Showing posts from 2011

Three news stories

There are three news stories I am following with particular interest because they seem to me the most important of the present day: The debt crisis in the Western democracies Social change in China The changing Mideast political situation, as regards mosque and state These stories are interrelated, in some interesting ways. If the Western economies crumble it will affect the arising Chinese middle class. It will change the demand for oil, impacting the funding source for much of Islamism. Other scenarios are possible. A Communist crackdown in China would disrupt China's economic development and China's role in world commerce, with results felt everywhere.  Contrariwise, the Chinese people might finally get fed up enough with their Communist officials to throw the rascals out. Individual Chinese citizens do not have much political power, but there are a great many of them. An Islamist hegemony in the Mideast would change many things, possibly including who is a favor

New .22 pocket revolver from Ruger

See it here: Some  people on a discussion board I visit are asking what this little gun is good for, and in Internet echo chamber fashion, many people are opining it isn't good for much, because of its small caliber. I disagree. A DA snubnose in .22LR is an excellent thing to have, in some circumstances. I haven't shot the new Ruger yet, but have for many years owned another brand of .22 snub, so I feel I can comment.  If you carry a .38 snub you can get in a lot of good practice with a .22 version. It is possible to learn to shoot a snubnose rather well, but it takes a lot of practice. The .22 makes practice cheaper because the ammo costs so much less, and less fatiguing because of the lesser blast and recoil.  There are some people who cannot stand much recoil. This includes the elderly and arthritic, and also hale and hearty youngsters who have injured hands or wrists. Martial artists, for example, often injure

The "Buck and Roy" rifle: Roy Rogers, meet Buck Rogers

The lever action .30-30 is one of the handiest and most useful light rifles ever invented. I now count five manufacturers offering versions of this old weapon and I see it is as popular as ever among hunters of medium-big game. The great virtue of the .30-30 is its fast handling. It is well balanced and points swiftly and naturally, the mechanism is  quick and simple to operate, and the cartridge does not have so much recoil that it rocks you back on your heels. The little rifle's chief drawback is the antique, cowboy-style sighting arrangement. The factory sights are all right for backup but they don't give you all the accuracy the rifle has in it. The adjustments are vague and approximate and the sight picture is quaint. The modern sight that best suits the .30-30, in typical uses, is the red dot. It improves on the rifle's best trait by making the weapon even faster to put on target. To use the dot sight, you look downrange with both eyes focused on the target, j

Federal Cartridge's Handy Ballistics Calculator

***UPDATE (2014)*** The link below for 2013 still points to the interactive catalog/calculator, but here is something different. Federal now also offers a general purpose ballistic calculator. You can use it to check up on the behavior of factory cartridges or plug in the values for your own handloads. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ***UPDATE (2013)*** The app has moved from its former location on the web. You may now download the current version here: It is still free and still runs on just Windows. If it goes missing again, try a web search for Federal Interactive Ballistics Catalog. My review from 2011: ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- This application for the PC has been around for years.

Elizabeth Warren's Famous Rant

Elizabeth Warren achieved national fame overnight with some pungent words, widely reported :  " There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own — nobody. "You built a factory out there? Good for you. But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for..." The rest is quoted below. She makes a powerful appeal in the populist, soak-the-rich tone the White House has been setting. But I find her understanding flawed. It overlooks (or ignores) that before we, the "rest of us," pay for anything, there must be enterprise and profit first of all. Most of us pay taxes out of wages, and wages come ultimately from the existence of profitable enterprises. That is true even of wages paid by the government--since those come out of taxes, and taxes come out of wages, and out of profits. That has, of course, been true all along and it is true now. The government would have nothing to spend on roads, schools, police or f

More Rule Four -- a death this time

This story  out of Oregon is a tragic one, a young life snuffed out in a failure to apply Rule Four: Be sure of your target and what is beyond your target. I remarked  on a similar story just last month. To repeat: It is hard to imagine how you are going to have a shooting misadventure if you internalize the Four Rules pertaining to gun safety and always hold yourself to them. If you do not know what the rules are, or have forgotten them--if you cannot repeat them off the top of your head--lock away your gun until you can recite them, with feeling.

