Saturday, August 01, 2015

Saturday Man Movie

In 1964's The Killers, Ronald Reagan played Jack Browning, a wealthy criminal planning a big heist. (It was the only time he ever played the part of a villain during his acting career.)

In this role, he had to give an insolent young Angie Dickinson what she had coming when she defied him in front of his men.

Afterwards though, he said that it was easily the most distasteful thing he'd done in Hollywood. He really wasn't that sort of guy, even in pretend-land.

But at least in the movie, he got his in the end, courtesy of mortally-wounded hit-man Lee Marvin. And so did she.

Two other favorites of mine, Norman Fell and Claude Akins, also starred in this movie adaptation of a Hemmingway story.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

What a bitch. (And what a sap.)

So I take the dogs out for a nice long walk. We come back in, and I fill the water bowl with fresh, cold water as both dogs just stand there anticipating a nice cool drink on this hot day. And as usual, Belle walks up, puts her muzzle in the bowl, and calmly proceeds to drink her fill while Murphy can only stand there and fantasize about having a drop or two to quench his thirst.
I call her a bitch, but that dog pack pecking order thing is strong with Murph, and Belle's Alpha, which is ironic since, as far as people and other animals are concerned, he's the uber-aggressive one and she is more of a Labrador trapped in a Shepherd body. But on the pack level, he defers to her almost totally, so she gets her nice, refreshing drinks while he, the bigger, meaner dog, stands there dying of thirst. And if I call her aside or move her away from the bowl so that he can get a little, she just returns and casually shoves him out of the way and he lets her.

Dogs...sheesh.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Saving another old vet

I found this one for sale recently.

It's a Canadian Enfield, #4, Mk.1, calibre .303. I found it offered in this badly neglected state. But as bad as it looks now, it was a battle rifle once.
Despite the chop job that someone did on the rifle's wood, it still retains it's military character. No shiny polished metal here, and no aesthetic curves or checkering to make it pretty. The original metal finish is thin on this one, and there's a bit of rust, but it's unmolested other than the woodwork so it's a prime candidate for a restoration project and I need a new project.
This one was made by Long Branch in 1944 in their factory in Toronto, Ontario.
Maybe it made it into the war soon enough to join the 3rd Canadian Division under Keller as they stormed Juno beach on D-Day? Or perhaps it got there later, and helped the Canadians liberate the Netherlands or push the Germans back to the Rhine. Pity it can't talk and tell it's stories.

Of course if it could talk, it could name the fool who sporterized it into it's present configuration, "the better to hunt deer with". And while it's definitely lighter and handier to carry like this, it's not how the rifle was made, nor is it representative of it's history.
Fortunately the one who did this left all of the metal alone. They didn't remove sights or shorten the barrel or commit any of those other heinous and irreversible acts that bubbas perpetrate on these old rifles. This one can be saved.

I've already tracked down a new magazine for it, and a new stock set. The other missing pieces and parts have been inventoried and they'll be here shortly too. I can and will fix this battered old warhorse and restore it back to the way that it once was when it helped free Europe and partnered with the other NATO countries in the 1950's. Maybe this rifle saw service in Korea with the soldiers of 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry? Again, we'll likely never know. But I do know that I can fix it over the coming weeks and give it back some of the dignity that it deserves. Stay tuned.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Saturday Man Movie

In Hannie Caulder, Robert Culp is bounty hunter Thomas Luther Price. Here, he sits down at a card game with some bad guys who don't know who he is...at least until Raquel Welch comes in and gives his identity away.

Bad girl. Go to my room.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

"Respect me and my culture, you racist bitches!"

So the other night, the Frederick County, MD council met to discuss repealing a law that they passed in 2012 that required that all county business be conducted in English.

English-only ordinance leads to fierce debate at Frederick hearing

Back in 2012, the council was solid Republican, but now that three Democrats are on it, a three to four split, the Democrats are demanding that this whole thing be brought back up again so that they can show their special interest donors that the donors got their money's worth when they funded the Democrats' campaigns.

