Friday, December 26, 2008

All the best from the 4th Street Irregulars

To all of you who take the time to stop in and peruse these musings now and then - all the critters and I wish you a very Merry Christmas and the very best in the coming New Year.
I often reflect on the fact that we despair over the state of our world and our lives as if we truly were living in the end times.  Yet our world is not engulfed in a global war such as those that devoured past generations.  Our scientific resources are greater now than they've ever been.  The state of science is greatly advanced over even that from which our parents benefited, and more is being learned about how things work every day.
The tools available to us to protect and improve our health are amazing.
The toys and electronics and other things which enhance our leisure have become ever more incredible.  In my lifetime I have seen a transformation in consumer electronics which would have been fit for a science fiction novel in the 1950s, and perhaps hardly credible even then.
Yet people despair about the state of the world, and perhaps that is the cause for greatest concern.  I look around at the children who I see, and examine the people who appear on TV, and that, more than anything else, causes concern for me.
At a time when our store of knowledge is vast beyond imagining, when just keeping up with what's new and being discovered is almost beyond our ability each day, the human race is failing to live up to its promise.
Children are getting fatter and less fit.  People don't value education and intellectual attainments, preferring simply to consume mediocre amusements that don't challenge the intellect at all.  Curiosity, asking questions, challenging the conventional thinking and popular assumptions is a lost art.
The popular culture places a greater premium on "reality" shows than it does on dealing with reality itself.  When the promise of a world filled with technological wonders is being brought to life all around us, a significant portion of the human race is failing even to meet the most mundane standards.
People, many, many people, are becoming slobs and THAT worries me.
I don't care if people are slobs.  There will always be those who do nothing, contribute nothing, value nothing.  What does concern me is that we are subsidizing these slobs when we should be marshaling our resources to give to our best and brightest, letting go the ones who are content to sit and stew in their own juices so that we can direct life's rewards to the ones who excel.
Working in health care I see so many people who are basically just zeroes who devour the resources of our health care system.  Alcoholics, drug addicts, idiots who destroy their own lives with bad choices are using up millions of our dollars and wasting our time.  Jerks who take turns shooting each other waste millions more.  And yet the nanny state insists that we're not doing enough for all these losers.
Worse is the fact that they come from long lines of losers in many cases, people who live in a state of consumption of resources while doing little or nothing to improve the state of the world.  And our political and social systems are increasingly geared toward simply giving them more, on demand, regardless of their values or the value of their contributions to our world.
We have so much that we know and can share, but we foist our wealth on people who waste it and don't appreciate it.  That, to me, is the great tragedy.
Colonel Jeff Cooper often despaired that the Age of the Common Man gave you just that - common men and women with little to recommend them.  He championed the idea that it was far better to exalt the Uncommon Man - the few who displayed higher standards and achieved more with their lives.  And I agree with him.
TV programs that are filled with the foolishness of stupid people teach us nothing about being exceptional.  They simply take up time better spent in many other pursuits.  Yet people sit and ingest this crap.  It defines their lives, in my estimation.
There is too much left to learn, to do, to know for this to define our species and our age.
We live in a time of great opportunity and great attainments, yet we stand - no, we sit, too lazy to stand for long - ready to squander the vast wealth that still fills the world.  People are happy to be mediocre and worse, as long as their bellies are full and pap fills the airwaves.
I despair not for the state of the world, but for the decline of the human race at large and the political institutions that foster this idiocy.
Yet even these things are reversible.  Humanity did not get to this exalted position by being inadequate, but by hunger for knowledge and being willing to do the work to find it.  There are many of us who still feel that burning to learn and achieve, and it's incumbent on us to devise systems that reward that mindset.
We are only defeated when we admit defeat.  I'm not there yet, not by a long shot.
As long as free people are willing to take stock of the state of their world and set out to improve it, to preserve their freedoms and their values, to give their children a better place, to deny triumph to the sloths and the mediocrities then there is hope for the future.
Merry Christmas!  And let's do what we can to make this a Happy New Year, the start of many to come!

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Para LTC at 500 rounds

I made it out the range in the cold today (temps in the 20s with a very brisk wind, Arctic air whipping through, lows tonight in the single digits) and quickly put another 300 rounds through the 9mm Para lightweight LTC 1911, bringing to 500 the number of rounds of Federal 'American Eagle' 115gr ball ammo fired to date.

