Saturday, December 31, 2011

Here's to a happy 2012!

Who knows what is in store for 2012? Maybe it will be a great year but I'm thinking we're going to have more of the same as 2011, and worse. I'm not clairvoyant, but I don't think I'm going too far out on a limb to predict more inflation robbing us of our money's value, more out of control government spending adding to an already out of control debt, and a presidential election with plenty of republican one liners throughout finally ending in November with one horrific punch line on all of us. But I could be wrong and will be happy if I am. Before we head into 2012 I thought it would be good to leave 2011 with a laugh, so here are a couple videos to help bring in the new year.

Reality hits you hard, bro - This might be the theme song of 2012!

Finally wilsonblog ends 2011 with Charlie Sheen telling us all about winning ...

People with guns collection # 44 - Year End Bonus!

"Swiss policewoman inspects the collection of guns on exhibit at the Chicago Police Hqts. She is part of the Swiss Police Assoc. group that toured the Chicago police dept this morning - Photographer Mike Brown." 25 April 1965

Movie Review - Hugo

I saw the latest Martin Scorsese offering Hugo after it came out in the theaters last month, but things have been hectic around here and I'm only now getting around to the review (sorry). I won't keep you in suspense, its great! The movie is still running at a few theaters and if you have the chance to see it there you should. It's just a beautiful film to look at and on the big screen you can wonder at every detail. If you can't see it now at least do so when it is available to buy or rent, it is that good. Hugo is suitable for adults and all but the smallest children. The film stars Asa Butterfield (The Boy in the Striped Pajamas) as the title character, an orphaned boy living in the walls of a Paris train station. He must solve a mystery and Chloë Grace Moretz (Let Me In, KICK-ASS) helps in his adventure. But if anything Hugo is Scorsese's homage to early cinema and his love of it clearly shows throughout. I enjoyed this immensely and believe you will too. More to the point I felt it was worth every penny of the admission price. Highly recommended!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

People with guns collection # 43

"San Jose, Calif., April 15 - SAYS RUSSIANS WANTED TO BUY GYROJET GUN -- Frank Schilling, San Jose gunshop owner, displays a revolutionary new type pistol which he told police two Russian military attaches tried to buy. Schilling said he rejected the offer, but sold the two some ammunition for the weapon. Instead of using the customary gun powder, the bullet is propelled by solid missile fuel. The Russians were identified as Col. Useolad Stepanovich Tovna and his aide, Col. Nicolai A. Burmistvro. Efforts to contact them in Washington failed." April 16 1966

I don't know why this guy sold those commies anything. I doubt they even wanted the gun much, probably wanted the missile fuel formula more. It would have really been great if we had sold them on the idea of the Gyrojet. If we could have armed the Soviet military with them maybe the cold war would have ended that much sooner ...

Saturday, December 10, 2011

MSAR Update

I can't believe it has almost been a year since I shot my MSAR, 2011 has flown by! I already made one change to the rifle, adding a Raptor charging handle. Over the last few months I've made some more modifications to make it better (for me). The improvements include a Giles sling, a Neu-Trigger, a Aimpoint H-1 on a LaRue Tactical mount and YHM back up sights.

The Neu-Trigger is a simple device that is easy to install although they could have included better instructions. The trigger pull weight on my rifle was 8.75 pounds before and afterwards went down to 6.75. The trigger is also a little smoother now.

I'm very impressed with the Aimpoint so far and they certainly have a great reputation. I've already owned products from LaRue and their quality always impresses. I have set up the Yankee Hill sights to absolute co-witness with the red dot.

Now there's nothing left to do but sight the rifle in and continue to test for reliability. I need to know if the Neu-Trigger effects function (no reason it should) and will put at least 200-300 rounds through it next time out. Hopefully I can get this to the range sometime next month.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Cool link

I'm no glockfanboy® but do have to admit THIS is one cool commercial. Thanks to SurvivalBlog.com for pointing it out.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Policy change

Normally it has been the policy here at wilsonblog to allow all comments, assuming of course that the person could keep a civil tongue. Unfortunately, I have recently been inundated with quite a few anonymous commenters, all of it spam. I've never allowed spam. I don't mind links if they offer something relevant to the current conversation, but I'm not blogging just so people can get free advertising for their whatnots. Also, I've never been fond of people that anonymously comment anyway. If they don't want to use their own name, fine, but they don't have enough imagination or initiative to make one up? Starting today nameless comments will no longer be accepted.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Happy Packages

Just received a box on my doorstep delivered from LaRue Tactical, only ordered it Monday afternoon. It has a very special something that I've saved up to get for a while now. No doubt the package also has extra free goodies that they are known for. Can't talk now, more later.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Memorable Movie Moments

Star Wars: Episode III (2005) - Enter Darth Vader

After being seduced to the dark side, Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) pledges himself to the teachings of his new master, Darth Sidious (Ian McDiarmid). The newly anointed Darth Vader is then given a simple mission by his master, to kill every Jedi in the temple, "do what must be done Lord Vader... do not hesitate, show no mercy." Vader and a legion of clone troops march on the Jedi Temple killing every living thing.

