Monday, November 19, 2012

Knowing Your Firearm

There is no replacement for practice when it comes to developing skills with your firearm.  As well when you practice you can determine the attributes of your gun.  Like all mechanical objects there is some variation from item to item, and the sooner you discover the qualities of your particular one the better off you will be.  Only through practice will you found out what a given firearm and ammo combination is capable of in your hands.

For instance, I know from practice that I can't take a standing shot at a deer that's more than 75 yards away and ensure it's a killing shot.  Only by doing this in practice did I ascertain my limits.  The ammo and certainly the rifle I use are more accurate than that, but I can't keep every shot inside a 6" circle when standing at a distance any further than that.  I can keep most of my shots inside 6" at longer distances, but for hunting standards I will only take a shot if I know it's an ethical shot, not a wounding one.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Cleaning Your Guns

If you are a new firearm owner, you have likely heard a variety of advice when it comes to cleaning your gun.  If you keep reading this post, you'll get my take on the subject.

First, let me say I clean guns a lot less than I used to.  When I was a new gun owner I would take apart and clean guns every time I used them.  Why?  It's what my dad did.  We only used guns to go hunting, and when we came back home we'd clean the guns.  It seemed pretty reasonable to me at the time.

But compare that cycle to how we maintain other mechanical objects and it doesn't really hold up.  I don't take apart and clean my bicycle every time I use it.  Or my chainsaw.  Or my car.  In fact, I pretty much never take apart, clean and re-assemble my car.  I do enough maintenance to keep it in good working order.  I've adopted that same approach with my firearms.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

All Hail the Police State, NYPD Edition

I'd been slowly compiling a number of stories on the excesses of the NYPD, and now Salon has gone and done a great job for me.  It's worth a read- this is the directions many modern police departments are trending.

None of this is new, it's been slowly building over years.  New York City was even the subject of my very first police state post.

All Hail the Police State, part 12

Today brings us news of armored surveillance trucks being deployed around the country.  We've seen local police departments working with the Department of Homeland Security to acquire military hardware, now they are using some of the hardware and other assets to spy on people.

Take this story, for instance.  People are suggesting they are being harassed by the police parking this vehicle in front of their businesses.  Or this account in another city of the same thing.  It seems this may be the newest trend in law enforcement.

That makes sense though as the police take their inspiration from the military.  The military is increasingly using unmanned drones to do surveillance and attacks, so it's reasonable the police would follow suit, especially now that courts are ruling police can place cameras on private property without a warrant and provide evidence to convict people in court.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

It's Quiet in Those Woods

Over the weekend I went deer hunting with a friend.  Sadly, I saw less wildlife than I normally see in my backyard.  That's OK, more years than not I get a shot on opening day, so it's OK if I get skunked once in a while.

But since I'm an optimistic sort, I always bring a gun suitable for squirrels should I fill my deer tag early into the trip.  My friend does as well, and this year we each had something new that is designed specifically for hunting.

My friend brought a Gamo Whisper.  It's a single shot air gun with an expansion chamber at the muzzle designed to quiet it up a bit.  It's effective.  Many people don't realize how noisy powerful airguns are.  The idea is one can use something like this for hunting small game and not disturb wildlife, and this air gun does a reasonable job of that.

You know what else does a reasonable job?  A silencer (or suppressor) on the end of a 22 rimfire gun.  After 18 months of waiting, my Silencerco Sparrow finally cleared paperwork and I was able to take possession of it.  It's fantastic, I couldn't be happier.  I had it mounted on a Browning Buckmark with a 5.5" barrel for this trip.

A Sore Palm Sticks Out Like a Sore.... Palm

Worse, I think.  I always have questioned scenes in movies where people take a knife and purposefully cut it across their palm.  I can't think of many worse places to have an open wound, especially if a person is in the middle of doing stuff.  But no matter why a person in a movie or TV show needs blood, whether it's a blood oath, to feed a monster or whatever bizarre plot device was chosen, it's likely they will draw a knife across their palm and let the blood drip. 

Cutting anywhere else makes more sense, especially if you want to avoid pain and infection when you want to use that hand.  Us bipeds, we like to use our hands.

