Archive for the ‘Guns’ Category

Obit watch: April 30, 2016.

Saturday, April 30th, 2016

I found out yesterday that Tom Deeb passed away about a month ago. I had not seen this previously reported: apparently, I should be reading more blogs.

For those of you unfamiliar with Mr. Deeb, he was the founder of Hi-Point and designer of their firearms.

I actually discovered this in a moderately amusing way. Yesterday, RoadRich and I had the chance to tour the Austin Police Department’s Forensics Lab as part of our CPA course.

One of the stops on our tour was the firearms and toolmarks lab, and we got to spend a few minutes talking with one of the examiners. I want to go out drinking with this guy, but I digress. I asked him how much truth there was to the old movie/TV show cliche, “The bullet has six lands and grooves and a right hand twist, so it’s got to be a Smith and Wesson or a Taurus…”

He commented that yes, generally, they can at least narrow things down to two or three makes of weapons, and sometimes they can do even better than that. Paraphrasing as closely as I remember: “If we see one with nine, we KNOW that it’s a Hi-Point, because TOM DEEB ALWAYS HAS TO DO THINGS DIFFERENTLY THAN EVERYONE ELSE!

After the tour, RoadRich and I went to lunch, and got to talking about this. So I did some searching on my phone and found this recent profile of Hi-Point and Mr. Deeb from the American Rifleman. Turns out there’s more to it than Mr. Deeb just wanting to be different:

Deeb became fascinated with the science of forensic firearm examination, which is how, as an examiner, I met him. “I included design elements in my guns to be of specific use to the forensic community, beginning in 1994,” said Deeb. “We now start with a particular number for each model of pistol. Rifles start with letters that are easily identifiable.” Beyond this, Deeb uses uncommon rifling patterns and makes breech faces that leave readily identifiable markings on fired cartridge cases. He began doing workshops for firearm examiners at the Ass’n of Firearm and Tool Mark Examiners (AFTE) annual training seminar and became a Technical Advisor to AFTE in 2002. Currently, he conducts about 20 tours of his plant a year for firearm examiners.

(And I know it is trendy to sneer at Hi-Point, but: the guys at Tex-Guns used to tell people when they asked about Hi-Points, “We’ve sold hundreds of them, and we’ve only had one, maybe two, come back to us for repair.” Another take.)

(And if you find someone on Gunbroker selling a Model 19 for $125, please let me know. I already have two (edited to add 5/1: three, actually: I forgot about the Ranger gun, but I don’t shoot that one), but at that price, I’d buy one and give it to a friend.)

We like the moon (clip)…

Saturday, April 9th, 2016

I have written before about my Model 25-2, and about moon clips.

You know, I really like that gun.

(As a side note, Mike the Musicologist and I visited the gun shop near my mother’s house last Saturday. They had a very nice 25-5 “Mountain Gun”, I think exactly like this one. I was hot for that gun, but I just couldn’t make the money work. Plus, they had another gun that I was also hot for, and I felt like I could make the money work on that one. More on this in what I hope is the near future.)

I also really like moon clips. I’ve been picking up some every time I run across them at a reasonable price.

But I’ve reached the point where I need some way of organizing them. I’ve been trying to restore my range bag to some semblance of order. As part of that project, I bought one of the Tam endorsed GPS magazine bags: these are kind of nifty, and I recommend them, but they don’t solve the problem of loose moon clips floating around. I have a pretty vivid recollection of Skeeter Skelton‘s friend Dobe Grant having some sort of homemade moon clip holder during his time with the Seabees, but I have neither the tools nor the skills to do woodworking well. And that’s not really what I needed.

Revolver Supply Company and both sell exactly what I was looking for, and their prices were not unreasonable. However, their shipping was: I have not ordered anything from either company, and this isn’t personal, but I wasn’t going to pay $11 to $15.75 for shipping on a $2.50 to $5 item. Maybe if I order something else in the future, I’ll have them throw in some of those containers. But at that time, I was stuck.

