Liberty is an inherently offensive lifestyle. Living in a free society guarantees that each one of us will see our most cherished principles and beliefs questioned and in some cases mocked. That psychic discomfort is the price we pay for basic civic peace. It's worth it. It's a pragmatic principle. Defend everyone else's rights, because if you don't there is no one to defend yours. -- MaxedOutMama

I don't just want gun rights... I want individual liberty, a culture of self-reliance....I want the whole bloody thing. -- Kim du Toit

The most glaring example of the cognitive dissonance on the left is the concept that human beings are inherently good, yet at the same time cannot be trusted with any kind of weapon, unless the magic fairy dust of government authority gets sprinkled upon them.-- Moshe Ben-David

The cult of the left believes that it is engaged in a great apocalyptic battle with corporations and industrialists for the ownership of the unthinking masses. Its acolytes see themselves as the individuals who have been "liberated" to think for themselves. They make choices. You however are just a member of the unthinking masses. You are not really a person, but only respond to the agendas of your corporate overlords. If you eat too much, it's because corporations make you eat. If you kill, it's because corporations encourage you to buy guns. You are not an individual. You are a social problem. -- Sultan Knish

Saturday, June 30, 2007

But I Will Call You My Ally.

(h/t to Sharp as a Marble)

A new blog, Gun Owners Against Violence. Very new. But do read the post "Don't Call Me a Gun Lover."
On the Paucity of Posts.

I don't have Tam's excuse of no service at home, nor do I have the excuse of no time. I've been working out of the office for the last several days, and getting home at a reasonable hour.

I just haven't felt like blogging.

Actually, it's been kinda nice. I may be not-blogging for a while longer. Plus, I'm going to be out of town starting July 5 with, as far as I can tell, no internet access at all for several days. THAT will be difficult, for as Tam asks, "How did our stone age ancestors live without it?" The writing part I can live without. The reading part is another story. Anyway, for those of you checking in on a regular basis and keeping up my Sitemeter numbers, thanks!
That Range Report I Promised.

I did finally get the Swede to the range last weekend. The good news: it no longer strings vertically, and the groups are about half the size they were before with the barrel free-floated.

The bad news: It's about a 2 MOA rifle with the ammo that would shoot 3/4" groups with the barrel preloaded, and that's not good enough.

There are some options I could pursue; a synthetic stock or an aluminum V-block embedded in the forend to stabilize a preload screw, but I've been tinkering with this rifle for more than ten years now - it's time to move on to something else.

Dammit.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

A Year Ago Today...

Rob Smith was found dead in his home, the victim of a pulmonary embolism.

And the blogosphere lost one of its most vigorous, outspoken, and entertaining voices.

I still miss that guy - someone I never even met in person.

I hope he's enjoying that tropical paradise. (I'm an atheist, not a nihilist.)

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Ignorance = Fear. Education is the Key.

(h/t, Pierre Legrand)

Another article about someone who has considered the facts, all the facts, and made up their own mind:
The Way Of The Gun

A Gay Liberal Explores Ohio Gun Culture By Taking Matters - And Weapons - Into His Own Hands

By Brian Thornton


In a nondescript business complex off Interstate 77 in Broadview Heights, across the street from Radio Disney and a block away from a daycare, I've got my hands wrapped around a piece, finger on the trigger. When I awoke this morning, my irrational anxieties led me to dress as heterosexually as possible. After all, what do you wear to your first time at the range? I've chosen jeans, an orange ringer T and a green zip-up sweatshirt, a combination seemingly straight enough to pull off this charade.

To my right, in the next stall, a weapon fires powerfully, a sound that pierces through both my headphones and earplugs. I have no idea if the comically small revolver I'm gripping will create the same blast, but I'm about to find out. With my feet spread wide and arms rigidly stretched forward, I — a show tune-loving, Democrat-voting homosexual — am mere seconds from pulling the trigger on this instrument of death, something I vowed I would never do.
This is something I see a lot - the vow "never to touch a gun" or something similar. The only reason I can see for it is that such a vow makes the person feel somehow morally superior to those who are willing to defend themselves and others. It's an idea I've never been able to fathom, because these same people hold police officers - people by definition willing to kill in the defense of others - in high esteem.

It's one of those psychological conundrums I've recognized, but never been able to comprehend.
Yet here I am. The gun's hammer is cocked back, my eyes are fixed on the target downrange, instructor Jim is standing expectantly over my left shoulder, and the time has come for me to fire this .22.

How the hell did I get here?

IT BEGAN WITH A BURGLARY — or rather, a third burglary.

My friend David, a resident of Ohio City, had just been burglarized for the third time in less than two years. The first time, a thief made off with $1,500 worth of electronics. The next night, the same burglar returned — while David was home. And then, in January, an intruder disabled his alarm system, broke a window and burglarized him once again.

A few days later, I joined him for our weekly American Idol date, and we began talking about safety.

"I've considered getting a gun," he said.

