Thursday was, by just about any stretch of the imagination, an excellent day. I got packages from just about everyone who delivers packages-FedEx brought me AR-15 mag followers from Magpul. UPS brought me a 10mm/.40 conversion set and a set of dies for my Dillon 550, and a new pair of running shoes. And the mailman brought me a .280/30 Brit round.
And most important, I got to go to the range. For the first time, since, I think, September. I took with me 4 rifles which I had never fired before: my AR-15, the VZ-52/57, my $79 AIM special Yugo SKS, and the $50 M38 I just purchased.
First up was the AR-15. I had intended to zero it, but due to range restrictions and my too-short target holder, I had to put the targets at 100 yards. So this ended up being mostly a mechanical test of the rifle and the magazines (4 30 rounders and 1 20 rounder, all USGI). Ammo was 62 gr rounds from Georgia Arms. The rifle functioned without a hitch-which made me quite happy, since it was my first attempt at assembling a rifle from parts. I did discover one thing-and this is probably an argument against the .223/5.56 as a combat round-the holes in the paper were so damn small that I had an extremely hard time seeing them through my 36x spotting scope. I now understand why the high power rifle guys use scopes that allow you to see ants from a quarter mile away.
Next up was the VZ-52/57. It was interesting having this rifle next to the SKS. The VZ-52/57 is not an ugly rifle, at least in my opinion, but next to the SKS it looked quite chunky, a good bit less elegant (even though the M59/66 suffers from the handicap of the grenade launcher and attendant 'clutter'). What surprised me was that this chunkiness made the VZ a lot less comfortable to fire. I had a hard time getting my trigger hand comfortable, which led to a hard time getting the whole arm in a comfortable position. I was alos dismayed to discover that, despite firing the same round, SKS stripper clips do not work in the VZ-52/57, forcing me to feed the magazine one round at a time. Oh, bother. Once I got past those issues, the rifle offered no further major issues. Groups were about normal for me when firing 7.62x39 with East Bloc type sights, with the strike of the rounds being to the right and low of center mass. Wish I could figure a way to adjust the sights.
Third in line was the SKS. This example isn't pretty, but for $79 I didn't expect it to be (although I made matters a little worse by accidentally leaching the stain out of the stock while removing the cosmoline and the stain I put on it is, well, ugly). Mechanically, the rifle worked just fine. The sights did give me some issues initially. I wasn't getting anything on the target at all, until I noticed a couple holes (unlike .223, I have no problems seing .30 caliber holes at 100 yards) at the very bottom of my target. Bringing the sights up to the 300m setting fixed matters, and the rifle grouped pretty well after that. I need to add an SKS sight adjustment tool to my toolbox.
On the head to head between the SKS and the VZ-52/57: I'll take the SKS. It's just more fun to shoot, and it's a bit lighter to cart around. If I had to go to war, and with the ammo being equally easy to get, I'd probably take an actual VZ-52 in the 7.62x45, based on it's better ballistic performance.
Now, last but not least, the M-38. This really is an amazingly handy little rifle, especially for a WWII era rifle. After handling the bolt actions on my K-31s and my Mausers, the action of the Mosin is quite heavy, but in a military rifle, especially one for a conscript army, that's not necessarily a bad thing. Trying for quick follow-up shots with a Mosin must have been quite a challenge, however. The trigger bothered me a bit, too-when the bolt was cocked, the trigger could flop forward and back. I don't know if this can be fixed by a little tightening of the internals or not. I brought 3 kinds of ammo for the Mosin-Wolf, Brown Bear, and surplus Czech slivertip, all FMJ.
