We here in and around Philadelphia are anxiously awaiting the popeocalypse. Being non-catholic, I have no plans to go into the city to engage in any pope watching. The way the media has been portraying it around here, you’d think it’s going to be mass hysteria, hence why people have adopted the popeocalypse hash tag. My prediction is everyone will be scared away by predictions of chaos, and the crowd will be much smaller than expected. With that out of the way, let’s get to the news:
Mike “the gun guy” is looking at the bright side of the Heller III ruling. I don’t think anyone on our side claimed it was a victory. I personally don’t think registration or training should be allowed as a prior restraint on purchasing a firearm, and registration should be flat out unconstitutional. As I said, partial win. The court rightly saw gun rationing for what it is, at least.
John Boehner is stepping down as speaker, and resigning from Congress. Maybe now we have a prayer of getting some opposition to this Administration from Congress. I can’t say I’m optimistic though. Boehner, more than anyone, I think deserves the blame for the Trump phenomena. Boehner has been so easy on Obama, you almost have to wonder what kind of dirt they have on him. Good riddance, I say.
Did what I should have done last night, and broke down the Glock to clean and lube it, and went beyond my usual field-strip, toothbrush the slide assembly and snake the bore, drop a little lube and call it done. (Given that the usual advice seems to be to break down the slide assembly for cleaning every 3K rounds or so, I don’t think I was being that neglectful).
Took apart the slide assembly. The firing pin was pretty clean (I mean, it left some dirt behind when I wiped it down, but nothing bigger than some dust), and most of the rest of the slide assembly was the same. The extractor, though, had collected a bunch of gritty-looking nastiness, and the firing pin safety had a small collection of its own. Didn’t appear to prevent function (I never had any failures to extract), but I cleaned it all up anyway. Found an empty rattling around the safe in the process, (from a previous range session, I didn’t have any open containers with me at the firing line this time, and there was no brass in my pocket either), and compared the striker impact to the photos of the duds, and the empty was definitely a center hit and showed a faint rectangular outline around the main impact point, so whoever it was that had “light off-center strikes” in the pool wins a no-prize. It’ll probably be a couple of weeks before I can make it out to the range again to test-fire (and make sure I got the extractor in right).
I’d say “why only those three rounds,” but the answer is probably somewhere around “tolerance stacking.”
Not all complaints against gun ranges represent anti-gun or NIMBY sentiment. People who build or buy houses next to ranges should expect to live with noise, but bullets leaving a range at dangerous velocities and trajectories are a different beast entirely. The setup of Belfast Edelman looks similar to Stockerton. I decided to Google the club’s location, start up street view, and “drive” down the road downrange of the club. Sure enough, I found the house in this report right where I worried I’d find it:
She’s about 1000 yards downrange, which is close enough for bullets to strike her house at sufficient velocity to maim or kill. A 7.62x51mm (.308 Win) round would still be traveling in excess of 1000ft/sec at that range, and with about the muzzle energy of 425ft-lb. This woman isn’t exaggerating. If she’s being hit by the kinds of rounds typically used for hunting, it is as big a deal as if someone fired a 9mm into her house from the street.
The club made the right decision to close their range. Hopefully they have the funds to make needed safety improvements. If you’re ever involved in a club that ends up in a situation like this, NRA does offer range consulting to clubs in trouble. They can also offer grants and whatnot to make the needed safety improvements so that struggling clubs can stay open. I’m very sympathetic to clubs that end up in this kind of trouble, but residents do have a right to expect clubs will maintain safety standards such that rounds will not leave the range in a dangerous manner such as this.
I finally made it out to the range for the first time in (mumblemumble). Had fun, but of the 100 rounds of 9mm Remington UMC expended, I had 3 failure to fire. The weird thing is, they all happened out of the same string in one magazine (of the 10 rounds loaded, 7 went bang, 3 went click), were not adjacent, and the next 10 rounds out of the same magazine were fine. I recovered the rounds and took a picture.
Since I’m actually somewhat inexperienced at actually shooting, I figured I’d ask here: did I just get unlucky, or is there something I did or failed to do here?