In the moments that follow we finally get an answer to the mystery that has lingered for 25 years, how did good Anakin Skywalker become evil Darth Vader? Very shortly we will have our answer. As the destruction of the Jedi Temple continues Vader enters the council chambers, it is full of frightened children. One of the young Jedi approaches and asks a question, "Master Skywalker, there are too many of them, what are we going to do?" The child receives no reply, except for the hiss of the light saber as it comes to life. Although not shown, we are left with no doubt of the answer the boy and his companions received. The film would go on to show the final climatic fight with Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) and how Vader got his now iconic look. But forget all that, this is the true moment Darth Vader is born; you can't kill a whole room full of "younglings" and ever go back again.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Turkey day everybody! Have a good one and don't over do it, well not too much. Hopefully everybody has something in their life they can be thankful for, except of course the turkey!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Short stories

I have created a new page just for my short stories. It is in the same format as my novel page and should be easier on the eyes. I already added a newly edited version of my story Monument and more will be coming. Right now I'm concentrating on my book. When that's finished I have a few stories that will hopefully see the light of day starting in 2012.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

People with guns collection # 42

"St. Petersburg Police staged a line-up Friday afternoon, but it wasn't the usual row of suspicious characters. In this case, it was 52 members of the police department trying out the new police pistol range. The range is to be used for training by area law enforcement agencies and is next to the Police Pistol Club on 47th Ave. N. The old circular bull's-eye targets have been replaced with human silhouettes, and policemen practice firing their service revolvers with either hand and from behind car fenders, walls and other obstacles. The officers are timed for efficiency and rated on their shooting skill. Photo credit - Fred Victorin" Dec 6 1968

Look at THIS. There is nearly 30 years between these photos but they're almost identical. Point shooting was espoused in law enforcement training for decades before finally being replaced with more practical and useful techniques. I'm not trying to get into a point shooting debate. It still has it supporters and I know that it does have some value in very limited situations. Even so you have to wonder why it remained so popular for so long, and what its proponents thought those sights were for anyway.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

For readers of my book

If you've left a comment or emailed me with your thoughts about my novel please contact me. I have already contacted some of you but others I couldn't because you don't have a public email or have changed it since we first talked. Please get in touch with me again, I have something special for you.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Joshua update

News for readers of my novel!

First, I've been in the editing process for two weeks now and one thing has already become very clear, I need a proofreader. I have found numerous no brainer type mistakes and it makes me wonder what I'm not finding. I'm not sure anyone can proof read their own material. I can't.

So I've decided to spend some money having it proof read because I want Joshua to be as polished and professional as I can make it. This is a labor of love. The bad news - professional proofreaders, the really good ones, have a backlog of work. So my book's release will have to be pushed back to sometime around the New Year.

But the biggest news is that I have decided to go the self-publishing route. I was toying with the idea and now that I have decided to spend some money on this project I'm going ahead with it. I would like a chance to get my money back. Joshua will be a "real" book available at least on Kindle and as a trade paperback.

For those of you that have been following along with the story, don't worry I'm not cutting you off. I wouldn't like it if someone did that to me and I'm certainly not going to do that to my readers. Anyone that contacts me by December 1st will get a free copy that can be read on your Kindle or from a free app on your computer. Just send me an email and in the subject line please put "Joshua Free Book" so it doesn't get lost with the junk mail. I will take care of you when the time comes.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Organized chaos

The toy box is almost at full capacity. These photos can't even show it all. Actually it's over capacity as there is a rifle I still can't fit inside. I could probably wedge a few more small items in there though.

Of course my gun safe wasn't that big to begin with, it's a "6 Gun" model. If you know about gun safes you know that when the manufacturer says "6 Gun" they mean six skinny bolt action rifles without any optics on them. I've got six rifles in mine but they're jammed in there like sardines.

When I bought this years ago I couldn't half way fill it. I didn't know if I ever would. But you know how it is, the stuff just keeps piling up. I also use my safe for all my valuables, cameras, binoculars, etc., which only exacerbates the problem.

I have few options right now. I could buy another safe, or a bigger one - Don't want to do that, don't have the room anyway.

I could continue to leave guns out so some meth head could find them one day when no one is home - Don't like that idea much either.

Or I could just stop buying toys since I have no more room for new ones - I hate that idea most of all!

Decisions, decisions...

Sad

Saddened to her about the recent loss of William The Coroner. I wasn't a regular reader of his blog but I did pop in every once in a while to check out his unique look on things. I also remember him from some gun forums we both belonged to. He obviously made many friends in the gun world, you can see them all over the net. RIP - Way too young to go.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

People with guns collection # 41

"Oakland, Calif., Dec. 16 -- THIS IS HOW YOU DO IT --
Saundra Brown, 28, the first black woman on the Oakland police force gets instructions on how to shoot a shotgun by police rangemaster Adolph Bischofberger. Saundra graduates Friday near the top of her class after 15 weeks of criminal law, report writing, first aid, firearms training and defensive tactics. 'I really feel very confident now,' she said, 'but before I was totally afraid. I didn't want to be around a gun.'
" Dec 17 1970

Besides being taught how to fire a shotgun from the hip while in heels let us hope that Saundra got some more practical instruction, like what that little brass bead on the end of the barrel was for...

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Seven Point Six Two - Times Two

Last December I purchased the Springfield Armory Inc. M1A rifle in 7.62 NATO (.308) shown at the top of the photo. I can't believe it has been 10 months already and I still haven't shot it. I had owned two others over the years but got rid of them in fits of stupidity. Last year, after a long search of all the .308 semi-auto rifles (with the features I wanted) I concluded that the best one for me was the one I had all along, the M1A.

So after buying one last year I thought of buying another in 2011 (Two is One). I was thinking of another Bush model or perhaps a Scout, maybe even a standard. Then I saw the Socom 16 used at a nice price at the local fun store, it needed a good home and now I have two I have yet to shoot.

