Please consider supporting recurring UNIVERSAL BACKGROUND CHECKS of ALL FEDERAL, STATE, AND LOCAL POLITICIANS (including but not limited to school records, acquaintances, employment history, fingerprints, DNA, Social Media, financial, drug, and psychiatric screenings). Please consider supporting TERM LIMITS; political power corrupts.

We the Politicians of the United States, in Order to avoid a more perfect Union, manipulate Justice, destroy domestic Tranquillity, provide for the common offense, promote general Warfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty for ourselves and our Progeny, do blaspheme and eviscerate this Constitution of the United States of America. ("Zack," circa 1966 -1970)
WELCOME TO THE NEXT CHAPTER! WARNING! WARNING! WARNING! SOCIAL MEDIA IS ADDICTIVE; EXCESSIVE USE MAY LEAD TO MENTAL HEALTH DISORDERS, REDUCED PRODUCTIVITY, LACK OF SLEEP, SOCIAL ALIENATION, BIRTH DEFECTS, BLINDNESS, AND SEXUAL IMPOTENCY. NOTICE: NO GUNS OR AMMUNITION ARE FOR SALE VIA THIS BLOG. No, I will not trade my Colt Python for some erotic adventures with your hot looking wife and a future first-round draft pick. CAVEAT: This blog is not suitable for viewing while at work, while inside a public library, while inside any public or private school, or while inside any public or private restroom. Do not view this blog while driving a motor vehicle or while piloting an aircraft. Viewing this blog may be illegal inside the EU, Chicago, and other parts of the Third World. THIS BLOG CONTAINS (albeit often very childish) ADULT-CONTENT. DISCLAIMER: This blog is a hobby, it is not a livelihood. Even though much of what I blog about relates to firearms collecting and recreational shooting, I am not an expert (by any measure) on any facet of guns, shooting, hunting, or personal defense. Entries at this blog are akin to good old-fashioned campfire chats or post hunt bourbon-fueled barroom-bluster; I offer no opinion on what you should or should not purchase, or what you should be using or doing. What does or does not work for me could be rugged-country-miles away from your tastes and your needs. All products, places, and miscellany that I review for this blog are purchased / rented / leased at retail price by me. I do not accept payment, gifts, discounts, freebies, products on loan, demon alcohol, drugs, plea-bargains, probation, parole, Papal Blessings, Presidential Pardons, or sexual favors for doing any review or blog post. TRACKING COOKIES: Google et al stick tracking cookies on everybody. If you are online, you are being spied on via one method or another, for one reason or another; 'nuff said. You may be able to minimize your online DNA residue by using Tor and Duck Duck Go. Vive la liberté! Vive all y'all! Ante omnia armari. To each of you, thanks for stopping by! I appreciate it!

Friday, December 28, 2018

View from a westbound Amtrak sleeper car window, exactly five years ago.

The photos above were shot about an hour past Grand Junction, Colorado, enroute to San Francisco from Chicago.

I love Amtrak.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Monthly Weigh-In 12/27/2018 = unchanged at 190 lbs. Destroy All Machine Guns! They make people FAT!

Yep, that's me in March of 2017, using every ounce of my corpulence to anchor a full auto MP 40.  
In 2018 I never once touched a machine gun and I lost 35 lbs.

Still focused and looking forward to 2019.
Wishing health and happiness to all of you.  Happy New Year! 

Friday, December 7, 2018

Federal 147-Grain Hydra-Shok +P+ .38 Special Jacketed Hollowpoint P38HS2G

(Intended accent is Appalachian Southern White, i.e., my Grandma.)
(BTW, Whenever Memaw was sleeping, she kept a revolver close at hand.)
Cool down and put your red flag away, Heavenly Ghost of Memaw.
No Federal, State, or local laws were broken regarding my purchase, possession, or use of this ammo. 