Anyway, MtM and I went down to the big Saxet Show in San Antonio last weekend. There’s a nice guy who makes the local gun show circuit with a bunch of Glock accessories: he also had .45 ACP moon clips at a good price, so I picked up a package. While I was there, I took the opportunity to talk to the nice woman (who I think was his wife) who assisted me with the transaction, and I asked her if she had any recommendations for moon clip storage.

Her suggestion, which I had not thought of: try Hobby Lobby. They sell plastic containers for things like artist’s paints and small parts and stuff like that.

So this morning we went over to Hobby Lobby (see previous blog entry). I eventually found the plastic containers for paints and stuff, but didn’t find anything that I thought was the right size.

Before that, however, I was wandering through the coin/stamp collecting supplies, and found the dollar coin storage tubes. The exact brand Hobby Lobby had was H.E Harris/Whitman. It looks like Amazon has what I think is the same tubes in packages of 10 rather than 4.

Anyway, I think these are going to work out just fine. The large dollar size is big enough to hold moon clips securely, and it is relatively easy to get them in and out. But there’s not so much slop that they rattle around a whole bunch.

(“Did you try prescription bottles?” I did. The largest one I have on hand is big enough for .45 ACP moon clips, but there’s a lot of extra space around them. It feels like they’ll rattle more and just be generally annoying. The dollar size tubes are a tighter, but not too tight, fit. Then again, you might be able to find a smaller prescription bottle than I have around the house.)

tl,dr: Large dollar coin tubes are a perfect size for moon clips. At least the .45 ACP ones; I haven’t tried with 9mm or .357/.38 clips yet. And I didn’t have to pay 100% of the purchase cost for shipping.

Things: April 1, 2016.

Friday, April 1st, 2016

You know something? I still don’t like bullies.

Obit watch: Bill Green. Mr. Green worked as a newspaper editor, public affairs officer for NASA, and university professor at Duke.

He also worked for the Washington Post as their ombudsman from late 1980 to 1981. If you’re thinking, “Hey, that period sounds historically significant.”: yes, yes it was. “Jimmy’s World” was published shortly after Mr. Green became ombudsman, and he conducted the paper’s investigation when it fell apart.

Since it fell off the front page, I wanted to also note here that I updated the “Use of force” post: now with pyramids!

Data point.

Sunday, March 20th, 2016

Something that might be of interest to Texas People of the Gun:

My license to carry was up for renewal this year. I filled in the renewal application online on March 3rd.

My new license was in the post office box when I checked yesterday. So Texas DPS processed it in, at most, a little over two weeks. Not bad, not bad at all.

(To be fair: I did not have to take a renewal class this cycle, so I wasn’t required to send in proof of that. Also, while Texas DPS did warn me that this was a possibility, it turned out I did not have to get new fingerprints or a new photo. And I suppose it is distantly possible that these results were skewed by the fact that I had to go through recent background checks with the Austin Police Department for the Citizen’s Police Academy classes and my ride-along with APD.)

Just got paid today…

Friday, March 18th, 2016

…so I feel comfortable asking you to give money to a cause I believe is worthy. As I’ve stated before, my policy is: I don’t ask you to donate for things I haven’t donated to myself.

Short version: Alexis Nicole is eight years old, and a competitive shooter. Her grandfather was taking her for training last week when he was killed in a car accident.

Longer version of the story from Oleg Volk here.

YouCaring page for donations to help with medical and funeral expenses here.

Hattip on this to the great and good Erin Palette.

Short random notes: March 18, 2016.

Friday, March 18th, 2016

I absolutely hate the BuzzFeed inspired headline on this story. But the story itself is worth reading:

Twenty-seven years ago, on a drug raid conducted by an elite special operations team with the same county police department, Sommers had shot and killed his best friend, a fellow squad member named Mark Murphy. In the days afterward, one of the few people who could reach Sommers, locked away in private torment, was another officer who had also accidentally killed another cop.
And now Sommers was being asked by his friend to do the same thing for the officer who had killed Colson — just as he has done for cops across the country who have suddenly found themselves at the center of unfathomable circumstances.

Obit watch: James Sheldon has passed away at the age of 95. The name didn’t ring a bell with me, but wow, what a career:

Mr. Sheldon directed episodes of some 100 series in virtually every genre, including classic episodes of “The Twilight Zone” (among them “I Sing the Body Electric” and “A Penny for Your Thoughts”), 44 episodes of the hit series “The Millionaire” and a full season of “The Bing Crosby Show,” a short-lived family sitcom.

