Overdue Range Report
As a belated birthday gift, my mother-in-law came over last weekend to babysit Jr. and #2 so I could take the Mrs. to the range and do some shooting. This was a great gift, since the Mrs. and I hadn't been to the range together since we left South Carolina last year. And in that time, I've given my wife two new guns-a Ruger 22/45 for Christmas, and the finally completed 9mm AR for her birthday (the long and winding story of the AR can be found at the end of this post.)
For bullet launchers, we took the aforementioned 22/45 and 9mm AR, plus my wife's Kimber Ultra Carry and my Sig P220 (.45, of course.)
As you can see, my wife loves her Ultra Carry, which is her carry pistol (Yes, my wife carries. Mutants, you have been warned.) And for those who care, yes, my wife carries a bigger bore pistol than I do (both mine are .40s-a Sig P229 or a Kahr K40.)
And another picture, just because it came out really well.
Now, on to the guns, at least the new ones...
OK, how in the world did I, I mean we, go this long without a .22 in my collection? Great fun, and dirt cheap to shoot, too. As far as why the 22/45 instead of a standard Ruger Mk I/II/III...both my wife and I agree that the 1911 is pretty much the most comfortable pistol out there to hold. With the 22/45 you get the feel of the 1911 with the proven mechanicals of the Ruger series.
Given how little I've been able to get to the range of late, my accuracy was nothing to brag about, but shooting the 22/45 did make me realize one thing: I've got a nasty habit of anticipating recoil. Guess I need more time with the .22 to work on my fundamentals.
My homebuilt (or at least assembled) mutt. The components are as follows: RRA upper receiver assembly, 9mm hammer, and buffer, Mega Machine Gator lower, Olympic Arms lower receiver parts and buttstock, and DPMS rear sight. I'm probably the last participant in the Great Gunblogger 9mm AR Frenzy of 2006 to get mine completed. Some of that was due to my having to spend a month TDY, part of it is due do issues I'm about to get into.
My original plan was to build with a RRA 9mm upper assembly, an Olympic Arms lower receiver and buttstock, and a DPMS lower parts kit and rear sight. I got the upper from Adco Firearms and the rear sight from Brownell's, no problem. At the same time I ordered the lower receiver from Oly, because, well, they're 5 miles from my house, they'll do engraving, and they give a military discount ($96, with engraving, including tax.)
The diversions started when Brownell's was backordered on the DPMS innards. Since I was going to be TDY, I didn't worry too much. At least, until they still hadn't shown up by the time I got home. The same thing happened with the Oly lower-it was supposed to be ready to pick up when I got back, but it wasn't. And won't be until July at the earliest. Which left me scrambling to find a receiver (innards were easy with Oly right down the road.) Mega was my first choice, since they're about 12 miles in the opposite direction from Oly, in Tumwater. (Cool, no?) I managed to find one, from a ex-Army Vietnam vet dealer that I didn't know about before. Very cool.
Long story short, the 9mm was a kick to shoot. I'm not so sure about the ProMag magazines though. Of the four I had, two worked flawlessly. One, for some reason, wouldn't lock securely in place, and firing a couple rounds would cause it to slip out-not all the way, but far enough to cause the weapon not to feed. The fourth one had feeding problems that I couldn't diagnose on the spot. I think I'll look for a Colt mag at the gunshow later this month. But, again, with the good mags, it was a heck of a lot of fun.
My wife thought so, too.
On the good side of the supply misadventures: the parts set arrived two days after I got the carbine assembled, the lower is still on order, and I have an A2 buttstock sitting around. So I guess I'll be building another one at some point. Right now, I'm thinking maybe an SDM type, except maybe in 6.5 Grendel.
...Free speech is for
socialists people expressing officially approved opinions. At least in Seattle. Andrew's Dad has the story on five anti-illegal-immigration counter protesters at Monday's pro-lawbreaking march in Seattle who were detained for over two hours, until the anti-secure borders march was over. The reason given was 'officer safety.' (Three of the protesters had concealed pistols and permits for same.)