I was stunned. My PETA-supporting friend, who buys fake leather and feeds neighborhood cats, had thought about owning a firearm.

"It's the first time it entered into my mind that a gun might make me safer," he said.

Over the past two years, my circle of friends has faced a mini crime wave on Cleveland's West Side. In addition to David's break-ins, I've had my car stolen, two friends were mugged, one was carjacked, and two others had their cars taken. Would we all be safer if we were packing heat?

If you listen to pundits, Ohio is the land of God, guns and gays — at least during election years. As an agnostic, liberal gay man, most days my beliefs fall on the losing side of polls in the state. Guns, in particular, confound me — why would anyone want to own a device whose purpose is to kill? In fact, handguns terrify me so much that when my cop friend Mike arrives with his loaded service weapon, I get nauseated.
This too, is common.

What is it with the fear of an inanimate object? "Why would anyone want to own a device whose purpose is to kill?" There are two reasons: One, to coerce others into doing what you want by the threat of deadly force, and Two, to convince others to leave you and yours alone by the same method. You'll note that pretty much anything can be a "device whose purpose is to kill" if the hand wielding it is attached to a mind with that intent. A rock, a knife, a crowbar, and a baseball bat will do quite well as instruments of coercion. What a firearm brings is the ability to coerce from a distance, and the ability to give the physically weak the same coercive power as the physically strong.

Why would anyone want to own a device whose purpose is to kill? You just answered your own question: To STOP those who would take what was yours, be it material items, your health, or even your life.

Why is it so hard for so many to understand this?
So if I wanted to seriously understand gun culture in Ohio, I had only one choice: I was going to have to push through my fears, load a firearm and pull the trigger.
Bravo, sir, for not only reaching that conclusion, but also carrying through with it.
GUNS WERE NEVER PART of my youth, despite growing up in a military family. My father hunted as a teenager; his .22-caliber rifle still resides somewhere in my aunt's house in Iowa. But after a neighbor's child pointed a loaded handgun at my mother's stomach when she was pregnant with my sister, she banned firearms from the house. So I was going to need to take wee steps in my exploration of gun culture.

My first stop, obviously, was Wal-Mart. In addition to charges of illegal labor practices and bad press from groups that claim the chain drives family companies out of business, Wal-Mart has faced criticism in recent years for selling firearms. But the company has scaled back its gun sales, and after fruitless stops in Avon, Streetsboro and Kent, a sales associate directed me to Middlefield, the only store in the area, she claimed, that still sold firearms.

The Middlefield Wal-Mart is a massive, glitzy affair — a bright, clean store where you can have your eyes checked, purchase art for your walls, get your tires changed and stock your aquarium with live fish. And there, about two-thirds of the way back, is the hunting and fishing section: an aisle filled with boxes of bullets, BB guns and hunting accoutrements — but no actual guns.

I flagged down the nearest blue-vested worker and asked if the store sold rifles.

"No, just this stuff," she answered, gesturing to ammunition and scopes.

"When did you stop selling firearms?"

"About three or four weeks ago," she replied.

Tara Raddohl, a Wal-Mart spokeswoman, told me via e-mail that removing firearms from stores was a "business decision" based on "diminished customer demand." Whether it was the bad press or lack of sales, it seems guns weren't good business for the world's biggest chain. And if I was going to get my hands on a gun, I was going to have to abandon the relative safety of homogenized American retail and its "falling prices." I had to go hardcore.

NO ONE KNOWS HOW MANY GUNS are in Ohio, and that's a problem, says Toby Hoover, executive director of the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence.

"One of the big fallacies in this country is that everyone believes that there is such a thing as registration," she says.

In fact, in Ohio, federal law requires the state only to run a background check to ensure the purchaser isn't a felon or underage, she says. "If that comes back OK, then they sell you a gun."

The state doesn't keep a record of that purchase. The feds don't, either. The only place that notes the sale is the licensed firearms seller, which means if the original buyer resells the gun privately, the firearm can disappear. And if a crime is committed with that weapon, the trail to the current owner can run cold quickly.

Hoover, whose husband was killed by a gun almost 35 years ago, advocates for background checks for those secondary sales to ensure criminals have a harder time getting their hands on guns.

"Somehow or another, we have to stop that supply to those people," she says.

Her opposition in Ohio is led by Jim Irvine, chairman of the Buckeye Firearms Association, an organization that named Hoover the number four threat to gun rights in 2007. Irvine's group won a victory in March when legislation it championed changed gun laws in the state. The new law made firearms regulations uniform across Ohio, but stripped local municipalities of their ability to tighten rules.

There are no licensing requirements for gun ownership in Ohio, and that's the way it should be, Irvine says.

"It's a constitutional right," he says. "You don't need to get training or a license to say "President Bush is an idiot' or "President Clinton is an idiot.' If you're criticizing an elected official, you don't need to go get a permit.

"Second of all, it's a piece of property. It doesn't make any more sense to say you need a license to go get a knife, or duct tape or anything else criminals use to commit crimes."