It came with the standard ugly black plastic stock that I quickly swapped out for a nice walnut GI that was just sitting in my closet. Pretty ain't it? If you've got a sharp eye you probably also noticed its magazine is longer than the normal 20 round government issue. Last Christmas I asked Santa to bring me some 25 round mags and sure enough I found a few stuffed in my stocking. I haven't tried them out either but being from Check-mate Industries I don't believe there will be any issues. I won't buy anymore though as their usefulness is very limited. They make the rifle heavier and more awkward, and shooting from a bench (or prone) is almost impossible. But if I ever need to use a M1A as a bullet hose, firing from the hip and screaming at the top of my lungs like Rambo these should do fine. Until then I'll probably get very little use from them. Now I know why 20 round mags were good enough for the Army!

Yes I do hope to shoot both this year if the fall weather cooperates. I've shot a Scout before so basically I know what to expect from the Bush model. But I don't know about the little Socom, I suspect it has quite the bark!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Book Queue

Above is my current lineup of books to be read, or re-read. I'm not a fast reader and have a lot going on right now. This small stack should keep me busy until at least Thanksgiving. From left to right…

On Writing - Stephen King - I just recently finished this but decided to read it again before beginning the final edit on my own book in November.

Survivors - James Wesley, Rawles - Was so looking forward to this one I sent it to the front of the line (except for the one I already started).

The Great New Orleans Gun Grab - Gordon Hutchinson and Todd Masson - Revealing look at the chaos after Katrina, particularly concerning an out of control law enforcement and government. I read this when it first came out but picked it up again just so I wouldn't forget. Required reading for every freedom loving American.

Starship Troopers - Robert A. Heinlein - Just because it's been a long time since I've read Heinlein, too long.

So what are you reading right now?

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Tiny Tree Frog

I recently found these photos in the memory of my camera. I took them a while back when I first bought it (Nikon CoolPix) and thought this little fella would be a good opportunity to check out its capabilities. If I know my Kentucky toads and frogs this is the cricket frog, Acris crepitans. Well, honestly I know very little about toads or frogs but like every other joker I do have internet access. I found this guy trying to traverse the enormous span of a patio table top. It took him a while but he finally made it! To give you an idea of scale those spaces he's crawling over are about ¾ inch on the long side. Tiny!

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Gone Shooting - 22 day

The weather was nice so I went shooting again earlier today. This time I only took .22s. There was the Ruger Government model from last time. I wanted to put a few more rounds through it and I also needed to adjust the sights. I took another .22 too, my Budischowsky TP-70. Ammunition used today was Federal "AutoMatch" and cheap Winchester both with 40gr bullets. As usual targets were 5-inch Shoot-N-C brand.

The Ruger was first up. All firing was from 50ft using an improvised rest (the roof of my car and a rolled up towel). No surprises in the accuracy department as it performed just like it did on the last outing. It was shooting high but didn't take long to make it right. But mostly what I was interested in this time was reliability. Because of the weather I only got to fire 100 rounds through it last session and I wanted to continue the test. Today the Ruger effortlessly ate up everything offered it, another 200 rounds without malfunction. So far so good.

Next up was my Budischowsky TP-70. All shooting was done at 15ft using my strong hand only. The Budischowsky was a high end pocket pistol from the 1970s. It had many features not common to guns that size. Features like real sights, a separate extractor, slide stop and a decocker. They only made them a few years with the large majority in .25 Auto. The .22 version was only produced one year and they're a little tough to come by.

This pistol is basically a range toy. I only keep it for two reasons, because it's so cute and so cheap to feed. I would never rely on it for personal protection. First is the caliber, while this was a very innovative "mouse gun" 30+ years ago time has passed it by. Now you can get pocket guns almost identical in size and actually lighter in .32 or .380. The "micro" 9mm pistols aren't far behind. But even if I wanted to rely on a .22LR for self defense I still wouldn't use this gun, it's just too persnickety.

The magazines are one problem. It will hold seven rounds but you'll quickly find that to be the easiest way to get this pistol to malfunction. You better count them out when loading. Six rounds, no more, ever. Another issue is the double action trigger pull. IT IS AWFUL! Even at 5 yards you can see I was pulling shots to the right. Firing in single action you can actually make reasonable sized groups but it's not safe to carry it that way. But the Budischowsky's biggest problem is being a very finicky eater. I have never found ammunition that it would feed reliably 100% of the time. Until today. I put 150 rounds down range with the Federal brand without a hiccup. Next time I have it out I'll try the Federal again. If it repeats today's performance I guess I've finally found the ammo it likes. Yes this little pistol has plenty of problems, but it's so cute!

Had some fun today and didn't even have to go through a lot of expensive ammo to do it. As a bonus I might have finally found just the right formula for my problem child.

Friday, October 07, 2011

WOW - FAST!

Tuesday afternoon I ordered the newest from James Wesley, Rawles and this morning it was waiting for me in my mailbox. Not quite the instant gratification of a Kindle but to have a real paper copy in my hands in 68 hours, well that's not too shabby either.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Tomorrow is book bomb day

James Wesley, Rawles author and owner of the very informative SurvivalBlog has a new novel that will be released Tuesday the 4th. It's called Survivors: A Novel of the Coming Collapse and is a (kind of) sequel to his post apocalypse novel Patriots. If you're a fan of this type of fiction I urge you to order it tomorrow. Lets get his sales numbers up. He deserves it!

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Lesson from the bird guy

During my brief time as an unarmed security officer I met quite a few interesting characters. The one I remember most I called "the bird guy."