Now, if the Seattle PD wanted to prevent a violent sitiation, I can understand that. But, given the interaction of Pro and Con, Left vs Right at demostrations in the last few years, and the fact that the violent parties have almost always been from the Left, why were they removing the five people who were demostrating in favor of securing the borders? Shouldn't they have been removing the people who recent history has shown are more likely to actually commit violent acts?
Further, SPD still has not given any kind of answer to the question of under what authority they detained these five for over two hours, long after it had been determined that they had broken no laws.
The major TV and newspaper outlets in Seattle, naturally, have ignored this.
Flying Swine Spotted in Seattle
They must be, because the P-I actually grew half, maybe even three quarters of a brain in an editorial responding to Mayor Nickels parroting of WA Ceasefire:
Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels and police Chief Gil Kerlikowske appear to be trying to shift the responsibility for a spate of killings in the city to the Legislature. "When it comes to preventing gun violence," the mayor said Tuesday, "Seattle's hands are tied."
As we warned in the wake of the massacre on Capitol Hill, the attempt to answer the question "why?" might lead to simplistic solutions.
The mayor asks the state to pass laws that prevent firearms from getting into the hands of criminals. But state and federal laws already prohibit the possession, purchase or sale of firearms for felons, people with a history of mental illness or facing allegations of domestic violence. All commercial sales of firearms require a background check for such disqualifiers.
Actually, I believe you have to actually be convicted of domestic violence or have a restraining order against you, but otherwise they might as well be channelling the GOA.
What else could the state do? An outright assault weapons ban is unfair and unenforceable. Manufacturers supply trigger locks with their firearms and the locks are widely available at no cost.
Pinch me. They're actually talking sense.
But, just to keep me from getting too giddy:
Better tracing and sharing of information among law enforcement on guns used in crimes makes sense. And it's not unreasonable to require that all firearms purchases at gun shows be subject to background checks.
Seattle residents are justified in fearing violence and wanting to be safer from it in their homes and on the streets.
But we'll have more success reducing violence by eliminating its motives, not some of the weapons it employs.
For the P-I, this is most definitely progress.
OIF SITREP/AAR from GEN (R) McCaffrey
I haven't done any milblogging for a while, but I got some interesting stuff in email this morning. Unfortunately, it's a pdf, not an html link.
Here's some of the good stuff:
The U.S. will remain in a serious crisis in Iraq during the coming 24 months. There is decreasing U.S. domestic support for the war; although in my view the American people understand that we must not fail or we risk a ten year disaster of foreign policy in the vital Gulf Oil Region. U.S. public opinion may become increasingly alienated by Iraqi ingratitude for our sacrifice on their behalf (huge percentages of both the Shia and Sunni populations believe that the MNF Coalition forces are the single greatest threat to safety and security in Iraq today) ---and by astonishingly corrupt and incompetent Iraqi management of their own recovery. (Much of the national oil and electricity problem is caused by poor maintenance or deliberate internal sabotage of the infrastructure for reasons of criminal corruption ---or to prevent energy from flowing away from the production facilities to Baghdad.)
The situation is perilous, uncertain, and extreme - but far from hopeless. The U.S. Armed Forces are a rock. This is the most competent and brilliantly led military in a tactical and operational sense that we have ever fielded. Its courage and dedication is unabated after 20,000 killed and wounded. The U.S. leadership on the ground is superb at strategic level - Ambassador Khalilzad, General Abizaid, and General Casey. The Iraqi security forces are now surging into a lead role in internal counter-insurgency operations.