Law enforcement agencies have long sought better performance from handguns, and the major ammunition companies have always been happy to oblige by providing them the latest in hot new ammo.  Why the "+P+" and "Law Enforcement Only" designation for these loads?  Well, first off, +P+ is colloquial; there is no such SAAMI rating.  In short, it probably means something like "at the most extreme upper edge of +P where most prudent engineers just don't like to go" but nothing is certain unless a bonafide ammo-industry insider cares to testifiy otherwise.  Selling a product that is deliberately loaded to presssures outside of the industry standards would carry a heavy liability and does not seem like a rational business practice, regardless of any legal disclaimer.   To stay conservative, I treat these particular .38 Special loads as being potentially too harsh (nothing explosive, just accelerated wear) for any of my revolvers rated as being +P or below; in other words, I only fire them from my .357 Magnum revolvers.  Insofar as the origins of "for Law Enforcement Use Only," I'll  be durned if anyone can convince me that he / she / heshe / shehe (etc) knows for certain.  It could have been a simple marketing ploy; exclusivity does sell.   Maybe someone truly believed this load was above and beyond all other .38 Special loads.  Ultimately, "the street" proved this load to be a bit less than equal to the effectiveness of the old-school +P lead-semi-wadcutter-hollowpoints ... its favor (and product life) was relatively short lived.   Perhaps of some historic interest is the fact that (after the tragic FBI shootout in Miami) some agencies had chosen a 147-grain 9mm semi-auto load to replace the 115-grain 9mm load that was in common use.  Law enforcement use of the 147-grain 9mm semi-auto load progressed to a +P load that some agencies found to give better performance.  IT IS POSSIBLE that this .38 Special 147-grain +P+ load was an attempt to bring it to the same performance level as that of the 147-grain +P 9mm load.  Back then some cops / agents carried revolvers while others had moved on to semi-autos; perhaps someone suggested this load as a way of putting all of their agents / officers on an equal footing.

Speculation and hearsay about the evolution, intent, and official use of this load has filled many internet pages.  The short of it is that, although being a good performer, this is no magic bullet and it is far short of being in the power-class of any .357 Magnum load.   

Federal no longer offers this +P+ load and IMHO they never will return it to the product line.

Federal's still offers many other standard pressure and +P Hydra-Shok loads in all popular calibers.

Hollowpoints are meant to expand; the intent is to make a fat hole inside the threat via a skinny bullet.  A mushrooming bullet causes more tissue damage and theoretically ends the threat sooner than a non-expanding bullet and also is theoretically less likely to drill a hole clean through the felonious threat and endanger those beyond.   The problem is getting hollowpoints to expand reliably.   Barriers such as wood, sheet metal, glass, wallboard, and even multiple layers of heavy clothing can mess up the science.  Barrels that are too short or too long will cause velocities that are too low or too high for what the bullet was engineered to do.  Hollowpoints that fail to open, or that open too far too soon, or fragment, are sometimes no better at incapacitating a threat than are the old fashioned solid round nose bullets and semi-wadcutters.  Hydra-Shoks have a great reputation for performing but there are no guarantees. A rifle or a shotgun often is a better bet than a handgun ... 

So how did I originally wind up with a full 1,000 round case of these?  Happenstance; I'm a shooting-hobbyist; I saw them advertised in bulk around a decade (or more) ago so I bought them to add to my inventory for use during my lean retirement years.  Until lately, my biggest use for them was with a Ruger SP101 at the range; the Ruger still carries a full cylinder of them for household self-defense purposes.  These loads are clean burning, don't lead the gun barrel, and my exposure to airborne lead is minimal.  If my handguns happen to have enough barrel length to keep bullet velocity in the range that the design engineers intended, they should mushroom during a defensive encounter, provided that the hollowpoint doesn't plug with debris en route to the vitals of the threat.   

My fervent wish is to never find out firsthand how well any load works in human flesh, from either side of any gun.  

In summary, for range use or personal defense, I have no qualms about using this load in any of my revolvers that are chambered for the .357 Magnum.

My most recent range session used a total of 45-rounds of the subject load.  The first 30-rounds were for a practice Illinois Concealed Carry qualification (10-rounds @ 15-feet, 10-rounds @ 21-feet, and 10-rounds @ 30-feet; of the 30-rounds fired, at least 21-rounds must hit inside the numbered areas in order to qualify).  Nothing pretty, but it was a passing effort.

Another 15-rounds were consumed working on some snub-handling fundamentals at my current durable-zone of suckiness with this particular revolver, 30-feet.  

The remaining 5-rounds (from the box of 50 that I took to the range) went into the cylinder as carry-loads (after I cleaned the revolver upon returning to the domicile).