Anyway, this point was driven home over the weekend when I fell and cut open my palm.  It's annoying and has been constantly in the way.  I'm going to plan on not doing that again, next time I'm going to fall sideways and take the cut to my arm or shoulder.  That's much more practical for a person who likes to do stuff.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Panic Buying, part 2

Earlier this year I wrote a post capturing my thoughts on panic buying.  Back in 2008 I told my friends that Obama was very unlikely to ban guns during his first term.  He wants to be re-elected, and supporting a gun ban would potentially alienate some voters.  In his second term I think it's more possible that a gun ban will make it through both houses of congress and get signed by our new president, but I think it's still unlikely.

That doesn't prevent panic buying though.  The day after the election my favorite online place to buy ammo sold out of all their 9mm target ammo.  They still have some fancy expensive 9mm ammo, but all the basic stuff is gone.  They had 40, 60 or 70 cases (1,000 rounds each) of some of the brands the day before.  That's just in one caliber, they sold it all less than 24 hours after Romney gave his concession speech.  I'm sure they moved a lot of ammo in other common calibers as well.  If history is any indication, we face months of short supplies and higher prices.  If you are a regular shooter and have enough ammo to get you through the next couple seasons, it's best to avoid becoming part of the problem.  No reason to pay inflated prices today when prices will be back down in a year or 18 months.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Thnings I Don't Care For

I try to live my life according to a standard, with some sort of code of honor.  Not something cheesy like I'm a knight of the round table, but a basic set of first world standards.  I expect civilized people to hold to a certain standard as well.

I play hockey in a league, and feel the same way about sportsmanship.  There is nothing wrong with an honest scuffle between people, but guys that call for the puck when they are on the other team?  That's a great way for me to think you're a douchebag.  Same with hitting someone from behind and taking cheap shots.  I've got no problems with an honest penalty where a man goes after another man upfront.  But if you take a cheap shot when a man isn't looking and you've lost my respect.

The same goes for people who gloat when they win.  I've seen a lot of that with the election.  Winners should be gracious in their win and not flaunt it or get in the face of the losers.  In a fair competition there should be no derision offered by the victors.  Or the losers.

Losers should lose with grace as well, and not be petty or spiteful.  Losers shouldn't take cheap shots, they should accept the loss and focus on improvement.  Grim determination is appropriate, bitching is not. 

I'm often dismayed how people conduct themselves on the field of sport and on the field of politics, but I'm hopeful we'll see a return to honor again. 

Voting Results

I must say I'm disappointed Johnson only pulled in 1% of the popular vote.  Among my friends he was polling much higher.  This tells me I just need to make friends with more people!

In my own state the Libertarian party candidate was less strong (being a felon), yet Dine still pulled in 6% of the popular vote.  I think mostly this was due to the fact that many Republicans felt they couldn't support Akin, but I'm still happy.  I continue to be hopeful we can break the stranglehold on our political system by the two major parties.  Baby steps and we'll get there.

I'm curious what the next 4 years will bring.  Since it's more of the same policy-wise I'm expecting a continued decline in the fiscal strength of the US.  Perhaps it's time to re-evaluate the sort of investments I keep in my retirement plan and diversify to more offshore opportunities.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Voting Day!

Today I get to vote against taxes and oppression!  It's one of my favorite days of the year. 

We should really have voting days more often in my precinct, we typically only have 2 or 3 each year.  I think I'd rather enjoy actual Democracy at the local and state level, where citizens get to vote directly on bills once a month via an online system.  I think that system would cut out a lot of the money, pandering and corruption involved in getting bills passed today. 

I am very curious to see how a couple of elections go this year.  It will be interesting to see how the votes go for president, and how it compares with various projections.  I'm also curious about the senate race in my state, where McCaskill is facing Akin.  The Republicans had that race won until Akin starting saying stupid things.  Well, I guess until people actually listened to Akin speak.  Now it's looking like McCaskill will win because Akin was too damn stupid to drop out.  It's been a huge swing on paper, I'm curious to see how it plays out in actual vote.

Happy voting day!