The Iraqi political system is fragile but beginning to play a serious role in the debate over the big challenges facing the Iraqi state - oil, religion, territory, power, separatism, and revenge. The neighboring states have refrained from tipping Iraq into open civil war. The UN is cautiously thinking about re-entry and doing their job of helping consolidate peace. The Iraqis are going to hold Saddam and his senior leadership accountable for their murderous behavior over 35 years. The brave Brits continue to support us both politically and militarily. NATO is a possible modest support to our efforts.
There is no reason why the U.S. cannot achieve our objectives in Iraq. Our aim must be to create a viable federal state under the rule of law which does not: enslave its own people, threaten its neighbors, or produce weapons of mass destruction. This is a ten year task. We should be able to draw down most of our combat forces in 3-5 years. We have few alternatives to the current US strategy which is painfully but gradually succeeding. This is now a race against time. Do we have the political will, do we have the military power, will we spend the resources required to achieve our aims?
It was very encouraging for me to see the progress achieved in the past year. Thanks to the leadership and personal sacrifice of the hundreds of thousands of men and women of the CENTCOM team and the CIA – the American people are far safer today than we were in the 18 months following the initial intervention.
Now, some details, from the top:
1-The morale, fighting effectiveness, and confidence of U.S. combat forces continue to be simply awe-inspiring. In every sensing session and interaction - I probed for weakness and found courage, belief in the mission, enormous confidence in their sergeants and company grade officers, an understanding of the larger mission, a commitment to creating an effective Iraqi Army and Police, unabashed patriotism, and a sense of humor. All of these soldiers, NCOs and young officers were volunteers for combat. Many were on their second combat tour - several were on the third or fourth combat tour. Many had re-enlisted to stay with their unit on its return to a second Iraq deployment. Many planned to re-enlist regardless of how long the war went on.
2-The Iraqi Army is real, growing, and willing to fight. They now have lead action of a huge and rapidly expanding area and population. The battalion level formations are in many cases excellent - most are adequate. However, they are very badly equipped with only a few light vehicles, small arms, most with body armor and one or two uniforms. They have almost no mortars, heavy machine guns, decent communications equipment, artillery, armor, or IAF air transport, helicopter, and strike support. Their logistics capability is only now beginning to appear. Their Institutional Army (Military Schools, logistics base, manufacturing) is beginning to show encouraging signs of self-initiative.
The Iraqi Institutional Army is one of the things that's going to take a while to build-a time span measured most likely in years, not weeks or months. But it's absolutely critical for the success of our efforts. For better or worse, a modern army cannot survive without its 'tail'-the shooters will run out of weapons, ammo, equipment, and new soldiers in short order.
3-The Iraqi police are beginning to show marked improvement in capability since MG Joe Peterson took over the program. The National Police Commando Battalions are very capable - a few are simply superb and on par with the best U.S. SWAT units in terms of equipment, courage, and training. Their intelligence collection capability is better than ours in direct HUMINT.
The crux of the war hangs on our ability to create urban and rural local police with the ability to survive on the streets of this incredibly dangerous and lethal environment....This will be a ten year project requiring patience, significant resources, and an international public face. This is a very, very tough challenge which is a prerequisite to the Iraqis winning the counter-insurgency struggle they will face in the coming decade. We absolutely can do this. But this police program is now inadequately resourced.
The President has said it will be a 'long war,' but he never defines what that means. A decade. A decade of hard work, and work that is unsexy and gets little attention or resources. But again, it's critical to overall success.
4-The creation of an Iraqi government of national unity is a central requirement. We must help create a legitimate government for which the Iraqi security forces will fight and die. If we do not see the successful development of a pluralistic administration in the first 120 days of the emerging Jawad al-Maliki leadership - there will be significant chance of the country breaking apart in warring factions among the Sunnis and Shia - with a separatist Kurdish north embroiled in their own potential struggle with the Turks.
However, in my view, the Iraqis are likely to successfully create a governing entity. The intelligence picture strongly portrays a population that wants a federal Iraq, wants a national Army, rejects the AIF as a political future for the nation, and is optimistic that their life can be better in the coming years. Unlike the Balkans—the Iraqis want this to work.