Anecdotally, the recoil and noise level of this load has never seemed (to me; your senses may vary) any more or less than what I experience when firing the +P 158-grain lead SWCHP .38 Special loads.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Federal Nyclad .38 Special +P 158-grain Semi-Wadcutter XMN38H

Lookee what I found hiding in the ammo-raft; 1,000 rounds of THESE!  I remember buying them many years ago but for some reason I had it in my head they were round-nose ball and standard pressure (non +P).  I use my 158-grain +P lead SWCHP carry-loads sparingly during practice because my inventory is running low on them (<350 rounds or so left) and I have not run across any screaming bargains in my search for more ... that and the fact that I am a bit skittish about my many years of exposure to lead.  These will serve as perfect surrogates for use at the shooting range in the meantime.  There is also a chance that I may just give up altogether on using unjacketed lead bullets and just use up what is left ...  once all of the 158-grain stuff is gone, I may lighten up my practice loads AND my carry loads to the somewhat softer hitting / softer kicking 110 - 125-grain cartridges (+P for the magnum-steel frame revolvers, and NON +P for the standard steel frames and the alloy frames) because of the ever increasing arthritic pain in my hands.

Commonly recognized as range fodder, some old-school cops preferred to carry semi-wadcutters as their duty loads instead of hollowpoints (some municipalities actually insisted on "solids" because they considered police use of hollowpoints distasteful).  I certainly would not feel naked carrying these in a (non-ursine area) woodland walkabout K-frame revolver ... or for most any other self-defense scenario.

Federal no longer offers this load and IMHO they never will return it to the product line.  The law enforcement market has moved to semi-auto cartridges.  The civilian market for a load such as this is pretty lean.

For those unfamiliar with the "Nyclad" moniker, it is a gun industry portmanteau of Nylon Clad; the blue color of the bullet is a Nylon coating over the lead ... the intent is to minimize airborne lead, barrel leading, etc.

 Commercial production run (likely for a municipal police department) February 18, 2001

Sealed primers ... plated cases ... this is some really great stuff!

Friday, November 30, 2018

Nothing is more badass than shoving a loaded handgun into the front of your pants and experiencing the thrill of a gunshot in the meat department.

Aside from an explosive full or partial gender reassignment, your street credentials change from BADASS to DUMBASS as your fame spreads worldwide.

 I'm very pro-choice.  Whatever goes on (or off) inside your britches is your business; not mine.

Personally, I'd rather not chance turning my junkyard into a wasteland.


Not preachin' or prayin'... just sayin' ...

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Monthly Weigh-In 11/28/2018 = 190 lbs; down 5 lbs from last month; down 35 lbs so far this year.

Quite honestly, at 190 lbs I still feel old, fat, and tired; dieting certainly ain't no fountain of youth.  Do I feel better than I did 35 lbs ago?  Oh, hell yeah, you betcha!  Even though this time of year just plain sucks for my moods, I'd rather be where my weight is now than where it was when I started dieting.  I'll stick with the plan ...

I made it through Halloween okay.  I was going to hand out money to the kids but decided candy would be cheaper and more fun for the kids.  I didn't sneak a treat ... not a single bite.  I gave the better part of the remains of the candy to a neighbor lady to take to work ... my diabetic wife darn near put herself into a coma snacking on some of it ... we had to throw the rest of it away.  

Insofar as pigging out on Thanksgiving Day, my down-home DNA had me feasting mostly on ham.  I didn't have a taste for anything sweet.

The weather helped out by giving me a serious workout;  I would have been unable to lose those last couple of pounds without the assistance of Global Warming.  The snow was so wet and heavy it kept choking off the snowblower blades and discharge chutes.  Between shoveling and wrestling with the blowers, I managed to clear our driveway, 200-yards of public sidewalk, and three driveways for neighbors in distress.   No doubt about it, I gotta get a snowblower that can eat slush and ice.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

This (Almost Impossible to Detect, High-Power Pocket-Rocket, Multi-Round Capacity, Rapid-Fire, Saturday Night Special Forces Tactical Assault Weapon of Choice for Lawmen and Gangsters) S&W Model 442 Snub-Nose .38 Revolver is 25-Years-Old.