Larry Drake. You know, I remember being fond of “L.A. Law” when it was first running; I wonder how it holds up today.

A couple of random notes: March 16, 2016.

Wednesday, March 16th, 2016

How did I not have a “Lovecraft” category before now? Fixed.

What brought this to mind? Anther AP story, this one about the relationship between H.P. Lovecraft and Providence.

Lovecraft aficionados, drawn to Providence, leave trinkets and notes at the author’s gravesite in Swan Point Cemetery. The Lovecraft council has a store downtown and holds conventions and events to celebrate Lovecraft’s work and influence.

When I visited Swan Point on one of my trips, I was told Lovecraft’s grave was the most visited one in the cemetery. This struck me as interesting, because Sullivan Ballou, aka “the guy who wrote the letter from the Ken Burns series that everyone but me loves” is also buried in Swan Point. My recollection is that this was near the peak of “Civil War” mania, but I guess Lovecraftian horror beats banjos and sentiment at least five out of seven days of the week.

Tam has a very nice obit up for Todd Louis Green, noted pistol trainer, class act, and “Archer” fan.

I never got to take a class with him, and I wish I had: I think I would have enjoyed both learning from him, and finding out if he hates Bionic Barry as much as I do.

The past is another country.

Friday, March 4th, 2016

They did things differently there.

The San Francisco Chronicle used to give out firearms as subscription premiums.

I am well pleased with the gun, as it is all that is represented to be. I did not expect to get a $100 gun for $13.50.

You could also get a Colt rifle plus a one-year subscription to the paper for $14.50. (“$15 of 1887 dollars would be worth: $362.50 in 2015.”)

Peter Hartlaub for the win:

We were like Leland Yee, but with more follow-through.

(Hattip: Jimbo.)

Random notes: March 1, 2016.

Tuesday, March 1st, 2016

The HouChron ran an article about the various official state weapons, tied to Tennessee naming the Barrett M82 as the official state rifle.

Problem is, as part of the continuing creeping BuzzFeedification of the HouChron, it was a shallow slideshow. So instead I’ll link to Wikipedia’s list. Thoughts:

  • Pennsylvania, Indiana, and West Virginia have all named historic firearms. Hard to argue with those, especially the long rifle.
  • Arizona has the Colt Single Action Army revolver, which is a fine gun, but doesn’t seem to be uniquely Arizonan, so to speak. I guess there’s that whole Wild West association…
  • I guess if you’re going to pick a gun to represent native son John Moses Browning, the 1911 is a fine choice. For a pistol. Now how about the Winchester Model 1894 as the official state rifle, guys?
  • And speaking of Winchesters, yes, it does fill me with indescribable delight down to the very bottom of my shriveled coal-black heart that Alaska’s state rifle is the pre-64 Model 70.
  • Hey, whatever happened to that movement to make the Walker Colt the Texas state gun, anyway?

In other news, Lawrence’s review of “Hail, Caeser!” is up. I think he liked it more that I did, but I also don’t think we’re all that far apart on it. Elaborating on a couple of Lawrence’s points (some spoilers):

  • I like Hobie’s character arc, too. He seems to be underplaying how smart he really is for much of the movie, but there’s a scene between him and Eddie Mannix that made me think, “Wow, Eddie’s going to leave the studio for Lockheed…and Hobie’s going to become the new fixer.” He could pull that off. But what I liked even more was the scenes between Alden Ehrenreich’s Hobie and Veronica Osorio’s Carlotta Valdez (basically Carmen Miranda with the serial numbers filed off). Those two actors are totally convincing as a couple that’s surprisingly good together. Lawrence talked about wanting to see the imaginary movies within the movie more than the actual movie itself: I agree. And I’d also love to see a movie about Hobie and Carlotta, and their rise from cowboy actor/Latin singer-dancer to deeply in love Hollywood power couple over a period of, say, 50 years.
  • The Thora Thacker / Thessaly Thacker thing is a clever gag that just didn’t quite work for me. But there’s the gem of another good movie in there: identical twins who are bitter childhood rivals and become bitter adult rivals, both working the Hollywoood gossip industry…I’d watch that movie, too, especially if the Coen brothers directed it.
  • Where did the police raid on the Communist house come from? Did Hobie call the cops before pulling Baird Whitlock out? Did he call Eddie, who called the cops? Did somebody on shore spot the Russian submarine and call the Coast Guard? Was there something I missed, or did a scene perhaps get cut?