Council member Jessica Fitzwater (D), who was elected to the council in November and is a co-sponsor of the measure to repeal the ordinance, said the law “sends a clear message of intolerance”
Jessica Fitzwater just got there. Only been in office since January and already selling out the Americans in her county on behalf of the illegals and their big-money supporters.

The story goes on to quote one woman who wants it repealed just because she likes "diversity", and a black guy who claims that it's "just like the Jim Crow laws that his father-in-law experienced." This, of course, is bullshit, because every black affected by Jim Crow laws (Thanks, Democrats!) was a US Citizen, while illegals, by definition, aren't. Apples to Oranges. But hey--it's a liberal talking point so it's got to get out there, right? Somebody will fall for it.

And of course they had the money quote from a woman--speaking in Spanish--who made the best claim of all:
Maria Diana Sanchez Gonzalez, a Spanish speaker who testified through an interpreter, told the council that Frederick was her home, too.

“There are Latin stores, Latin food and people speak Spanish,” she said. “I think I have the right to have respect for my culture.”

In other words, she basically echoed millions of other illegals here when she meant to say:

"I crossed into your country in defiance of your laws knowing that you did not want me here. You cannot keep me out if I want to come here where your money and good living standards are. I will not assimilate into your culture or learn your language, but you'd better respect my culture and cater to me in my own language, and that means giving me access to the full range of government programs and benefits that your citizens pay for and not deporting me or anyone else here illegally. Screw you, Americans! Just gimme stuff, you racists!"

A radio show this morning talking about the meeting said that a reporter tried to ask Sanchez Gonzalez about her citizenship and whether she was here illegally or not, and Sanchez Gonzalez simply repeated that "it doesn't matter. I am here." That pretty much tells us what the answer is.

Am I the only one who thinks that in our country, we, the citizens, still have the right to pass our own laws for our own benefit and exclude those who are not citizens or here with our consent?

But I am willing to concede to one of Sanchez Gonzales' demands if she insists. I'm wiling to adopt Mexico's strict immigration laws and apply them to her case. Under Mexico's immigration laws, as a foreigner illegally in that country trying to run a business and influence government policy, she'd be in jail right now and she'd stay there until she could be formally deported. THAT I could get behind.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

A quick and happy range trip, 7.62x51mm edition.

While straightening up my reloading workshop yesterday, I noticed that I had three things that probably should have been combined a long time ago:

1. Several hundred trimmed and primed .308 Winchester cases.
2. Several hundred .30 bullets
3. Several pounds of WC-846 smokeless powder, military "pull-down" stock.

Well damn. That's just a ton of decent ammo there, some assembly required.

So last night, I sat down and made up some test loads, both to check pressures and velocity now that I have a chronograph, and to make sure that the primers in the cases were still good. And since it was just going to be a simple chrony test, I grabbed a surplus bolt-action L2A1 Enfield that was close to the gun room door and headed off to the range.

I wasn't looking for accuracy here, just consistent velocities. That said, the old India-Pakistan war vet gave me a surprising amount of both. Every round went downrange at a bit over 2,800 fps--a tad hot--but the velocity spread was +/- 50fps with two slow and one fast exception out of forty rounds fired. (It should be about 2,700fps.) And at 50 yards--still the max at this range until this week-end, when the 100 yard range re-opens, the rounds held decent groups on the three targets I was using. Then, on a whim, I decided to fire my last ten rounds at six sporting clays that someone had left on the 50-yard berm, and damned if that old rifle didn't bust all six with a round to spare. I just had to hold about 4" under the discs and the windage was spang on. Sporting clays explode impressively when hit with .30 ball.

And every primer fired. That lot of primed brass is going to work just fine.

So now it's back to the loading bench. I'll back the powder charges down a bit and test again, but it looks like I'll have a lot fewer loose components on my shelves soon and a lot more ready-to-shoot ammo. And as for that L2A1...

LIKE!!!
I need to be spending a lot more time with this one than I have been.

And for those curious about using this pull-down powder, obtained from the disassembly of US-surplus military ammo that we mere citizens cannot buy, use load data for Hodgdon BLC(2). Start at the low end of the scale and watch for signs of overpressure, but it's a great value when you can find it...or at least it used to be. I bought this stuff years ago and only just cracked the jug yesterday so I have no idea what it sells for now.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

"Nasty little fellows such as Brian Sumner always get their comeuppance."

