.

The letter writer, William, says he was once a conservative, but big-government, big spending Republicans has led him to become a new convert to the left (gasp). However, he’s not given up everything he once believed; he still opposes gun control. He says he hunts and shoots Service Rifle competitions, which helps him stay linked to his service as a former Marine. (m’kay, whatever). He tells Auntie that he won’t give up his shooting or take up skeet, which he seems to feel is a little more politically correct.

Our former Marine says he can’t understand why gun control is a leftist issue in the first place. After all, liberals should oppose big government and that owning weapons is a basic human right. He says it’s why he’s been slow to take the primrose path to leftie hell singing Kumbaya all the way (not exactly the way he described it, but if the metaphor fits…).

To help William, Auntie Pinko tries to find a middle ground. She says her father was a Marine and grew up in a hunting family. She’s disturbed that both sides can’t talk to each other. She gives examples of what she believes are unreasonable stands both sides have taken. Because we can’t talk with each other, she believes we’ve ended up with a strange patchwork of laws that accomplishes nothing.

Her response, surprisingly to me, has at least a few good points. However, she misses the mark on her most significant suggestion. She says that both sides need to compromise. She doesn’t realize, or chooses not to, that gunnies have compromised for over seventy years now. In the 1920s, a kid could have ordered a machine gun in the mail. In the 1950s, one could buy 20mm tank-busting rifles like Lahtis and Solothurns with no questions asked. In the 1980s, I bought handguns with no NICS checks.

Gunnies have compromised. The only compromise anti-gunnies have made is not getting their way fast enough. To give Auntie Pinko the benefit of the doubt, she may not understand the history of gun-banning in America and how much gunnies have already lost. She may not realize that gunnies have drawn a line in the sand and that most of us want to roll back gun control.

Auntie Pinko tries to come up with a fair way for William to continue shooting Service Rifle matches while still satisfying those who find “assault weapons” too dangerous. She suggests that ranges could have a special facility that could lock up individually owned “assault weapons” (all guns eventually?) under police supervision and let owners take them out for practice and competition. I know all of you are cringing at such a particularly obnoxious and foolish idea.

Despite her attempts to be reasonable and to find a middle ground, Auntie Pinko once again proves that lefties just don’t get it. They don’t understand firearms have a role in self-defense, as a protection against tyranny, and as private property. They just don’t get it. And, she’s not alone. Many people, even some on the right, don’t understand that we gunnies are tired of compromise.

Let's let the anti-gunnies compromise with us for a change.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

A Visit with Blog Friends

They’ve kept me very busy at work today, so I had no time at lunch to write something worth the bits it takes to post them. Work always gets in the way of one’s life. Don’t get me wrong, I like what I do (most of the time), but there’re days when housewifery looks really good. But, to paraphrase a Seven Dwarves song, “I owe, I owe it’s off to work I go.”

The upshot is I don’t have any original content today. Still, there are good things out there to read. Alphecca has a long “Weekly Check on the Bias” today. It’s a must read.

Reasonable Nut points us to an older Texican Tattler post about Tactical Tommy. If it doesn’t make you laugh, take your pulse.

Countertop Chronicles had a blogiversary yesterday. Go over and wish him a happy second anniversary. He graciously is running “The Gunnies” awards. Ten Ring was nominated in two categories; Best Range Reports (I guess the “One From the Vault” series) and Best Commentary. I want to thank the person(s) who nominated Ten Ring—it’s an honor just to be nominated. If you feel like giving Ten Ring a vote, well I won’t stop you (I say blushing).

Finally, Geek with a .45 reports on New Jersey’s new Attorney General, Zulima Farber. She became a more dedicated anti-gunnie when a thug robbed her at knife point. She was so mad she felt she could have shot the running thug in his back. That thought made her want to take guns away from everyone else. Can you say projection?

That's all for right now, back to the mines I go along with Sneezey, Dopey, Doc and the rest.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Goodbye Winchester

I'm sure every gunnie has heard of the passing of Winchester as we know it. Owners of the Winchester name will still make guns under that name in Europe and Japan, but the Winchester 94, 70s, and Model 1300 shotgun are history. This post is dedicated to arguably their most historical and successful product, the Winchester 94.

I bought my Winchester rifle chambered in .45 Colt last March when I was toying around with the idea of Cowboy Action Shooting. I didn’t get around to it last summer, but there’s always next summer. I’ve shot it a few times and enjoyed shooting it. (I also used it in a parody of gun banners.)

I own another Winchester 94 chambered in .30-30. It’s older, built in the early 1970s. Even these were not golden years for Winchester 94s, but better than later ones. When I compare the two, I understand a little bit why Winchester struggled financially.

First the good news. Both rifles are sturdy, reliable, shoulder well, and are great shooters. The bad news is Winchester bowed to political correctness. My .30-30 doesn’t have, thank Vulcan, the awful cross-bolt safety they put on later model. However, the .45 has a tang safety—again much better than the cross-bolt safety, but it would be difficult to install a tang sight should I decide my aging eyes need a peep sight.

Winchester took a classic rifle and then jiggered it up by adding safeties when they weren’t necessary for the rifle’s design and mechanism. They also let quality slide a little (not too badly, but still an inch is as good bad as a mile when you face competition from other gun makers in a small market).

