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Dear Santa,

Dear Santa,
I don’t really need anything this year.  I have a good job, a great wife, some great kids (most of them anyway), grandkids and etc.  If you can bring world peace, universal prosperity, or a return of America to a Constitutional Republic by skipping me, go for it.
While I love firearms I don’t desperately need any.  I mean, nobody ever has enough except possibly Michael Bloomberg or Joan Peterson but I am not hurting.  However, if you are looking for ideas of what to get me I have a few suggestions, not necessarily in order.

Either a 1903 or 1908 Colt Hammerless.  I know.  They are big and heavy for the power of the cartridges they fire but take a look!  Have you ever seen anything that classically beautiful other than a nude by Ruebens?  I absolutely love the looks of that thing. It can even be refinished.  I am not a purist and I don't intend to part with it so collector's value isn't important.  Think Humphrey Bogart movies.

A first model Colt Woodsman.  Again a classic beauty.  It doesn’t do anything better than a Ruger Mark II or a Browning Buckmark but look at the gorgeousness of it.  What man could resist.  Something like this is something that your heirs could squabble about after you’re gone.  I could even live with a Norinco clone if you are passing through Canada.  Why should Canadians be able to get something that cool and we can't?
A Remington Speedmaster.  It takes down like a 10/22 Takedown but has much more beauty.  I know that I could get a Browning 22 Semi Auto that is almost exactly the same but it wouldn’t have the history that this would have.  Doesn’t a rifle that is older than you are intrigue you?  It does me.  Where has it been, what has it done, who did it do it with.  Doesn't mean I would reject the Browning.
An M1 Garand.  Yeah, I know.  FAL, CETME, AR-10 etc.  Sorry.  Back to the history thing again.  Most of these have seen action in WW2.  Band of Brothers and all that.  Civilian Marksmanship Program.   Just saying.  Might be easier to get one now since they are banned in New York state because they hold 8 rounds.  This is from a time when our military used a caliber that really put the hurt on our enemies rather that p***ing them off.  I may not need to shoot my enemies but I need or at least strongly want this.
1903 Springfield.  Like the Garand but served in both of the WWs.  Talk about a mysterious past.  Who could resist a centenarian of this caliber (pun intended.)   Want, want want.  Feel free to throw in a 1917 or Pattern 14 Enfield as well.  Alvin York.  Okay, I will even accept a 1892-99 Krag.  I have very little pride.

Dan Wesson 357 magnum with multiple barrels.  I had one of these on two different occasions and I really really really regret not having one or both still.  I will have to make my own history with one of these.  Don't worry, I am pretty sure I am up to the task.

A top break revolver.  A Webley,  and Enfield or even a H&R 999 Sportsman or a Iver Johnson Sealed 8 in 22lr, 45 ACP or Autorim, or 38 S&W.   I love the looks of this.  I realize that they are not the world’s greatest shooters but there is just something about them.  Besides that, two words.  Gunga Din.  India.  Sun never setting on the British Empire. Rourk's Drift.  Zulu!  Zombie Apocalypse.  Okay, I will even take an oddball caliber if I can find or make brass for it.

A Sig P210.  If you can’t find one of these I will settle for a Sig P6 military or police surplus.  I am not proud.  I take great pride in the fact that I am not a collector, I am an accumulator but every accumulation needs a Sig.  These two are my really want Sigs.

Please, do not take this list as definitive.  I will take toys not on the list.  I won’t be depressed if none of these show up under the tree but if they should happen to, well, I would be appreciative.

Downward Spiral

What bothers me today and going back for several administrations is the attack on our rights.  The entire bill of rights is under attack, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom from warrantless searches and seizures, right to bear arms and due process.

It scares me that we are unable to have a civil disagreement in this nation any longer.  It bothers me that we fail to see the long term effects of our actions.  It is almost as if we believe that cause and effect have been suspended.  We ignore history.

Due process goes back to the Magna Carta.  That document states  "No man of what state or condition he be, shall be put out of his lands or tenements nor taken, nor disinherited, nor put to death, without he be brought to answer by due process of law."  Habeas Corpus requires that any imprisoned man may be brought before a Judge to determine if there is legal reason to hold him.

Due process was first weakened by asset forfeiture.  Because prosecutors can't always prove that criminals broke the law we came up with a shortcut to allow them to take away the fruits of those crimes easily.  Property is treated as a deodand and civilly sued.  The asset is sued, not the owner.  If the goverment decides that the property or asset was naughty, owned by someone naughty, or just exposed to naughtiness it is confiscated.  So now, if you cannot prove that you got your money or property legally you lose it.  Average length of time to contest is 3 years and average cost is $10,000.

