26 February 2012


A while back I wrote a post on Terrain Analysis.  If you happen to be a maneuver officer assigned to a vehicular based organization, the first O in OAKOC would be "Obstacles". 

Obstacles are "neutral" on the battlefield.  Anything that makes it hard for the enemy to get in makes it hard for you to get out.  Obstacles come in two flavors, existing and reinforcing.  Existing obstacles are anything that was there when you got there, and this can include buildings, bridges, canals, roadways, or muddy plowed fields.  Reinforcing obstacles are what either you or the enemy put there after someone decided to have a fight.  Make no mistake, putting up obstacles means you are fighting, even if the other side might not know it just yet.

Obstacles are key to an "aggressive defense" and can be a huge combat power multiplier.

Minefields are the very definition of "dumb bombs" and there is a very good moral argument to removing them from the arsenals of world powers.  But on a smaller scale, things like tank ditches, nine strand concertina, barb wire fences, vehicle caltrops, abatis, and spike strips all have utility for a defender seeking to delay an attacker or canalize movement.

To get smart on obstacles, you don't need to know what the obstacle IS, but what the obstacle is INTENDED TO DO.  Let me say that in a different way, because this is important.  Obstacles exist to get the enemy to do some sort of action.  The two most common effects is to SLOW MOVEMENT or to DETOUR MOVEMENT into a course of action desirable to the ones who laid the obstacle.

Think about that, a tank ditch won't STOP a tank, but it will slow it down significantly while the tank digs itself out by going back and forth to collapse the sides of the ditch into a traversable slope.  If you are going to SLOW the enemy somewhere, WHY are you doing that, WHAT TACTICAL advantage does slowing the enemy at a certain time or place give you?

Lets think about it, either you have slowed the enemies advance out of a kill zone, or you have given yourself more time to unass your position before it is over run.

If you want to control where the enemy is moving, maybe it is so that you can channel him into a kill zone. 

A while back I wrote about the War Fighting Functions.  Obstacles are one way to negate an enemy advantage in Movement and Maneuver, or enhance your own advantage in M2.  You figure out what you WANT to achieve, then you consult your handy engineering manual and try to figure out if you have time and resources to create an obstacle that will make the enemy do what you want.  If you are lucky enough to have a Sapper handy with an FM 5-34 he can look up the data right quick and give you work/time/resources estimate.

If you don't have a Sapper handy, and have limited resources, then you need to get smart in a hurry on your terrain.  Because even though it feels like there are a gajillion IEDs in Afghanistan, the truth is that they enemy only places them where they know ISAF will roll.  It takes a lot of precious resources to make bombs, and so they are emplaced with plenty of forethought into the effect desired.

Lastly, obstacles that work on dismounted troops such as a tanglefoot, would do nothing against a tank.  A tank ditch does nothing to slow dismounted infantry.  You need to know what is coming at you in order to plan a good defense with integrated obstacles.   That open muddy field won't stop either tanks or infantry, but a standard issue Detroit SUV might get stuck pretty quick.  Maybe that's why so many Police Agencies are being fielded M113s?

25 February 2012

Load workup

Today I checked out the local range on the installation.  I like it better than Knob Creek because 1, it is much closer, and 2, I don't have to deal with gun store commando smugness that seems to permeate Knob Creek.

The downside is that the range hours are limited, but on the plus side they seem to be limited to work in conjunction with my work schedule, at least as far as the weekends go.  Today I tested out the first iteration of my 75gr HPBT load in my AR.  25 grains of Alliant Power Pro 2000-MR powder and a Wolf 5.56 primer.  Brass ranged from Lake City of various years to Federal, Remington, Winchester, to PMC.

The top left is my initial safety test, one round from as many headstamps as I had with me, sitting at the bench, no sling, no sandbags. 

Top right is another test of mixed headstamps (8 rounds total), but with me slung up from the bench (no sandbags).  One inch horizontal spread, one inch vertical including the flyer.  This is about as good as I normally do with a 5 shot group from an issue weapon, but this group holds 60% more impacts than normal.

Bottom right is a 5 shot group of one headstamp, LC07 which I have the most of, so it will likely become my 600 yard segregated load.  Fully slung up from the bench.

Bottom left is 5 shots of Federal brass.  The group opened up, could have been my eyes watering, could have been that the wind was blowing snow in my eyes.  Fully slung from the bench.  I'll repeat this test, but put the Federal brass earlier in the test.

The center group was standing practice for me.  10 shots from the magazine instead of single loading.  By this point I was getting a might cold and ready to call it quits.  2 inches horizontal spread, but a shameful 4 inches of vertical spread.  In my defense I was really freaking cold at this point.

Now these aren't impressive groups by any stretch of the imagination, about the same size as M855 ammo gives me, about 4 minutes of accuracy at 25 meters.  On the flip side of that, I don't normally shoot in the driving snow, and I didn't try to shoot further than 25.  Hopefully next weekend will be a tad warmer (even though 2000-MR is considered "temp stable" I'd like to test performance at 60 or more degrees F. 

Now having shot a High Power Match with M855 I can say that the groups open up quite a bit at the 600 yard line using milspec ammo.  At 200 yards it doesn't matter so much as a good shooter can clean the stage with M855.  The 25 meter testing is to test safety and let me get an initial zero and ensure that the ammo is consistent enough to push back to realistic distances.

Anyways, I have enough of a positive response in terms of safety and accuracy with this load to start stretching its legs a bit to see if groups improve at further distances.  I'll have to use sandbags and an optic to really get a feel for what the load will do at distance, but 4 MOA at 25 says more about me as a shooter than any ammo I've ever tested from any platform.  Even when I was loading up 308 I couldn't get much better than 4 MOA at 25.  However at 100 I could get 1 MOA, which means I need to slow down and quit rushing the shot. 

Upside to shooting in the cold?  The range was largely empty, and the folks who were shooting were largely doing load workups.  So plenty of good stuff to talk about between strings with the one other guy out there.

24 February 2012

Croak and GoUnder: It's A Trap!

I visited the site that shall not be linked, and I specifically looked for their license.

Their "creative commons" license specifically says I have to link back to them.  So here goes h t t p : / / s m o k e a n d t h u n d e r . c o m / is the source of the following text.  Let them pay their lawyer or waste the time to get me to give them a proper link or take this post down.  But the internet is forever.  I purposely edited the HTML coding so that there are no "hidden" links back to The Site that Will Not Be Linked.
This week, Smoke & Thunder has been intentionally making a fool of itself and trolling a few gun blogs such as @sayuncle, @barron, and @gunfreezone to prove a point… that many well-meaning gun blogs and well-meaning gun websites actually serve as a powerful deterrent to gun ownership among newbies and young people.
Translation. We acted like dicks to make people say we were acting like dicks so that we could say they are meanies.
Why, you ask, does Smoke & Thunder feel strongly that many gun blogs and gun websites are a powerful deterrent to gun ownership? That’s an easy question to answer… because many newbies and young people simply can’t help but to think that if they purchase a gun, they’ll end up like Barron and many (but not all) of the rock-star gun bloggers and snarky gun blog commenters out there.
Translation: We FEEL about things and don't think about them. And we are jealous of Barron so we'll make our own sight. Then troll his for link hits. More link hits means more advertising dollars.  Wah wah wah, we are whiny little bitches trying to suck success off of smarter and more talented people.
Gun ownership already has a powerfully negative image associated with it thanks to Hollywood, the mainstream media, the vile VPC, and so many other open-air purveyors or gun hate and disinformation. Many potential gun owners put off buying a gun because they can’t help but to think that by simply owning a gun, they will slowly but surely turn into one of the stereotypes presented… rabid gun fanatic, silly survivalist, militia madman or madwoman, snarky gun blog publisher, and so on. If you think many otherwise well-meaning gun blogs don’t present newbies with the same kind of negative reinforcement that Hollywood and the VPC does, you are kidding yourself or just not really considering it as a possibility.
Translation:  We don't pay attention to "The Talk" on BlueBloods starring the ever dreamy Tom Selleck, nor do we pay attention to all the gun myths busted on Mythbusters.  We are so mentally deficient that "Survival Preppers" is a reality show getting good reviews and busting stereotypes.  Nor do we consider the support the gun community has given Emily as she tries to get through the DC Labyrinth of regulation.  To sum up our position, we don't have any functioning brain cells to rub together.