How to reduce defense spending

The U.S. started out without a large standing army and with militia units under state authority, that could be transferred into federal service at need. The idea was to avoid the risks to liberty, and the expense, of having a lot of armed federal employees trampling about. Militia defense is a robust system. No one fights harder than someone defending his own turf. We saw this, for example, in the Second World War. The Japanese defending Japanese territory, on Iwo Jima and Okinawa, were reported by those on our side to be the damnedest thing you ever saw. These Japanese were regulars, in a national army, not militia, but the feeling--as reported from their side--was it was now personal. Other examples, from other countries, may come to mind. Switzerland has a good example of a modern militia system. Their stance has long been one of neutrality backed by good riflemen. It seems to have worked very well: They have managed to stay out of the wars for a long time, with obvious benefits

The unpleasant solution to the public benefits problem

Social welfare schemes have a built-in tendency to grow and multiply, as politicians discover it is in their interest to expand them, and add new ones. Recipients of public largess tend--understandably--to support parties, politicians and programs that deliver the benefits. If we want to know how all this ends we need look no farther afield than the countries of the Euro zone. Greece is the first to crack under the strain of debts it cannot pay; it will not be the last. Here in the United States are not at the breaking point yet but we are getting there. We are making the same mistake; we are spending money we do not have. Of course it seems like a good idea at first to dole out benefits at public expense, but there is a very considerable downside. It is  difficult to shrink social spending, a process that amounts to clawing back benefits from people who have become accustomed to think they deserve them. Indeed, the United States' highly touted welfare reform under Clinton di

The 'Hands Off My Department' Department

In this article  the IRS commissioner claims that cutting his operating budget would be disastrous. Where have we heard that before? Why, we hear it every time anyone proposes cutting any spending in Washington. Can't be done! Preposterous! Impossible! It would wreck the economy or be cruel to the least fortunate, or something. It happens every single time! A government spending cut is proposed and then the howling starts--oh no, you must not cut this. So you move along to the next thing, only to be told you can't cut that , either. Or the other thing ! It ends up in a big double shuffle in which you're told you can't cut anything. At all. Ever. At least nothing serious--maybe the Marines have too much coffee money. Take it up with them. The Puerto Rican Resident Commissioner opposes cuts for Puerto Rico . “I recognize the need to reduce our nation’s deficit in a thoughtful and deliberate manner. But, as a recent editorial stated, ‘these are the wrong cuts, to th

The invisible hand is clutching our throat

The economy is on everybody's mind these days. No one, aside from a few professionals, thinks about the economy when it is good. It's like your health: You only think of it when you are sick. Here are a few thoughts that are rattling around in my head, these days. 1. The bailouts were categorically mistaken. When businesses fail they should collapse. This is as natural, and as necessary, as fallen leaves providing mulch for the forest floor. When businesses fail in the normal and proper way, the people who take the losses are those who invested in questionable schemes and the rest of us get off scot free. New opportunities are created for new businesses that will seek to avoid the mistakes of their predecessors. This leads to improved business practices and a better economy over time, but of course that only works if people bear their own risks and take their own losses. 2. I knew just what was wrong when I heard Dubya gabbling about violating free market principles to sa

The real Greek crisis

In this article , AP's Christopher Torchia gives us a somber reflective look at Greece's economic situation, and sums up with some words from Aristotle on the seductiveness of riches. I like the article but the author quotes the wrong ancient Greek. Aesop's story of the goose that laid gold eggs is more apropos. Greece's problem is government took too much out of the economy to give to too many people for too many reasons. Greece is not the only country that is doing this and it won't be the only one to fail economically because of it. They are going first because they have relatively a small and weak economy. The others will succumb by and by. The idea of paying people with their own money is so preposterous that, like the big lie, it escapes immediate detection.  In the long term, of course, truth comes out whether we like it or not. Æsop.  (Sixth century  B.C. )   Fables. The Harvard Classics.   1909–14.   The Goose With the Golden Egg     O NE  d

Science versus religion? Ah, go on with you!

People who assert that science trumps religion are making an error in reasoning. It is a subtle error but serious. Science has for its basis the philosophical idea called naturalism. (Consider science's former name, "natural philosophy.") Naturalism is the assumption that we will explain what we observe without reference to gods, devils, ghosts or  fairy godmothers. What can repeatedly be observed and measured is the whole scope of discussion. It is a good and useful assumption: It has been a great help, in bygone times, in sorting out received superstitions from actual facts about the natural world. It has also led, in our era, to progress in finding ways to manipulate the world around us: new medicines and materials and machines and marvels galore. (It has also brought us atom bombs, gas warfare and unintended consequences like drug resistant bacteria and ways to die by accident that no one a century or two ago had heard of or imagined.) Naturalism, though a very

Rule Four in San Francisco

   Every shooting misadventure I hear about involves violation of at least one of the Four Rules of gun safety. In this story from the Chronicle, cops in San Francisco shot at a suspect, missed, and hit two bystanders. This shows us the reason for Rule Four,    Be sure of your target and what is beyond your target. To the obvious question, "What were the officers thinking," the obvious answer is, "They weren't." The suspect was uninjured.