"Its withering firepower is limited only by the amount of ammo that a shooter can carry and the speed at which a shooter is able to reload the five-round cylinder."
(Just poking fun at a few of the tired anti-gun pejoratives and exaggerations)

Why on earth run a humble snub-gun?  What's it like?  This CLICK HERE offers a taste. 

After a quarter of a century of good behavior (never harmed a soul) this S&W Model 442 shows some age and wear.  The stocks (grips), once glossy and soft (albeit with a somewhat irritating pocket-grabbing tackiness) are now hard, dry, and scarred.  The replacement grips (stocks) currently offered for sale at S&W are not properly clearanced for use with speed-loaders so I'll just keep latching my old hand onto these comfy old things.

Yeah, this S&W Model 442 airweight revolver (the older of these two) was a seductively sleek blue-black beauty when I first saw it sitting on the store's new-gun shelf back in 1993.  I was in my early forties back then and no stranger to the gun culture.  I just had to have it.

Unsurprisingly, the revolver's finish now shows holster-wear along the proud areas of the frame, cylinder, and barrel.  Still, as I look in the mirror, I wish I had aged as well, both functionally and cosmetically.  Will I ever send this revolver in for refinishing?  Nah, those blemishes were earned honestly and are now part of this little revolver's charm.  Are my age-related imperfections equally charming?  Heh ... not so much as a chance ...

It is an "often carried, lightly fired" handgun, having burned through only around 2,000 rounds total over these many years, and it has only maybe 1,000 or so dry-fire trigger pulls (NOTE: The trigger pull is much smoother and a bit lighter now than when brand new).  The first year-and-a half that I owned it was the period of the most intense live-fire use, with the first half-dozen range visits being mostly uneventful 100-round sessions (usually firing 130-grain FMJ range fodder) followed by the sessions when I negligently used a total of 350-rounds of +P ammo (not approved for the 442 by S&W back then).  How the living hell did I manage to do that?  Well, once I purchased what I thought to be four fifty-round boxes of standard pressure 110-grain Winchester Silvertip Hollowpoints (I was trying to find a smooth ride on a self-defense load) and I wasn't paying attention to the markings on each box (neither was the store clerk who fetched the boxes for me) ... I later found that half of the rounds purchased (and subsequently fired) were +P.  Not too very long after that, I made the same mistake with four fifty-round boxes of 125-grain Federal Nyclad Hollowpoints; two of the fifty-round boxes were standard pressure and two of the fifty-round boxes were +P.  While the difference in noise and felt recoil between the +P and standard loads mentioned above was not unmistakably apparent, my final (and my most physically painful) +P misadventure is storied below.

Few (if any) of the gunhands who have ever triggered a standard pressure 158-grain lead roundnose cartridge off in an airweight J frame revolver will remember the recoil as anything less than "stout."  It becomes manageable after some practice, but most shooters will take it off the shopping list ASAP and forever look for something lighter.  After my first couple of sessions with it, I tried to avoid it as much as possible, but on this one occasion ( IIRC, late 1994 - early 1995) most local store were sold-out of .38 Special ammo for one reason or another so I settled on what was available.  

I asked for non+P  and I was told it was non+P.  Nowhere on the store's four remaining boxes of .38 Special ammunition did it say anything about +P; I bought all four boxes.  Each round that I fired during the following range session was a hand-bashing WTF moment.  This was the most recoil, muzzle-flash, and noise I ever experienced with this revolver, before or since.  At the time, I thought maybe I was becoming a recoil-sensitive wimp so I toughed it out and suffered through 150-rounds during this single session.  The cylinder of the 442 was so HOT that it was a while before I could touch it long enough to eject the final empties.  When I discovered the reason why this load seemed so disagreeable, I was worried that it might have caused terminal damage to the revolver (which survived admirably, perhaps miraculously ... from then on I moderated my range time with this revolver and strictly minimized the power of the loads used).

I kept this one full box as a souvenir to remind me that, regardless of what the outside of the cartridge box says, ALWAYS LOOK CLOSELY AT THE HEADSTAMP ON THE CARTRIDGES.

I was puzzled that I had not previously found a box of +P ammo that was NOT marked +P SOMEWHERE on the outside.  Unbeknownst to me then, "HIGH VELOCITY" printed on ammo boxes meant "+P" and was from a period of time before they standardized on tagging the boxes "+P."