And I'm happier today for having read that Brian Sumner, a professional unemployed street agitator and cop-pesterer in Fresno, CA, was convicted by a jury of his peers people who likely have jobs and lives and a stake in their community on a misdemeanor charge of vandalism after he videotaped himself writing anti-cop garbage on a memorial dedicated to twelve Fresno officers who have been killed in the line of duty. Sumner, along with his fellow Occupier-trash Andrew Wittmore, was arrested and charged with the vandalism last month after writing on the memorial. Sumner has an extensive history in the Fresno area of following the police around with a video camera and trying to incite them into responding to his antics. He claims that he does it "to protest police brutality", yet the fact that he has yet to be taken into an alley and beaten senseless by the police officers that he continually taunts would suggest that the "brutality" that he claims that they regularly engage in doesn't happen like he says it does.

And for the record, I'd be perfectly fine with the police tuning him up a bit when he gets out of line. Society was a politer, more orderly place back in the day when knuckleheads knew that they could get their asses kicked for acting like assholes in front of the police.

My opinion aside, it seems that the community has had enough of this ass-monkey and others like him as well, because a jury found him guilty and he's looking at a fine and maybe even some jail time for his actions which were clearly "intended to be disrespectful and annoying", according to the case against him. It doesn't matter it if was just chalk or that it could be easily washed off. What matters was that the memorial wasn't his to deface. Period. He chose it specifically because he hates police--all police--and he admitted as much.

[Prosecutor Amy] Cobb said Sumner’s words to the arresting officer proved his malicious intent: “I’m not apologizing. We were disrespectful. It’s how we get when cops come around. We’re not big fans of police officers.”

I hope that he gets jail time. I really do. And I hope that he gets a sentence of community service, perhaps doing 40 hours of yard work for each of the families of the officers memorialized on the monument that he vandalized. I personally have had enough of these clowns acting as if they are some sort of rebel heroes for harassing the men and women that do a job that they themselves would never do, and I also tire of them claiming that any military service that they engaged in somehow confers legitimacy on what they do, even when they ended up getting tossed out of the service for misconduct like Sumner was.

Good job, ADA Amy Cobb and jurors in Fresno. Idiots like Sumner will always have a few fellow-traveler supporters behind them but the bulk of America stands solidly behind our police officers and law and order. I know that I do.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Range day...Wow! New gun ROCKS!

So this morning, Proud Hillbilly and I headed off to the range to get some shooting in. The needed screws for my 1866 Springfield had arrived over the week-end, and they all fit perfectly, as if they'd just been removed from this very weapon a week ago. I now had a rifle that at least appeared fully functional.

Well almost.

I'd gotten busy down in the reloading area and made up ten .50-70 cartridges using FFg black powder beneath a .512 diameter cast lead 510-grain bullet, as shown here, posed between a 5.56mm cartridge on the left and a .22lr on the right.
Yeah, that's a honking big chunk of lead.

Test-fitting the first cartridge into the rifle's chamber showed that it fit well, however it would not extract because the detent and plunger that hold the cartridge in the chamber is very stiff, probably with accumulated rust and grime, and while I can get cartridges IN past it by closing the breechblock on them, the very small nub on the breechblock that is supposed to extract the empty cartridge upon opening is not sufficient to get it back out.
Problematic detent is the little shiny square just beneath the chamber. Small ejector spring is visible on left, and extracting nub on breechblock is visible on hinge at top of chamber.
I could still get them out by manually pushing this detent down with a screwdriver or key, allowing the ejector spring to pop it clear once the detent is depressed, but that will eventually have to be fixed.

I note that this is an inherently weak set-up, and I'm obviously not the only one who thought so as it was all redesigned when the 1873 Trapdoor went into production, replacing all of that felgercarb with a simple yet robust extractor/ejector on the 1873.

Hmmm. Bet no one else has ever used the word "felgercarb" in conjunction with a Trapdoor Springfield. Do I win something for that?