Well, crud.

Friday, February 26th, 2016

Soldier of Fortune, the notorious magazine chronicling the shadowy world of mercenaries battling it out in hot spots around the globe, is ending its print edition in April after more than 40 years on newsstands.

When I was but a wee lad, one of my uncles came down to Houston for a visit and brought along a copy of SOF. I think he may have picked it up on at an airport newsstand to read on the flight, and since he was finished with it, he passed it along to me.

I devoured it like a fat man attacking an all-you-can-eat buffet, and spent a lot of time and effort after that seeking out the latest issues. I would buy copies from the newsstand in the shopping mall. Or I’d ride my moped over the back roads to the closest Walden Books, which had SOF in their magazine rack. Later on, SOF even managed to penetrate the suburban Houston grocery stores.

But at some point, after I went to college – I think around the time they eliminated the classified ads, too – SOF changed. I felt it was for the worse. They used to run practical articles on subjects of interest to a younger me (for example, the best places to shoot someone holding a gun to a hostage’s head, in order to insure instant incapacitation). The newer SOF seemed to be more interested in geopolitics, and less interested in the “how-to” side of things.

I eventually stopped purchasing it. I’d still glance at copies when I saw them, but I grew up, got a job that didn’t involve being a mercenary, and didn’t really need it in my life any longer.

The teenage boy left inside me will miss it, and might pick up a copy of the last print issue because nostalgia is a moron. The adult me isn’t terribly surprised, and shan’t mourn for too long.


Tuesday, February 23rd, 2016

Attention must be paid!

Karl’s a smart dude. Y’all should listen to him.

This is my new favorite thing on the Internet ever.

Random notes: February 22, 2016.

Monday, February 22nd, 2016

Two from the NYT:

Save the endangered Long Island skeet!

Harper Lee was a big fan of Opus. Yes, the penguin, from “Bloom County”.

Mr. Breathed could barely believe what he was reading: “How ironic is that here, she is desperately upset that I’m letting my character die for her when millions around the world, for generations, have been upset that she let her characters end?” he said, referring to Ms. Lee’s never publishing another book until the contentious release of “Go Set a Watchman” last year.

Borepatch left a most gracious note on the last obit watch, which was much appreciated. I’ve been feeling like all I do is write obit watches these days. It also feels kind of lazy sometimes; but I like to think that there’s some historical value, if not now perhaps in the next few years, in noting these deaths and how they were covered.

And every once in a while you find an obit for someone who didn’t get the attention that Harper Lee or Scalia got, but deserves some attention. Speaking of that…

And speaking of lazy, I do have some longer pieces I want to write. Some of them are still in draft status, waiting for things to come together. Then there are some things that I expected to be able to write longer form entries about that just haven’t materialized yet.

I’d love to be able to write about my ongoing experiences with the Austin Police Department Citizen’s Police Academy, for example. But we’re only two sessions in and the first one was mostly back-patting. I’m hoping that there will be things that are worth writing about (and that I can write about without breaking any rules) soon. (If you’re really interested in the actual police academy and the training process, there’s a set of videos up on YouTube.)

Quick movie note: Lawrence and I went to see “Hail, Caesar!” yesterday. Lawrence liked it more than I did. I don’t think it is a bad movie, but it seemed slight and insubstantial.

We watched “Burn After Reading” a few weeks ago, and I liked that a little more: it may have something to do with almost everyone in “Burn” being utterly insane. (Especially John Malkovich’s character; but then, Malkovich adds that extra special touch to everything he’s in. I’m still not going to see “Zoolander 2”, though.)

TL,DR: wait for “Hail, Ceaser!” on streaming.