Further, Bill and I were talking with another gunnie on Saturday. He believes Winchester’s greatest mistake was concentrating so much on their new Short-Action Magnums. They made a rifle that reduces the bolt throw by about a half-inch. Big deal.

Michael Bane pointed out that Winchester concentrated way too much on hunters and not shooters (others are guilty as well). The fact that Winchester spent so much effort and money on the Short-Action Magnums while shorting action shooting and other sports proves Bane’s point.

If Winchester’s name is not bought by a quality gun-maker, we gunnies will lose a lot of history. Here’s an elegy to Winchesters written by Stephen Hunter. It was published in the Washington Post of all places (hat tip to Countertop Chronicles). Read it and mourn with me the passing of a great American brand.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Blog Prettification

I don't mess with my template and stuff very often, but I thought I would do a little prettification on Ten Ring. First I'm adding this picture/link on the sidebar:

I'm also thinking of other graphics I could use. I don't want to go overboard with prettification because such efforts can get annoying. A fine line to walk indeed.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Carnival of Cordite #44 Is Up

Come one, come all. Gullyborg has posted the 44th Carnival of Cordite and it's brimming with gunnie goodness. You can read about the demise of Winchester, see gun p0rn, read gun history, view range reports, brush up on laws that affect guns, and even learn about the physics of shooting.

If you want to submit something to Carnival of Cordite #45, Gullyborg is accepting only posts relating to .45 caliber firearms.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Wadcutter, Handgun Preferences, and Religion

I’m fairly busy at work today and I wasn’t able to write another of my sometimes too long gun essays at lunch. I did have time to read Wadcutter’s wonderful post equating handgun preferences to religions. Wadcutter’s categories are so appropriate.

To describe myself in Wadcutterian terms, I have to say first that my prophet is John Moses Browning, but Daniel Wesson was he who foretold the advent of Browning. Hmmm…maybe I better not take this religious thing too far; people might think I have a shrine to Browning in my living room; okay I do, but it’s not in my living room, it’s next to my reloading/gun bench; oh no better delete this; don’t want people to think I’m a gun nut. And thus may the tactical Tupperware of the unbeliever never stain my hands. (Seriously, I like all guns, but prefer traditional wood and blued metal ones.)

I guess my handgun preferences don’t fit perfectly into Wadcutter’s categories, but they do make me a gun fundamentalist of some sort—maybe Pentecostal.

Frank Lindh Made Me Mad

[Semi-Edited Rant mode On]
Ten Ring is not a current affairs or news blog. But, every now and again something incenses me to the point I have to shout about it. Frank Lindh is the father of "American Taliban" John Walker Lindh and he gave a speech yesterday asking for executive clemency for his son. But, first let me refresh your memory a little.

You remember John W. Lindh. He was a Marin County, California kid who became a convert to Islam. With his parent's blessings he went to the Middle East to learn Arabic and memorize the Koran.

He gravitated toward the extremists and ended up in camps in Afghanistan where he heard Osama bin Laden give speeches. He became a soldier with the Taliban. When America invaded Afghanistan, he was captured while under arms. US forces roughed him up a little bit once they learned he was an American.

He made a plea bargain deal in which he agreed not to pursue charges against those who roughed him up. He was convicted of bearing arms against American troops, among other charges. He got twenty years in a Federal prison.

Now, Frank Lindh has the chutzpah, the gall, the stones to ask for clemency for his son. Let me tell you something Frank, you ignorant ass, your son already got clemency. He got twenty years instead of a life sentence or a lethal injection. Your foolish son will get out of prison before he's forty. He already got off lightly.

Be happy with that you idiot. Your son deserved a bullet or a noose, so stop your whining and go away. Meanwhile, ask yourself what you did wrong to raise a son who found his life so lacking that he turned his back on America, took arms against her soldiers, adopted the most extreme expression of a religion. Your son should be rotting in a grave, so enjoy your frequent visits with him in a medium security prison. Long may you have to make those visits.
[Rant Mode Off--we now return to our regularly scheduled gun-nuttery.]

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Gun Blogger Get-Together

I’ve been remiss in not mentioning that Mr. Completely is organizing a gun blogger rendezvous in Reno, Nevada (details in link). This is an excellent idea. You don’t even have to be a blogger to attend.

I read many gun blogs, but I have met few gun bloggers. I am interested in meeting people whose work I enjoy. I’ve had opportunities to go to blogger meet-ups near me, but haven’t been able to attend due to work or social obligations.

Because I live here in sunny New Hampshire (actually it is sunny today and the temperature is surprisingly mild), I don’t know if I can make it to Reno in November. Such a trip would depend on work, money, and time. Also, I have other trips to make that might compete for my money and my time. For instance, Bill and I would like to attend the NRA convention in May—we really enjoyed last year’s. Still, I would like to go to the blogger rendezvous too. Decisions, decisions.