It was further weakened by warrantless searches brought on by the war on drugs and or terrorism.  If you get stopped for a traffic violation your cell phone can be perused by the officer.  Ohio courts have ruled that even if police don't have a warrant you cannot prevent them from entering your house to search it.  The government can put a gps tracker on your car to see where you go (if they don't just track your cell phone).  They stop you on the street and fisk you for the officers safety.  The exceptions to needing a warrant to search your home and car are innumerable.

We regularly allow ourselves and our property to be searched and our bodies groped by buffoons whose last employment included the phrase "Would you like that supersized?" so we can fly on airplanes.

Then came the ability of the government to imprison Americans without trial or even charges.  With that one stroke habeas corpus came to an end.  Only one president in American history ever suspended habeas corpus and he wasn't this bold about it.

Now, how ever we are apparently going to allow an American president to kill us without trial or even charges.  He has already been doing it overseas but refuses to eschew doing it on American soil.  Those who criticize him for it are attacked by the leaders of their own party.

Worse, the Attorney General of the United States has gone on record as stating that Due Process is not Judicial Process.  Can you spell "Star Chamber?"  Star Chambers were originally to ensure that no one was above the law but the were held in secret without the ability to confront the witnesses against you.  Surprise, surprise!  They became a means to attack your enemies in secret without allowing them any recourse.  Seriously, do you really trust a group of people dependent upon the good will of the King to tell him what he can and cannot do?  Seriously?

A lot of this is being done to protect us during the "war on terror" but the President has told us the "war on terror" is over.  The thing is, no matter how pure the motives of the person this power is given to, it will eventually be in the hands of someone without pure motives who will use it for his own ends to gain power or punish his enemies.  All they have to do is label their victims "terrorists."  Not worried?  Anyone who has more than a weeks worth of food, who is a veteran, who wants to see the Constitution preserved, who doesn't like Obama, or pays for coffee with cash has already been labeled a "domestic terrorist" by the head of Homeland Security.  (is it just me or does that name seem like it should be part of the old Soviet Union?)  Southern Poverty Law Center labels anyone who isn't far left a "hate group."

Not worried because you are a liberal?  Do you honestly think a Republican will never again be elected as president?  Tell me that you would have liked either of the Bushes with this power.  Just remember, any power that you wouldn't give to Hitler you shouldn't give to Mother Teresa. 

Gunz & Grabbers

The gun grabbers have succeeded in virtually stopping the sales of scary rifles and what they call high capacity magazines (we would call them normal) in exactly one week.  This doesn't necessarily mean that they have won a complete victory.

Sales have stopped because there is nothing left to sell.  There are no more rifles available except in small isolated pockets, no magazines and no ammunition.  Not just the "assault weapon" ammunition but even ammo for handguns.   Every source online is showing out of stock and when I called the local pawn shop to inquire they laughed out loud at me.  At least one online marketer announced that they had sold over a months worth of inventory in less than one week and they will be working solid through Christmas eve to get their orders shipped.

I have been informed that the NICS background check phone lines have been swamped and that it has taken an extraordinary length of time to get through to clear sales.  

Now the scalpers are out and about.  Ammunition that sold 20 rounds for $5 a week ago is  being hawked for $2 per round.  Evil black rifles that sold for $900 the Thursday before the school shooting are now being offered for $2500.  Even rifles like the SKS that weren't considered "assault weapons" have more than doubled in price.  While entrepreneurship is the American way, these are not our people.

Sadly, this is going to continue until we know how this attack on our rights will end.  Every scary rifle, every normal capacity  magazine, every round of ammo that will fit them, every popular handgun and ammo to fit them will fly off the shelves at inflated prices for the foreseeable future.  No matter how much the manufacturers increase production they won't be able to keep up with demand.  I doubt that the manufacturers will invest in infrastructure for increased capacity in these uncertain times but I have no doubts that they will put on extra workers and add additional shifts to garner what profits they can in case their time is limited.  We have seen stores ration ammo purchases in the past and I am sure we will again.

So I have to ask the pro-crime faction, "Was this what you really intended?"  Yes, you temporarily stopped sales and you did raise prices.  You also have gained the NRA 8000 new members every day.  How many new paying members did you gain?  Every purchase, every new membership, was made by someone that hates you and your vision of our future.  