One of my semi regular posts was at a local galleria type mall down town and I would usually pull a shift there two or maybe three times a month. Typically as a last minute replacement if one of the regular guys called in sick or needed a vacation day. At the time the mall was undergoing a heavy remodeling and not open to the public. Our main job was to keep people out of the construction areas and that mostly meant the local homeless population that would frequently try to set up house in some faraway nook out of public view. They especially liked the two lower sublevels for some reason. Probably because there was no power there at the time and they could easily find some dark corner to hide in.

Adjacent to the mall was a Catholic church. Midday, every weekday, they would give out food to indigents, usually sandwiches of some kind. The bird guy was always there.

The bird guy was in his early thirties, average height and a little thin. He had blonde hair that he kept cut short and neat. His clothes were casual, a knit shirt and khaki pants. They looked like they hadn't been laundered for a while but he still made an effort to look presentable. Kept his shirt buttoned up and tucked in. They might have been the best clothes he had, maybe the only ones. He always had with him a small backpack too and I suspect that it carried everything he owned.

The bird guy might have been mentally ill or disabled. I never once heard him speak to anyone and he often appeared to be in his own little world. Like everyone else he would wait in the long line for his sandwich. But it was after that you could see he wasn't like any of the others that were standing there.

The rest would take their food and go. They might hang out with friends for a short while but not very long. They got their free lunch and then quickly went their separate ways again. The bird guy had other priorities. Between the mall and church was an area that somehow had managed not to get paved over. A long narrow strip of grass and a few trees, not that common in that part of town.

The bird guy would go sit down, usually right on the ground. He would then open his sandwich and eat the insides. Afterwards he would carefully shred the bread into very tiny pieces that he would toss out in front of him. Then he would wait. It wouldn't be long before the birds would show up, all sizes and kinds. They would eat the crumbs only inches from him. More than once I saw him feeding them right out of his hands.

That was the real reason the bird guy came and you could see it there in his smile and in his eyes. No matter what other problems he had for a short while everyday at lunchtime they were forgotten.

That's the lesson that I learned from the bird guy and I try to remember it every day.

You should take your happiness wherever you can find it.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Joshua - Done

It has been a long and interesting journey and now my book Joshua (first draft) is finished. For the last month or so I've worked hard trying to bring the story to a conclusion and I finally have. I had the original story idea for a while but never put it down. I didn't think I could write a novel. Then starting in July of 2010 I started with the thought that it would make a great short story, but it just kept growing. Now I have written my first book, 92,710 words. I have decided to take the advice of a professional author, you know someone that actually gets paid to write. I'm going to leave it alone for at least a few weeks, not even think about it for a while before I do the final edit. For everyone of you that have read my book and especially to those that sent comments or emails (good or bad), thank you. You encouraged me, knowing that there were people reading my words helped me to keep on going. I will not be releasing separate chapters anymore. The next time you see Joshua it will complete, ready for you to read from beginning to end and (hopefully) enjoy.

CHAPTER THIRTEEN - FINALLY

Yes, Chapter 13 has been posted. Thank you for your patience.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

People with guns collection # 40

"HE'S A ONE-GUN GUY OFF THE SCREEN

On the screen, many a lad does feats of derring-do with pistols. Off the screen, Clark Gable has proven he can do things with pistols in scoring some high shooting records at the Hotel Del Monte, where he rested before starting work on his new picture 'Cain and Mabel'. He's shown on the Del Monte Gun Club grounds. In addition to pistol work, he's a good trapshooter and fine fisherman.
" 5-2-36

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Sharpy pointy things

THIS is going around the internetz and I thought I would play, I like knives too.

This is my EDI Genesis folder and I've had it for years. I've carried it a long time but it hardly gets used. It's more of a carrying knife than a using one. For you youngsters out there EDI (Edge Design Inc) was a small knife company similar in materials, quality and price range to Spyderco and Benchmade. They went out of business around the turn of the century. Too bad, they made a hell of a knife.

I really like knives!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Mini movie reviews

I've finally been able to catch up on some movies that were recommended to me and been meaning to see for a while now, and yes I do know that it's 2011. Here's the quick rundown.

Oldboy (2003) - Korean businessman locked away in secret prison for 15 years. Now he's out looking for revenge against his unknown tormentor. - Well done mystery with a lot of twists and turns. Will definitely @%&! with your head. B+

Juno (2007) - Quirky teenage girl finds herself in a family way but decides to have baby and give it up for adoption. - This could have easily turned into pabulum but manages to be a touching drama/comedy that doesn't resort to cliché. A lot of great dialog too. A

Black Dynamite (2009) - Comedy disguised as one of those exploitation/action movies that you saw at the drive-in in the 1970s, right down to the itchy polyester suits and grainy 16mm film stock. - If you liked them all those years ago you'll love this. Better than the real ones ever were. B+

District 9 (2009) - Illegal (space) aliens living in the slums of Johannesburg, South Africa. They're lowering the property values and one man is in charge of moving them out, until he comes down with his own special problem. - Highly original sci-fi flick that will hold your attention right to the end. B+

The Killer Inside Me (2010) - Brutal crime thriller based on the classic book by Jim Thompson. Outside he's an affable small town deputy sheriff, inside him a monster. - Incredible performances, especially Affleck, but ultimately can't live up to the source material. B

Monday, September 12, 2011

Gone Shooting - BAG gun day

Decided to go shooting yesterday despite predictions of rain. I just had to get out of the house and get away from it all. I needed some peace and quiet. I knew if I stayed home I would eventually end up back in front of the TV and angry or depressed, or both. I really couldn't take anymore 9/11 coverage.