When a potential new gun owner (i.e. young person) begins to see through the false stereotypes and misinformation about gun owners and gun ownership that have been foisted upon them, the first thing they often to is look up gun blogs on the internet for an alternative view. Unfortunately, many well-meaning gun blogs don’t really provide an alternative view or present the alternative view as an afterthought. Instead of welcoming the potential new gun owner, the newbie or young person is caught like a deer in headlights. He or she is presented with complex gun reviews, technical jargon, political rants, survivalist scribblings, 2nd Amendment screeching, and the same kind of hate and disdain for the anti-gun crowd as the anti-gun crowd has for gun people. Throw in the endless snarky comments and the glaring lack of a true social networking platform for gun people and guess what? The potential gun owner takes a deep breath, pushes the keyboard back, and decides to forego buying a gun, lest he or she become another stereotypical gun owner owner, whatever that stereotype may be.
Translation: We are magical psychic mind readers who know exactly what a potential new gun owner wants. We know exactly what it is like to be female a victim of violent attack, or an inner city youth who first learned to shoot an M4 in Basic Combat Training and think that the 5.56 is deadly because it tumbles, and we don't think that "alternative" is getting enough attention. Because that 9mm vs 40 argument didn't go our way at TheFiringLine last time.

Also, we suck at snark and are jealous of Tam. So instead of embracing a culture that embraces new shooters, we are going to call them names. Seriously we are afraid of strong and independent women librarians who inspire other women to take charge of their own security and retire their blog.

I did mention that they claim to know what other people think right? That defies all rules of logic.  But then again, those who would be our masters also think they know what is best for us, no matter what we have to say about their plans.
Smoke & Thunder aims to create a space where confusing technical jargon about guns and stereotypes about gun people don’t exist, or is at least, easy to minimize and avoid. True social networking sites allows for this, because unlike blogs that mostly lock readers into whatever material and point of view they purvey, social network users are free to associate with whomever appeals to them, block whomever doesn’t, and read and follow only what appeals to them.
Translation: Smoke and Thunder misses the mark. Completely. Seriously an article about a 203mm artillery piece prominently displayed on your opening page is “creating a space where technical jargon and stereotypes about gun people don't exist”? Cause that is what every “potential new gun owner” needs, a fucking history lesson in antiquated self propelled indirect fire systems.
The parody and trolling will end shortly, once Smoke & Thunder has finished researching what it already knows about the gun blogoshpere, makes a few friends, and moves on to further site development.
Translation: "finishes researching what it already knows about the blogosphere" means that they didn't need to do research now did they? It means they are trying to rely on gimmicks to get other people to do their work for them.

Further translation: “Makes new friends” = insult everyone but those asswipes over at TTAG. I don't remember stopping by TTAG in the last decade (that is me controlling the content I listen to, I don't need Croak and Go Under to do it for me, or for anyone else).

Yet still further translation: Moves on to further site development = make a last ditch effort to pull our collective heads out of our asses and beg for people who actually create content to come and and post this sort of screed on our site.

Final Thoughts: I have a certain place in my heart for trolls. So far in every trolling match Croak and GoUnder soundly lost to the people they went up against. I don't think that the folks that Croak and GoUnder created “user profiles” for are going to claim them any time soon, and I think that because there ARE so many choices out there that creating a “one stop shop” so to speak is not going to happen. Amazon.com works now because it was there in the beginning and it has grown. Ebay is in the same boat. Blogger, Wordpress, and even folks like Linoge or Oleg who have their own domains have been around for forever in the internet as far as “most potential new gun owners” might be concerned. Hell I remember the days of a 256 baud external modem that connected to a Commodore 64. Google, Twitter, Facebook, none of these are going to be displaced by “Croak and GoUnder.”

Now I am not really a “gun blogger” so much as a monologue of random crap that crosses my mind. Here are AmericanMercenary I've blogged on gas laws and Global Warming, Global Cooling, Climate Change, generic prescription drugs, civil liberties, guerrilla warfare, Iraq, Afghanistan, Ranger school, conventional military tactics, military history, old military rifles, new military rifles.

Right now Croak and GoUnder has the reputation of being a misogynistic parasite on the very loosely knit gun community. Considering that our community really does support more than just the 2nd Amendment (we are fans of the entire Bill of Rights) the heavy hand of “admin moderation” will not lay easy on those unfortunate souls who fall prey to the Croak and GoUnder trap.

23 February 2012


Sometime in the last week or so my hit counter passed the quarter million mark.  Thanks for reading.  Here's hoping for another four years of blogging.  Since my blog doesn't have much in the way of eye candy and my posts tend for the wordy, I'm grateful that people take the time to read them.

Ya'll have a good day.

22 February 2012

Terrain, what is obvious and what is not obvious.

Terrain is not just mountains streams and valleys.  Those are important, but modern warfare has taken on dimensions beyond simple time and space.

Physical terrain.

In Afghanistan high mountain roads with steep sides made going through them without some sort of aerial platform providing covering fires a dicey proposition at best.  However those pieces of canalizing terrain were well known.

Alternately the bad guys would like to hump a Dshka heavy machine gun halfway up some otherwise unremarkable hill and set up a long range ambush to take pot shots at the ISAF patrols 700 or 800 or more meters away before leisurely moving to the backside of the hill and out of line of site. 

So because we know the effects of canalizing terrain, and smart leaders wouldn't go through it without at least an OH-58 Scout team covering their topside we didn't see attacks in canalizing terrain.  Since there is never enough aerial assets to go around, those long range attacks were more common, in addition to the ever present IED threat.

Information terrain.

Now the bad guys weren't particularly effective at long range.  Frankly they suck at it.  But they get lucky enough every once in a while to kill someone or destroy a vehicle.  And by doing so they gain propaganda points.  Those little jerks will do anything to gain propaganda points.  The guys like to go into an abandoned base and filmed some propaganda to show that they had "driven out the infidels."  Expect to see more COPs and FOBs bulldozed flat instead of left standing simply to deny the enemy a propaganda opportunity.

Your tax dollars at work, build a base in the middle of nowhere, occupy it with armed teenagers lacking adult supervision, bulldoze it flat when they leave and there isn't anyone else to use that facility. 


The Bad Guys know that they will get their asses handed to them in a stand up fight.  So they generally try to avoid a stand up fight, although if they can mass fighters against a remote outpost they will try to pick that low hanging fruit just to keep the propaganda war going.

Human terrain.

In Iraq the civilian populace decided that it was done supporting the insurgency, and within a year the country settled down to a dull roar.  In Afghanistan it will take much longer.  Iraq is three main groups, Sunni, Shia, and Kurd, with a much larger number of tribes.  But compared to Afghanistan Iraq seems positively a monolithic culture. 

Spiritual terrain.

The bad guys truly believe they have God on their side.  And they have enough people who believe that what they do is either right with God, or permitted by his prophet, that the population often has passive tolerance for the bad guys. 

Economic terrain.