Fair Play To Obama

I do not believe claims that Obama is intentionally working to tank the American economy, by following the radical Cloward-Piven strategy . I am no fan of Obama but this seems to me an unwarranted charge. For it to be true, we would have to prove the same against all the European heads of state. Europe has the same kinds of problems we do: The governments spend too much, borrow too much and lack the political courage to make changes that are big enough to amount to more than halfway efforts at reform. Since Europe has the same problems, we would need a worldwide conspiracy theory to explain why all the governments are headed by Cloward-Piven radicals. It's ridiculous. What Europe and America are finding out is that government programs for social welfare--public solutions to private problems--are double whammy poison. These programs suck money out of the production economy. At the same time they take labor out of the economy, to the extent that people take government money ins

Snitch Watch

The Obama administration has launched a new web site where right-minded followers can report media, net traffic and rumors unfavorable to the Prez: This begs the question of how you tell an "attack" from the usual, and necessary, debate that happens in elections. Is it an attack to say Obama is massively confused on basic issues to do with the economy? Or is that a legitimate thing to say, if you think it? The attackers featured on the site today include rival candidates Rick Perry and Mitt Romney, and broadcaster Glenn Beck. You can also click a link to get "the facts," such as: By providing assistance to auto companies, President Obama saved more than a million jobs and prevented the American auto industry from collapsing. The Affordable Care Act promotes quality, affordable health coverage for all Americans, regardless of the industry they work in or their union status. I hope this is all transparent to American voters: It is an attempt to put a

Train Wreck America

The country's financial course is unsustainable. The way I visualize it is as a train on a track. We need to get off the track we are on, and switch onto another. Yet we continue to rumble past the switches that could head us toward safety, as government shows a lack of political will to do what is necessary to live within its means, which means within our means. Washington continues to spend money nobody has. Representative Maxine Waters, long a proponent of generous government spending, is now calling for a trillion dollar jobs program . She is one of the most vocal proponents of a particular vision of government: To right wrongs and solve problems, the government must spend money. Lots of it. She is not alone; there are many who share this vision, of a world where things are put to rights by the strong hand of government intervention, including the wielding of vast sums of public money. I am not sure what Rep. Waters would say to it, but some of her fellow liberals plainly

The Problem With Being Right

The awkward thing about being a fiscal conservative, these days, is I'm right whatever anyone says. The old order, in Washington, passeth away. So also the state governments, city councils and borough banditries. Either they run a much tighter ship, on all fronts of government spending, and shrink in proportion to the money that can be allotted them, or else governments are going to go broke. They are reenacting the old story of the goose that laid golden eggs. It's an awkward time because I like the part about having being right all along, but on the other hand I dread the consequences when irate grannies riot in the streets because the Social Security checks didn't show up--older folk  can be quite spry for a little while if we take plenty of aspirin along with caffeine. More immediate dangers arise when the urban poor, who have been funded for so long by social welfare schemes that it now seems their right to continue to be so, decide to stir things up a bit. England l

In The Belly of the Goose

What the European riots are about, at bottom, seems clear. The social welfare state is unsustainable and its clients are feeling that keenly. The recipients of various benefits need more largess from the government: more, though, is not to be had. They need more because in the present economic climate of inflation and unemployment and little growth, the dole doesn't go as far as it used to. While I was not the first to guess the direction things would take, I was accurate at least. If you rob Peter to pay Paul, Peter goes broke eventually, and then Paul turns rebel. It's not only happening in Europe. We are beginning to get reports from America of the disaffected and disadvantaged acting out in similar ways. There is not a lot of press coverage: an incident at the Wisconsin State Fair, some peculiar events in Philadelphia. More incidents are, doubtless, coming soon. The Western democracies are discovering the fundamental error in their thinking about social welfare spendin

Troubling statistics -- Gov't workers abound

I have written previously about the excessive growth of government and the economic hazards that poses. I now read that government workers--state, local and federal combined--outnumber those employed in all these private sector areas, combined:   Construction Manufacturing Farming Fishing Forestry Mining Utilities  As the author of this article points out, the takers outnumber the makers. Now, looking around, it seems to me that we are up to our elbows in various government functionaries and we have laws and rules and forms in triplicate for every  occasion . The cost and scope of government have grown beyond anything  envisioned  by the nation's founders or ratified by the people.  The good news is our excess of government will collapse of its own weight, if we do not manage to rein it in, for things economically unsustainable do not continue. The bad news is the same. 