Pistol is a G17L, with probably somewhat less than a thousand rounds down the pipe since I’ve owned it, and it was allegedly new when I purchased it. I’ll run a boresnake after a range session and usually take the slide assembly apart and scrub the places the book says I should – range sessions are 100-150 rounds. It’s sat unfired for a couple years since last session. Magazine is OEM 10-round.
Trump’s success in the early primary season has pretty much baffled anyone who is an avid observer of politics. I’ve been reading Scott Adams series that Donald Trump is a master persuader, very skilled in the art of persuasion. I think there’s probably something to that, but the big fact that I think stands in the way of that theory is that Trump has run for President before, and never managed to get all that far. It’s possible that the environment had to be just right for his populist fire to start burning, and now he’s at the right place at the right time.
I don’t think the Trump support is reflective of any issue at all. I don’t think it’s even reflective of disgust with the GOP. I think it’s reflective of the disgust we have with the new unwritten rules of society …
… The reality is that people are excited to see, hey, here’s a guy who goes on TV, and if he wants to pop off at the mouth, he pops off at the mouth, and if this guy can rise to being President of the United States then maybe I don’t have to always shut my mouth and I can sometimes say what I feel and maybe I can call my annoying coworker ugly and not have to risk being sued, too.
Read the whole thing, as they say. That makes a lot of sense to me. I know I’m tired of the Troller in Chief in the White House stirring up division for political advantage, and sick of seeing people’s lives destroyed for expressing opinions that run counter to the prevailing left-wing orthodoxy. It is satisfying to watch someone giving the middle finger to the PC police and the media (but I repeat myself) and get away with it.
I was leaning towards Scott Walker out of the gate. Walker is a proven fighter and reformer,and he pulled it off while coming off as midwestern boring to the public. To me the ideal candidate is one who can maintain an air of public respectability and charm, but behind the scenes will eviscerate his enemies with a surgical precision. Walker did that very well. That is his record. Another political figure who is very good at that schtick? Barack Obama. In fact, I would argue that Obama is the master of this style, with a talent for it not likely to be seen again in our lifetimes.
Walker is out now, largely because I don’t think very many people wanted what he was offering. He probably also screwed himself by listening to the GOP consultant class rather than being himself. But I think he was ultimately done-in by the fact that a large part of the GOP base, the ones enamored with Trump, don’t want midwestern nice. They want vengeance, and Trump is playing to that.
Scott Adams is predicting Trump will go all the way, and win the Presidency in a landslide. I will admit, I’d vote for Trump over any of the three possible Democratic candidates, but I will definitely have a “Dear God, what have we done?” moment if that ends up being the choice. Right now I don’t have a horse to back, and it’ll probably stay that way until I can see whether Carly can build momentum, or whether she starts getting repetitive. I’m also keeping an eye on Rubio.
So, the ATF went and sent a letter (PDF link) to the manufacturer of Can Cannons that said their product was not a firearm, but that attaching it to a rifle receiver made the rifle a Short-Barreled-Rifle, or attaching it to a pistol receiver made the pistol an AOW. Cue Internet Rage(TM).
As you might have gathered, I’m not at all surprised by this determination. This device does not, after all, stop the receiver from being a “firearm,” being basically a variation on a blank-firing-adapter. And it’s shorter than 16″ (short-barreled), and a smoothbore (AOW for pistol). This is a consequence of the Can Cannon being a accessory to what is legally a firearm. If they had instead built it as a complete unit, completely unable to fire conventional ammo, things might be different. As it is, though, an AR-15 doesn’t stop being a firearm when you mount a Can Cannon on it.
This is just another reminder of how mind-numbingly stupid the patch to NFA’34 to allow handguns, but still effectively ban anything that could be considered a handgun but isn’t actually a handgun. (That sentence hurt just as much to write as it does to read, I assure you, but was the only way I could express how I understand the history of the Act.)
On the other hand, I am a little surprised they didn’t just rule the assembled weapon as a Destructive Device (that bore is way bigger that 0.50″)
L’affaire Ahmed has been reverberating across my facebook feed for a while now, and it looks like we’ve gotten about all the facts that are going to be shaken loose outside of discovery in a civil suit (if there is one). And while I can’t say I’m surprised at some of the knicker-twisting, I’m a little disappointed. First, a picture of the clock (or hoax bomb). CNN says this is police provided. No real scale is provided, but note the power plug – the case is approximately the size of the top half of a piece of paper, when closed, per this amazon listing. (Amazon listing complete with self-amusing internet jokers in comments)
According to this post and comments (which is where I pulled the above pics from), the guts are a 1970s-1980s vintage digital clock, contained in a pencil box available on Amazon. Since the CNN article notes that it was discovered in Ahmed’s backpack when an alarm went off, I’m going to assume that there was a 9V battery in place at the time (or some other on-board power source since removed).