But Hoover points to cars as property the government does regulate, requiring seatbelts, air bags and other safety devices. She says people put up with those requirements because they save lives.

As for requiring gun licenses, "I think that you should have to do that, and you should have to qualify for some kind of safety training," Hoover says.

But Irvine doesn't like laws that require training or licenses. "I'm a huge advocate of training," he says. "I don't think you can have enough training." Still, he favors rolling back the Ohio requirement of 12 hours of training before earning a concealed carry permit. He says people who can't afford the training are in danger because they can't get a permit.

"Concealed-carry is the best dollar-for-dollar return for society because it is paid for entirely by people who go to get a concealed-carry license," he says.

"I know close to a dozen people who have defended their lives with a firearm," he continues.

But Hoover counters, "There's just no verified statistics out there that people are any safer because they're carrying guns."

I was getting nowhere fast in my understanding of Ohio gun culture. Hoover and Irvine seemed like reasonable people with valid arguments, but I was getting the impression this was one steel-cage match that was going on way too long, with no winner, in front of a restless, disinterested audience. If the two sides are so completely opposed, where did people in the middle, like me, fit in?
Well, here for instance. My side at least encourages you to think about things rather than tell you "guns are bad, mmmmkay?"
LIKE ME, SUSAN CONNOR has little reason to think about guns.

"I don't own a gun, I've never shot a gun," she says. "I'm not immersed in the culture."

But Connor, who works as research manager for the Rainbow Injury Prevention Center at University Hospitals in Cleveland, has spent considerable time investigating gun safety and children in Ohio. Because the government doesn't track firearm ownership, studies like the one she completed in 2005 offer the few clues we have to understanding the prevalence of guns. Her study found that 22 percent of Ohio homes have guns and just 22 percent of gun owners keep their guns locked or locked up. That's about in the middle for America, she says.

But perhaps more important, her earlier 2003 study found that 87 percent of parents who were gun owners believed their children wouldn't touch a gun they found. She says those beliefs defy studies that show most children are so curious they will play with found guns — with sometimes deadly results.

"I'm interested in child safety," she says, "not gun rights."
I'm unfamiliar with Ms. Connor, but I'd venture to guess she's interested in "child safety" the same way that the Violence Policy Center is interested in "violence policy" - that is, if it doesn't involve "gun control" she's not interested. According to the Center for Disease Control's WISQARS tool, Ohio had five (5) accidental gunshot deaths for all ages 17 and under in 2004. In 2003 there were four. This is in a state with over eleven million people. By contrast there were 39 drownings and 13 poisonings. How many households don't lock up their insecticides and solvents?
From what Connor has seen, there's little middle ground to be had with pro- and anti-gun groups. "There's no reasonable discussion between them," she says.

Connor finds herself in the middle.

"I see sort of the good and the bad in both arguments," she says. "I have enough of an opinion to say that I wouldn't have a gun in my house, but it's not up to me to make decisions for other people."

But if 22 percent of Ohio households own guns, that means 78 percent do not. Shouldn't we non-gun owners be doing things to make ourselves safer, considering our friends and neighbors might be packing?

"If you don't have a gun," Connor says, "you don't think about it, truly."

I certainly don't. If I really wanted to understand, it was time for me to get shooting.

THE CARMEL-COLORED LOG CABIN nestled on more than six wooded acres gave my chosen firearms instructor plenty of credibility, but the bearskin rug and mounted antelope head inside finished the job. Jim Hardenbrook, an airline pilot husband of a friend, has been hunting and shooting guns for 47 years, and he offered to take me under his wing.

Jim was 7 the first time he touched a gun. While visiting his grandmother in Kansas, his father took him to a quarry to shoot a .22-caliber rifle his grandfather owned.

"That was a big thrill for a 7 year old," he says. "And it was just very interesting to me, the whole process of aiming and shooting and trigger control."

While he owned a BB gun during his teens and qualified on a number of weapons, including machine guns and grenade launchers while in the Navy, he didn't pursue hunting as a sport until he moved to Colorado in his early 30s.

"I felt sort of deprived after so much intense work and study, and I started doing things to just enjoy," Jim says. "It was a new form of diversion called recreation for me."

But despite the displayed bearskin trophy hung over a rail in the home, he doesn't kill simply for sport.

"I've always felt that you shouldn't shoot anything that you weren't going to eat," Jim says, "so we ate him too."

Firearms in his Hiram home are not just for hunting, as police can take as long as 30 minutes to arrive at the house in an emergency.

"Police are reactive, anyway," he says. "That is, their presence acts as a deterrence, to some extent, but if you personally have a problem, who's going to protect you, and how are you going to notify them? If you had to wait 30 minutes for somebody to come and protect you from a home intruder, what would you do?"