Very recently I found the key to deciphering the lot number of this +P ammo.

Production Line = 17
Shift = B
Year = 1976
Day of Year = 40 (AKA February 9)

This ammo was from a different era; it was from the mid 1970's which was a time when SAAMI (founded in 1926) was still kinda fluid about the high-end of power for .38 Special loads; the testing methods and rating standards were somewhat in flux.  It was a time when many (most?) cops still carried full size service revolvers and the need for milking the last ounce of whack from the .38 Special was of paramount importance because some thought it was politically incorrect for the good-guys to be using .357 Magnum loads against the bad guys.  

Apparently this old-school mid-1970's vintage +P ammo was on the civilian market in the early 1990's after languishing for years in warehouses as law enforcement agencies incrementally transitioned from wheel guns to auto-loaders.  It is possible that this batch of +P ammo is indeed hotter than the hot loads of today.  Then again, when I shoot an airweight revolver with 158-grain +P nowadays I use a two-handed hold, and that may be the reason why it SEEMS to feel nowhere near as nasty as it seemed during the time when I was shooting these +P holdovers from yesteryear while using only one hand. 

Monday, November 5, 2018

Boot Grips on the Smith & Wesson 640-1 .357 Magnum

Above left is the 640-1 .357 Magnum.  Above right is the 640 no-dash .38 Special.
Both now have the new S&W branded boot grips.
This is the third set of stocks (grips) that I have tried on the 640-1.

Photo above shows the set of grips (stocks) that came with the revolver ... I believe they are Sile's.  Firing magnum loads were manageable with those big honking grips ... heh, I'll even go as far as to say those "great-balls-of-fire" loads were sometimes even fun to shoot.  Insofar as concealed carry, well ... even with well-thought-out covering garments and bespoke holsters, those grips still left impolite telltale bulges.  ("PRINTING" is not illegal in Illinois ... just as long as the handgun is concealed AND I am licensed, no problem legally ... but if someone guesses correctly that the bulge is a gun and decides to make a scene and call in the gendarmes ... or smash my brains in from behind in order to steal the gun, life could get unpredictable)

Above left shows the second set of grips I tried on the 640-1.  My accuracy was better with the fugly Sile's grips but I did get used to shooting with these after a while.  They do look "cooler" than the Sile's but do not conceal any better.   In pants pocket carry the bulges caused by these grips could be mistaken for some sort of a mutant boner; in this day of #HIMTOO! ... well ... such misidentification could be a bad thing.

So now this .357 looks and carries pretty much like any other boot-gripped S&W J Frame.  Pocket carry is just fine.

Any position of belt carry, inside or outside the waistband, is just fine.

Carry with any shoulder holster is just fine.
So only one issue remained rattling around the voids inside my brain; 
"Howzit feel chootin' MAGAnumbs wearin' doze bootz?"

(Target above set at 21-feet (7-yards))
Even with what I consider to be the low end of .357 magnum power, the 110-grain semi-jacketed hollowpoints, the extra noise and recoil (above that of a regular boot-gripped Model 640 shooting .38 Special +P 158-grain LSWCHP) proved distracting (to me).  My initial slow-fire effort was telling.  My first two rounds were high of point-of-aim into the nine-ring, and then I tossed the third round high and to the left into the eight-ring;  obviously, I flinched.  I put the revolver down and repeated the gentle advice my parents and teachers gave me throughout my early life ,"Get yer shit together, ya DUMBASS!"  I then picked up the revolver and tossed the next two rounds below point of aim; I was anticipating the blast and recoil ... not a good thing.  I decided to suspend the use of magnum loads until I have the time and mental focus to work through the nuances.  Hey, maybe .357 Magnums in booted steel J frames isn't gonna work for me ... I found magnums to be ridiculous (for me) in the ultra-lightweight scandium J frames ... your mileage may vary.

Moving on to more of a rapid fire mode with "Eagle red-box" 130-grain FMJ .38 Special loads (somewhat hotter than many / most other brands of 130-grain range fodder but still seeming to have less snort than 158-grain +P carry loads), my second target (not shown) was 5-rounds each at 5-yards, 7-yards, and 10-yards.  Every round was "on paper and in the numbers" but that's the best that I can say about it; distance amplified my suckiness.  I then decided to do some work at my threshold of suckiness, 21-feet (7-yards).