It might seem strange to some that I decided to go shooting to get "peace and quiet" but it's not. Now days I most often go shooting on family owned farmland. It's a good drive from here and cost me twice as much to shoot compared to the local gun range 10 minutes from my house. But sometimes it's not about saving money. Shooting on this private property allows me freedoms that you will never have on a public range. Then there's the solitude which I needed probably more than to go shooting, at least yesterday.

I have a few guns that I've owed a while but haven't managed to shoot yet. I decided to take my Ruger Government target model .22. It was my BAG gun purchase last April and it has sat neglected in my safe since.

As predicted it did rain but during a few intermittent breaks from the showers I managed to put 100 rounds down range and get a good idea how this Ruger handles. All shooting was done at 50 feet using an improvised rest. Ammunition used was Federal "AutoMatch" .22 Long Rifle. Over the past few months I've bought several boxes of this from the local wallyworld in the 325 round bulk packs. I had yet to try it out and it was a good day for that too. The pistol and ammo performed flawlessly together and I actually had holes touching when I concentrated. The groups above were typical for the day firing with a leisurely (but not super slow) pace.

In spite of the rain I enjoyed myself yesterday and had some quality "alone time," which I probably needed much more than the shooting.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Thanks Tam

I wasn't very articulate in my post earlier this morning. Sometimes I have problems expressing myself when angry. Tam pretty much summed up what I and I'm sure many others feel about much of the news coverage on this 10th anniversary of 9/11.

10 Years

Ten years today. All of those that died on that day and those since. A lot of innocent and brave people gone. I won't be watching anymore. The TV is off, the radio is off, for the duration. The last few days leading up to it have been bad enough, today will be unbearable. Like pigs wallowing in it. Is that all we have left? Is that what we've become?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

It's 9/10/11 - I have to post something

How about this little fella who might be a contender for the ugliest dog ever. Heard that old saying, "a face only a mother could love." Here it is.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

On reading

Finished reading Stephen King's On Writing. It's an excellent book, part personal memoir, part writing manual. It gave me a lot to think about with my own fiction, gave me some good laughs too. In it I found numerous helpful tips, probably the most useful was also quite simple, something I completely lost sight of since I started writing my own novel. He says if you want to be a good writer not only should you write a lot but also read a lot. I've been so obsessed with my book I haven't read anyone else's in nearly nine months. Sure I've read lots of blogs and countless news articles too, but absolutely no fiction since December of last year. I'm taking what Mr. King taught me with his book and will be applying it to my own. Hopefully Joshua will be better for it.

End of summer (almost)

With the unofficial end of summer we now resume our regularly scheduled header.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Question for the gunnies

How obsessive are you about cleaning your guns? With modern (non-corrosive) ammunition cleaning your gun right after shooting isn't really necessary anymore, but many of us still do. I used to be that way myself, had to clean it right after getting back from the range. But I have relaxed some over the years (or maybe I just got lazy). Now I typically clean my guns the same day or one or two days after. I know some that might wait a week or more and have heard of shooters that don't clean their guns (besides a quick wipe down) until they actually won't function any longer. How about you? How dirty does your gun have to be before you finally can't stand it anymore?

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Movie Review - Mortuary

Can roller-disco eventually lead to insanity and murder? The undeniable answer is yes! In director Howard Avedis' Mortuary (1983), we get to see not only the horror of that short-lived craze but also a séance, cool custom vans, great early 80's hair styles and clothes, and of course let's not forget that wacko in a black hood and clown make-up running around killing people with an embalming tool, he is the real star of this sideshow.Poor Christie (Mary McDonough), first her father was murdered when someone whacked him on the head with a baseball bat, sending him tumbling into the family swimming pool. If that wasn't bad enough, no one, not even her own mother (Lynda Day George) believes her when she begins telling people that her father didn't die in an accident. If all that weren't more than enough for our little heroine now she knows that someone (maybe the same someone that killed her father?) is following her, some mysterious nutcase in a black car and a black hooded cape has been following her all over town. And if her plate wasn't full already with all of those problems, since her father's death Christie has also developed a problem sleepwalking. She is apt to get up anytime in the night and wander around, jump in the pool, put her hand through a window or do any number of crazy things to help convince her mother that perhaps she really is crazy after all. But looking on the bright side, it does give her an opportunity to romp around all night wearing nothing but a revealing nightie and a glazed look. Despite everything poor little Christie sticks to her guns though, her father was murdered and she is not crazy!Fortunately she has a big handsome blonde boyfriend to help her out. Greg (David Wallace) has his own problems, his best friend Josh (Denis Mandel) is missing after they broke into the warehouse of the local mortuary owner, Mr. Andrews (Christopher George) and no one has seen Josh in days. Before Josh got himself run through like a shish kabob he and Greg saw some strange happenings at the warehouse. Mr. Andrews and several women (including Christie's mom) were seen there performing some type of strange ritual. Together Christie and Greg decide to investigate the case, and with these two on it we know we'll get results.I think I forgot to mention that Mr. Andrews has a son, Paul Andrews (Bill Paxton). We know very little about Paul, we know that he loves Mozart. We know that he works at his dad's mortuary. We know that as a child his dad locked him up with dead people. But most of all we know that Paul has a big crush on our little Christie. Paul wanders through the film on occasion, giving little clues to who he might actually be. He does everything but wear a big sign around his neck, "Hi, I am a crazy killer who stabs people with a embalming tool." But even without such an obvious clue our two detectives finally solve the case and have a kind of happy ending after all (unfortunately not before several more people get punctured).

Originally posted 6/26/2005

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

SW99 - Smith & Wesson's forgotten stepchild

First introduced in March of 1999 the Smith & Wesson SW99 was a joint effort between the Massachusetts company and Carl Walther of Germany. S&W's new handgun was an offshoot of Walther's own P99 and like that pistol was initially offered in 40S&W and 9MM. Unlike Walther however, Smith & Wesson would also eventually produce the design in .45 ACP.