Jim starts me on a pellet gun in the driveway to his backyard garage. Walking outside, he's thrown a cap over his graying hair and lit a pipe. With the warm late-winter day, the thick woods and Jim's plaid shirt, I feel as if we are stalking prey. He's given me three rules: "Always point your firearm in a safe direction. Never put your finger on the trigger 'til you're ready to shoot. And always be sure that what you're shooting at is safe."

The rifle is surprisingly heavy — Jim tells me it's probably weighted because it's made of molded plastic. I'm confident; after all, how bad can it be to shoot a tiny lead pellet using compressed carbon dioxide? One Cleveland Christmas classic admonishes I'll put my eye out, but I don't expect to draw blood, even in the worst scenario.

Twelve feet away, Jim places a black target mounted on a cardboard box filled with newspapers. I raise the rifle to my shoulder, carefully lining up the two sights. I tentatively pull the trigger, the gun emits a quick, quiet poof, and I nail my mark. In fact, time and time again, I pierce the "9" and "10" zones, until the target begins to fall apart.

Hey, I'm pretty good at this.
This too is common. Shooting is fun, and almost always this is a surprise to the gun-phobe.
THE TRUE TEST IS TWO DAYS LATER, when we upgrade to real guns and real bullets. That's why we find ourselves at a nondescript brick building with black metal roof panels high atop a hill visible from I-77 south of Cleveland. Giant white letters advertise to passing motorists, "Stonewall Range and Uniforms." Inside, the first things I see are the glass cases filled with guns labeled "Beretta" and "Glock." Suddenly, every product-name-dropping rapper seems a lot more credible.

The second thing I notice about Stonewall is that all the employees are packing. That's not something you see at Dairy Queen.

I'm more nervous than in the backyard, so I hang back, letting Jim handle the details. It's $18 an hour to rent a stall in the range and $7.50 for the .22-caliber gun with "Taurus" etched on its barrel that looks more like a stage prop than something that could cause real bodily harm. We stand at a counter, reviewing the rules: Always point the gun down range, only load the gun once we're in the stall, and only put a finger on the trigger when I'm ready to shoot.

We wear earplugs and headphones, which create a buzzing sound and make everything seem as if I'm experiencing it through a fog. Jim mounts the target on a cord that's basically a clothesline and sends the target out 10 or 15 feet by flipping a switch. I load nine inch-long bullets into the revolver, snapping the cylinder closed. Jim steps back, and I stand alone in the stall — feet spread shoulder-width, both hands clutching the piece, arms locked forward creating a triangle. I need considerable thumb strength to pull back the hammer, which pulls back the trigger as well. And then, with just slight pressure from the second finger on my right hand — "POP."

The strange little explosion doesn't even feel as if it came from the weapon in my hands. And I score an "8" on the target. Another pull on the hammer and press on the trigger. "9." Again. "10." Six shots later, I am destroying the target.

"You're actually a good shot for a beginner," Jim says from behind me.

Two more rounds of nine shots blasting the center of the target, and I'm beginning to tingle with a sense of euphoria. I turn to Jim, grinning like a proud kid. "Can I try the bigger gun?"

In Jim's red bag, he's carrying his .44 Magnum, a weapon with a polished wood handle that's more Hollywood glamorous than the rented piece I'm shooting. This one shoots bullets he's packed himself in his basement workshop, and when I pull the trigger, which requires significantly more effort, there's no "pow." This is a "BLAM," and I feel it. But despite the recoil, which causes the Magnum to leap in my hand, I'm still nailing the "10."

Jim's also brought some special ammunition, which contains more gunpowder, for my final rounds. I shoot two, and I'm shaking. These shots are powerful, and suddenly I worry that the firearm could fall out of my hand from the force. I feel out of control, and I put down the gun. Finally, I've gone too far.

On the way out, I thank Jim. He gestures to the cases filled with firearms for sale. "If you liked it enough, I can help you pick out your future."

AS I DRIVE HOME, my hands are shaking slightly and I can feel my heart beating. There's exhilaration from what I've done, excitement in learning I'm an excellent shot. I call my mom, my sister, several friends. "Guess what I just did?" I ask, nonchalantly. "Fired a gun." My hand feels dry — from gunpowder? I daydream about the Magnum — if someone used it today to commit a crime, are my prints all over it?

But a couple of hours later, my high is fading, and I have a minor freak-out. I remember a moment in the stall when I saw a moving target's shadow enter the periphery of my vision. What if that had been a person running into my line of sight? What if my target was a human instead of a piece of waxy paper? There are 39 holes in the bull's-eye — dead center of where a chest would be.

I could have killed someone several times that morning. Despite how pleased I am with my shooting prowess, how proud I am for overcoming my fears, I don't think I could ever hold a gun again. I could never kill another human.

IT'S SATURDAY NIGHT, and I'm driving downtown toward Cleveland to meet friends for drinks. I send a text message to one to find out where he is. His boyfriend responds: "Dan and I were attacked. I'm at Lutheran. I'm OK. Just getting checked out."