The bad guys are usually poor people being exploited by rich people.  However if you have enough money to make a "Bak sheesh" or "gift" to the right official you can smuggle pretty much anything through the border.  This is actually one sector where the Afghans do appreciate ISAF as the Sugar Daddy keeps the good times rolling.  And the bad guys can tap into that money stream through various ways.  If you have time, googling "US funds end up in Taliban" is an interesting way to lose a few hours of your life.

Time, not exactly terrain but certainly its own dimension of warfare.  Insurgents will trade space for time, and trade time for the hearts of the people.

The bad guys are in it for the long haul.  I couldn't tell you how long America will be in it. 

In conclusion, when you add up all the various aspects of "terrain" you can see why a small group of goat molesters can be a thorn in the side of a superpower.  They don't have to win on the ground to win on the internet.  They don't have to win on the internet to corrupt the people we are trying to help.  They don't need to corrupt the people we are trying to help in order to take pot shots at infidels.  But they do all those things because it advances their cause on as many fronts as they can in order to press the attack.

It is something to think about anyways.

21 February 2012

Anonymous gets all religiony on me.

Anonymous comments will likely be mocked is clear on the rules of this blog, so here we go.

twilight? never saw it, never will.
Spend some time in the Bible and you will see that porn is just lust fulfillment and it's a sin.
How about this: a man wants to eat steak every night but all he gets is hot dogs, so he goes out and finds a woman who will cook him steak. Too bad he doesn't provide his wife with the steak to cook, he only brings home hot dogs and gets mad at her for not cooking up some steak. THAT makes about as much sense as you saying he has to use porn.
Be a man and provide for your family and then enjoy all they give back to you. Or be happy with your hot dogs.
Now, first off, "spending some time in the Bible" is what brought me to opinion I hold, you sanctimonious asshat.  In the beginning God created woman to be with man.  God made woman's form pleasing to man.  The word "desire" is synonymous with "lust" but doesn't bring up negative connotations.  So if a man desires a woman then he is exactly as God created him to be.  The Bible is quite clear that a wife's body is the property of the husband.  Not very liberating is it?  If you want a biblical marriage you are about 2000 years and one women's rights movement too late.

Let me explain this in simple words so Anonymous can follow.  Relationships are about giving something up to get something in return.  A relationship is not a Man going to work, coming home, cooking dinner, giving his wife a foot massage, reading her poetry while pouring her wine, and then being satisfied with a quicky where she lays there looking bored because she just doesn't feel into it that night.  A husband may be a role of servitude, but it is not the role of a servant.  Accepting that your spouses needs matter is the first step in fulfilling those needs.  Any man who thinks that his wife is a servant is sorely deluded.  Narcissists believe other people are there only to be used by the Narcissist, and that is not healthy.  Anyone wonder why a certain someone is famous for taking vacations that leaves her husband behind?

If a woman is unhappy in her relationship the key to fixing that problem isn't to cut off her husbands number one source of love and somehow hope he magically develops mind reading skills to figure out what the fuck is the matter.  Relationships take work, engagement, not disengagement.  When one party disengages that leaves two people saying "I don't trust you to fulfill my needs."  And when two people don't trust each other to fulfill each other, they decide to fulfill their needs on their own.  She'll get her emotional connection from her friends and romance novels, and he'll get his physical needs fulfilled from porn. 

"Be a man provide for your family and enjoy all they give back to you" sounds suspiciously like "Be exploited and like it you jackass."  That isn't being a leader, that isn't taking responsibility for yourself, that is choosing to be a stupid victim.  Why would any individual do that to themselves?

And seriously, to those that think that men don't need porn, damn straight.  We don't need PlayStations either.  Hell we don't need jobs, don't need families, don't need physical possessions or relationships.  But it ain't much of a life.  The sales of porn and PlayStations tell us that more men than not consider sex and distraction a key ingredient in their well being.

20 February 2012

The continuing abuse of men in popular culture.


Hat tip to Labrat and Stingray.  What follows is likely to piss some people off either way, but especially if you are a woman.

If a man wrote a book, "Put on your big girl panties: How the rise of feminism has turned women into whiny bitches" it would be universally condemned as a misogynist work and the second version of "Mein Kampf" or some other piece of crap manifesto for subjugating an entire people.

It is just as insulting for a woman to write "Manning Up: how the rise of women has turned men into boys" as if it were anything but big "fuck you" to those of us with a Y chromosome.  Someone with complete intellectual honesty would not speak for someone of the opposite sex.  Research has continually reinforced that there are differences in how men and women think, neuroscience has come a long way in the last two decades.

There is a rising population of women in First World Countries who are staying single rather than marrying.  It isn't that there is a lack of men, it is that there is a lack of men who meet their impossible to meet standards.  If men only married rich young dumb nymphomaniacs there would be a distinct lack of marriages in the world, and if women only married handsome intelligent philanthropists (or sparkly vampires) marriages would be in the single digits.  Modern women have the choice that men have always had "take it or leave it."  And I support anyone who decides they are better off single than in a relationship that doesn't work for them and the partner they chose.

I can't speak for women, I don't know how even one woman thinks and I've been married to her for nine  years come next month.  However, I do have some observations.  What follows are gross generalizations and I am very glad that there are exceptions to the rule. 

1. Women care a lot about what "other people" think. (extrovert)
2. Women are addicted to drama, which is why "Twilight" did so well.  (extrovert)
3. Men don't care a lot about what "other people" think (introvert)
4. Men don't care for drama. (introvert)
5. Communication and "getting me" is the most important aspect of a relationship for a woman. (emotional connection)
6. Sex is the most important aspect of a relationship for a man. (physical connection)

So, when a man decides to have a relationship with a woman, often it really isn't just a relationship with her, it is a relationship with her and her friends and her family and her coworkers and so forth and so on because she really cares what they do and think and say.  That is a LOT of work for a man, and a PS3 is a lot more interesting than "Betty told Sarah told Julie told Martha" stories that she doesn't want your input on, she just wants you to listen.  If a woman doesn't reward her man for being a good listener he won't give a crap about being a good listener.  This is a very draining activity for men.  While this is the most important activity for women, being a good listener seldom leads to sexual gratification for the man.  If a woman makes it too hard to get sex, he will find it elsewhere.  I don't care what religion, what he vowed, if he isn't getting it from you he is getting sexual gratification somewhere.  If you are lucky is it just internet porn and not a random hookup or sex worker.

If a man wants a long term relationship with a woman, he has to give some things up.  For years the "standard model" of relationships let people know what was expected of them.  Society changes, a very large portion of women abandon old models of behavior, new models are replacing them.  When a man enters a monogamous relationship he is saying "I am trusting you to meet my needs."  More and more people are rejecting the idea that only one person can meet all their needs, and so words like polyamory, "open marriages" and polygamy are entering the norm.  Women can't get all liberated, change the rules, then be astonished that men are changing right along with them.

Why is it that the American Christian Male is having such a struggle with pornography (if you aren't familiar with Promise Keepers and "Every Man's Battle" then you haven't been paying attention)?  It is because American Christian Women won't fuck their husbands like a pornstar and satisfy his need to feel like an alpha male super stud.  Porn isn't about men abusing women, it is about men watching women enjoy sex (there are plenty of exceptions to this rule).  The fantasy is that a woman gets so turned on that she can't help herself, she needs to be fucked now, and needs a man now.  Contrary to what women may think, just laying there isn't a turn on.  For centuries women have been told that "sex is dirty" and we haven't been able to shake that stigma and allow women to enjoy all the benefits of sex in marriage.   When a women's bible study group can really tackle "The Song of Solomon" and understand that getting all "slutted up" for her husband is perfectly acceptable to God then we'll see Christian Men stop using pornography to fulfill his sexual needs.