In time the SW99 would be offered in several calibers and configurations, the full sized models (12, 16 and 9 rounds normal capacity in 40S&W, 9MM and .45 respectively) and in a smaller compact model in 40S&W and 9MM (8 and 10 rounds respectively). All of the SW99 series pistols were based on the same polymer framed, striker fired design with a traditional double action/single action trigger. The TDA SW99 would be the first of two variations the gun was offered in, the 99 and the 99QA (Quick Action). Walther produced the frames and internal lockwork in Germany and then sent them to S&W who made the slide and barrel and finished assembly here in the United States. Pistols were supplied with three front sights of different heights and three (two in .45 and compacts) interchangeable back straps so that each owner could modify the pistol to their individual needs. It also had other useful features like loaded chamber and cocked striker indicators, windage adjustable back sights and equipment rail.

In addition the SW99 introduced features not usually seen like a decocking button located on top of the gun's slide and a new magazine release that departed from the norm. Instead of being the typical button on the left side of the frame, the type of magazine release known to generations of American shooters, the SW99 featured an innovative ambidextrous lever design. While the more conventional type was pressed in to release the magazine the SW99 was pressed downward. With the S&W the shooter could drop the magazine with their trigger finger and with one hand, never having to change their hold on the gun. While very effective it didn't "feel" right to many traditional gun owners. The magazine release and odd decocker location were probably major contributors to the gun's less than spectacular reception in the U.S. market.

In 2004 the SW99 was remade into the SW990 and the SW990L (Lightning). It was still offered in all previously available calibers and sizes. The main difference between the new models and its predecessor was a redesigned trigger that functioned like a DAO pistol. With that change the decocker was no longer needed and also eliminated. With continued lackluster sales S&W would drop the pistol from its catalog entirely for 2007.

Unfortunately the odds were against the SW99 from the beginning with several varying factors contributing to the demise of this fine pistol. First was the pricing, having a suggested retail nearly a third more than the most popular polymer handgun, the Glock, was a major problem. To many shooters "plastic is plastic" and they buy what is most affordable. Another problem was Smith & Wesson. They never really seemed to get behind this product and (in this author's opinion) only did a half-hearted job of marketing their newest offering. Maybe the complexities of production and profit sharing with a foreign company were too much to bother with. Another issue that certainly didn't help was the agreement that S&W made with the Clinton era HUD department in 2000. That deal significantly hurt the company's reputation and caused their sales to plummet overnight, including the SW99 that was only introduced a year earlier. But ultimately the biggest factor of all was the gun itself. While numerous reviewers reported it to be a solid, reliable sidearm, well designed and executed, it just didn't seem to matter. The SW99/990 was perhaps too innovative, too different to be successful with American gun owners.

Nowadays the SW99 and SW990L are seen for sale most often and can be found relatively cheap for a high quality semi-auto pistol. A brief tour of the various internet gun websites found many excellent condition used (some new old stock) in the $300-400 range. By far the most common are the SW99 full size in 40S&W followed by the 9MM and finally .45 model. The compacts and SW990L (especially in .45) are seen for sale less often. While the SW99QA and the SW990 seem to be the hardest variations to find.

I've been interested in a .45 model since they first came out ('03) but the suggested retail at the time of over $800 stopped me even considering one. I've kept my eye out for a used pistol since. I just recently purchased this SW990L in .45ACP. A well made, new in the box, American/German .45 for $399.99 seem to me a real bargain.

I just finished my first range session with the Smith & Wesson model SW990L and here are some immediate thoughts. While I am very happy with the S&W (overall) I did have two minor issues with the pistol and will cover them first.

The bad - The back sights could be the only real weak spot on the gun. They're adjustable for windage and my first impression is that they're not very robust, they might be susceptible to drifting or breakage. The jury is still out on that one for now. But even if it were to become a issue later the slide does appear to have a standard dovetail cut and if needed replacement shouldn't be a problem. Another (very minor) concern I have is the finger grooves in the grip. I am not really a fan of finger grooves but I must say that these are more conservative than others I've seen and fit me fairly well. Although I don't have an issue myself I could see them being a problem for people with smaller hands and fingers.

The good - How a gun fits the user is one of the most important issues when choosing a gun, the 990L fits me very well. With the exception of the Glock 21 and my HK USP every other .45 I've ever owned had single column magazines so I'll use these two for comparison. Actually I owned two Glock G21s over the years, both first and a second generation guns. I really wanted to like the Glock but ultimately never could. My biggest issue was the size of the grip. 13 rounds of .45ACP is a great idea but I found the G21 just too much for my hands. While the HK with 12 rounds is also a big gun I find it much more comfortable than the Glock. The main issue with the Glock (for me) was not only the large grip but also its shape, the Glock just seems more square and "blocky." The SW990L has the Glock and HK both beat in that regard. The grip itself is a good size and shape and I consider it one of the gun's best features, it fills the hand without being too much. The S&W seems to be a good compromise between comfort and capacity. To quote Goldilocks it feels "just right." No, 9 rounds are not as good as 13 (or even 12), but then I also don't feel like I'm losing grip on the gun when trying to fire it fast like I did with the G21. The sides of the grip also have a raised dot pattern and the front and back strap have a modest checkering that allow for a firm hold without being abrasive. Another area where the SW99/990 has the Glock beat is the takedown lever. That was always for me the most annoying feature of Glock pistols, those two tiny take down levers were always a chore to use. The Smith & Wesson (and Walther) is a similar idea but much easier in practice. As for the trigger the S&W is like a Glock having the same pull each time. My trigger scale measures it at nine pounds but I must say it feels lighter because of its very short travel (less than .5 inch). It is also very smooth with no stacking which contributes to the perception. The magazine release is very similar to the HK USP and they are the only two pistols I own that I can drop mags one handed and without taking my sights off the target. With every other handgun I own I must either use my weak hand to release the magazine or shift my shooting grip. I find this type of magazine release very quick and instinctive and I like it more every time I use it.