Through text messages and phone calls, I learn that my friends were attacked by a group of teenagers as they tried to get into their car. Eddie has pains in his ribs and a scrape on his leg. Dan is just shaken up. Eddie's wallet is gone.

As I drive, I am suddenly overcome with a mix of anger, fear and frustration — emotions that again make me reevaluate my position. More friends affected by crime, and no way to protect ourselves.

But there is a way we could protect ourselves, something Jim helped me learn just weeks before: We could all start carrying guns.

It seems irrational, but fear is irrational. And I begin to understand how that fear could drive people to arm themselves. I'm not on either "side" like Toby Hoover or Jim Irvine. I, like so many Ohioans, fall somewhere in the middle. Guns still feel like the ultimate solution, something I'm not ready to embrace yet.

But if the police won't or can't protect me and my friends, taking matters into my own hands doesn't seem irrational anymore.
Back when I first started this blog, I posted "Is the Government Responsible for Your Protection?" (See the left sidebar for the links.) In that piece I concluded:
My friend's example of the “good, decent herbivores” represents the majority of the population, and this majority is largely unaware that they are the ones responsible for their own safety. They depend on the police almost exclusively for their safety and protection from crime. In their fear of violence, they fear the other "herbivores" with guns, too. They do so because some gun owners are idiots, but mostly because they’re told that guns are the cause of crime, and they don’t know any better. They don’t accept that general citizens who are willing to resist crime are an asset, not a liability to society.

So what am I advocating? I am advocating educating the citizens of our society as to their rights and attendant duties. That way they can make educated decisions as to their own protection, and that of their fellow citizens. Then if they decide that, for them, actively opposing crime is not an option, they won’t be so eager to deny the means to those who decide it’s the moral thing to do.

In other words, I trust my fellow-man to make the right decision if given all the information.
I think Mr. Thornton now has all the information he needs. The decision is his. But the opportunity to have a firearm for self-defense he owes to those who worked long and hard to ensure it.

Now I suggest that he contact James R. Rummel, and the nearest chapter of Pink Pistols.
To the men and women of Regimental Combat Team 6
I'd like to thank you.

I'm a middle-forties, overweight, out-of-condition electrical engineer living in Tucson, Arizona with my wife, step-daughter, and two grandchildren. I want you to know that I believe I understand what it is you are risking your life and limb for: the chance to shut down an ideology of death and enslavement that threatens modern civilization; the chance to do it at its heart, and to avoid having the fight come to our home towns. You are there to help a people learn what it is to be free, and to slam the door on those who wish to enslave everyone.

It is a noble goal. It is a lousy job, in lousier conditions, made even worse by voices from back home who tell you that all is lost, that what you're doing is wrong, illegal, immoral, and fattening.

Ignore them.

Understand that we, Silent America, stand behind you. Those of us in flyover country respect what you are doing, and only wish we could help you do it better, harder, faster. We want you home, too, but we know what is at stake. Your sacrifice of time, of blood, of life is not wrong, is not in vain, and is very greatly appreciated by the people you don't hear about in the newscasts or in the papers from home. Apparently we're not newsworthy. Apparently, what you're doing there isn't either, unless the media can manufacture a scandal out of it.

But we're here, and we know better, because you're our husbands, wives, sons, and daughters.

To whomever this reaches directly, please send me an email response and let me know anything you and your Team might need. I am a contributor to Soldier's Angels, but anything I can do directly I will try.

And once again, thank you for being the best America has to offer the world.
Send an email of your own in support of RCT-6 per the request of their commander, Col. Richard L. Simcock in a round-table interview as reported at Blackfive.

Sorry for my tardiness on this. No excuses.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

The Best Laid Plans....

First, the good news: It looks like I'll get to spend the next couple of weeks working out of the office, rather than on the road. And the Mauser is back from 300 Below.

The bad news: While I was on the road the clothes dryer took a dump and the kitchen faucet is screwed up and in need of repair, plus we're out of everything - so I get to spend today doing shopping, appliance installation, and home repairs.

And why didn't anybody tell me that Sunday was Father's Day?

I did, however, put the Mauser back together bright and early (very early) this morning, and for those of you who expressed an interest, here's a few shots of it. (Oleg Volk I ain't.)





(*sigh*) Maybe next weekend?

Monday, June 11, 2007

A Quick Update.

Sorry about the silence. I'm currently out of town working on a project, and it looks very much like this is going to be the norm for the foreseeable future (at least the next 6-10 weeks) give or take a few days here and there. These days tend to be long, and about all I have time for in the evenings is to check out other people's blogs and maybe leave a comment or six. I haven't even had time to play with my new RCBS Chargemaster other than to run some tests with it. If I ever get the chance, however, I should have an interesting range report coming up.