Anyway, that minor issue wasn't enough to keep this old veteran of the Indian Wars off the range today, especially as the news has been filled with Redskin troubles lately, so I needed to be sure that I was ready in case the Indians go on the warpath again.

Was that not P.C.?

Well too fucking bad.

Anyway, I got the old critter out to the firing line, accompanied by the usual apprehension involved in firing something that old without knowing for sure exactly what shape that it was in.

Now my normal methods for this are one of two options.

Option #1 is that I set the rifle on the bench and wait until some other shooter comes by to admire it, and then I graciously ask him if he'd like to fire a shot and hand him a cartridge as I move back a safe distance. If all goes well, I conclude that the rifle is safe for me to shoot.

Option #2 is that I hold it out at arm's length, ensure that it's aimed into the berm, then turn my face away from it and fire. Again, if it's still in one piece, it's probably safe to fire normally.

Today I chose Option #2 and put the first round into the berm with my face away from the sights--and the action--just in case. It worked, so I pried out the fired case and inspected that. Seeing no signs of a pressure problem, I checked the bore to ensure that the bullet was indeed gone, and when I saw that it was so, I pronounced the test a success and got down to shooting for real.

The first shot I fired at 50 yards with the mid-range sight up, and I was rewarded with a solid hit on the target's left shoulder, much higher than where I'd aimed. I dropped the sight leaf and used the battle sight for the next eight shots, and I happily saw each and every one hit the Indian nicely. I put the second one high, right next to the first, but I flinched that one and I knew it. Settling down for the last seven, I was able to put them all in a group of sorts in the center of the target, right where I was aiming.
The target, with nine of nine on. The one farthest to the right was fired by Proud Hillbilly and the two smaller holes closer to the bottom were done later with a 1911 from 50 yards. "Meh" to that.

So it shoots, and it shoots well, and even the stiff detent got easier to work with each successive shot. I think it'll free up eventually, especially after a good penetrating oil soak. But the one thing I did notice: Smoke! Ugh! Every shot put up a massive cloud of grayish-white smoke that did three things--it momentarily obscured my view downrange, it told everyone downrange exactly where I was, and it came back on me and made me cough. Yeah, not exactly a tactical boon, that black powder smoke. But the US Army would figure that out for themselves later, primarily in Cuba when units still toting Trapdoors firing black powder cartridges faced off against the Spanish, who were armed with new Mausers using rounds loaded with then-new smokeless propellant in 1898. (Remember the Maine? If not, ask Old NFO. He probably does.) We eventually won, but that battle showed that the day of the black powder cartridge was done.

Still, this particular rifle, which was built 149 years ago by modifying an even earlier-produced Civil War musket, is still as capable today as it ever was. It's still accurate and fun to shoot, and if push comes to shove, it will probably still drop a buffalo or marauding Cheyenne should the need arise. But for now, it's off to the shower in the guest bathroom to run some hot soapy water down that bore.

Special thanks to Keith at Trapdoors Galore for helping my ID the missing parts that this rifle needed and for having them in stock and shipping them promptly.


And here's a shot of the new 1866 Springfield in the center of this rack, with a "newer" model 1873 .45-70 Trapdoor above it and another contemporary Indian-fighter below it, the Remington Rolling Block, Model 1871, this one produced for the New York State Militia and also in .50-70. Note how long the Model 1866 is compared to the 1873 (top).

My Dad always asked me when I was going to start collecting Civil War-era guns. If he'd lived longer, I think that he'd have liked these. That would have been a fun range trip, Pop.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Michigan's newest fledgling birdman takes to the sky.

Look out, below! Aaron, over at The Shekel is pursuing his pilot's license. Go check it out and give him a big hand.

It's A Bird, it's A Plane, It's Me In A Plane!

Coming soon to an airspace near you. God help us all.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Saturday Man Movie--Bond!

Remember when we had a real James Bond? I still say that Sean Connery owned the role, and here he is in Goldfinger, trying to save the Fort Knox gold supply from a nuclear bomb. And Oddjob, Goldfinger's prime henchman, is standing in his way.


Take notes, Daniel Craig. Then go away.