Oh, but you use the "H" word.  You are a hater.  Yes, yes I am.  I hate people who think the God they don't believe in magically endowed them with the ability to manage my life better than I can manage it myself. I hate the fact that they ignore facts because they "feel" like those facts shouldn't be true.  I hate that they want to deprive me of my rights for an experiment that has been proven to be unworkable.
Eat your hearts out -- Lots of people have grandkids but these are mine and they are more adorable than anyone else's.

Random Update

mygrips2I am on call this weekend.  Actually, I am on call until next Friday at 12:01 am.  We have no maintenance going on because of Christmas (not the "holidays" or the "Sparkling Season" but Christmas.  If you don't like the real reason for Christmas, don't celebrate it.) except for one major move in the wee hours of Tuesday morning.  Don't ask me how that slipped through.  I have to work Monday through Thursday and then I am off for the rest of the year.  YEA!!!!!

Christmas is coming!  It isn't the thrill it was when I was younger and hasn't been since Santa started sending me the bills.  Actually, that's wrong.  It is a thrill but not for the presents.  I will have all my children together for a short time, will get to play jungle jim with my grandkids and a great time will be had by all.

I have been playing with my iPad.  This picture was taken with it.  I am not yet willing to give up my laptop like my wife but I can do more and more with it as time goes by.  They cost more than some laptops but they sure are fun.  I can cruise the interwebs, play music, watch movies and tv, do email and take pictures.  Very handy.  I still listen to books on the Kindle on the way to and from work though.
So Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

The Portable Reloading Machine of Joy

I have less room than I would like so I have created a portable platform. As you can see it holds 2 presses, a powder measure and I believe it has room for the shotgun press.  It can be locked down for stability but can be rolled out of the way for storage.

I now need to create some storage for the tools & gizmos &gadgets necessary for reloading,  I have some more bins which will go under the shelf.

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPad.



girlsThis is part of why I am thankful.  How often do you get relegated to the role of jungle gym for two little girls as cute as this?  They are truly adorable and very self assured.  I just pity my son when they have another 10 years or so. 

I am also thankful that the Thanksgiving mantle has fallen to my son.  My wife excels at holiday but the rest of us get a little tense when she does. 

I am thankful that we still have at least one check left in our government in the house of representatives.  The media has exchanged its watchdog role for that of public relations firm for our current regime. 

I am thankful that I still have a job and a paycheck.  Whatever else is happening I am getting paid.

I am thankful for my family.  My children are wonderful, their wives are everything I could have asked the Lord for for them, and my grandchildren are the things dreams are made of.  Not too fond of the grandcats but then I don't have to live with them.

In other news, I am now the proud possessor of an iPad 4.  It has a learning curve but it is a fun toy.  The wife loves hers and has basically abandoned her laptop for it.  No, not basically, she has abandoned it.  My son got me a good deal on it and I am learning.  There are still a few things the Kindle Fire does better like Kindle books and Audible.com books but since it was designed from the ground up for those, it should.  The iPad excels for wiki wandering though and that is a lot of what I do.  I think I need a bluetooth keyboard for it and then it will be almost perfect.

A Matter of Size

primers  I mentioned that I have gotten back into reloading after many many years.  One thing that has amazed me is how different some things look now.  Here you see two boxes of 1000 primers.  The CCI packaging is old school.  The Federals are the new packaging.  You can't get a really good perspective on length but the Federal is almost twice as long as the CCI and overall the Federal is about 8 times as large as the CCI for the same number of primers.  Whats with that?

Other than taking up way more room the packaging also makes it difficult to load the primers into the tools for aligning the primers properly.  Regardless of what method you use to put the primers into the brass they must all be facing the same way up.  All my primer flipper tools are made for smaller packaging than that you see here. 

Letter to a friend's son

One of my co-workers and good friend's son found a 30-06 shell and since his father had told him I reload he sent it to me to reload.  I wrote him the following letter of thanks.

Dear Santos,

220px-Reload_Cartridge_Example_3Thank you for the shell casing that you gave me. I am going to reload it and use it in my rifle.

There are four components needed for a cartridge which is what you call the complete round used in a fire arm. These are the bullet or the part that goes down the barrel of the gun and hits the target, the powder that makes the bullet go, the shell casing that holds all the pieces and the primer that lights the powder. You can see these parts in the picture to the left. All the parts except the shell casing are used up when the round is fired. The shell casing can be used up to 20 times before it wears out.