As long as women feel dirty or ashamed about sex and view male sexual needs as sinful and deviant there will be issues with pornography in Christian culture.  For a Church that celebrates families we sure gloss over where babies come from.

Men are pretty simple creatures, we want comfort from a relationship.  We want a reason to get up every morning and feel good about going to work to earn a paycheck.  We enjoy being providers because it reinforces traditional masculinity, and even in todays liberated world men are largely stoic and traditional.  The ones who aren't stoic and traditional are the ones that sexists are calling "boys" because they play by the same rules that the girls get to play by.  A liberated modern woman who wants a traditional masculine man is someone who wants it all.  You can't have it all.

If your boyfriend finds PS3 and internet porn more attractive than you, is that his fault or yours?  How much effort are you putting in to being attractive to your man?  On the flip side, are you putting more effort into looking good for strangers and caring more about what other people think than looking good for your partner and what he thinks?  If a woman responds "well he should just love me as I am" is the height of idiocy, of course he loves you as you are, but going through the effort to fulfill him lets you know that you love him back.  Loving someone doesn't mean ignoring their needs and expecting them to fulfill yours.

But even more corrosive than unrealistic expectations between two people is the corrosive effect of unrealistic expectations of other people (aka Drama).  When a woman bases her actions on what "the world" or her coworkers or her boss thinks then she is bringing all of them, and all their baggage, into that relationship.  Women can believe that someone said "X" and really meant "Y" because "she just knows" or "there was something funny about her tone."  Women talk a lot about "what they really meant" instead of listening to what someone actually said.  If you want a close, private, intense relationship you need to block the world out.  There isn't room in a two person relationship for everyone else. 

Relationships are about giving up something to get something.  You can't have it all.  Your partner will not be perfect, and expecting perfection means missing out on the "imperfect but awesome" that happens.  If a woman wants to be in a relationship with a man, she has to recognize that she has to compete with PlayStation and internet porn.  Learning how to screw like a porn star might be key to keeping him satisfied (Heinlein wrote something about a lady taking off her dignity with her clothes and doing her whorish best).  Learning how to put down the controller and let her just talk to get a bunch of crap off her chest is something he can learn to do.  If you give him a reality that competes with the escapist fantasy he might choose reality more often.

I stay married to my wife through good luck to marry a stubborn woman, by constantly reminding myself that I have to be better than my competition (someone will fulfill her need to communicate if I don't do it) and constantly checking up on how we are doing as a couple.  Relationships are work, and ladies, if you don't make the work worth the reward, men will look at that and leave.  PlayStation escapism is a lot more fun.

And finally, everything I wrote only applies to what I have observed.  Not all women are extroverts, and not all men are introverts.  Everyone is an individual and the key to a fulfilling a relationship with anyone is learning all about their individuality.  But that takes work, and some drama addicts would rather pay attention to other people's relationships (The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, The Ring, Rock of Love, Daisy of Love, etc) than work on their own relationships.  On the flip side some introverts are unwilling to put down the controller of their fantasy world where they are a super hero alpha male (WoW, Call of Duty, Metal Gear, Halo, Resident Evil, Gran Tourismo, etc) and deal with learning how to be an alpha male in real life with their relationships.

My final thought.  Our current society sells girls the fiction of "Twilight" and hands little boys a PSP and some people are amazed that relationships are not what they used to be?  This is my shocked face.

Economy of Force

Economy of force doesn't mean using the bare minimum to get the job done, it means using enough to ensure the job gets done without being wasteful.  As cool as it is to take out a lone bad guy with an AK with a 500 pound JDAM it isn't cost effective.

In Desert Storm the number one killer of Iraqi Tanks was not American Tanks, it was Apache Helicopters.  So what did the US Army plan to do with that lesson learned?  Upgrade the M1 and ensure that we had plenty of tanks on hand.  Now people are saying "What?" if they are logical.  Obviously if we killed more enemy tanks with helicopters we should be buying more and better helicopters right?  Yup, you bet.

Until it comes time to fight in a sandstorm, or protect an armored column that rolls up into an Iraqi formation like at the Battle of 73 Easting.  It isn't about having the "best" weapon, it's about having the "best mix" of weapons.  Even the M2 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle killed more enemy tanks than the M1 Abrams in Desert Storm.  Once again the rules of logic are saying that we should buy more Bradleys, right?

Anyways, trying to explain this to folks who control our budget is sometimes like explaining rocket science to a botanist.  The people in power are often smart individually, but not experts in the field of warfare.  Right now we have fewer experts in warfare in our civilian leadership than at any previous point.  This explains some of the ham fisted diplomacy going on, and it also explains why the Defense budget is being gutted (some of which is completely necessary gutting of money pit pork projects) while rattling sabers at Iran and Syria.

But what does "economy of force" mean to four guys with rifles, pistols, and a pickup truck?  The same principles apply, but on a smaller scale.  It means coordinating fire to MASS EFFECTS on their target.  One of the classic examples of a force multiplier is the ambush.  From a prepared position a unit should be able to attack an enemy three times its size.  So our four bubbas should be able to take on a standard Infantry squad no problem right?  Yes, but only if they do some things to actually be in a PREPARED position.  Prepared means that they have cover, concealment, and camouflaged positions, fall back positions, and a withdrawal plan.

People have talked a long time about the "rifleman's ambush" as a tactic for irregular forces to use against an oppressive government occupation.  The term is pretty simple, and the concept is pretty simple, unfortunately the execution is anything but simple.

But here is how it would go down in a perfect world.  Say the Wolverine bubbas are taking on the Cuban Commandos.

First, sectors of fire and priorities of fire.  The bubbas on each flank need to shoot at the first and last enemy infantryman and work their way in.  The two guys in the middle need to have an arranged middle point and work their way towards the flanks from there.  Once a bubba has cleared his sector, he needs to immediately transition to a secondary and help out his neighbor.  The priority of fires should be machine guns (immediate threat), radio men (a delayed threat), and leadership.

What this does is deconflicts so that three bubbas don't all shoot at the point man and give away their position against a highly trained aggressive force.  If every bubba is a good shot, and makes contact with their first shot, they managed to take out the point man, the trail man, a machine gunner, and a radio man.  The infantry squad that started with 9 men is now down to 5 combat effective men.  The second shot we can say will be less effective, so another 4 shots takes out only 2 more men, and the third round of fire takes out one.  In four volleys of fire the communist infantry squad has been reduced from 9 men to 2 men, and the last volley has four bubbas aiming at two bad guys.  Each bubba only fired five shots.

Pretty much every bolt action hunting rifle carries about five shots (unless it is a Magnum caliber, then usually only three).  Four bubbas, four rifles, 5 shots each, 20 rounds total, one enemy squad down.  That is economy of force.  Now, this only works if the Bubbas are trained, proficient, and able to work as a team.

If we assign a different hit probability to each volley then the "rifleman's ambush" would need more ammo, more time, and have a much greater likelihood of failure.  If each volley has a 25% success rate, it would take nine volleys to reduce the enemy squad, which is one reload for our bubbas.  With a 12.5% success rate then only one in eight bullets is effective, meaning our bubbas have to fire 56 bullets to reduce the enemy squad, which means 2 reloads (total of 15 volleys). 

Things to think about.  Marksmanship matters.  Coordination matters.  Time matters, the longer a fight goes on the worse it is for our bubbas.  Terrain really matters, and we didn't talk about it here.  And lastly, the enemy had to be really stupid to get a whole squad in the open at once.  You can't count on the enemy being stupid, so you need a good go to hell plan.