When I first fired the M-38, my first reaction was "Holy sh*t this thing is loud!"-it honestly felt louder than the one time I've fired an M2 HB .50 cal machine gun (the metal roof covering the firing line didn't help any.) The second was "Ow my shoulder hurts." I'd originally planned to shoot 10 rounds of each type of ammo from the bench and 10 of each kneeling. I quickly amended that to 5 and 5 to save my shoulder (and my elbow, which got scraped pretty good.) Accuracy, with any of the three types of ammo, was nothing to brag about, although I think with better ear protection (next time I'm goin with both plugs and muffs) and a slip on recoil pad I'll do better. However, I think I can confidently hit minute-of-torso with iron sights at 100 yards. I did have one round (Brown Bear) that the bolt didn't want to close on which I had to shake out of the chamber, and a couple others (BB and Czech) that were difficult to close on but where I was able to force it closed. Love that beefy action at those times. I actually got the action down to a respectable speed firing from the kneeling position. Overall, a very fun rifle. I look forward to acquiring some of it's M-44 cousins.
I'll be going back out to the range, this time with my wife, on Monday. We'll be taking the AR, the SKS, and the M-38. And yes, she's happy with that as a Valentine's activity.
Kelo v. New London Update
Oral arguments in the case will be heard on 22 February. Attorneys for the Institute for Justice, arguing on behalf on the property owners (Kelo) have filed their final briefs, as reported here.
The case is actually drawing enough interest (and has many, many municipal governments quaking in fear) to generate op-ed pieces in Orlando.
Ask yourself how you would feel if government officials told you they were handing your home over to a development company because they felt it was "better for the economy." A couple of hundred years ago, there were some fairly intelligent men who all agreed we had a God given right to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." That "pursuit of happiness" they talked about was our right to accumulate and keep private property. Our Founding Fathers would be appalled if they could see what some of the individuals in our government want to do to our private property rights nowadays.
May the side of individual rights and liberty prevail.
Blogger Post Counting
The post count on my Blogger dashboard is stuck at 328. Has been for months. Anyone else out there have anything similar happen?
.50 BMG Ban Introduced in Congress
Excellent article on it by CNS. Extensive quotes by Burtt from FCI and Gottleib of SAF.
From this article and one other, I gather that the three Congresscritters (Moran-D-VA, McCarthy-D-NT, and P. Kennedy-D-RI) generally looked stupid, extreme, and unknowledgable about guns.
Rep. Patrick Kennedy (son of Chappaquiddick Teddy) revealed that mental illness runs in the family and provided a classic example of projection:
"Any policy maker who, on the one hand, says that they are for combating terrorism but, on the other hand, will not back this legislation, backed by Representative Moran, to me has a lot of explaining to do," Kennedy said "In fact, I think it would be the definition of insanity to say that."
oan revealed his lack of knowledge of the meaning of the Second Amendment and the intent of the Framers. Madison, Jefferson, and Washington would be disgusted that this man calls himself a Virginian:
Moran believes, however, that there is no legitimate reason for civilians to own the rifles.
"It serves no purpose for hunting, whatsoever," Moran claimed. "If you went hunting with this, you would not have any trophy. All you'd have left would be some pieces of fur and hoof."
Rep. McCarthy, however, led the way in looking stupid. Apparently the Brady folks brought out their Barrett 82 for the cameras. McCarthy tried to pick it up, to wave it around and look scary, I guess. She couldn't lift the 34 pound rifle and asked someone if it was attached to the table.
Latest New Old Rifle
Soviet made Mosin-Magant M38 from AIM Surplus. You won't find these on teir website, though. Only advertised in their circular. $49.95, advertised as having "small amounts of surface rust."
The only rust I can find is a tiny spot near the end of the barrel. There's some wear on the receiver, but other than that the metal finish is great. Wood has some lovely grain, with a lot of chips out of the shellac. Maybe a candidate for refinish at a later date.
Barrel has been counterbored; chamber and rifling look good. One thing I found unusual-all the serial numbers match-barrel, bolt, magazine floorplate, and buttplate-except the receiver. Never seen anything quite like that before.
Overall, I'm amazed at how handy this little rifle is, size-wise (which means, of course, with the 7.62x54R, it'll kick like a pissed off mule). The size is almost perfect for my wife, who's all of 5' 2.5" Anyway, can't wait to get this puppy to the range.
