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Friends, Family, Vacation

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It’s good to have friends. Ambulance Driver rearranged his work schedule to drive me from Dallas to Austin. Which is part of why I haven’t posted in a few days. The reason for going to Austin was to meet with my wife and daughter. Our daughter moved to Austin just about four years ago. So, we decided to tack on a vacation after I went to the NRAAM. The result was that I just didn’t have time to write the posts I’ve had in mind. More on that later.

Back to friends. One of the highlights of going to the NRAAM is seeing friends that live in other parts of the country. Dallas was especially good since bloggers Lawdog, Old NFO, Phlegm Fatale, and Better and Better, all live in Texas. I don’t get to see any of them enough, so look forward to the opportunities. I didn’t track the number of times I was asked when we’re moving to Texas, but it was more than one. There are reasons with which I won’t bore my readers.

Oh, I was remiss in not originally noting that OldNFO gifted me with a copy of his latest Gray Man novel, “Twilight”. Which was good since I finished “Partners” while waiting for my long delayed flight to Dallas. Yes, this is an unabashed plug for a friend’s books.

I also ran into Weer’d Beard who I haven’t seen in a while. Then there was this character. Who doesn’t blog much anymore, but managed to elevate himself from a crazy blogger to a respectable member of the gun publication industry.

Plus I got to make a new friend, Annette Evans, competitive shooter, instructor, and writer. I bought a copy of her book “The Dry Fire Primer” and intend to incorporate her information into my training routine. A very impressive and engaging young lady. The book is well worth buying and reading. If you Facebook, you can find her at “Beauty Behind the Blast”.

Lots of eating went on as well, but that’s what friends do when they get together. Lots of stories were swapped, but I won’t say too much about those because they were stories among friends and not blog posts. Interestingly, there was a discussion of a book full of stories that probably were better off not told. Of course those stories can be told if you’re retired, or anonymous, or in some cases, if the statute of limitations has passed.

The time to depart Dallas came all too early. As stated Ambulance Driver rearranged his schedule in order to drive me down to Austin, but that meant an early Sunday departure. After more eating and lie swappingearnest and serious discussion.

The ride to Austin was uneventful, which considering what I-35 looks like, was good.

Once in Austin, I picked up the rental car and went to the daughter’s apartment. Big doings there as we were going to have dinner with her new boyfriend. I was given a list of permissible topics (no politics, no interrogations about his “intentions”). I had been informed that he is a gun owner, hunter, and is “building a rifle.” All of which were permissible, but we never got around to discussing.

One of my missions was to try to fix the HVAC fan in my daughter’s car. Not having a working blower motor is a bad thing in the Austin heat. Ahhh, the Austin heat. Which baked the last of winter out of my increasingly aging bones.

The fan mission was a success. It took me about half an hour to take out the old one and install the new one. Ahhh, cool air!

The other mission was installing a new car stereo, with back up camera, in her car. I’ve been doing stereo and two way radio installations since the mid 1970s, so this was not particularly new territory. The new wrinkle was a gizmo that retains the factory clock controls, and another one that retains the functionality of the steering wheel controls. I did all of the pre wiring at home on my work bench, which was a very wise decision. Still, there was some trepidation on my part as I had to figure out which tools I needed to bring with me and had little margin for error.

Everything was pretty easy, with no more than the normal number of “oh shit” moments as parts fell into places where they didn’t belong. Nothing broke, everything worked on the first try. I only had to make two auto parts store runs for connectors, wire, and good electrical tape. The stuff I brought with me wouldn’t stick in the heat of Austin, probably due to age.

I also had Dad time while my daughter helped me with the work. I like Dad time and don’t get enough of it since she lives 2,000 miles away.

Oh, the boyfriend. He’s a nice guy. I expect I’ll get to see him again, but I’m still not sure how serious they are. I’ll know when I know, I guess.