19 February 2012

Gunny goodness

Today I ran my first set of handloads through the M1 Garand.  The new oprod worked I guess, but it wasn't until I got to 47 grains of IMR4064 that there was enough "oomph" to reliably cycle the action.  On the other hand, I forgot my 50 rounds of 75gr HPBT bullets over 2000-MR powder to cycle through my AR, but I went ahead and plinked off some more of my old 68gr HPTB loads.

Sorry for the crappy photo skills, but the above is the in progress M41 Swede Sniper project for the NRA Vintage Sniper Rifle match.  The scope is a Weaver Marksman (same thing as a K4, I'll let the judges disqualify me if needs be) and the mount is a Sarco reproduction.  Other things to note is that the flash suppressor/muzzle brake will be removed and replaced with a muzzle cap, and the rear sight is an M96 sight (not correct for the ammunition the M41s were chosen to shoot, and the other side of the stock is missing the correction plate next to the inspection disk).

So, other than the incorrect; scope, rear sight, muzzle cap, and front sight hood I'm happy with the progress of this project.  Finding a correct M54 or M58 rear sight will be "challenging" to say the least, and even then it will probably have to wait for a barrel change to be installed.

Comparing the Swede to other rifles of the era, the "chin weld" is about the same as that on a Mosin Nagant 91/30 PU Sniper.  I haven't shot a 1903A4 or K98 sniper variant, but I expect that snipers were issued leather cheek pieces for good reason.  Maybe tomorrow I'll get back to the range and take the Swede and my 223 handloads for testing.

17 February 2012

Moral Criminals

In the United States of America being a "convicted felon" means that without a lengthy and expensive appeals process that relies solely on the discretion of the judiciary, one is stripped of their civil rights to vote and posses firearms.

Our legal system starts with the "cop on the street" who can be a "noble public servant" or a petty tyrant.  A bad apple spoils the whole bunch they say, so you can assume that any cop that finds interest in your personal activities will desire to be treated with the deference and bootlicking of their vaunted position.

Once said cop has decided that your attitude is "resisting arrest" or "interfering with the official duties of a Police Officer" because you wouldn't say "Sir or Ma'am" when you finished your sentence and you get put in restraints and taken to the local lock down you get the pleasure of waiting to see the next player in the legal system.  A lawyer if you can afford one, a judge if you can't. 

Now, let us assume that the charges against you are totally trumped up and caught on the cops dashboard camera.  In order for that record to become public you'll either have to go to trial (bad idea) or request it through an FOIA request.  Good luck in either case.

Meanwhile you've lost time at work if you are lucky enough to have a job, and you've been effectively stripped of your rights.  In order to back up the cops the DA will likely try to get you to "plee down" to something more palatable to you, and let the legal system save face, or they will prosecute your ass.

It doesn't take too long in the legal system to destroy someones livelihood and reputation.  Even if they are completely innocent.  Even if the cop in question is completely dirty.  The machine doesn't give a shit.

When laws become immoral, moral men find themselves in prison.  I realize that there is a large gap in my knowledge of prison life, and prison resistance.  I'm pretty sure that if someone dug deep enough into my life I could be charged with something, convicted of something, and end up a "convicted felon" as easily as the next guy.

However, prison is a good way to silence someone.  Prisoners are routinely denied communication with the outside world and if you want to put someone away for political reasons it is as good a place as any right?   With this in mind I expect that there will be more "sting operations" on good people simply to shut them up.

So, does anyone have any good references on how to survive the penal system?  How to organize inside a prison? I'm not sure that my limited SERE training is applicable inside our legal machine. 

14 February 2012

True Believers, the effects of morality on unconventional warfare.

The lessons learned in how the Soviets fought in Afghanistan is a pretty good example of how to not fight in Afghanistan.  You don't win the hearts and minds of cavemen by bombing the crap out of them.

The population knows exactly where the "bad guys" stand, and doesn't know what a corrupt public official may decide from one day to the next.  So the bad guys win the moral argument.  It may be Seventh Century Islam, but it is at least consistent seventh century islam.  Score one for the bad guys.

Second, the Soviet occupation disintegrated into large forces huddled on bases and rolling around outside the wire in armored vehicles.  So far ISAF has fallen into the same rut, even though no one is currently arming the bad guys with anti-air missiles.  Score two for the bad guys.

I'm not saying that the efforts in Afghanistan have been utterly wasted, only that America should not expect a lasting and vibrant Democratic Afghanistan to last after ISAF pulls out.  In the long history of Afghanistan the concept of "Democracy" isn't anything but a brief footnote in a long series of tribal conflicts.  Even prior to the Soviet invasion they went ahead and elected a Communist government...

Finally, Islam is not very compatible with Democracy in any form.  Islam requires rule through strength and terror for a heterogeneous population, or strong tribal loyalties to a homogeneous population.  The Arab Spring has not given rise to human rights, it has given rise to human rights abuses.  An Islamic Nation mirrors its rulers for better or worse, if the rulers are forward looking and liberal, so is the country.  If the rulers believe that Seventh Century Islam is the height of civilization then expect that law to be brutally enforced even by seventh century standards. 

As an American I expect that others will expect me to espouse the belief that my native land is the best because of Freedom and the Bill of Rights and other parts of our history.  As a human being I expect a Saudi or Kuwaiti to feel the exact same way about their native land.  Getting in a pissing match with someone from the old world about which way is better is nothing more than stupidity.  For better or worse they have centuries of history backing up the reasons their culture is the way it is, why Democracy isn't going to work for the Islamic world (at least not for this generation, maybe in the next two or three) and can rightfully talk about how short sighted Americans are since we have less than three hundred years of our own history to look back on.

But with all the logic, the clear arguments about the benefits of rule of law and a secular democracy, the Bad Guys firmly believe that what they have is worth fighting for.  They believe in the end goal of yet another tyrannical Islamic state.  Really believe.  They are "True Believers", and there is only one way to stop a true believer.  Kill him.  Those "True Believers" are the reason that the civilians in Afghanistan often trust the bad guys more than the Afghan government, because they truly believe their own twisted faith, that is why they can strap bombs to themselves or indoctrinated young boys and keep a technologically superior force in a defensive posture.  True Belief is the one commodity that scores points for the Bad Guys.

If America is to have "an Army of Davids" that is good.  If America is to have "A Nation of Riflemen" that is good.  But without a "Nation of True Believers" there is no chance at all for either Davids or Riflemen to stand against the forces of the endarkening and challenge them back. 

In every successful insurgency it is not about "winning" battles so much as staying in the fight until the side with more boys and toys gets tired and goes home.  Our Revolutionary War wasn't a military victory through strategic genius, it was simply being able to stay in the game until Britain decided the juice wasn't worth the squeeze.  Algiers, Vietnam, Afghanistan, none of these forces could beat the French or the US, but they could stay in the fight because they were True Believers. 

We hold these truths to be self evident.  Those words were written by a True Believer.  No "re-education camp" could have changed his mind.  Nothing but a bullet or noose could stop those treasonous thoughts against an unjust monarch. 

The great military philosophers all agree that there is a moral component to conflict.  De Jomini, Sun Tzu, Clausewitz, Lao Tzu, even Mao all agree that you must be morally right to win the fight.  They go on to explain that you must also be tactically and strategically right as well.  But if you lack a true moral component to why you are fighting then you run into legitimacy issues, and the bad guys start racking up points for their side.

Anyone who can sell the idea of Liberty to a non-believer and create a True Believer will do more for the cause of freedom than any marksmanship instructor or small group leader.  In our world where "relativism" makes Tyranny no better or worse than Liberty it is an extreme position to say that there IS a right and wrong, and that there IS a good and an evil, and that it is GOOD to fight against EVIL.  It isn't a thousand or a million trained riflemen that make Tyrants fear the night.  It is the thought that there are True Believers who oppose, who will not "be reasonable" who will not "talk it out" who will not "compromise" who will not waiver in their faith and course.  Faith gives rise to action, it must, or it is not faith.