WA State PSA: Letter to My Legislators-WA State AWB
Note: HB 1627 is the companion to the earlier noted SN 5475.
I've recently become aware that the House is considering a ban on so-called "assault weapons," HB 1627. This bill flies in the face of both the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, but also Article I, Section 24 of the state constitution. Art. I, Sec. 24 reads:
"The right of the individual citizen to bear arms in defense of himself, or the state, shall not be impaired."
The language is quite clear, and it should be equally clear that SB 5475 would violate it.
Proponents of HB 1627 and it’s companion bill, SB 5475, claim that these firearms are "too dangerous" and have "no legitimate civilian use." I direct your attention again to the state constitution, "to bear arms in defense of himself, or the state."
These types of weapons with "military features" and "high capacity magazines" that are being considered in the ban are exactly the types of arms that those who wrote the U.S. Constitution and that of the state intended to protect. Contrary to the notions of gun-control groups like the Brady Campaign and the Violence Policy Center, these types of weapons are used in an insignificant number of crimes compared to other types of weapons. The United States Department of Justice and the FBI have both made this very clear, as has the National Academy of Science, which, in a recently released paper based on studies of almost 400 journal articles, books, and government publications, the concluded that it could not show a single gun control law that reduced violent crime, suicide, or accidents. Gun control laws had no impact whatsoever on crime, but did infringe on the constitutionally protected rights of American citizens.
Most pro gun-rights citizens recognize these types of bans, which are primarily cosmetic with little plausible potential impact on crime, as another step down the slippery slope that inevitably leads to total gun confiscation, as was the case in England and Australia, where guns have been virtually outlawed, and violent crime has skyrocketed.
As your constituent, I ask that you please act against HB 1627 any gun-control measures that involve banning certain types of firearms or include gun registration. It is no surprise that the states with the most criminal violence (NY, NJ, IL, CA) also have the most gun control. Gun control does not work, and only disarms the law abiding majority among us.
I am fully in favor of extremely tough laws and sentences for criminal use of firearms. The record has shown that tough laws, sentences, and strong enforcement of these laws is the best deterrent to gun violence. A new law such as Florida’s "5-10-20" law would be a much better solution than attacking the rights of the citizens of Washington.
A Libertarian Position on Something Besides Guns
I had been considering putting up a short post on how I seem to not have much to write about lately except gun related stuff, and especially a lack of libertarian-minded things. Then I saw this column in the Seattle Times on ferry service on Puget Sound.
The government of Washington state spend millions annually in subsidies for ferries on Puget Sound, with one terminus of most of the ferry runs being Seattle or something very close to there, with the Port Angeles-Victoria, B.C. being the one major exception that I know about. In recent years, the state government decided to get out of the passenger-only ferry business, at least on some routes, and to make it easier for private operators to run passenger-only ferries. Now, however, the state government is looking at expanding it's passenger only ferry service, in particular to serve a route for which a private company recently filed an application to service.
As a libertarian (small 'l') I take the same view of state subsidized/operated ferry boats as I do of Amtrak: What the heck is the government doing in the business in the first place? Why should I, as a (legal) resident of Olympia who never uses the ferries, have to pay to subsidize the commute of someone on Whidbey Island or in Bremerton?
The government's official answer is that the ferries are part of the state's "transportation infratstructure." Excuse me, but since when does infrastructure have diesel engines and move on water? If it is indeed legally qualified as trasnportation infrastructure, why can't it be paid for solely by user fees (i.e. fares)? Why do residents of Yakima and Spokane have to subsidize ferry rides for people who live on Vashon Island?
Which brings us to the unofficial reason, the real reason, politically speaking: because the people who ride the ferries, and who choose to live on Vashon and Whidbey Islands, or in Bremerton, like having their lifestyle choice-living on the water, away from the big city, but commuting to work there-subsidized by the taxpayers. They whine that without state subsidies for the ferries, they wouldn't be able to afford to live where they do. Cry me a river, people. You're the ones who decided to live where you do (I will make an exception for Navy folks and their families at NAS Whidbey Island-I think they should be provided with gratis ferry passes by the Navy) and you have no right to expect me and the rest of the state to help pay for it. If you can't afford what a ferry ride would cost if the ferries were entirely privatized, then you can either move, or find a job somewhere that doesn't require a ferry ride.