If any other gun bloggers can attend let Mr. Completely know.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

One From the Vault

M1 Carbine
In some ways, the M1 Carbine was America’s first assault rifle. It was a relatively small, light, magazine fed, rifle. One M1 Carbine model was fully automatic, and another even had a folding stock. In other ways, it’s not an assault rifle. Its cartridge is really a slightly beefy pistol cartridge instead of a scaled-down rifle cartridge and almost all are semi-automatic. It’s definitely a weapon in the middle.

M1 Carbines also stand somewhere between a rifle and a pistol as well as being between a battle rifle and an assault rifle. Still, it fulfilled a role in World War II as significant as that of its larger cousin, the M1 Garand (“One From the Vault—M1 Garand”).

Even though it wasn’t a battle rifle, more M1 Carbines were produced than M1 Garands. American factories built more M1 Carbines than any other small arm—6,221,220 of them during the Unites States’ involvement in World War II. It also saw a great deal of use in Korea and Vietnam.
My M1 Carbine

The idea for a light rifle began after World War I when generals realized that such a rifle could be useful. Artillery crews, tank crews, rear-echelon people, and others needed something more powerful and accurate than a pistol, but something light and easily stowed or carried while doing their duties. The War Department also was about to create a paratrooper corps, which would also need something other than a full-sized battle rifle.

As is usual with these things, the government formed a committee, which included John C. Garand, to evaluate light rifle concepts and later inspect prototype rifles. The government issued specifications and called on gun manufacturers, gunsmiths, and inventors to submit models for testing and evaluation.

Winchester had been working on a light semi-automatic rifle for a while. They had a few technical problems, one of which was solved by David “Carbine” Williams when he invented a short-stroke gas piston to drive the gun’s action. He created his initial design while he was in prison for killing a Federal revenue officer. He was later pardoned when the killing was ruled self-defense. He perfected the design later and he along with other Winchester employees made the gun possible.

Gradually, Winchester’s prototype started to look like an M1 Carbine. In May 1940 trials with Marines showed their prototype’s bolt wouldn’t work well in sand. Winchester put in a Garand-style rotating bolt and created the first M1 Carbine.
M1 Carbine Action

In September 1941, the War Department evaluated Winchester’s prototype and accepted it with a request for a few modifications. Contracts were finally let just two weeks before Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. The M1 Carbine was born just in time for America’s entry into World War II.

America faced a shortage of arms for its troops. The War Department contracted with ten manufacturers to make M1 Carbines. Of the ten, only Winchester had ever made guns before. Companies like Inland and Saginaw, divisions of General Motors, built automotive parts (Inland eventually made the most M1 Carbines). Office machine makers like National Postal Meter, International Business Machines (IBM), and Underwood joined inland and Winchester. Even a jukebox maker, Rock-Ola, got a contract.

Soldiers adopted the little rifle and most liked it partly because it was only about half the weight of an M1 Garand. It also adapted well to jungle-covered islands in the Pacific Theater. There were a few reports that it lacked stopping power. Compared to an M1 Garand, those reports are probably true, but it had a fifteen round magazine—almost twice as many rounds as an M1 Garand holds. Paratroopers also liked M1 Carbines, but theirs were given pistol grips and folding wire stocks. These were named the M1A1 Carbine.
M1 Carbine Cartridge (M1 Garand cartridge [.30-06] on right)

Late in the war, but in time for Korea, factories built a fully automatic version called the M2 Carbine. It worked well, but not perfectly. Stopping power was again questioned particularly against enemies wearing quilted winter uniforms. Korea’s bitter cold also led to malfunctions that didn’t seem to affect the semi-auto version. A final official model was the M3, basically an M2 with an infrared scope. The scope was bulky, but it was used to good effect in battle at Okinawa near World War II’s end and in Korea and Vietnam.

Many carbines went through a series of arsenal rebuilds, which included the addition of adjustable sights, new safeties, new magazine catches, internal parts, and a bayonet “fixture.” It was not a bayonet lug welded to the barrel. Instead it’s an extended barrel band. Because of rebuilds, it’s very rare to find a carbine that looks like it did when it first left the factory and these carry premium prices for collectors.

IBM made my M1 Carbine along with 346,499 others (5.7 percent of all wartime M1 Carbines). Mine received a couple of updated parts through the years, but it never received the bayonet lug/band. It received a new adjustable peep sight and a few replacement parts. For a carbine, my M1 is accurate. That adjustable peep sight certainly helps that.

When you shoot it, there’s very little felt recoil and it comes right back onto target. I also have had no failures to feed or to eject. Not too bad for something made over 60 years ago. It’s a real joy to shoot. I can understand why most soldiers fell in love with their M1 Carbines.

As a collector, I am looking for an M1 Carbine made by Rock-Ola simply because I want to own a gun made by a jukebox maker. But, what the heck I already own one made by a famous computer maker.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Misadventures in Reloading

Ahh, the pains joys of rolling your own ammo. There’s nothing quite like sitting at your reloading station and pulling that handle and seeing a deformed perfect cartridge come out. Countertop has now taken his first steps in reloading.

He even shares a picture of cartridges that got caught in the die, which folded down part of the cartridge walls. I have a few of those I’ve never discarded. I’ve pulled the bullets out of them (if you’re just starting to reload a good bullet puller is a godsend). I can’t quite throw away primed brass and I really don’t feel like trying to drive the primer out of the pocket (can you say BANG). So, they are mute reminders to always check my settings before cranking that handle.