Now, there are (at least) two competing narratives running around. Ahmed’s story is that he made this as an alarm clock, brought it in to show a teacher, and then another teacher discovered it and brought it to the attention of the authorities, who then flipped out, etc. The other narrative is that he deliberately made a fake bomb, and allowed it to be discovered, because Reasons. The second narrative really doesn’t pass Occam’s Razor for me, though. First, that’s a really bad fake IED. A real IED is supposed to be innocuous, of course, and not draw attention to itself until too late. A fake one, that you might want to use in a bomb scare, on the other hand, needs to be obvious. This is a pencil box when closed up, with nothing (except possibly the power cord) showing on the outside to make you think it’s anything else. And when it’s open, where’s the “payload?” Even Hollywood Bombs have obvious explosives in them. No play-doh, no red-painted cylinders with wires coming off of them, nothing that shouts “I’m a thirty-minute bomb, I’m a thirty-minute bomb!” Secondly, there’s the whole “he didn’t make that” meme, because it’s a commercial product, disassembled and half-way mounted into the case; rather than being a from-scratch project. The thing is, it’s a 30-ish year old clock, in a recent case. There’s an incongruity there that irks me. Finally, Ahmed’s behavior doesn’t fit. Why did he establish the device was his own practically as the first thing he did upon bringing it to school, and why did he maintain possession of it the entire time he was in school?
Here’s my theory. A 14-year old tinkerer was bored one day and opened up a broken alarm clock made before he was born, and got it working again (loose wire, broken solder, what have you). He decides to install the repaired clock into a pencil case, and he’s “made” himself a custom alarm clock from stuff lying around his desk. In a fit of 14-year-old enthusiasm and forethought typical of 14-year-old enthusiasm, he takes this alarm clock he made into school to show his friends and teachers this cool thing he did. In previous times, it might have been a shiny new pocketknife, or a wrist rocket (slingshot), etc. He shows it to a friendly teacher, who may have encouraged his ambitions, but tells him to keep it out of view because someone might overreact. Ahmed goes on with his day, forgetting he has an alarm set (or not knowing. I have a similar vintage alarm clock that is distressingly easy to accidentally arm the alarm on, and it’s defaulted to 0000 hrs. Very annoying). Alarm goes off in his backpack, disrupts class, teacher wants to see, teacher freaks. Then the school administration, being a bunch of zero-tolerance idiots, freaks and bring in Johnny Law. Ahmed insists he’s done nothing wrong – it’s a clock, see? Keeps time and everything. Possibly following the advice given out regularly around these parts of “don’t talk to the law without a lawyer.” The notable thing at this point is that the school administration never believed it was a real bomb, since they didn’t do evacuate the school or otherwise put into action bomb-scare plans. Instead, they jumped right to bringing down the hammer on what, at most, is a little understandable high-school-frosh eager stupidity, and thus splashing this all over the country.
Bringing the thing into school wasn’t the wisest idea in the world, and I’m not going to say the school should have not reacted at all, but calling the cops in and interrogating a student without benefit of counsel with the cops present? Yeesh.
In the last news links post, I mentioned having fired an LARC M19-A BB-machine gun, linking to an article about it in Small Arms Review. My friend and sometimes co-blogger Jason still has the one I fired, and offered to take some video of it in action. It’s a lot of fun. If the anti-gun folks like calling semi-automatic rifles a bullet hose, this is about the closest you’ll come to one, except it shoots BBs. Watch it tear up this empty anti-freeze bottle:
Jason told me that the regulator on his air compressor struggled to feed the beast enough air, but there’s one good satisfying burst.
Oh yeah, and just because I try to remind the voters in the central part of the state who voted their football allegiances over gun rights every time that Kathleen Kane is in trouble – elections have consequences.