After my initial workout with the SW990L I am very impressed overall with its quality and performance. Although there is a lot more testing to be done, so far it seems to be well made, well designed and a bargain.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Gone Shooting - About time edition

Its been three months since I've gone shooting, almost the whole summer wasted. Since that last session I just haven't had the time or desire to go. Between a family situation and some miserable weather I couldn't make myself although I most certainly needed to. I have guns that I bought nearly a year ago but haven't shot yet, and the list keeps growing. Something had to be done about it. Finally I decided that today was the day. I was off from work and would make myself go shooting no matter how I felt or what the weather was like. Fortunately it was nearly perfect weather for it.

Today I took one new gun, a Smith & Wesson 990L .45 that I purchased nearly two months ago. It has been sitting in my safe since then collecting dust. I also brought along my HK USP .45 that is my current "House" gun as I need to keep in practice with it. All shooting this day was at 7, 10 and 15 yards using a Weaver stance. Ammunition taken along was Remington and S&B 230gr ball and I used my usual target, a standard USPSA/IPSC silhouette with a Shoot-N-C 5-inch stick on over the "A" zone. As long as I can keep in the A I'm happy. If I keep it in the black I'm very happy.

I bought the S&W back in June at a good price but as I said it is only now that I've got around to trying it. The 990L is a striker fired pistol with a double action only trigger pull and is comparable to the Glock. I needed to know if this one was a "keeper" or if I should trade it off on something else. The USP I've had for a while now and I like it more every time I shoot it. As I said it's mainly for home defense but I have carried it a few times in the colder months when the weather allows me to cover it with a coat.

First up was the Smith & Wesson. Out of the box it was pulling a little right and the first three shots out of it were the only ones not in the A zone the whole day. No matter, the 990L has an adjustable back sight so I just got out my screwdriver and it was a quick, easy fix. From then on it was right on target. The pistol performed flawlessly, 200 rounds without a hiccup. My precious hollowpoint stockpile is getting low so I didn't bring any along today. I'll bring some next time but I suspect it will be just a reliable with them. This pistol is lighter and smaller than my USP and it seemed that recovery times between shots was slower. I'm sure that at least some of the problem was the fact that this gun (and its trigger) are entirely new to me. When I get some more range time I expect to shoot it faster and the groups to shrink too. The photo above was from firing at seven yards as fast as I could and is typical of the guns performance today. So far I'm very pleased with my new .45.

Next up was the USP and I put another 100 rounds through it this morning. As usual function was perfect. Since I've owned this pistol I've put hundreds of rounds through it including numerous kinds of hollowpoint ammunition without a malfunction. Despite its size (or maybe because of it) the USP is one of my most pleasant .45s to shoot. Follow up shots seem quicker and easier and you are really having a bad day if you get out of the A zone. I have had this HK for two years next month and it has yet to let me down. This pistol was well worth the price of admission.

Had a great day shooting two impressive .45s and hope to do it again real soon!

Going Shooting

Been way too long. Gotta go. Post later...

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Maybe, possibly

The internet is ablaze right now with talk of Beretta's entry into the who can make the smallest pocket 9mm race, the Nano. It looks like a practical design but until the specs and reviews are out I'm holding judgment. I've been thinking about getting a light pocket 9 for a while now to supplement (or maybe completely replace) my lightweight J-Frame. 6 or 7 rounds of 9mm +P are better than 5 rounds of .38+P. Of those currently on the market I gave the Walther PPS the most serious look. It had what I wanted above all from a pocket gun, to be light and very slim, although it had other features I didn't like. From the photos I've seen the Nano is comparable in weight and might even be smaller than the Walther. But I am not in any hurry. I've still got plenty of time before I have to spend any money, time to read the reviews and see what early owners say. My pocket guns rarely get used except in the hottest summer months of July and August. So I've still got at least until spring of next year before I make a decision. The new Beretta also seems fairly priced at $475.00 and says "MADE IN USA" on the side, which doesn't hurt either. A lot of posters are commenting on how ugly they think the Nano is, certainly no uglier than any Glock ever made. And speaking of Glock it's a good thing they don't seem particularly interested in making a pocket 9mm with a single column magazine. Undoubtedly they would end this interesting contest overnight.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The King is dead!

I'm talking about that plastic face goon that has been haunting television sets (and my nightmares) for several years now. Burger King has finally decided to give their creepy laminated spokesman the pink slip. About time. I don't know what marketing genius came up with the idea to begin with, whoever he was he should be flipping burgers now instead of selling them. I rarely eat at BK and their mascot with his lifeless eyes and unnerving smile sure didn't inspire me to go more often. Mostly he just freaked me out. Spent most his time just silently skulking about, frightening adults and especially kids. So long, scary disturbing whopper man!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A question

How come the only time Kentucky makes the national news is with the Derby, basketball or nutcakes like THIS? He ain't even one of ours. Just asking.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Apologies Part II

Apologies to anyone left out there still reading my post apocalypse novel Joshua. It's been a bad couple of months around here and I really haven't had much time for my book. Even when I could find some time I still didn't make much progress, my heart just wasn't in it. When I first started writing last year I planned to be finished by this coming Labor Day. That was an attainable goal and it looked like I was going to make it but unfortunately my plan didn't include a family member with major health problems. That (and some other issues) has slowed me down quite a bit. Starting in September I will have a new chapter posted and Joshua will be finished in 2011! Thanks for your patience.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Flip the switch!