I’ve reloaded pistol cartridges for some time now, but I went through a learning curve that Countertop will experience. I’ve even had one or two misadventures in reloading that I guess I could mention.

I once reloaded .38 caliber cartridges with a Lee Loader. It’s a set of hand tools that you tap with a hammer (be sure your primer is in the right place). They come with a dipper to measure powder. (NOTE: any fault lies with the operator not the tool.)

Well, somehow on one batch I wasn’t quite filling that dipper to the brim although it seemed like it that time. Maybe my estimating ability was off, my hand shaky, or I should have turned the TV off (never have distractions when you reload). Seriously, I did know better than watch TV, but you can't always control all the other distractions around you.

Anyway, I took my newly loaded box of ammo to the range and began sending lead down range. Nothing like shooting ammo you made. It really is satisfying.

I was shooting an older Model 15 Smith & Wesson revolver. You might guess what happened. I had a squib load after shooting about 15 perfectly loaded rounds. Guess what else happened. I fired another one right after the first squib and it was a squib as well (thank God). I always listen for the sound and am conscious of recoil, but when you’re shooting fast enough, it’s almost impossible not to draw that trigger back just a little too far.

My mind finally caught up to my trigger finger and I froze. I remember thinking this isn’t good. This isn’t going to be pretty. I opened the cylinder and dumped the brass and unfired cartridges. I glanced at the sides of the barrel quickly and was relieved when I didn’t see any bulges, splits, or craters. I breathed a sigh of relief until I noticed a bullet sticking out of the muzzle.

Hmm, it didn’t respond to finger pressure, but my fingers responded to heat. I won’t do that twice. I took it home and tried pulling the bullet out. Channel lock pliers did nothing but deform the lead. I tried tapping it out in both directions, but the second bullet had expanded the first bullet and nothing was budging.

I ended up buying a new barrel from Smith & Wesson. If you look at the revolver now, you wouldn’t think anything untoward happened to it. But, the barrel is more modern than the frame. The original barrel was rounded where it fits into the frame, but the new one is squared. The difference isn’t that great, but I know it’s there—my constant reminder to be really careful whenever I’m reloading ammo. One good thing, though, the gun is more accurate with the new barrel than it was with the old. How about that.

That’s the only truly bad thing I’ve done—occasional crumpled brass notwithstanding. I enjoy reloading, especially shotgun shells. For pistol cartridges I use a Lee Pro 1000 and have had really good luck with it. But, I also check everything twice now, I never take anything for granted, and I spot check completed rounds periodically for powder weight, crimp, seating, and anything else I can check.

I hope Countertop enjoys his new hobby. It won’t save you a lot of money, but you can build ammo that suits you and your guns. Just be careful and think about what you’re doing every step of the way.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Individual Rights Vs. "Reasonable Restrictions"

David Codrea of War on Guns believes that the US Supreme Court may hear a Second Amendment case in the next few years. He predicts the Court will agree that Americans have an individual right to own a firearm, but
“…the ruling will be so narrow that it will not override state interest claims. It will not require a strict scrutiny standard, but rather an intermediate one. And it will certainly not overturn "assault weapon" bans, open the door for viable challenges to permitting schemes, or declare registration mandates, background checks, and similar prior restraints unconstitutional infringements.

In short, we will achieve a "status quo," where the vast majority of "existing gun laws" are deemed enforceable and prosecutable, rather than repealable.”
Say Uncle linked to David Codrea’s post and wonders how a pro-individual rights decision could still let stand anti-freedom laws in Chicago, Washington, D.C., and elsewhere.

I can imagine how such a decision could play out. The Supremes would probably agree that the Second Amendment protects an individual right, but they will hedge that decision. They might say that one has a right to own a gun subject to “reasonable restrictions” as decided by Federal, state, and/or local governments. They could argue, further, that no government could ban guns entirely, but could allow “common-sense” laws restricting what people could own.

They could allow a state or city to argue that handguns are a scourge in urban areas and thus ban handguns provided they allowed citizens to own long guns (i.e., similar to Washington, D.C. as it stands now). The same locality could argue that “assault weapons” are too dangerous in an urban area and ban those. I could go on (i.e., semi-automatic rifles have too much firepower, but a single-shot bolt-action .22 rifle is okay), but you get the idea.

Such a decision, if it came to pass, is very similar to former US Attorney General John Ashcroft’s “pro” Second Amendment letter that created a stir in 2001. In it, he said that the Constitution guaranteed an individual right to keep and bear firearms. Wow, seems so good doesn’t it?

Well, the devil’s always in the details. A footnote included,
“Of course, the individual rights view of the Second Amendment dos not prohibit Congress from enacting laws restricting firearms ownership for compelling state interests…”
Ashcroft’s letter gave the example of restricting firearms rights to felons. But, certainly Congresscritters and their state and local counterparts will not stop at that restriction.

So, we gunnies can’t really rely on Courts to solve our problems—although they could be a piece of the puzzle. We must demand our legislators, city councilman, state officials, and others honor our rights. We must make our voices heard at all levels of government.