I have an 1896 Swedish Mauser (Carl Gustav, 1916) sporter rifle (I know, I know, somebody done bubba'd a classic - but bear with me...). I bought the rifle many years ago for $100. It had no finish left, and the bore wear indicator badge said that it was about half shot out, so I thought the price wasn't so bad. It shot OK (iron sights and my eyes being what they are) but I'd bought it to build a Silhouette rifle out of. One year I plunked down some hard-earned money and had it rebarreled with a Shilen 1-in-8" twist medium-weight barrel, had the bolt turned down, had the whole shebang polished & blued, and had two-piece Weaver-style scope bases installed. To this I added a Jewell Timney trigger and a Fajen thumbhole stock which I then glass bedded the action to. I added to this a 3-12x 6.5-20x Simmons adjustable objective scope in a set of Burris Zee rings. (500 meters is a LONG way out there.)

I then proceeded to spend the better part of three years testing different combinations of bullets, powders, and loads to find something the damned thing would shoot. Nothing worked. I changed scopes. No improvement. I shot factory ammo. Still wouldn't group. Finally it settled into shooting vertical strings. Much research and study later, I tried preloading the barrel. I cut up an old used credit card and slipped a few pieces under the barrel near the forend of the stock, then tightened up the action screws, and off to the range we went. The first five shots out of the rifle gave me this at 100 yards:

If you can' t read the caliper, that's 1.016" outside edge to outside edge. Subtract one bullet diameter and the group is 0.75" including the "flyer." I was stoked! (Note the orientation of the "10" - it still was stringing vertically just a tiny bit.)

Problem was, it would shoot like this all day - but on Saturday those groups were at 12 o'clock. On Sunday they were at 3 o'clock. On Tuesday they were at 10 o'clock - and each tight little group could be inches away from the point of aim.

This is not acceptable out of a target rifle.

So I let it sit in the locker for a while. The week before last I disassembled the rifle and shipped the stripped barreled receiver to 300 Below to have it cryo-treated. It should be back by the end of this week, so if I have a little time off this weekend, the Swede and I have a date with the range to see if cryogenic stress-relief really works.

I hope so. It's too pretty to shoot crappy.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Quote of the Week, Pt. II

(Still working a lot)

From the same piece quoted on Monday, another gem-and-a-half:
The Founding Fathers systematically democratized the powers of society through the Constitution and Bill of Rights. They democratized the power of law through the right to vote. They democratized the power of wealth through the right to private property (since repealed by environmentalists and courts). They democratized the power of ideas through the right to free speech (since repealed by McCain/Feingold). And they democratized the power of violence (or the capability to commit it) through the right to bear arms (since repealed by "gun control").

The four great powers of man: law, money, thought and violence were thus divided among the people and not reserved exclusively to the connected, the rich, the approved, and the enlisted. That's the basis of our Republic. That's America. And that is, apparently, a total surprise to liberals.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Quote of the Freakin' WEEK.

Via Joe Huffman:
(Judge Karen LeCraft) Henderson's second insight was that despite the right belonging to "the people" in the amendment, it actually belonged only to the militia as an organized military force. To believe this, you have to believe that the United States is the only nation on Earth that felt a need to guarantee its government, in writing, the right to have an army -- which is possible, I suppose, if Jefferson foresaw the attitude of the modern Democrat party towards the military. - Mac Johnson, Court Rediscovers 2nd Amendment, Liberals Fear Other 'Rights' May Soon be Found, HumanEvents.com, 3/15/07
And for those of you who do not know, Judge Henderson was the dissenting voice in Parker v D.C. - and curiously enough, voted against an en banc rehearing of the case on appeal.

I'm really curious to know why.

(Just an aside: I'm currently working 12+ hour days. Blogging will be slim for a bit.)

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Absolutely Correct.

James Rummel has an absolutely accurate post on the gun-nut subculture. Excerpt:
If you were born into a family that valued the shooting sports, then you always considered firearms to be cool precision instruments. Machines that challenge the individual to do their best while honing their own skills.

If you tried to pick up the hobby later in life, you were probably a bit daunted. The biggest problem, in my experience, was the nervousness that was brought on by decades of anti-gun spin in the media. (What if I do it wrong? I could shoot myself!) The second biggest problem is the enthusiasm and helpfulness that experienced shooters show towards those who are just beginning.

This probably seems odd. Helpful people are a problem? Isn't that counter-intuitive?

Not exactly.
RTWT. He's absolutely right, from beginning to end. See if you recognize yourself there.
Quote of the Day.
“After eight years in Washington, I long for the realism and sincerity of Hollywood. That’s no joke, my friends.” - Fred Thompson at the 2007 annual Prescott Bush Awards Dinner
HillaryCare.

Zendo Deb goes point-by-point down a curiously overlooked bit of news - Hillary Clinton's "Plan for Reducing Health Care Costs" that was recently published in Medical News Today. First published on May 25, a quick Google News search shows the only really national coverage of her plan comes from a (pretty short) OpinionJournal piece. A quick check of Technorati shows that nobody paid much attention to that speece in the blogosphere, either. Pretty much everyone is talking about her "from each according to their abilities, to each according to their needs" speech advocating socialism. (Well, that's my interpretation. And the interpretation of about 90% of the commenters.)