The shell casing stretches when it is fired so the first thing I will do is use a die and a press to squeeze it back to the size that it was when it was new and remove the old primer. Then I will put a new primer into the casing and add new powder. Then I will put in a new bullet and crimp the case so the bullet doesn't fall out. Then the round will be ready to use.

The shell you gave me says L C 7 2 on the bottom around the primer. This indicates that it came from the Lake City Army Ammunition plant in Missouri in 1972. It was originally made to be used by our military, probably for the war in Viet Nam. It would have been used either in a sniper rifle or in a machine gun mounted on a tank or armored personnel carrier.

The shell is a 30-06 which means that it is 30 caliber and was first used by the Army in 1906 about 106 years ago. About 125 years ago all ammunition used black powder. Black powder had a number of limitations that made it less than perfect for firearms. First, after firing 2 shots the shooter was enveloped in a thick cloud of smoke and couldn't see what he was shooting at. If he was shooting at someone who was shooting back neither of them could see the other. Another problem with black powder was that it was very dirty and after a number of shots the gun would be so clogged with soot it couldn't fire anymore. The only way to make a round more powerful was to make it bigger and heavier and to use a longer barrel.

In 1885 militaries around the world started to experiment with smokeless powder. Smokeless powder allowed bullets to go faster than black powder did because they allowed a slower explosion of powder that lasted longer. If black powder went boom then smokeless powder went boooooommm.

The reason that is is important is that bullets, even when shot from a rifle, fall to the ground. If you were able to simultaneously drop a bullet and fire one from a rifle, they would both hit the ground at the same instant. When a bullet is fired it doesn't fly in a flat line but instead travels in a arc like a football. A bullet that goes faster will go further before it hits the ground that on that goes slow. So the arc will be longer and flatter.

Black powder bullets generally do not go faster than 2000 feet per second or 1363 miles an hour. The 30-06 goes about 2800 feet per second or 1909 miles an hour. That is almost 50% faster and so it shoots flatter.

Initially when the United States decided that we should get rifles that shot smokeless powder we got rifles that were close to what we used with black powder. We bought rifles called Krags, invented in Norway, that shot a 30-40 round. The 30 stood for the caliber and the 40 stood for 40 grains of powder to drive the bullet. To give you a reference there are 7000 grains in a pound.

In 1898 we got in a war with the Spanish in Cuba. We had our 30-40 Krags and the Spanish soldiers had model 1893 Mausers firing 7x57 Mauser rounds. Their rifles were much better than ours because they could shoot much farther and we could only load one round at a time while they could load 5 at once. We won the war but we decided that we really wanted rifles like theirs, only better. So we copied the improved model 1898 Mauser and called it the 1903 Springfield. The 30-06 round was designed for the 1903 Springfield and we used it from 1906 until the 1980s in our military. I know what you're thinking. If they made the Springfield rifle in 1903 and they didn't make the 30-06 until 1906 what did they use for 3 years? They had the 30-03 cartridge which wasn't very good because Generals who had used black powder all their careers told the makers how they wanted the round made. After their round proved be be not very good they said “Whatever!!” and let the engineers build a good round.


This is a 1903 Springfield

After World War One a number of the soldiers brought their rifles home with them and used them for hunting. The rifle and the 30-06 round were so good that the 30-06 remains one of the most popular hunting rounds today. Personally, I think your dad should buy one and take you deer hunting. I would if you were my kid. If you do talk him into it, I will teach you how to reload your own ammunition.

starwars 002

This is my hunting rifle. I have had it for a very long time and like me, it is old but still works great. It is based on the 1898 Mauser that we copied to make the 1903 Springfield.

Thanks again,

A Hot Topic

I saw this stove in an article I read and that led me to a youtube video of it in action.  It burns twigs and branches and also burns the wood gas created by the burning wood.  Really quite impressive.  When it is done there is nothing left but ashes, no mostly burned wood or the normal residue of a fire.  The only problem is that this is a pricey toy for what it is.  Being of a cheap frugal nature I passed on the opportunity to purchase one since I am not a big backpacker.

Then I stumbled upon another article where a diy version was created.  Hey!  I can do diy when it saves money.  So I purchased a quart paint can, emptied a pineapple chunks can and a canned meat can and dug out my unibit and tin snips.  The result is pictured below.  It seems to work as well as the commercial one at a considerable savings.