We must also reach out to our fellow citizens. Take people shooting. Defend your gun rights with well-reasoned arguments. They might not listen to you, but we might just alter their stereotypes of gun owners as redneck fools who love their guns more than their children as some gun banners have suggested.

Or, as Yosemite Sam (Bill) has said, "They can pass all the laws they want, I'm not going to register or get rid of my guns ever." I don't want to get pushed to even that point and want to solve our issues within the law. But, remember your reasonable restriction to an individual right (like no handguns) could be tyranny for me. Tyranny must never stand.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Carnival of Cordite is Up

The 43rd Carnival of Cordite is up. In honor of a full-moon long weekend and Friday the 13th it has a zombie theme. So beware of zombies, stay alert, and stay armed. You never know what may be lurking around. You may find a desparate nned for good zombie medicine.

If you want, you can even watch a zombie movie after reading the carnival. I recommend Shaun of the Dead. Enjoy the carnival and stay safe.

Photo from Shaun of the Dead's news alerts at the beginning of zombie attacks

Thursday, January 12, 2006

GPS Tracking for Guns, Another Bad Idea

Does anyone need more proof that gun-banners are stupid? Does anyone need more proof that gun-banners have no idea how guns work, are made, or used? Does anyone need more proof that gun-banners have no idea of the political ramifications of their nutty ideas?

If you do need more proof, well here it is from the wonderful state of Massachusetts. A Boston city counselor, Rob Consalvo, wants to have all guns fitted with GPS tracking devices. Such a regulation would apply first to new guns and then older guns would have to be retrofitted with such a device.

Consalvo possibly got his idea form the Lo-Jack system used to locate stolen cars. He believes such a system would enable police to track and recover stolen guns. Of course he calls it “…a common-sense idea.” Gun-banners always use that phrase and I don’t it means what they think it means (gratuitous reference to The Princess Bride).

For one thing, the idea is not common sense. When a gun is fired there’s a fair amount of recoil. Electronic parts would have to be very robust to stand up to repeated firings. For another, handguns don’t have a lot of room inside of them for gadgetry. Now, someone could design a handgun that could house a GPS system, but it would no longer be concealable for law-abiding people to use for personal defense.

Of course, that’s the point of these “common-sense” ideas. These ignorant gun-banners want to make guns illegal. If they can’t do that they want to make owning them so onerous that many people will never buy one (see the sidebar for our posts on Massachusetts’s gun laws).

If that still doesn’t work then they want to re-jigger (polite term for fuck-up) gun design by adding GPS systems, owner recognition systems (smart guns), safety locks, and anything else they think is a “common-sense” idea. That would make guns expensive, impossible to carry for self-defense, and hard to use.

One more strategy if all else fails; make guns so expensive that only the beautiful people, the elites, will be able to afford them. That’s what is behind most gun laws anyway.

The only thing that frustrates the gun-grabbers is gun owners: you and me. Most gun owners see through these attempts at gun banning or limiting guns only to elitists. We must fight these elitist, statist, and ignorant ideas.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

A Gunnie Movie Review--The Great Raid

Every now and again I mention movies from a gunnie perspective. I’ve discussed scenes from Shaun of the Dead, Serenity, and War of the Worlds with varying levels of detail. Ten Ring is not a movie blog by any stretch of the imagination, but I really like movies and I write about what I like.

One genre I like is war movies. I admire soldiers who risk their lives or die for us. My father was a bomber pilot in World War II, so I come by that respect honestly. I guess I like war movies because of my libertarian streak. The best of them show people fighting for a better way of life against fascists, communists, and any others who want to spread their beliefs to unwilling people.

The Great Raid is an excellent example of a good war movie. It came out in August 2005 and immediately sank like a rock in the box office. It cost over $80,000,000 to make and took in $10,761,247. Critics panned it although not universally (Roger Ebert for example liked it). One complaint many critics made was it took too long to get to any action. That could be because action movies and television have reduced our attention spans and…I’ll not climb on that soapbox for now.

By these measures, The Great Raid failed, but I still wanted to see it when it first came out, but it didn’t stay in the theaters long enough for me to do so. I had a Barnes & Noble gift card and used it to the buy the “director’s” cut DVD. I watched it the other day and I loved it. Yeah it took awhile to get to the action, but that’s war. My dad once mentioned to me how long it took to fly to a target and how short a time it took to drop bombs and then how long it took to fly back home.

The Great Raid is based on a true event. In the story, Americans are being held in Japanese prison camps in the Philippines. The war is coming to a close, but the Japanese plan to kill American prisoners as they retreat. It opens with a scene, also from true life, of Japanese soldiers forcing Americans to enter air raid dugouts and then pouring gasoline on them. Over 150 Americans from the Padwan camp were killed by being burned alive.

American forces suspected such horrors were being done and received intelligence on the Cabanatuan camp. It was near the front and Japanese troops killed prisoners only when American troops were too close, so Cabanatuan’s prisoners would probably die soon if help didn’t come. To give it credit, The Great Raid didn’t shy away from Japanese atrocities in the interest of political correctness.