Since my daughter is gainfully employed, Mrs. EMS Artifact and spent the days vacationing. One day we drove up to Marble Falls and looked at the town, houses, neighborhoods, and the Blue Bonnet Cafe. The food was good, the staff friendly, and the pie delicious. House prices are not through the roof (yet)

Another day we wen to the Texas Military Forces Museum at Camp Mabry in Austin. A very well done museum with a lot of interesting artifacts in a compact space. Being a former fashion design teacher, Mrs. EMS Artifact was estimating how much time it would have taken to hand cut and sew the uniforms from the early days of the the Texas Republic. She also pointed out the reproductions because machine stitching looks completely different than hand stitching. When not doing that, she was asking me intelligent questions about various military artifacts. After almost 40 years of marriage, she still surprises me on an almost daily basis with her comments and questions about things in which I never expected her to have any interest. She asked me to explain how a muzzle loading cannon was loaded, fired, and then hauled back into position to be fired again.

We spent another day in Dripping Springs and Bee Cave, again checking things out. Bee Cave is very nice, but very, very expensive. Dripping Springs is getting there, but there are still a few bargains left. This is not one of them. I’m not making light of this, it’s fortunate that no one was killed or injured. Still, the on line listing we saw made no mention of the fire. Nice house, just about a year old when struck by lightning and gutted by fire. Essentially the lot is for sale, although it has improvements, a driveway, and a pad upon which to build.

Thursday came all too soon and it was time to head home. We went to the airport at the appointed time, dropped off the rental car, and headed to the terminal. We prepared to board the plane when there was a slight problem. One of the Flight Attendants was missing. As always, they apologized for the delay, but said that they had no idea where she was or why she wasn’t there.

Great.

After about half and hour, they announced that they had found her. She had overslept and would be along in 15-20 minutes.

Bull shit. If she was sleeping behind the counter at the gate, she couldn’t be there in 15-20 minutes. Mrs. EMS Artifact marched up to the counter area and asked about a voucher for our trouble. The lady behind the counter said that they didn’t do that unless the delay was going to be three hours or more.

Fifteen minutes later, they announced that everyone on the flight would get a voucher.

We took off about two hours later than scheduled, vouchers in hand. At this rate, the airline might want to consider paying me to fly on the competition.

We finally got home late on Thursday, opened the mail, cleaned the litter boxes, fed the cats, an collapsed into bed. I’ve been catching up on work like activities and other things since and finally sat down to compose this tonight.

I’ll continue reporting on the NRAAM tomorrow. The speeches, the protests, more guns, are all on the menu.

 

Shotguns

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I don’t know if this is the influence of former VP Joe Biden, but there are a lot of new shotguns hitting the market. A couple of years ago, Charles Daly introduced introduced a couple of triple barrel shotguns, and the traditional shotgun manufacturers have introduced “tacticool” versions. They also have some lever action design shotguns.

Remington got in the act with a magazine fed version of the venerable 870, the 870 DM.  DM stands for detachable magazine. Advertised for law enforcement or home defense use, it features quick change magazines. The gun comes in “Tactical” and Magpul versions, with different stocks and other bolt on accessories. It’s an interesting idea, but I don’t know if it will negatively effect the vaunted 870 reliability. I also don’t know if it’s a practical home defense gun.

Mossberg has a similar version of their 590 series shotguns. These feature 10 and 20 round detachable magazines. I don’t think I’d really want to lug around a shotgun with 20 rounds in the magazine. I’m thinking that a belt felt version can’t be far off.

Tavor has a shotgun version of their bullpup design shotgun. In addition to being a bullpup design, the TS12 has three rotating magazines. Depending on the type of shell this arrangement offers up to 15+1 round capacity. Definitely not a duck, skeet, or trap gun. This is meant for self defense and law enforcement use.

Two of the magazines are accessible for loading or unloading at the same time, one from the left side, one from the right.

This is not a light weapon and becoming comfortable with the manual of arms for it would likely take lots of practice.

 

Kel Tec makes that KSG which also uses a multiple magazine system. Two magazines, one on each side, with a selector switch to choose which magazine you want to use.

I will digress a bit to say that there are some advantage to having multiple magazines. The big one is that you can load each with different types of shells. Not a bad idea, as long as you remember which one you’re selecting.

One of the more intriguing multiple magazine guns came from SRM. Their gun is another bullpup design, but with a detachable four tube magazine. You could, if the need arose, carry a loaded spare magazine and instead of laboriously reloading, just swap a new magazine in. The gun has a MRSP of around $1,800 and the magazines are a bit more than $100.00 each, so it’s not cheap.