Free shooting lessons from experts

Here are manuals from the U.S. Marine Corps on how to shoot the rifle and the pistol . The Marines have been thinking carefully about practical shooting since 1775, and have developed some rather definite opinions on how it should be done. The manuals linked here assume use of the M16A2 rifle and the M9 pistol, but the how-to information is adaptable to any rifle or pistol. The lessons are also adaptable to any use of the rifle or pistol afield, not necessarily in warfare. Being quick, accurate, using a steady position and so on won't hurt your chances if you're just after rabbits with a .22. The links go to sizable PDF files and may take a while to load.

Random Press Items

Since D.C.'s handgun ban ended, well-heeled residents have become well armed This Washington Post story gives some good insights on gun ownership in D.C., but cannot avoid a bit of liberal whine tasting: Well heeled residents register more guns than the poor. (I wonder if WaPo intended the pun: Well heeled , get it?) From the other end of the country: Hawaiian Lawmaker Introduces Bill to Ban Sales of Toy Guns To Children . Maybe the idea is, when they grow up they'll be used to the idea. Guns = bad, m'kay?

Polymer cartridge cases for centerfire rifles!?

PCP rifle ammo  is not available in the stores yet, but it promises the performance of brass case ammo with less weight. The makers say they have got the bugs worked out. They claim a new, patent-pending process. I hope this stuff really works, because there are several circumstances where lighter ammo would be a Good Thing.

Free Ebook --The American Rifle by Townsend Whelen (1918)

So begins Townsend Whelen's 1918 book, The American Rifle .  You can read or download it free at Google Books; click here . It is more than 600 pages long. It covers so much that it is more nearly like an encyclopedia than a recreational read. A look at the table of contents will give some idea what I mean. This book was the current info as of the year 1918. There have been advances since then. The powders, primers and optical sights are better now. Some actions are in use today that were undreamed of back then. But it is curious how much of the information and reasoning still stands up. It is also interesting that some favorite rifles from those days are still used and enjoyed today. (Others have long gone by the wayside.) There is a chapter of more than 100 pages giving the details of rifle models in use at the time. The descriptions are accompanied by illustrations, cutaway views and instructions for taking each rifle apart. Rifles covered include the wares of

What became of my muttons?

I got led somewhat away from my muttons by the latest political crapfling . I like to run mostly gun tech content on this blog but sometimes I get distracted. Stay tuned for something very techy but sorta vintage at the same time, coming up shortly. I thought I'd say that so I wouldn't lose readers, due to people thinking, gee whiz, he's turned into another gun politics guy--where's the nuts & bolts stuff?

False gun-control solutions

Tucson and gun control: False gun-control solutions after Tucson - : "After Tucson shooting, ineffectual solutions abound" The above is a pretty good article about the paucity of good ideas from the gun banners. It is from the Chicago Tribune and written by Steve Chapman. Apparently, some people in Chicago get it.

Cool the rhetoric? Leftist, heal thyself

Media Research Center Documents Liberal Death Wishes Against Conservatives | : " – The Media Research Center released today a list of comments made by members of the media in recent years that call for the death or suffering of conservative leaders. These quotes are evidence of the double standard that certain media exercise in blaming conservatives for the shooting in Tucson, Ariz., while ignoring liberals’ death-wish-like rhetoric against conservatives, said the organization in a press release. [...]" 'Do as I say, not as I do."

The New Magazine Ban Bill

Carolyn McCarthy unveils gun-control bill - Shira Toeplitz - : “The only purpose for the existence of these devices is to be able to shoot as many people as possible as quickly as possible,” McCarthy wrote in a letter to her colleagues that accompanied the bill. “There is no reason that these devices should be available to the general public.” Here Congresswoman McCarthy makes a fundamental mistake. The general public should have gun parity, more or less, with what the bad guys are using. We do not want the good people outgunned by the bad people. Oddly enough, the bad guys often manage to get whatever they want, no matter what the laws say. The armed citizen should have normal capacity magazines of more than ten rounds for the same reason the cops have them. These magazines are good for stopping bad guys. Let us suppose (for one possible example) that my home is invaded by multiple gang members, armed to the teeth and intent on doing me grave harm or killing me.