The Great Raid tells how Army Rangers and Philippine guerrillas banded together to execute a simple but ultimately successful plan including a one-mile crawl of about 100 American soldiers over open ground to the prison camp. The plan succeeded. All prisoners were rescued with only one prisoner dying of malaria before he was brought back to American lines. Besides this prisoner, only 2 Americans and 21 guerrillas were killed, but over 800 Japanese soldiers lost their lives.
Crawling to the Camp

The movie had some genuinely slow moments and tried to put in a love story. Margaret Utinsky was an American nurse who managed to stay in the Philippines and work as a nurse (she may have had a Lithuanian passport). She smuggled medicines to Americans in prison camps. The moviemakers created a love interest for her in Cabanatuan. In doing so, it arguably cheapened her real-life heroism.

The movie was also filmed in a muddy, grainy, albeit realistic way that leaves me a little cold. I like vibrant colors in my movies, but that’s just me.

The gunnie parts of the movie were great. There were excellent shots of M1 Garands, Nambus, M1 Carbines, 1911s, and others. So far as I can tell the guns were accurate and well-handled. Here is a picture of guerrillas. One is armed with a Thompson, but one is carrying an Enfield on his back. This is probably just the sort of mix of weapons a guerrilla band would have.
Guerrillas and their Weapons

So if you haven’t seen The Great Raid, buy it, rent it, pay-per-view it, but see it. It’s good and should be seen by more people, especially gunnies.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Talking About My Generation

Yesterday, I blogged about my generation. As I said, I’m a baby boomer, but born in the mid 1950s. I missed out on some parts of the smelly hippie times—for the better. But here’s one more thought that bubbled up in my mind. Why do hippies have to take the good they did, but take it too far and turn it into something bad?

The hippie generation pointed then out that we were polluting our environment, and they were right. In 1969 the Cuyahoga River caught on fire. To use the patois of the time, “Man, it’s a river man and it burned man! What a bummer.” So, they and many others demanded a cleaner environment and got it. We made great strides forward.

Of course, being hippies they couldn’t accept their environmental victories. Instead, they had to carry it too far when they implemented draconian wetlands acts, wanted to sign the Kyoto Treaty though it’s based on questionable science, and so much more. No, they have to pervert what could have been a huge accomplishment into an embarrassment.

Let’s look at another example. In the 1960s, civil rights was in the air and the hippie generation fought for it and helped others win it. Now that former hippies are in power they can’t let go of tools that helped win civil rights; affirmative action, quotas and everything else that could lead to tyranny if taken too far.

Because Ten Ring is a gun blog, I’ll have to mention guns. Hippie types wanted peace and sought a centered, balanced lifestyle. Peace is a worthwhile goal, but for them, guns were evil implements that “pigs” and soldiers used to kill the innocent. They gave guns almost human qualities of evil and sentience. We gunnies live with that unbalanced view today.

I could go on with other examples:

1) get rid of conformity, but create political correctness;

2) question authority, but then become the “authority” and not allow questions;

3) and so many more.

My generation took things too far and they haven’t been able to let go of philosophies and ways of doing things that are no longer germane. In fact, they are contributing to the divisiveness in our politics today. The parents of the hippie generation were called the “Greatest Generation” and they accomplished so much. It’s sad their kids (with the exception of me, I must protect my own vanity here) can’t say the same.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Letting Us Live Our Own Lives

I was born in the mid-1950s, which puts me a strange demographic. I’m certainly a baby boomer, but I was too young for Woodstock. Instead, I came of age in the angst-ridden, agonizing-reappraisal, self-reflecting 1970s.

My baby boom segment believed, as did those only five years older, that you couldn’t trust “the man,” that you must question authority, and that you must live and let live. A line from one of our anthems summarizes this belief, “He can’t even run his own life, I’ll be damned if he runs mine” (“Sunshine” by Jonathan Edwards, 1971).

I liked “Sunshine” because it reminded me of what I thought we were fighting for, simply the right to live our own lives as we saw fit. Parts of that belief were na├»ve. One has to live in a society and for that society to work it needs productive members. You can’t just tune in and drop out. But other parts of that belief are good. Within certain boundaries, government and society should let its people make its own choices. But, those boundaries should be large and allow individuals to have as much freedom as possible within societal norms.

Today, many of those who hummed “Sunshine” and thought they were changing the world are now working actively to shrink those boundaries and redefine those norms. They are becoming the petty dictators they thought they saw in President Richard Nixon, or California Governor Ronald Reagan.

One boundary they’re shrinking is hunting. These people don’t want children out in America’s hunting fields and want to make it illegal for parents to take a child hunting. For instance, here’s a story about a boy who took his first deer at age 5. It mentions that The Human Society of the United States (HSUS) is trying to ban youth hunting or put an age limit on hunters and here is a HSUS press release on that very topic. Of course, HSUS is against hunting by anyone. (NOTE: HSUS should not be confused with the less extreme American Humane Association, which also opposes sport hunting).

Taking a youth or even a child hunting has a long tradition and as such is a societal norm. Taking a youngster to the fields is how we transmit a hunting knowledge and skills to another generation as well as a love of hunting. Of course, HSUS knows that and wants to break that chain and create a generation who will never know how to stalk game, how to kill it quickly and humanely, and how to turn it into food. They want to live our lives for us.