Stop reaching into my pocket for your fare.
Press Bias Against Police
A suspected (I'm only using that term to be polite. He was behind the wheel of a stolen car when the incident occured.) car thief was shot by the LAPD. And now the community is in a uproar. The AP, of course, is taking the side of the car thief's "community."
Reaction mounts to fatal shooting of 13-year-old after car chase
OK, first of all, does anyone doubt that if the perp had been a 20 year old, nobody would have noticed?
By GILLIAN FLACCUS, Associated Press Writer
Tuesday, February 8, 2005
Angry residents and community leaders in South Los Angeles questioned why police shot a 13-year-old boy suspected of stealing a car.
Police fired 10 rounds into a car driven by Devin Brown, who was unarmed, after he led them on a 3 1/2-mile chase and then backed into their cruiser early Sunday.
Gee, maybe they shot him because he attacked them with a 3000 lb weapon. Think that's possible? I love the term the reported uses "backed into," making it sound like a minor parking lot dent and paint scrape affair. This story from a San Diego TV station tells it a bit differently:
"The suspect collided with a fence, the officers were behind him, attempted to make a traffic stop, and at that point an officer involved shooting occurred," LAPD Assistant Chief Jim McDonnell said.
Police said the driver ignored orders to surrender and backed the car into a police cruiser.
"Officers were giving the driver commands over and over again, but he ignored them," Sandoval said.
The driver put the car into reverse and struck a patrol car, she said, prompting the shooting.
So, the perp rammed into a fence, then tried to ram his way out when the officers used their cruiser to box him in. I'm not sure about you, but I qualify using a car to attack someone as assault with a deadly weapon. (Far more people have fatal interactions with cars than with guns, after all, and guns are 'deadly weaopons.') Back to the AP:
The boy, an eighth-grader at a magnet school for gifted youth, was pronounced dead at the scene. A 14-year-old passenger was arrested and booked on charges of grand auto theft.
"I know he was wrong for stealing a car, but what I really don't understand is the police have had so much training," said Carmen Dorsey, 38, a church youth leader who visited a memorial Monday honoring Brown.
Some visitors said Brown loved to play football and basketball and was interested in history, his favorite subject at Audubon Middle School, where he was enrolled in a charter program for the gifted.
Working up maximum sympathy for the 'victim': he was a student in a program for the gifted, isn't it tragic that he's dead now BECAUSE HE ATTACKED TO POLICE OFFICERS WITH A DEADLY WEAPON! Why is that so difficult for you simpletons to understand?
Signs were displayed, criticizing police for the shooting. One read, "LAPD ... Thank you for giving us yet another reason to dislike your services. We have seen enough deaths caused by you and do not agree with your execution of yet another young black male. You are a cancer to the community."
Actually, I'm somewhat inclined to rule this a Suicide by Cop rather than a execuation. If the cop had walked up to the vehicle, once it stopped (which it never did, voluntarily), stuck his pistol in the window and put a bullet in the kid's head, that would be an execution. Attacks on police officers with deadly weapons that result in dead perps are called justifiable homicides, folks.
And BTW, it's your 'community' that's the cancer on society at large, not the LAPD.
Cue Oingo Boingo's "Only A Lad:"
It's not his fault that he can't behave,
Society's made him go astray,
Perhaps if we're nice he'll go away.
Yup, he went away all right. Thanks to the nice LAPD officers.
I ran a 10km road race here on Ft Jackson on Saturday. The course ran along the road the serves most of the record fire ranges on post. BAsic training trains 6, and sometimes 7, days a week, so a couple of the ranges were in use. As I ran past Range 19, the wind was just right...
I love the smell of gunpowder in the morning.