(Target above set at 21-feet (7-yards))
My first couple of cylinders or so were a frustrating spray of wasted ammo and effort.  Out of a sarcastic moment when I targeted the X and dry-fired a dozen times while uttering "Come on you degenerate old man, it's as easy as THAT!" came an epiphany ...  a voice from beyond ... "Hey, dude!  Remember way back when you were doing all of THOSE DRYFIRE DRILLS?  That's when you did your best shooting ..."

Sooooooo I started to shoot five, click five, reload.  Shoot five, click a dozen, reload 3 chambers, empty brass in 2, spin cylinder ... bang, click, click, bang, bang, click etc. 

Golly, it is amazing how soon a basic drill can bring back the joy of tearing ragged holes into the center of a target.  

Anyhoo, tuning myself up into using magnum loads with this revolver looks to be a slow road; perhaps it is destined to be just another .357 that will be eternally stoked with .38 +P loads.  Does it make a difference in the real world?  IMHO, if magnum loads offer any functional defensive edge in these short barreled spin-guns, it is marginal.  If being louder and flashier when fired is an edge, then this gun has it.

A Tip of the Hat to 5 Star Firearms in Zion, Illinois.  Thank you for having Senior Discount Mondays for all of the gunslinging old men and women.  It means a lot to us.  

Monday, October 29, 2018

What the world needs is a clip-on front-sight ramp-cover for the S&W J Frame

Something is out there ... ready to be repurposed ... somewhere ...

Yeah, I know about using bright tape or iridescent toenail polish.

Yeah, I also know about paying a smithy to machine a new sight ...

Somewhere out there is a piece of brightly colored u-channel edging material of some sort that could be cut to size ...

Somewhere ... somehow ...

Trim it to length with a razor knife ... snap it on ... if it gets grungy or brittle, toss it and trim another one to size; quick and easy.

Somewhere ...

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Monthly Weigh-In 10/25/2018 = 195 lbs; down 5 lbs from last month; down 30 lbs so far this year

Yep.  That looks maybe to be just about right.

One month ago I was skeptical about losing any weight during the remainder or this year.   Just as other mammals in similar climes, I believe humans are instinctively driven to fatten up at this time of year in preparation for the long, cold, winter months ahead.

The next challenge for me will be ... TRICK OR TREAT!  Candy stocked up in the days before (and what is left-over following) Halloween has been a traditional oinking pig-fest indulgence of mine for many years.  How will I manage to weather this year?  MONEY!  Yep, this year I am going to be handing out cold hard coins to the kiddies.  Besides, that seems like a more fitting tradition for a Chicagoland suburb ... somebody wearing a mask beats on your door, shouts an ultimatum, grabs your goods, and then runs away.

Any kid wearing a Hillary mask will earn double dinero.

Monday, October 22, 2018

This election is OVAH!

Over, at least for me.  DONE DONE DONE!

Yeah, I know that I was going vote at the end of last week BUT I did not notice until the last possible moment before I left the house that the only early-voting-site was at the Lake County Courthouse in beeeeeoootiful downtown Waukegan.   I decided to wait until this week when the closer early-voting-sites became available.  The last thing I expected to see at the polling place was a line ... WOW ... lots of folks ... lots and lots and lots ... 

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Civics is

"... the study of the rights and duties of citizenship."

Tomorrow morning or early afternoon I'll likely mosey on down to the local early-voting-site and get my duty over and done with.

I spent most of today's daylight hours re-re-re-reviewing the candidates and the issues.

Anyone running unopposed = NO VOTE FOR YOU ... even if I kinda like ya.

Some Libertarian candidates will get my nod as will some Republicans ... and at least one Democrat: Illinois Secretary of State, Incumbent Jesse White.  He likely is the most honest person EVER to serve in office during the long sordid history of Illinois politics.  He probably is as righteous as human flesh can be in this crazy world.  Anyhoo, he took the historically corrupt Secretary of State office and crafted it into a model of how honest and efficient government is supposed to function.

Gotta get this election off my "to do" list ... gotta move on to other pressing matters.

Hereafter I think I am just gonna do my early voting in my underwear ... via U.S. Mail.