These organizations were started or corrupted by baby boomers who came of age humming “Sunshine” and other “freedom” songs of the 1960s and 1970s. Why do these people think they can run our lives? Why can’t they let us make our own decisions?

Well, they believe they know a better way to live--in other words, they'd fanatics. As the HSUS press release linked above says, “…sport hunting…is fundamentally at odds with the values of a humane, just and caring society.” They want to create a new world and to hell with those of us who believe that hunting and gun ownership is not at odds with a just and humane society. They want to reinterpret what is just and what is humane. They want to force a break with traditional wisdom and proven ways of living in order to replace it with a pipe dream.

I’ll leave you with two H.L Mencken quotes that come to mind as I’m stewing over what mistakes my generation has made and what horrors they’d create if they ever get carte blanche.
The worst government is the most moral. One composed of cynics is often very tolerant and humane. But when fanatics are on top there is no limit to oppression.

Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats.

Let’s hope it never comes to the latter.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Inside Broomhandle Mausers

I’ve done a little Broomhandle Mauser blogging (here, here, and a brief mention here). Yosemite Sam (Bill) asked me why I like Broomhandles so much. Well, for one thing, they just look cool. Let’s face it, a Broomhandle’s profile is almost one of a kind. Its “style” reminds you of bygone days of empires and their spies. At the same time, they look futuristic. It’s no accident that filmmakers chose a replica of a Broomhandle as the base for Han Solo’s blaster in Star Wars.

These and more are all good reasons to like Broomhandles, but I really like how they’re put together. What can you say about a gun design that only uses one screw? Even more, that screw only holds its grips in place. Everything else fits together like a jigsaw puzzle. Interestingly enough, Broomhandles have locks for actions. The sear, mainspring, and most other pieces attach to a lock frame, which can be pulled out of the gun intact. More modern guns have parts that are arrayed within the receiver rather than in a lock.

If you’ve never seen one of these guns taken apart, well here’s the next best things, pictures. I’ve field stripped my World War I era Mauser and arranged its parts in a semblance of how they go together. I haven’t taken all the parts off the lock for these photos. Getting them back into the frame, in the correct order, is a total pain in the neck. I’ve identified major parts. Enjoy.

"Exploded" Broomhandle

Lock, One Side

Lock, Other Side

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Destroying "Crime" Guns

I don't do a lot of links to news stories, but every now and then I read a story that provokes outrage, disgust, or anger. I read one this morning that evoked all three emotions at once. New York Times writers have little use for guns and thus write biased stories. I expect that from them, but here's a story (registration probably required) that goes beyond their usual boundaries of hoplophobia.

Maine recently passed a law that police departments must destroy handguns used in crime. The article's writer, Pam Belluck, certainly doesn't question why a state would do this. She does include a quote from a police chief in another state whose department sells guns to buy more equipment. Departments in Maine used to do that, but now must destroy "crime" handguns.

Belluck's hook is the fact that many police departments in Maine allow survivors of a crime victim to witness the gun's destruction (such arrangements are not part of the law). Kelly DeCambra's son was killed and she wanted to witness the gun's destruction, in this case a Ruger Super Blackhawk revolver in .44 Magnum. She was looking for closure or whatever. The gun was sawn into four parts as she watched.

Have we as a society sunk so low that we must use objects as totems? What possible healing can there be found in watching the destruction of an object? What's next, are we going to have a town square destruction of a car once driven by a drunk driver who killed a family of five? Are we going to publicly burn a baseball bat used in a murder? No, the law is limited to handguns because of certain segments of our society hates guns. They confuse the object with the actor.

Maine's law came about because a crime victim's outraged mother, Debbie O'Brien, didn't want the police to sell a gun that a criminal used to kill her son. She and those who she convinced don't understand that it's not the gun's fault. The gun can't receive blame because it's nothing but a collection of metal and a little wood or polymer.

DeCambra's son was not a Boy Scout and she admits it. He was killed for seeing another man's ex-girlfriend and then that man killed himself. She hopes to come to terms with her grief. She won't do it through destroying objects. Further, if police departments must destroy "crime" handguns then by the same logic let's have them destroy "crime" baseball bats, knives, hammers, and anything else used in a crime.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

A Broomhandle Mauser and BBAGA

This post is my attempt to partially participate in Mr. Completely’s excellent idea, Blogger-Buy-A-Gun-Anniversary (BBAGA). Mr. Completely proposes that gun bloggers should buy a gun on each anniversary of their blog. He goes on to say one should buy a goodly supply of ammo, as many accessories as possible, take the day off of work, shoot up all the ammo, then buy more ammo on your way home.

I can only participate partially in BBAGA because my blogiversary was December 29 and I couldn’t take the day off. I was holding down the fort while others were on vacation. I thought I’d get out over the weekend to belatedly do my BBAGA duties, but holiday weekends bring certain responsibilities and activities. Yosemite Sam and I didn’t go out shooting even though we’d planned to. It would help though if New England’s weather was just a little more clement. It’s hard to shoot well when you’re shivering too much to aim.