Read Deb's take on her health-care plan, though. Excerpt:
5. Improve the quality of care to help drive down costs:
This statement means nothing. It is like saying she is in favor of Apple Pie. Imagine a statement that is just the opposite. "Ruin the quality of care to help drive up costs." I am all for driving bad doctors out of health care, but by and large I think she is saying "spend more government money" but not saying where - exactly - it will be spent or where - exactly - it will come from.
This is known as "speaking politically."

Saturday, June 02, 2007

I Do This Very Seldom...

But I have banned a commenter. As many of you know, JadeGold is a serial troll of the highest order, banned at innumerable blogs for his (yes, it's a he) complete avoidance of reality. So, if you're reading from the Baltimore area via Comcast and cannot comment, my apologies. If you're a user of the Navy Network Information Servers and cannot comment, again, my apologies.

It would appear that JadeGold came a-visitin' just a few minutes ago:

But that IP is one that's blocked.

I suspect he's probably on his way to a Starbuck's for a WiFi address that's not blocked, veins throbbing at his temples right now.

God, I hope so!

As I said in a comment earlier this afternoon:
Actually I like toying with ole' Guy Cabot before I ban him (again). That "Emerson is dicta" bit, for example, was fun!

The funny thing is, I'm certain that little Guy - living in Prince Georges County, Maryland - probably owns more than one firearm that the State of Maryland doesn't approve of. He really strikes me as the "do as I say, not as I do" type. You see, for someone who directs so much hatred and paranoia at the current administration (not to mention gun owners), I really don't believe a person like that would troll as he does without some sub-consciously Freudian psychological backup - which he then projects onto everyone else.
(Of course, there's always the possibility that getting banned at another site has given him some weird sort of sexual gratification....)

UPDATE: According to Sitemeter, Guy was still on the site when I posted this. He spent twenty minutes, not two.

He ended up hopping over to SayUncle and...

Well, you've just got to read it. It's classic projection.
Quote of the Day:.

Tam does it again:
Dear GOP,

Please do not nominate Mitt Romney.

The last two Massachusetts politicians who went to the Big Show got stomped by milquetoast opponents with the public speaking skills of a Thorazined Yogi Berra. America hasn't wanted a Bay Stater in the Oval Office ever since JFK got whacked by Oliver Stone.

Friday, June 01, 2007

An Update on the Cape Coral Defensive Shooting.

There's this story from Tuesday:
Cape Coral couple tries to cope after attack at their home

By PHILLIP BANTZ, Daily News Correspondent

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Jacob Seckler keeps a gun in his pocket when he mows the lawn. He keeps a gun in his pillowcase when he tries to sleep, but the shadows dancing across the bedroom walls keep him awake.

“I’m strictly against guns. I never wanted them in the house,” said Seckler. "Now I wouldn't be in the house without a gun."
Mr. Seckler is another person who has discovered that he is responsible for his own protection. It is quite often a significant shock.
Seckler's stance on guns changed the morning of May 16. He was mowing his lawn when he turned around and saw two 20-year-old men standing behind him. Seckler said one of the men was pointing a gun at his head.

After Seckler, 50, raised his hands to the sky, the two men pushed him past the garage toward the front door of his home in northeast Cape Coral.
That would be the $297,000 home built last year at 2125 Northeast 1st Ave, just east of Santa Barbara Boulevard and north of Pine Island Road, as reported by the local News-Press on May 16. I just thought you should know. For some reason that paper thought it important.
They held him at gunpoint and said they were getting into his house no matter what.

A struggle ensued at the front door. Seckler refused to let the men inside and they beat him over the head with the pistol and their elbows and fists. One of the men bit Seckler's back. Seckler's fiancée, Elizabeth Kachnic, 37, said she heard screaming and the door slam repeatedly.

"I don't know what happened to me," said Seckler. "I was so scared. I'm not crazy like that, but I knew I had to do something."
No sir, you are not crazy. You did your job and defended yourself and your fiancée at the risk of your own life. You understood what was at stake, and took the proper action. And you were lucky. No doubt about it.
The gun was pressed against Seckler's temple. He said he pushed the assailant's hand down and the gun fell to the ground. Seckler said he screamed for Kachnic to call 911 as he and the two men scrambled for the weapon.

"I got the gun. I just turned around and shot," said Seckler. "If they did not come here with a gun, they would be alive. It's their fault."
And thankfully, that's the position that Florida law takes as well.
He fired every bullet in the clip.
I have read elsewhere that the firearm in question was a .38 revolver, but seeing as this is a newspaper report and newspaper reporters tend to be completely ignorant of firearms, I will take the "every bullet in the clip" statement with a grain of salt the size of the rock of Gibraltar.
One of the men, John Patrick Moore Jr., was hit as he sprinted across Seckler's driveway. He stumbled to the edge of the street and died.
The story on this is at variance with other reports as well. Mr. Moore is reported to have been shot in the side. I have no doubt he was able to sprint some distance before his mortal wound felled him, however.
Police say Moore's accomplice, Damion Jordan Shearod, fled when they lost control of the gun. Seckler said Shearod was hiding in the garage or the side of his home and appeared after the gunfire ceased and ran to a car parked in the street outside Seckler's residence.

