Sunday, June 28, 2009

Why do Mini-14s get such a bad rap?

This question was asked on an email list to which I belong -

"Why is it that Ruger Mini-14s that typically group 3 to 5 MOA for the older model and 2 to 4 for the new & improved model are such bad rifles, yet AKs that typically group 3 to 6 MOA, have bad triggers and funky safety levers are good?"

To which I replied -

My own take on it is that we expect that any gun chambered in .223 has to match the benchmark for semi-auto accuracy in that caliber, which is the AR platform.

The AK gets a pass on accuracy because of its reliability and the effectiveness of the 7.62x39mm round both in wounding and in shooting through things. Not a lot of people bother with AKs in .223, and the 5.45x39 AK hasn't been as popular as the .30 version. Even the Russians are switching back to the 7.62x39 in some cases. I'm of the opinion, which I think the majority of gun buyers share, that if I'm going to have to put up with the deficiencies of the AK as a platform then I'm going to choose it in the caliber I prefer for fighting at the distances that I envision using it for fighting, not just plinking.

People assume that you can reach out further with the .223 than you can with the 7.62x39, which is generally true. For longer ranges, the AR is a better platform and the .223 a better round than the AK and its cartridge. Not necessarily more effective when it hits you 'way out past Fort Mudge, mind you, but easier to use to make the hit. It's a varmint shooter mentality, really.

Will most of us ever employ the intrinsic accuracy of the AR and the .223 at really long ranges? No. We keep carbines for engagements under 200 yards, pretty much. But if we are going to shoot a .223 it damn well better be capable of those long shots or we spurn it.

Ergo, if you're going to settle for a .223 it has to be in a gun that has enough inherent accuracy to justify that selection. The Mini-14 doesn't make the grade in that respect. It's not as accurate as the AR, so not as many shooters want it.

That, and Americans have always leaned toward choosing the same guns that the military uses. Shooters idolize M1 Garands and M1As, from whence sprang the Mini-14, so it isn't that they don't like the type or the mechanism. But until the Marines or the Army adopt the Mini-14 it will lack style points, no matter that George Peppard and the A-Team thought it was hot stuff.

Then, of course, there's all that crap about the magazine ban and Bill Ruger, may he rot in hell, etc. but that's another subject and not part of my own decision-making.

What would be wonderful is a gun that has the ergonomics of the AR combined with the reliability of the AK that shoots a bullet that lands with a solid whack. I believe that the FN SCAR Heavy is that rifle, but only time will tell.

And that's what I think about it. But what do I know? I'm just a white boy lost in the blues.

Guns go to church

No one gets shot.
God does not strike them with lightning.
Amazing (but only to a hoplophobe).

200 citizens showed up at the New Bethel church in Louisville, Ky. to celebrate our traditions and history wearing firearms openly on their sides. More info and a photo here.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Blowing holes in the sky

A view from space of a volcano blowing a hole in the clouds as it erupts.
Amazing clarity. See it here.

Pit bull on an innocent cyclist's back

A guy can't even ride his bike without a pit bull jumping on him!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Last night there was a sudden scurry and flurry through the middle of the room that sent the dogs scrambling to their feet in alarm, and then it went under my feet and sent me out of my chair.

It was white and flapping like a sheet in a windstorm and it spooked all of us before running out of the room. I shouted at the dogs because I thought they were chasing a cat or something, and they were looking at me because they knew that they weren't doing it and it had to be some trick that I was pulling!
Then it came roaring back through the room and I could see that it was a plastic grocery bag, sailing along over the floor, crackling like a spinnaker in a hard blow.
I figured it was one of the younger cats playing with it, pushing it ahead of them. But BOY, was it moving! I'd never seen one get going at that speed!
It went back and forth through the downstairs on and off for another couple of hours, and I thought boy, that cat's having a good time with that thing.
Then it came by my feet again and I could see that it was NOT having a good time.
It was Nikita, running like the Devil had her by the tail. She'd gotten her head through the handle of the bag, and it was around her waist and when she ran, it was chasing her, flapping like a drag chute behind a jet and spooking her. The harder she ran, the more it rattled and flapped and the harder she ran, under the bed, through the living room and under the couch and over the dogs, who were leaping up to get away from whatever it was that was trying to eat Nikita.
Then she'd stop, worn out, and just lie there and it was okay - until she started to walk and that bag started trying to eat her again and ZOW! she was off, making the rounds like a steeplechase and the whole joint was in an uproar once more.

Everything settled down later and I figured she'd gotten it off of her. The dogs weren't really amused but they got over it. The other cats just went to high ground and stayed there. I was snickering all night when I thought about it and I could see in my mind that bag running through the room. It was funny to me, anyway.

But Nikita has been looking daggers at me all morning, and she won't even go into the kitchen where the grocery bags are lying on the floor.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

What a complete and total IDIOT!!!

I have rarely seen anything as stupid as the photographer is in this video.

He's squatting down, DOWNRANGE, next to a group of targets being fired on by a shooting class. Live fire, live ammo, amateur students - what a recipe for disaster.
I'm a graduate of the Gunsite training center and other firearms training, and I would NEVER countenance this on any range where I was training or conducting training. The potential for disaster is too great.
The person who is teaching this class fancies himself to be a high-speed, low-drag kind of guy. In my trained and experienced opinion, he is a dangerous idiot who does a disservice to his students and to the shooting community at large with this insanity.

Monday, June 15, 2009

We should be ashamed

Last night, while watching the news I couldn't help but notice the contrast between what's happening here in the United States and what's happening in Iran.