It is likely that the Iraqis will pull together enough political muscle to get through the coming 30 day crisis to produce a cabinet to submit to the Parliament - as well as the four month deadline to consider constitutional amendments. The resulting government is likely to be weak and barely functional. It may stagger along and fail in 18 months. But it is very likely to prevent the self-destruction of Iraq.
5-The Iraqis are rejecting the vision of a religious state. The al Qaeda in-Iraq organization is now largely Sunni Iraqi - not foreign fighters. U.S. Marine and Army combat effectiveness - combined with very effective information operations--- has taken the fun out of Jihad....The Iraqis are rejecting the vision of a religious state. The al Qaeda in-Iraq organization is now largely Sunni Iraqi - not foreign fighters. U.S. Marine and Army combat effectiveness - combined with very effective information operations--- has taken the fun out of Jihad.
6-The State Department actually cannot direct assignment of their officers to serve in Iraq. State frequently cannot staff essential assignments such as the new PRTs which have the potential to produce such huge impact in Iraq. The bottom line is that only the CIA and the U.S. Armed Forces are at war. This situation cries out for remedy.
The State Department actually cannot direct assignment of their officers to serve in Iraq. State frequently cannot staff essential assignments such as the new PRTs which have the potential to produce such huge impact in Iraq. The bottom line is that only the CIA and the U.S. Armed Forces are at war. This situation cries out for remedy.
What he's saying is that most of the career bureacrats from non-military U.S. government agencies are letting our men and women in uniform-and the rest of the country-down. The lacy-panty crowd from Foggy Bottom would rather be assigned to a cushy job in France than do important work for the country in Iraq.
11-We need to better equip the Iraqi Army with a capability to deter foreign attack - and to have a leveraged advantage over the Shia militias and the AIF insurgents they must continue to confront. The resources we are now planning to provide are inadequate by an order of magnitude or more. The cost of a coherent development of the Iraqi security forces is the ticket out of Iraq - and the avoidance of the constant drain of huge U.S. resources on a monthly basis.
Translation: the endstate should be an Iraqi Army that can not only outgun and outfight the insurgents, but be able to take on the Syrians and especially the Iranians, if necessary.
12-There is a rapidly growing animosity in our deployed military forces toward the U.S. media. We need to bridge this gap. Armies do not fight wars - countries fight wars. We need to continue talking to the American people through the press. They will be objective in reporting facts if we facilitate their information gathering mission. The country is way too dangerous for the media to operate in any other manner than temporarily imbedded with U.S. or Iraqi security forces. The enormous good will already generated by the superb performance of U.S. combat forces will ebb away if we do not continue to actively engage media at every level.
Here, I have to disagree with Gen McCaffrey-I don't think the mainstream media wants to be engaged in Iraq-for both economic (embedding is expensive, and reporting on opening another school or sewer plant doesn't sell newspapers) and ideological reasons. The MSM, for the most part, refuse to even try to view Iraq through any lenses other than Vietnam and their hatred of President Bush.
That's what I've got. If I find a link to the whole document, I'll post it.
The Original 24
"Say Hey" Willie Mays turns 75 today.
The Big Picture
Doing research for my post below, I came across something, and I have to wonder why the anti-tax crusaders in Washington state aren't making a bigger deal about it. That something is the undermining of I-601, which limited the ability of the Legislature to increase spending beyond specified growth limits and to raise taxes. The Legislature accomplished this undermining through the enactment of SB 6078. 601 required a supermajority to raise taxes without sending the issue to the voters in a referendum,which basically means that any tax increase must have bipartisan support; 6078 reduces the requirement to a simple majority. Furthermore, 6078 was declared to be 'emergency' legislation, meaning it couldn't be challenged by voter referendum.