Police say Moore's 19-year-old girlfriend, Jazzmyne Carrol-Love, was waiting behind the wheel and the two sped away.

Seckler had just killed a man. He hadn't held or fired a gun since he was 18 years old and serving in the German Army. Even then, he was only aiming at practice targets.

"I was crying, screaming and hurting," said Seckler, a large man who became tearful while recounting the shooting. "If they would have gotten in they would have killed us both. Everybody says I did the right thing, but it feels so bad. I killed another person."
That's something you have to live with. "Better him than me" does not make the taking of a life any easier, but at least you're around to feel bad about it.
Lives changed forever

Long bands of yellow police tape cordoned off their home and detectives stood in their driveway looking down at a puddle of blood as Seckler and Kachnic packed their essentials and drove away on the evening of the shooting.

They lived in an area hotel for a week. Then they rented a camper and left Lee County for a while. Seckler said he had an emotional breakdown at the RV park and requested a priest. The priest was not available and the police were called, but they could not ease Seckler's troubled mind.
The Catholic church must be suffering a real shortage of clergy...
The couple returned to their Cape Coral home Monday. The house had symbolized a new beginning for the pair, who left the perpetual hustle of New York behind in January and headed for the Sunshine State.

On the afternoon of their return, Seckler slid his new handgun into his pocket and started up the lawn mower. He mowed part of the side yard before the fear took hold. He went back into his home and locked the doors.

"We have to lock ourselves in to feel safe during the day," said Seckler. "We don't feel safe going to dinner and coming home at night. It feels like someone's hiding around the corner."
And you know that "the right to feel safe is a fundamental right of all Americans."
A jogger dressed in dark clothing coming down their street in the middle of the afternoon incites panic. Seckler and Kachnic must always be together when at home. If one is swimming in the backyard pool, the other is watching for an attacker lurking in the bushes or around the corner of the house.

"I don't know if I'll ever ride my bike around the neighborhood," Kachnic said. "We came down here to start a new life and it's just not fair. It will never feel safe again like it used to."
No sir, it's not fair, and you just found that out the hard way. I'm sorry, but at least the blood on the driveway isn't yours, leaving Ms. Kachic to discover just how unfair the world can be all by herself.
When a gardener knocked on the couple's front door as they spoke about the shooting, Kachnic jumped off the couch and asked Seckler if she should get the gun before answering. They were both crying.
Post traumatic stress. It'll get better eventually.
Seckler and Kachnic both have upcoming appointments with therapists. Seckler also has an appointment with a neurologist. Ever since he was pistol-whipped on the temple, his vision has been blurry and he can't read magazines or street signs.
Good. Just make sure the shrinks you see aren't GFW's. Ask to see their CCW permits FIRST. This will ensure that they too understand that the world is not a fair place and that they are primarily responsible for their own protection. Then contact a lawyer about a civil suit against the remaining perps for medical expenses and mental anguish.
While Seckler works to obtain a concealed-weapon permit, Kachnic will be getting a gun of her own, she said.

"It was meant for us both to be dead and they would have robbed us," said Kachnic. "You can't imagine the fear. We just don't know what to do."
It sounds like you're taking all the right steps.
Shearod and Carrol-Love were arrested and remain in the Lee County Jail; both have been charged with one count each of homicide and robbery with a firearm.

In 2005, a Lee County jury found Shearod guilty of murdering an 18-year-old Lehigh Acres man, but Judge James R. Thompson overturned the conviction, citing a lack of evidence.
Boy, would I be interested in the transcript of that trial.
The State Attorney's Office is awaiting a judge's decision on an appeal in the case. The jury's verdict will be upheld if the appeal is granted and Shearod will be sentenced.

"The judge who let him go should be in jail," said Kachnic. "Who knows how many people he's shot and how many times he's gotten away with it. I hope they (Carrol-Love and Shearod) stay in jail forever."
Not likely. Not in our revolving-door "justice" system.
Meanwhile, Seckler and Kachnic are desperately trying to piece their lives back together. They have considered selling their home and starting a new life somewhere else. They have also considered turning their residence into a fortress of sorts, installing surveillance cameras and a tall privacy fence around the property. Seckler is leaning towards the latter option.

"I'm not going to give in," he said. "We're going to stay here and make it safer. I know it will never feel like it felt when we moved in, but we’ve got to make the best of it."
Congratulations on your decision. I wish you the best of luck. Now, in addition to the pshrinks and the medical doctor, please get some quality professional defensive gun use training so you don't shoot the pizza or the pool guy in your current state of (understandable) paranoia. There's more to being safe than merely owning a gun. As Col. Jeff Cooper once put it, owning a guitar doesn't make one a musician.