For decades now the forces of the endarkenment have had free reign to indoctrinate our youth into a twisted belief system and create their own True Believers who will act as their useful idiots.  You see them in the Occupy movement, you see them on College Campuses, you see them in the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.  You see them blind to the forces of reason and logic, clinging solely to feelings and a vision for a utopian society where everyone is equally enslaved under the jackboots of oppression.  They truly believe that they have a right to other peoples productivity and property, they truly believe that the world owes them something, they truly believe that they have a right to take it.  Meanwhile in Greece, Athens is burning.  When reality confronts their beliefs they reject reality and try to destroy it.

Winning can come from creating our own True Believers.  Or eliminating the opposing True Believers.  There may be a third option in there, but I am not smart enough to see it right now.

12 February 2012

Thoughts on the history of military hardware

This is a long winded post, and it is still an utter simplification of the true history behind weapons development.  However I've made it as short as possible to look at a few points that have been made to me as an Infantryman and Leader of Soldiers.  These are things that are in the back of my head when it comes to integrating multiple weapon systems into a single unit.  The higher up you go in the chain the more firepower you get to plan for, but today I'm just going to write about small arms as would be found at the Platoon level.

In any video game reloading is pretty simple, press a button and it happens.  Video games are really great at showing how the infantry closes with and destroys the enemy (except for that life meter thing, normally life is a binary meter in either the on or off state).  Watching kids play "Call of Duty" is educational, some just blaze right into a room and start firing and hope they get more hits into the bad guys than the bad guys get into them.  Loads of fun I assume (I don't play "Call of Duty" or any other first person shooter) but not good tactics.

In real life, the mechanics of reloading a firearm are a tad bit more involved than pressing a series of buttons.  As I was familiarizing myself with the mechanics of loading a Garand (aka fiddling around with it for fun) I realized that there is a very distinct set of motions required to reload the 8 round En Bloc clips.  Don't get me wrong, once proficient in the manual of arms for a Garand reloading with those clips can be VERY fast.

However, having only 8 rounds at a time can be to your tactical disadvantage if you can't provide adequate suppressive fire for your buddy to maneuver around to an exposed flank before he sets up lethal fires on the bad guys and kills them without mercy or remorse.  In WWII the enemy forces were using turn bolt rifles with 5 round stripper clips which provided even slower reloads so it didn't matter so much.  8 rounds was a 60% increase in firepower per clip over the k98.

The relatively short lived M14 service rifle solved the 8 round clip problem (a 20 round clip is a 250% increase in capacity over the M1 clip), but since the US Army hasn't needed a horse stopping round since the Civil War the smaller 5.56 came into its own and the rest is history.  In terms of tactical advantage between the M14 and M16 as a service rifle doesn't really matter to me, they both can shoot farther than the average grunt (in either the Army or USMC) has been trained to engage targets.  For the record the Army trains to 300 meters, and the USMC trains to 500 yards.  This means that a grunt in the USMC has a 50% range advantage (500 yards being 457 meters) but this is still shy of the 600 meter "maximum effective range against a point target" that doctrine sets forth for the weapon system.

Where did this 600 meter accuracy standard come from?  The rifles themselves are completely capable of shooting further.  Those of us who have had the opportunity have used M16s and M4s with standard ball ammunition to engage targets past 600 meters (usually from a bipod or rucksack).  Now the bullets fly further than that, so why the 600 meter limit?  Accuracy.  Milspec ball ammo usually has some pretty large groups out that far.  For example, look at the accuracy standards for M80 ball verses M118SB

For M80 ball from Mil-C-46931F, Cartridge, 7.62mm NATO, Ball, M80, Paragraph 3.5:

3.5 Accuracy. The average of the mean radii of all targets of the sample cartridges, fired in standard accuracy test weapons over a range of 600 yards, shall not exceed 5.0 inches for ammunition scheduled for packaging in cartons or clips, nor 7.5 inches for ammunition scheduled for packaging in links.

and for M118SB, Used by the M14 rifle, and the M21, M24, and M40A1 sniper rifles. The cartridge is intended and specifically prepared for use in high accuracy weapons. Its spread (accuracy standard) for a 10-shot group is no more than 12 inches (305 mm) at 600 yards (550 m) - fired from an accuracy barrel in a test cradle.

So how can it be that M80 ball is measured in "mean radii" of 5 inches and M118SB is measured in "10 shot group no more than 12 inches at 600 yards"?  Someone once wrote that the extreme spread is usually three to four times the mean radii, so we could expect M80 ball to spread between 15 and 20 inches at 600, or be around 3.5 MOA in a service rifle.

Looking at the standards for M855 and Mk262 ammunition for 5.56 you'll see the same story.

So even though the weapon systems are capable of firing farther (with good ammo and a trained shooter) the as issued rack grade weapon and service ammo and standard grunt are not.

Which brings us back to speedy reloads and the reason why weapons are getting smaller, lighter, and carry more smaller rounds (amateurs talk tactics, professionals talk logistics).  The M1 Garand is a great rifle, completely deadly in the hands of a trained rifleman out to about 600.  The M14 is just as good a rifle as the M1 Garand, but holds more bullets and reloads faster with detachable box magazines.  The M16 is just as good (from an accuracy standpoint) and reloads just as fast, but weighs less even with 30 round magazines (a 50% increase over the M14 but a 325% increase over the M1 Garand).  The M4 is just as good, but is lighter than the M16.  At no point did the weapon system give up much in terms of ballistics from 600 meters and under.  Logistics will not be denied, every industry finds cheaper ways to do business, and war is no different (although our legal structure in the US has created some very expensive ways to cut costs).

The tactical advantages gained are the ability of groups of teenagers lacking adult supervision to provide more suppressive fire in order to maneuver against third world peasants carrying commie weapons with crappy sights.  So, would I rather have a bunch of folks trained on the M1 Garand or M4 if I were leading them?  Obviously the M4 unless I could get my hands on a bunch of match ammo for the Garands to give them a range advantage over the M4 system.  Conversely getting my hands on match 5.56 loads evens that equation out and the M4s come into their own again.

Now years ago when Private AM was taking his very first machine gun theory class he learned some things.  The bigger 30 caliber rounds can achieve effects that the smaller 22 caliber rounds need a lot more bullets to do, such as punch through cinder block walls fast enough that the guy on the other side doesn't have time to duck.  If you have enough ammo you can reduce pretty much any barrier, but the smaller you go the more it takes.  An M2 machine gun will do as much damage to a reinforced wall with about 10 rounds that would take an M240 around 150 rounds, or about 800 rounds of 5.56 (this is rough math here folks, I don't recommend trying to shoot through a barrier with any system that would require a barrel change to do the job).

There really is no lesson to learn here, just some history to think about when you look at a "tactical or strategic problem."  Knowing what your weapon systems and weapon operators can and cannot do is key to properly emplacement of assets.  If you have a Garand shooter that is a tad slow on the reload you might not want him in a support by fire position for a deliberate assault, but flank security would be a good place to provide early warning and slow down enemy reinforcements.  If you have an M4 shooter who can't hit the broad side of a barn past 300 meters then a position on the assault team or intermediate support by fire position might be advisable.  If you have an M1A shooter all decked out in sniper configuration that can shoot the hairs off a gnats ass at 800 by all means set him up as rear security and as you egress you might lead the enemy into a baited long range ambush.

IBM says "Think", Apple says "Think Different."  I wish I had something laconic to add to that as "Define the problem, define success, make a plan, rehearse, rehearse, rehearse, execute." isn't very catchy.  I'm sure you get the point.