We've already had an initiative challenging the increase in the gas tax (which failed, helping contribute to our state having one of the highest gas tax rates in the nation, and only going higher.) We've got one on the way to rescind vehicle wieght fees (which must be paid to register your vehicle. This in defiance of initiatives limiting vehicle registration fees to $30 which have been passed TWICE by Washington voters.) I personally think the weight fees were enacted for the sole purpose of keeping Mr. Eyman, who's been a thorn in the side of the Legislature for years, occupied, and it's been successful.
So where the heck is the initiative to restore I-601? To tell the Legislature and their puppet Governess to shut up, stop increasing our taxes and spending so much money? Why, besides the fact that they're incredibly incompetent, hasn't the state GOP made this a central plank in their statewide legislative platform for 2008 and sponsored an initiative to go along with it? Oh, and this time to it right-make it an amendment to the state constitution, so when the Legislature decides to screw around with it, the AG has to take the people's side instead of the Legislature.
Who Does the Washington State Attorney General Work For?
The good news is that a judge has declared that some of the spending and tax increases approved by our Seattle Democrat dominated Legislature are in violation of the 1993 voter eneacted Initiative 601 (now RCW 43.135
Judge Allendoerfer ordered the spending limit adopted in November 2005 be reduced by $250 million dollars, and he invalidated a majority of the taxes raised in HB 2314, with the exception of the cigarette tax. The Judge also rejected the AG's argument that I-601 is unconstitutional, saying it was not an issue properly brought before the court.
What I find a bit troubling is the last part of that quote-"The Judge also rejected the AG's argument that I-601 is unconstitutional." I was under the impression that the job of the state AG was to defend the duly enacted laws of the state against challenge, not to challenge the legitimacy of those same laws.
Of course, in this case, the AG is put in a bit of a pickle-you have two laws, one enacted by a vote of the people, the other by the Legislature, which are in conflict. Apparently, in this instance, the AG has chosen to side with the Governor and the Legislature against the people. Can anyone point me to anything in the RCW or state constitution which dictates the AGs actions here?
What puzzles me here, at least from a political point of view, is that the AG in Washington isn't appointed by the Governor, he's a elected official in his own right. Furthermore, the current AG, Rob McKenna, is the only Republican holding statewide elected office in the state. The Legislature and the Governor's office are controlled by Democrats. Given that I-601 was enacted by the people of Washington, the same people who voted Mr McKenna into office, you'd think that he'd want to defend that law against the depredations of the Legislature and their puppet Governor. But, as I said, for some unknown reason, Mr. McKenna has chosen to side with the Democrats in Olympia and against the people.
Unless someone can advise me of some portion of the law which is compelling AG McKenna to do this, I don't think I'll be voting to re-elect him in 2008.
Sen. Maria Cantwell is Also a Moron
From Wizbang via TriggerFinger, evidence that one of my
Northwestern Watermelon-hued Socialist Votesucker Senators, Maria Cantwell, is just as economics-impaired as Senator Wyden. What's truly sad is that Cantwell actually worked in the private sector (at RealNetworks) for at least some amount of time before being elected.
ME: I understand that. What I'm suggesting is that it could be that none of the gas prices are price-gouging; they're just a natural market reaction to the depleted supply of gas brought on by Hurricane Katrina, which wiped out oil refineries in the Gulf Coast. And, if the prices are lowered by the FCC or Congress, we'll end up with gas shortages because the higher prices are an incentive for oil companies to produce and deliver a sufficient amount of gas even under conditions that are not ideal. If the profit incentive is taken away, they won't produce the gas and no one will have gas.
Cantwell: (Furrowed brow) Could you say that one more time?
The Bubba Tragedies-The Mosin Chronicles, Vol II
The last one was a Remington. This one, a Westinghouse.
I hope all the dirt and damage is from a long life of many rounds fired and many deer/elk/caribou/reindeer taken. Because the condition makes me want to cry. But if it had a long and useful life, I can take it, because after all, a rifle is a tool, and well used tools are entitled to show their use.