In Iran, which is almost a police state and a theocracy, the people are furiously marching in the streets in protest against the recent elections, which they perceive as corrupt. In a nation that barely has a tradition of democratically elected leaders, they're defying the government to speak out. They're risking imprisonment and death to demand that their votes be counted fairly and honestly, and the scoundrels be turned out of office.

By contrast, in the USA, which has for two centuries enjoyed the fruits of a republican form of government, the Obamanation is busily destroying our economy and transforming our political system into something that the Founders would never recognize - and we sit on our collective butts and let him do it. We should be out in the streets every day, just like the Iranians, but doing that might mean that we'd miss the latest editions of our favorite soaps or reality shows.

Sure, many of us are holding Tea Parties, and more people are starting to wake up and speak out and contact their representatives, but if we had half the spirit that the Iranians are showing, we'd already have been camping out in the offices of all of our elected officials, sleeping on their doorsteps and banging on their doors and windows, never letting them rest until they took action to STOP this madness!

The sad part is that, only a few decades ago, we did have that kind of spirit in the USA, and people in other lands looked to this country for inspiration while they took those first baby steps toward a representative form of government.

It's time to stop pissing and moaning about how bad it all is, how someone needs to do something about it. It's time to reach down deep inside and find the spirit that once energized this nation, that made it a beacon to the world and the arsenal of democracy, and to get out into the streets, onto the internet, into the mails and faxes and EVERYWHERE and end this slow awful careening slide into corruption and destruction.

And we, my friends, are the only ones who can do it. It's OUR COUNTRY and we're the ones who must do it. The ghosts of the Founders are hovering about us, waiting for us to rise up and speak out and demand that our elected officials do their proper jobs. Their hands are on our shoulders, urging us to be the men and women who deserve to inherit this great nation, and not some namby-pambys who stand by while it's stolen from us by a pack of unprincipled thieves.

When we see what's happening in the streets of Iran and then turn our eyes to events in Wall Street and Washington, DC we should be ashamed.

Gun store recon

Went to
Bud's Gun Shop in Paris, Ky. yesterday to drop off some KC3 newsletters and took a couple of hours to look at everything in the place to see what was available.

I spent some time handling and manipulating one of the Sig 556 Commando carbines. I like the gas-piston system that's in it, but the pistol grip angle is too steep (almost like the original FAL grip), the safety lever is hard to reach if you're gripping the gun, the trigger is very spongy and the overall feel is very clunky, just for starters. I have yet to examine any version of the Sig carbine that felt handy in my hands. Despite my belief that the gas-piston system is the way to go in modern carbines, the Stoner direct-gas-impingement system AR in its present form has evolved into a very user-friendly modular platform and the Sig just doesn't measure up to its ergonomics. I understand that it's reliable as all get out, but it sure is a brick to hold and those itty bitty flip-up backup sights are a bad joke!

Speaking of ARs, I handled one of the new S&W M&P15 MOE types with the Magpul furniture and BUPS on it. The rear sight is really sleek and is made almost entirely of a resin of some sort. It folds down readily but has to be unlocked to be raised. I guess that's good so that if you bash it really hard it'll just flop down rather than break. The sight is well designed and has a small profile. The question now is will it hold up to hard use, being made as it is? The other furniture is very good stuff, being Magpul, natch, and the shape of the Magpul fore end is excellent. It fits my hands very naturally, and it should retrofit to any carbine with the slip ring. You can add Picatinny rails to it if you must have lights and such, but if you DON'T need or want those things you won't have the rails in the way, messing up the gripping surface. Good idea. S&W has a very nice carbine in this one, IMO. It feels good in the hands, a marked contrast to the Sig!!!

ARs are cropping up everywhere in stores and gun shows these days as the supply lines start to fill up and the initial panic buying is subsiding, and ammo is starting to come back into the system. I bought some of the 200gr solid copper Corbon DPX .45 defensive ammo to try out in the XD45, and some basic 9mm Remington JHP stuff to shoot in the long term testing Para LTC. The 9mm is part of the effort to see what will work in this gun since JHPs aren't uniformly feeding well in it, with either the factory mags or the Wilsons on loan. Found the Winchester generic white box 9mm 115gr ball, 100 rounds, $27. All the ammo I saw was at pretty much normal pre-panic prices, no huge markups in the pistol stuff that was available.

They even had primers! Wow. Remember what primers looked like?

Lastly, I handled one of the Mossberg M930 SPX semi-auto 'tactical' shotguns (scroll through the versions on the web page to find the 8-shot with the standard stock). It's very much like my FN SLP, fitted with the LPA iron sights and a fiber optic front inside the protective wings, but the buttstock is very slightly too long and the very soft rubber butt pad snags on clothing. I'd like to have one here to shoot for T&E, but to date the people at Mossberg haven't shown the common courtesy to respond to my emails or phone calls to discuss it. Nonetheless, it looks and feels good.

And that's all for today - Respectfully, Yr obdnt srvnt - Charles "recon wanna-be" Riggs

Sunday, June 7, 2009

A quiet moment observing nature

Early one calm morning I found this group of very delicate new mushrooms growing out of a patch of dead grass from where the field had been recently mown.

(click on photos to enlarge)

You can see the fragile structures that.....wait.
What's that noise?
What's that rumbling and crashing?


There goes Tokyo.
So much for the delicate mushrooms.
(and he slobbered on my camera lens, too.)
Oh well.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Put a little smile in your day!

Got the link to this video from a friend. Too sweet!

Click on the link
here to see it, then you can go to their home page after that to see what the group is all about. Pit bull lovers especially will be interested in their efforts to stamp out animal cruelty and support Best Friends, among others.
I'm sure they probably have some softheaded stuff in some of the things that they support in there somewhere, but I'm still grinning from watching the video so I don't care!