10 February 2012

Shotguns, I hope this post makes Joan Peterson cry.

Got this quote from Weerd about birdshot and shotguns for self defense.

I’ll make a quick assumption. There ARE people who use long sporting shotguns for home defense, and there are people who think bird and skeet loads are useful for home defense (they aren’t DON’T!), there’s a strong chance that this isn’t a home defense gun, and a better chance that its just a hunting gun that was either intentionally left loaded, or never properly cleared for storage.
Here is the caveat, the lighter your projectile the closer you need to be to your target to do damage.  If all you have birdshot or skeet loads in your pump gun then you literally, not figuratively, shove the muzzle of your shotgun against skin to get decent terminal ballistics.  The thing about fires is that if you aren't achieving the effect you desire, just use more.

There are much better choices than light shot for home defense, but if you find yourself needing to stop someone NOW with what you have on hand, pull the trigger and pump the action as fast as you can while advancing on the intruder.  You need to close the distance to make your fires effective.  Be AGGRESSIVE enough, FAST enough, and you'll live through it.  If you run out of rounds on the way in, BUTT STROKE the bad guy to the head, kick him in the guts, use the empty shotgun like a baseball bat and start wailing on the perp with all your might.

If you end up shoving the muzzle of your shotgun into a hole opened up by a previous shot then so be it.  Point blank range starts at the muzzle, and while firearms are a good way to gain space, sometimes you have to close space to gain an advantage.  Better to be showering off someones guts later than a statistic.

Unlike Joan Peterson, I don't advocate for the rights of criminals to have a safe working environment.  Identify the threat (positive identification, know what you need to do) and then eliminate the threat.  Just cause you don't have buckshot or slugs in your bird gun is no excuse to abdicate your duty to protect yourself and your loved ones.

09 February 2012

Random update for February

So I'm nearing the end of my two weeks of "reintegration leave."  Instead of going places and seeing people I decided that I really needed some sort of "stay-cation" to get back into the family groove.  So my two boys and wife have been putting up with me non-stop and doing quite well.  Turns out staying local was a good choice as the flywheel started shattering on the pickup, so it has been in the shop since Tuesday.  God willing the truck will be finally fixed tomorrow (parts should be here by then) and that means we'll have a vehicle capable of crossing the creek into Knob Creek so I can test out some loads I've cranked out.

Before I got back, my wife and I discussed my "retreat for alone time" options, and we decided that setting up my reloading gear in a corner of the basement was the best option.  While it may not be as tough a job as "prezidentin" being a parent is a pretty demanding job.  There is a whole list of things you CAN'T do, and conflicting information on what you CAN do, and then another set of conflicting information on what you Should and Shouldn't do.  And since little children are unique individuals, what works on one has no guarantee of working on any other child.

Now the boys haven't had their Daddy in a while, so I knew coming into it that there would be issues.  My eldest didn't recognize me at the welcome home ceremony they held for the five of us who rolled back on C-17s, and I'm really glad that I had worked to prepare myself for that ahead of time.  But as time went on the boys went from indifferent to needy as they realized I was a "new" adult in the house, and I think it is just now that things are starting to get back to some sort of "normal."  Of course next Monday I go back to a "normal" work schedule for me so we'll see how throwing that monkey wrench in the mix makes the kids feel.

But things I've found since I started unpacking MY stuff.  A couple M98 actions and parts.  Unfortunately I have no machine shop available to do any of the more complicated work.  The good thing is that they are on hand and I have a good excuse to keep an eye out for a heavy barrels to build another sniper rifle or two on.

Things I didn't find. Absolutely no 168 gr HPTB 308 caliber bullets.  I thought I had a 250 pack of Noslers Custom Comps in the box, but it turns out I'd just reused the box to hold some 180gr HPBT Moly coated 308 caliber bullets.  Sigh.  So the Garand will get fed 173gr FMJBT projectiles for the time being.  I have match bullets in 223, 264, and 308 on my bench, and hopefully this is the start of a good season.

Things I did.  I got my first 50 rounds of 223 cranked out on the Lee Pro 1000.  The priming system takes a little getting used to, but it mostly works ok.  There is enough handle feedback that you can easily tell if you missed one, and it isn't too difficult to stop the operation and correct the problem.  I got all the pieces for the "M41 clone" together and dropped off at the gunsmiths, so in a week or so I'll be ready to run my initial load workup for that through it as well. 

Things I'm happy about.  My boys have each fallen asleep on me, which seems to be some sort of acceptance ritual into this tribe.

Things still to do.  Check out the motorcycle and make sure the carbs are clean and everything is ready for riding.  Get a McCann adjustable gas plug for the Garand.  Get my old 89 GMC truck ready to sell.

And last but not least, thanks to Sarah, RobertM, MrG and Graybeard for the Liebster nods.  Thank you Zoomie for the Hater award.  Considering that I graduated bottom of my class from Machiavelli's Finishing School for Boys I think that is high praise.

I'm supposed to nominate five others at this point and link to them and see if they notice.  I'm not good at following the rules all the time so I'll say that if they are on the blog roll to the right, they are probably worth your time to read.  And if you see someone who should be added to the blog roll let me know, cause that's how I roll.

07 February 2012


My wife loves zombies.  She loves bad zombie movies, pretty good zombie books (she's powered through Jesse Petersen's Living with the Dead series, I've been unsuccessful in locating a dead tree version of Uprising USA for her there is always the internet), we've watched "The Walking Dead" and even own a copy of the utterly horrendous but often amusing "Flight of the Living Dead" (aka ZOAP or Zombies on a Plane).  My wife even has a shirt that says I "heart" Zombies (where the heart is more or less anatomically correct).

Since my wife is married to, well me, the discussions of preparedness for the "Zombie Apocalypse" comes up often enough that long car trips seldom get boring.  The best part about prepping for zombies is that you are pretty much prepped for anything short of asteroid impact level extinction event.  Of course now that I think about it I just might start injecting my DNA into handy microbes to ensure man's genetic legacy gains traction again in the future to once again rape Gaia of her natural bounty. 

How ironic would it be if my attempt to pass on human genes to ensure human survival caused a mutation in the microbes that brought about the Zombie Apocalypse and turned everyone into mindless shuffling automatons (with Democrats we wouldn't be able to tell the difference).  Of course, odds are you are already surrounded by brainless automatons, so the upside of a Zombie Apocalypse is that you could actually do something about it.

So today, as we were discussing how the characters on "The Walking Dead" were always on the move, looking for SOMEONE ELSE to fix THEIR PROBLEMS and how that totally pisses me off because it is counter productive to actual survival, my wife turns to me and says, "With all the reloading stuff you have in the basement I should probably learn how to use it."

Seriously, she said that.  I'm so happy.

06 February 2012

Marklay Monday Madness

Hat tip to Joe Huffman for the Marklay Monday Madness Meme where he puts forth bigoted quotes from those who still believe the utter lie that a firearm is any sort of phallic replacement device.  So here are some of the "witty retorts" that have run through my mind....  I hope you enjoy, or are at least a little scandalized...

My pistol doesn't double in length when I rub it...must be broken.  Then again my pistol doesn't leave embarrassing stains on the sheets if I have a really good dream.

If a penis were really a weapon it would be illegal to have one in NY or DC.  Rep Weiner made it abundantly clear that possession of a penis only gets you into trouble if you point it at the wrong people using mass media.

When was the last time anyone used a penis to stop a rape?  Obviously we don't need gun control to stop rapes, we need penis control.  Of course we all know that gun control isn't about crime, it is about making sure that no penis will ever have to be matched against a pistol in a contest of wills about who has control over a woman's body.