The gun runs just fine, never missing a beat no matter how I shoot it, fast or slow. It hasn't been cleaned since I started this T&E, only field-stripped and lubed with LSA at the outset. The only hiccups have been related to one factory magazine, which is now labeled and being watched as we work to identify the glitch. The gun itself has never had any problems. I like the feel of it the more that I shoot it. The trigger is starting to break in nicely so that just thinking about it more or less breaks the shot. When you haven't shot a 1911 regularly for awhile, it's so nice to feel that kind of trigger quality again.
The Wilson ETM 10 round mags are very high quality and have worked perfectly so far. I've had them apart and the details of their construction will be the subject of another posting in future. They are definitely the ticket for anyone using a 1911 in 9mm.
More to follow later this week, including photos of the gun, mags and targets. I hope to get some more powerful ammo and some JHPs through it at some point, budget permitting. We know it shoots, now what will it shoot?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

AR magazines

With all the frenzied buying of ARs, AKs, magazines and ammunition going on now it's hard to get the stuff that you want without running into 'out of stock' messages on all the web pages I shop at.
Since so many of the AR magazines that I would normally use have been sold out, I considered various options that popped up. One of those is a polymer magazine from the Lancer company. Another is a new steel magazine from a company named Fusil USA. They've both more expensive than the current benchmark magazine for ARs, the MagPul P-mag, or any of the conventional aluminum or steel mags from high-quality makers such as C-products and Brownell's. Are they worth the bucks, even in times when mags are in short supply?
Samples of all of these became available at somewhat reasonable prices, and we picked up several in order to test and compare them. My work schedule during the Christmas season has made it hard to get much done on the blog and with testing in general, but we've taken one of each of the Lancer ($25-40), the Fusil ($25-40) and the P-mag ($15-25), loaded them to capacity (30 rounds) with 55gr ball ammo and set them aside until we can get them out to the range and see how they do. Photos and detailed comparison to follow later this month.

Friday, December 12, 2008

The new carbine is one fine machine!

I was able to get the Noveske Light Recce mid-length 5.56mm carbine out to the range just long enough to put 30 rounds through it the other day, to see how it felt and functioned. Yowser! Bloggo is happy!

It was cold and time was limited so I simply loaded the Noveske GI-style magazine that came with it with 30 rounds of Federal 55gr ball (M193), aimed it at the center of that large flat rock out at 150 yards on our range and pressed the trigger.
Bingo! Hit!
Continued to do that until the magazine was empty, and got hits every time. I don't know how it shoots for group, but if someone had been out there who had just needed shootin' they would have been hurtin' fer certain.
A guy who was on the range with his 24 inch Bushmaster .223 AR varmint gun shot a couple of rounds through the Noveske and he commented that it seemed to kick less than his own 16 inch carbine. I hadn't told him about the mid-length gas system before he fired it, so his impression coupled with my own seem to indicate that the longer gas tube does help reduce recoil - or maybe it was just shooting such an obviously well-made carbine!
Looking forward to getting it on the bench and shooting for group in the next couple of days. As of now, I'm very happy with it.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Is it the winter blahs?

I've been in a rut between being too busy, doing work for KC3 and just doing nothing but hanging out with the dogs.

So not much blogging going on, hardly any shooting.  Just reading, drinking coffee, playing with cooking different foods and hanging out with the dogs a lot.
We've put up bird feeders in the back yard, and have had to deal with learning how to secure them against the ravages of the squirrels and the larger birds, but we have most of that dealt with now.  We're even feeding the squirrels so the little buggers will mess less with the bird chow.  I like watching birds and reflecting on how fragile they are.  Getting through the winter here is no joke. The lowly sparrow, shivering and striving to survive, has my deepest respect.
There will be some shooting to report on soon.  The Noveske mid-length Light Recce carbine has arrived and it is a beaut!  Now we have to get it to the range and see how it shoots.  Photos and more on that to follow.
I just went through the process of buying a computer for my son, Jared, but since he knows nothing about what's been done on that front I can't speak of it yet, don't want to tip him off when he checks in here at the blog.  Sure do wish that I could have talked him into a Mac instead of a Windoze Vista machine, but maybe next time.
I'm still getting over losing Lucie, which I think accounts for a good deal of the blahs I've had lately.  That, and working nights, working a lot, working hard when I'm at work in the ICU is wearing me down.
I've logged a lot of time making phone calls and writing emails for KC3 to get our web page upgraded, finding an ISP, finding an attorney, answering questions and researching answers, meeting with one of our legislative friends and mentors, taking over the newsletter and getting it ready to print - just a lot of stuff to do, some of it things that have languished for years due to the neglect of the former president and vice president who did NOTHING during their tenure!  Just trying to get back up to speed on a lot of this stuff is taking a lot of time.  The good thing is that I have more time than most of the board members to do this stuff, so I do it.  The down side is that doing it uses up MY time.  One look at the mess that I live in tells you where my priorities lie.
So if you've wondered what's going on with the blog, that's it.  I've been busy or I've been blah.  And just like everyone else, I have to make some preparations for Christmas so adding that to all else that I've volunteered for I've had some busy days and nights.
But we're making progress!  And for those of you who care, you can start monitoring our KC3 blog at and keeping up with what the pre-eminent personal rights group in Kentucky is doing to defend our right to self-defense.  If you live in Kentucky, you owe to yourself and to everyone who has a concealed carry permit to get on board and work with us to keep our Commonwealth free!