The Stupid Springfield, Model of 1903

Photo courtesy Curiosandrelics The Springfield 1903 was a lousy rifle, in several respects, and a perfect example of why the government should not be left in charge of something as important as small arms development. It was a Mauser clone when better ideas were available. Its default, battle sight elevation was 547 yards. That was ridiculous, a triumph of theories once or twice removed from practical shooting. To obtain the right elevation for a more reasonable distance you needed to unfold the ladder sight to the 'up' position, in which it was fragile and awkward. The cartridge was a good one, the .30-'06, but the cartridge's creation was a tortuous process, in which the 1903 rifle needed to be revised when, in 1906, they finally figured out the ammunition thing. Initially the Springfield had an integral bayonet , of the knitting needle type. Legend has it that the president at that time, Teddy Roosevelt, objected to this feature, breaking it to show it could

Sarah Palin's notorious target map...and one from the Democrats

See: Blog O'Stuff: According to Leftists ... The above link takes you to an awesome blog post. Voices on the left are decrying Sarah Palin's campaign target map and suggesting it drove Arizona nutcase Jared Loughner to commit murder. Oddly enough, though, this map has drawn no comment from the lefties. More? You can see a thorough rundown on recent use by Democrats of targeting maps on the Verum Serum blog .

Sarah Palin responds to the Arizona shooting

See:  Sarah Palin: America's Enduring Strength | Facebook Sarah Palin weighs in on the Arizona shooting and the ensuing call from the left to curb political discourse. I'm not backing her for prez, but her heart's in the right place.

Predictably, calls for more gun control

See:  MSNBC's Richard Lui: 'Is It Time to Rethink the 2nd Amendment?' | It's predictable as rain and barometers. After every high-profile shooting the call goes up for more anti-gun laws. The words echo with the pious zeal of social reform, but what we are presented with is merely the next item on the laundry list of restrictions the left has promoted for years. In this case it is the return of a measure that was tried before, did nothing useful, and was rolled back with the end of the Assaulty-Looking Weapons Ban. I would think there is a good deal of cynicism involved when the left sounds like true believers in a noble cause, though the measures promoted are not known to have any impact on misuse of guns by criminals or the deranged, but do hamper the rights of the law abiding. That, I think, is the point--to harass and denigrate 'the gun culture.' The aim is to take and exercise power over people who are doing something the left doesn't

Crazy man with a gun

Our national laws prohibit gun ownership by the insane. That is, the laws prohibit adjudicated mental defectives and those committed involuntarily to mental institutions from possessing or receiving firearms. This was good enough in 1968, when that provision took its present form. Something has since changed in the way society deals with the hopelessly out of touch. Institutionalizing the insane is now often seen as inhumane and it is seldom done. The lesser measure of having them declared mentally defective in a hearing, which would also deny them the right to have guns, is seen as an intrusion on the patient's privacy. It is now rare for health professionals to suggest commitment proceedings or court hearings to establish mental state. What changed, exactly? In a fit of social zeal, crusaders for the good cause du jour labeled mental institutions as "snake pits" and decried conditions there. Mental hospitals were portrayed as hell on earth. The do-gooder campaign ag

Barry Noreen: Concealed carry permits haven't caused problems in Colorado Springs (Co. Springs Gazette)

Since 2007, the number of concealed-carry permits in El Paso County has more than doubled, but there has not been a corresponding jump in gun violence by the permit holders. You can believe whatever you want, but at some point it comes down to results, and nothing suggests that life here has become more dangerous because of concealed-carry permits... READ MORE... Yup.

The why of the scout rifle

The point of a scout rifle is its versatility. It will do, fairly well at least, as a mountain rifle, plains rifle, brush gun, camp gun, ranch rifle or tactical carbine. There are various rifles that will do any one of these things better, but that is not the point. The point is to get away from specialization, of the kind that requires a safe full of rifles. The scout rifle's lack of extraordinary ability in any area is compensated somewhat by the user's greater familiarity with it, if he really does use it as intended, using it for everything, instead of dividing his time among a collection of rifles. "Beware the man with one gun." That is the matter as I understand it. The scout rifle concept would catch on quicker if there weren't all those millions of lever .30-30's already out there,  giving good service. For a long while the lever gun was the most versatile light rifle going, and in some minds it still is. It is a hard sell to convince the .30-30 m