Logically wouldn't a dildo make more sense as a substitute penis than a pistol?  Does NY or DC make residents jump through legal hurdles to lawfully posses sex toys (I mean other than Congressional Pages)?  I'd love to see the headlines, "Would be robber beaten to death with Double Penetrator 2000 outside the Gas'n'Go."

If a pistol is a substitute penis is that why Glocks and AR-15's are black?  Why does my wife have a pink pistol?

I guess if I could ejaculate on command at 900 feet per second I wouldn't need a pistol.  Then again, if I could ejaculate on command at 900 feet per second I would be a superhero, I'd wear goggles and call myself "Bukake Man" and my motto would be "Justice is Cuming."

You know why a pistol is better than a penis?  You can lend a pistol to your friends and no matter how many hands get wrapped around it your odds of catching an STD are infinitely small.  You can carry two pistols without looking like a genetic freak.  You can go from "sub-compact" to "magnum" by changing holsters. 

Happiness is a warm gun.  (or maybe Lennon really meant to say "A penis is a warm gun?")

A penis carries limited ammo in two testicles (and those testicles are never where I need them, my wife has them in her purse most of the time).  A pistol can carry as many magazines or speed loaders as you can fit on your person. 

I don't lose 3 million of my closest friends each time my pistol goes off...

There you have it folks, I hope that you'll properly oil your weapon, make sure that no short stroking happens next time you need to let loose a few rounds, and finally make sure that all excess fluids are cleaned out of the barrel in order to avoid any unpleasant pressure buildup.

04 February 2012

NRA vintage sniper rifle

Shooting is fun.  Anyone who says differently is certifiably crazy.  The Army can turn shooting into a chore, but most Soldiers still complain that they don't get to shoot enough instead of shooting all the time.  And every sniper instructor I've ever met has given me the same advice, if you want to shoot better, you need to shoot competitively.  It is very good advice.

A few years back Sarco put their reproduction short side slide rail scope bases on sale and I bought two, thinking that I would put together some reproduction k98's for giggles. 

Nine months working as a rear detachment commander didn't leave much time for being a shade tree gunsmith (although I did bring two AR's into work one day and played gunsmith with one of my armorers as we installed Rock River National Match legal free float tubes on them, that was a good day at work for all involved).  Then the Captains Career Course ate up 5 months of my life, and straight from that to Afghanistan.  In that time I got to shoot exactly one High Power match, and even though I was at Fort Benning for the All Army matches my instructors couldn't give me a day off to compete. 

Not that I'm bitter, life is what it is.  But from the time that I bought those side rails the NRA developed a new category of "vintage sniper rifle" and did a very smart thing in allowing a few substitute scopes to keep the price of entry reasonable so it doesn't become a sport only for rich folks.  So you can spend 450 on a scope and base set, 200 on a rifle and have a "sniper rifle" for less than a new AR-15.  Or you can pay 150 for the scope base, get a used Weaver K4 from the El Paso era and put it on a the nicest rifle you have which is legal for the K4. 

So I made my first purchase off of gunbroker.com and bought a Swede M96.  I figure that the Swede rifles have a good reputation for accuracy, and since I already had the scope base and 6.5x55 reloading dies (I picked them up on a whim even though I didn't own a rifle in 6.5x55, a sign of a true gun nut).  So a trip to the gunsmith to bend the bolt and install the rail and I'll be ready to compete in "vintage sniper rifle" matches.

Once the "M41" clone is complete it will bring my number of NRA match rifles to 3, and essentially triple the amount of training opportunities in which I'll be able to participate.  If I hadn't left my Savage back home in the Pacific Northwest I could shoot F Class with that, but I haven't seen too many F/TR matches in my area.  However I see a lot of Garand, High Power, and a few "vintage sniper rifle" matches on the club calendars.  And is worse comes to worse, I can use a handle mounted scope on the AR-15 and shoot F/TR class with that, or simply try to compete with the iron sights on it. 

And once I find a clean 8x57 k98 (or M24/47 or M48) I'll see about getting that set up as a vintage sniper rifle.  There is nothing quite so satisfying as when a shot comes together.  The only thing the shooter controls is the pull of the trigger and the alignment of the bore, everything else is up to chance sometimes.  How the powder burns, how the wind behaves, even how dense the air is at that moment, is up to the whims of fate.  It is good when the bullets fly true.

03 February 2012

Lee Pro1000 initial review, Garand update

Today I picked up 2,000 rounds of once fired 5.56 brass from www.gibrass.com and began the long tedious process of resizing the brass in my full length resizing die.  Also today a gently used Springfield Armory M1 OPROD arrived from Sarco.  Once installed on my Garand it passed the "tilt test" and now everything seems ready for loading up some bullets for the old M1. 

Back to the reloading front.  I have an RCBS Jr press that is older than I am and still going strong.  Thank you RCBS for sending me the link toggle pin I needed to get it up and running free of charge.  But in the spirit of trying to get the feel of a new system I used the Lee Pro 1000 progressive press.  Obviously the priming system is empty and the powder measure is disabled (the Power Pro 2000-MR and Tula 5.56 primers are on the way thanks to www.powdervalleyinc.com)

First observation, it is even faster to size brass in a progressive than on a single stage press.  The shell feeder on the Lee holds 40 rounds, so 2000/40 = 50 sets of reloading the shell feeder before I've resized all the brass.  Lee advertises that the Pro 1000 can do around 400 rounds an hour, so it should take me about 5 hours worth of work to resize all this brass.  Even when I hit my stride I can't match that on the RCBS.

Next step is trimming and chamfering, and as much fun as a power drill and Lee trim tool can be, this step is going to take a dang long time.  If I were using bullets with a cannelure I wouldn't bother to trim, but I'm building a "match" load on a smooth HPBT so I want as consistent neck tension as possible.  But once the brass has finished the trim process it will be ready for loading.  I'll anneal after this lot has been shot once.

Observations on the Lee press, it squeaks.  I used a spray on dry lube, but that seemed to wear off after about 800 rounds, so tomorrow I'll try a synthetic grease.

And on the ammo front, to make this truly a "match" load, I'll do an Optimal Charge Weight load workup with the components on hand and see if I can't get under 1 MOA (which is fine for as good a shooter as I am at this point) and then load the whole lot of 2k brass before sorting by headstamp.  5.56 brass is actually quite stable volume wise between years and brands, and as long as you aren't pushing the envelope on pressures you can get away with a little mixing (to those searching for one ragged hole in the target I'm speaking heresy here, my apologies).  But I'll sort by stamp and year, so I'll have a uniform set for the 600 and 300 yard lines, and a "mixed" set of brass for the 200 yard line.

The Garand will get a tried and true diet of IMR 4064, 168gr HPBT, and a CCI primer.  No imagination required for this load other than doing the workup to check for pressure signs in my rifle.  I'm debating on whether or not to load up my 60 rounds of surplus "FA 58 MATCH" headstamp brass or buy two new bags of commercial brass.  I think I'll go the commercial route if I can't scrounge enough of any other headstamp to make an acceptable lot a load workup and a few matches.

As a point of clarification, accuracy means hitting where you intend, and precision means making really tight groups.  A precise shot group in the 5 ring does not score as good as a looser group in the 10 ring.  Right now all I need is a load that can maintain about half the size of the X ring so any bullets hitting outside that are my fault, not the loads.

I know folks who spend as much as I do on a rifle on a shooting jacket.  Maybe I'll treat myself to a Creedmoor hardback shooting jacket someday.  But until then dry firing, practicing my shooting positions (standing unsupported is getting the most work from me right now, but I should probably start watching TV from the kneel for a while).

Wish me skill.  See you at the range.