Still, I have satisfied the major tenet of BBAGA, because I bought a new gun the other day (albeit not on Ten Ring’s actual blogiversary). In the interest of full-disclosure I actually had it on layaway for a month and paid it off. I already mentioned the gun in my Merry Christmas post. It’s my first gun of 2006 or my last gun of 2005 depending on how you look at it.

The gun is a Broomhandle Mauser. It spoke to me in the gun store. Actually, it shouted at me and all but grabbed me as I walked by. It has its original wooden shoulder stock/holster with an intact leather “frog.” The gun and stock is in good condition and it has a decent bore. In fact, after a good cleaning and bore-snaking it has a nice, bright bore with only slightly worn rifling. Because I know how much you all like gun p0rn, here is a view of my BBAGA gun with stock.

My new pistol has all matching numbers. Certain Lugers and Mausers (and other guns too) required hand fitting, but this led to problems putting parts back together again if a gunsmith/armorer mixed up parts from more than one gun. To solve that problem, gun makers put the last two or three digits of the serial number on almost all parts so that a gun smith could reassemble the gun correctly. When a gun has all matching numbers it means you have an original gun and not something cobbled together from leftover parts. Collectors like “original” guns.

The only drawbacks on my new gun are that it has been re-blued which takes a little away from its collectibility and it’s missing its lanyard ring. The price was too good to pass up though especially when it included the shoulder stock and the store owner gave me a “good customer” discount.

Frequent Ten Ring readers know that I already own a Broomhandle. My other one is a Bolo model made for the commercial and police trades. Bolos have a shorter barrel and a smaller grip. Over all, it’s a more graceful gun than a full-size Broomhandle. Still, I wanted a full-sized Broomhandle made during World War I. My new pistol fits the bill on both counts. And, here's a close-up.

I won’t be shooting my new gun for awhile just as I haven’t shot my Bolo yet. I need to buy a new bolt stop before I shoot it. Bolt stops on Broomhandles are numbered parts and are usually the first part to break if a part is going to break. I don’t care if I lose an unnumbered substitute part (although I’d care if the bolt flies into my face, but that’s another story). Based on dates of manufacture both guns are at least 80 years old and that includes all their primary parts. When I’m 80 years old, I hope I’m still around with all my parts and that they work too.

Now I have to plan for Buy-A-Gun (BAG) Day on April 15. I don't think I'll be buying any more guns until then; I gotta let the checkbook cool off. But, you never know what might come my way.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Best Gun Buys of 2005

Alphecca has started a meme. He wants gun bloggers to recount their gun purchases of 2005. He was inspired by posts from JayG at Toys in the Attic and Tam at View From the Porch (aka Books, Bikes, Boomsticks. Xavier Thoughts got the idea from Tam and posted on his best gun acquisitions of 2005. Alphecca threw down the gauntlet and challenged gun bloggers to do the same.

Analog Kid at Random Nuclear Strikes has already picked up Alphecca's meme, so I guess I'm Joanie come lately to the party. So without any further ado....

I did well in 2005 financially and thus in gun buying. I got several performance bonuses this year thanks to projects for which I got drafted volunteered. Much of my bonus money went into buying guns. I am a collector and I can't pass up the opportunity to buy collectible pieces I couldn't other wise afford.

Besides planned purchases certain guns "spoke to me" when I saw them in their display cases and I bought them on impulse. I've always found that I've never regretted buying a gun, but I have regretted not buying a gun. You know that sinking feeling you get when you see a wonderful gun on display, go home, plan and scheme, divert funds, and then go back to the store only to find some nimrod bought it the day before.

I've posted on most of my purchases for the year, and will link to them as appropriate. Here are my best scores for 2005 (in no particular order):

I bought a Winchester 94 in .45 Long Colt because one of these days I want to try Cowboy Action Shooting. It inspired what is my favorite post on Ten Ring, a parody on “assault weapon” foolishness.

This next was a long-planned purchase, a Mauser Broomhandle Bolo. It was my BAG Day (Buy a Gun) purchase. I discussed it here.

My first gun of 2005 was also the least expensive ($100.00) and I bought at a gun show in Massachusetts on my Curio and Relics license (take that you bunch of gun-banning statist politicians). It is a Nagant M1895 revolver.

I saw an impulse buy, but I had to make a plan so that I could afford it. I saw a World War II-era Luger complete with holster at a gun store and I immediately put it on layaway. I then schemed and got the rest of the cash to buy it outright. Here's my post on this gun and another Luger I already owned.

A truly impulse buy was a mouse gun, an OWA pocket pistol. I saw it, but didn't buy it right away. After mulling it over for a couple of weeks, Bill and I went back to the store and they still had it. I posted on it here.

I bought a hunting rifle that I would like to use at Boomershoot if we can go there this year. It's a Savage Model 11 in .308.

I can't leave out Bill's gift to me this Christmas: a diminutive version of the Colt 1911, the Colt Government Model in .380 acp. It means more to be that all the others.

I bought a couple of other guns that will be in planned "One From the Vaults" and bought much ammo, many accessories, and otherwise engaged it gunnie stuff this past year. Personally, it was also a very special year as well. Bill and I got married in May 2005. A very great year it was and I hope 2006 is just as good.