Yesterday a storm came through my region of the country leaving numerous downed trees and communities without power before it was quickly gone again. In Indiana some people even lost their lives when a concert stage collapsed. But for me and my neighborhood it was nothing more than an annoyance, 23 hours without modern conveniences just as a reminder that life after electricity is really going to suck.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Movie Review - Prettykill

"Hello 9-1-1? I'd like to report this woman, sometimes she can be this sweet southern gal, very innocent and childlike, a real cute blonde that you'd really like to know better. But at other times she can be this complete psycho bitch who runs around in a bad wig cutting people to pieces with a straight razor. What should I do? Sir, this line is for emergencies only and you really don't have an emergency, you're simply describing the laughably horrible 1987 drama Prettykill directed by George Kaczender, so please just sit back and enjoy the movie."Police Sgt. Larry Turner (David Birney) has several problems, first his girlfriend Heather (Season Hubley) is a prostitute and a madam, wait that's not really a problem for him, in fact he doesn't seem to be bothered by it at all. He does have other things on his mind though; the biggest would be "Lightning Boy" (Gary Majchrazak), a big time drug dealer that is pushing dope on playgrounds all over New York. Turner is going to get this pusher that is selling death all over the city and who is also responsible for the murder of a fellow police officer. Turner's boss (Yaphet Kotto) doesn't like him or the way that he does his job; he blames Turner for the cop's death and wants him off of the force. Another problem is that Turner (Birney), as we all know is a tough street cop, and tough street cops have to kill scumbags on occasion which causes him much distress. But like any other normal New York cop he relieves his anguish by getting hammered and having angst ridden pillow talk with his hooker girlfriend. Turner's girlfriend Heather is the one you should really feel sorry for, it's not easy to be a high-class prostitute and madam in 1980s New York. First there are the customers, obnoxious and demanding. Then you have to be seen at all of the right parties, if there isn't lots of cocaine, naked people in clown makeup and life-sized nude cakes you can just forget it. You'll also have to deal with the occasional deviant ambassador and lets not forget the personnel problem, finding good employees can really be a hassle. In her unending effort to find quality girls Heather recruits Francie (Suzanne Snyder). Francie is a sweet small-town girl all the way from Georgia, she is a little too "low class" but Heather thinks she has potential. They meet at the strip club were Francie is dancing and hit it off. Of course Heather can't have any of her girls working in such a place and since our little trailer-trash waif has no place to call home Heather takes her home with her. Bad move, because it would seem that Francie might just be slightly unbalanced, lets face it her little noggin is cracked wide open. It seems she has more than one person up there in her head, besides Francie we have the sad little abused girl Jodie, the sophisticated worldly Stella and even her own abusive father lives in her head. If it weren't crowded enough up there already, now it would seem that she might also be turning into her new benefactor. Can Francie be the one responsible for the unexplained murders that have been occurring in the city lately? And lets not forget that mysterious man with a limp, the man who has been following Francie around from the beginning of the film, watching her, dumping dead bodies in the river, spontaneously crying, could he possibly know something about these murders?This production has all the earmarks of a very badly made television movie that somehow, inexplicably made its way to your local cinema. This film is just so bad at so many levels that it really can't be described. It all adds up to the most enjoyable experience in badness. While it was originally intended to be a serious shocker it actually ended up being a very (unintentional) funny comedy instead. The story itself is laughable, the directing non-existent and the acting, well lets just say it's not award winning by any stretch of the imagination. You would think that David Birney would be tops in this department, having appeared in so many truly awful films, but you would be wrong! Yes, he is in way over his head trying to play a hardened Dirty Harry type street cop on the mean streets of N.Y.C. but in this film Suzanne Snyder has him beat for the top prize in scenery eating. I can find no words in English that can completely describe just how over the top she is in this film. I defy anyone not to bust out laughing when little Francie turns into her own abusive, redneck "Daddy". Everyone in this film is just bad (some more than others), even Yaphet Kotto, who is probably the best actor in this production ends up just giving a lot of mean stares and reciting some pretty stupid lines. As an extra-added bonus this film also happens to feature one of the worst movie soundtracks that I have ever heard, some very bad 80s elevator music that never quite seems to match the scene that it was intended for! It's very possible the makers of this film only used this music after getting a good deal on it when it was rejected for Dynasty. Yes, you will have to go a long way to find another movie as bad (and funny) as this one, although I am sure there are probably quite a few contenders waiting in the wings, Hollywood just never seems to stop churning out monstrosities like this do they?

Originally posted 8/8/2005

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Condolences

For those brave men (and their families) that were killed in Afghanistan's eastern Wardak province yesterday, and all the others that hardly make the news anymore. It takes an immense tragedy like this to remind us of the small tragedies too. May they all rest in peace.

People with guns collection # 39

"Denver, Nov. 23 -- SMALL BOY, BIG GUN, BIGGER LION. Glenn Neigenfind, 12, of Denver grins as he 'throws down' with a large revolver on the carcass of a mountain lion. He used the big pistol to kill the lion after dogs treed it 15 feet above ground on a hunting trip in mountains southwest of Denver Saturday. Glenn will collect a $50 dollar state bounty." November 23, 1953