I also looked at a couple of guns from UTAS. One is the existing UTS15 pump action shotgun. This gun puts the magazines (two) on top of the barrel. That leaves room below the barrel, where the magazine usually goes, for a tactical light option. That light is an optional built in unit with the switch inside, not hanging off the bottom or side of the gun. There is a three position magazine selector switch. It’s a bit counter intuitive as pushing the lever to the left, causes the right magazine to feed, and vice versa. Putting the selector switch in the middle cause the tubes to alternate rounds. As always, it’s important to become familiar with a firearm before you HAVE to use it. Plenty of range time is in order with any new firearm.

 

 

Besides, going to the range is fun, right? Or it should be.

I also got to see a pre release version of their UTS15 A. The A stands for automatic, because this is a semi automatic shotgun. The 15 A uses some of the same features as the semi auto version, but also features a quick release bolt cover for clearing an malfunctions that might occur.

The dual magazines seen from above. The magazine selector is the lever just below. I have no practical purpose for this gun, and it’s pretty expensive. Still, I found myself wanting one.

One interesting item not in the Exhibit Hall was from Aridusindustries. This is a quick detach shell carrier for  Remington and Mossberg shotguns. The idea is to allow shooters to have multiple carriers loaded with shells and be able to swap them out as needed. There are other products as well, all intended for the shotgun market. This is start up company, so if you’re into shotguns, it’s worth a look.

That’s a quick look at some of the newest products for shot gunners. Tomorrow I’ll have a couple of handgun pictures and notes. And, if I can get it to upload, a catchy video of some innovative marketing.

In The Exhibit Hall

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I spent a few hours in the exhibit hall, as I always do. As I always am, I was impressed by the selection of items. Most of which are firearms related in some fashion. Even the Kubota display, which was mostly what I’d call farm equipment (small farm), had some ATVs that presumably could be used for hunting or firing range maintenance. Yamaha had generators and ATVs.

There were also a few people selling jewelry. I can’t help but think that even the women, and there are many, who are here aren’t all that interested in jewelry. It’s likely the husbands like me whose wives let them come down here without any complaints or demands. Mrs. EMS Artifact has her gun license, but not all that much interest in shooting. She does have interest in jewelry though, and Mother’s Day is coming up. Pretty smart of those sellers.

As in the past, I’m astonished by the number of 1911 and AR pattern firearms that are offered for sale. As well as the number of accessories and upgrades for those who already own them. Both are well established and respected platforms and I admit to being an oddity among gun owners by not wanting to own a 1911 pattern pistol. I’ve shot a few different ones and they shoot well. One custom built 3.5 inch version was very accurate and had a trigger pull so light that I’d swear if you looked at it, it would fire. Still, it’s just not for me.

I have two AR 15s, one of which I built from scratch just to see if I could. I’ve never fired it as I haven’t taken the time to bring it to gunsmith to have the headspacing checked. I expect to sell it once that has been done.

I also chuckle at the number of parts, including frames and slides, available for Glocks. Why chuckle? Because their marketing motto is “Perfection.”

There are some firearms that I have some interest in, and will likely buy at some point. One is the Springfield Armory XD-E. Built for Springfield in Croatia, it’s a Tradition Double Action (TDA), also known as a Double Action/Single Action (DA/SA) pistol. In that mode, the first shot is usually Double action with a long trigger pull, and the follow up shots are single action, with a much shorter trigger pull. Smith & Wesson made semi autos using this pattern from the late 1950s until just a few years ago.

I held an XD-E at the Springfield display, two of them in fact. One was in .45ACP and the other in 9mm. It’s hard to evaluate the feel of a gun when it doesn’t have ammunition in it. The balance and weight are not like it would be under normal carry conditions. Plus, these are display models and have been worked hard, apparently without any cleaning and lubrication.

Taking all of that into consideration, I observed what published reviews have noted. The double action pull is lonnnnng. I’m used to a longer pull since I do a lot of shooting with my S&W semi autos. Still, the XD-E is even longer. Also, the “Grip Zone” which is Springfields term for the stippled areas on the grip, isn’t really as grippy as one would think.

All of that aside, I’ll probably pick one up. I think that there are some newer shooters who will like the DA/SA action, but won’t be interested in buying older guns that while reliable, might be hard do have repaired if anything breaks.

The other firearm I looked at was the IWI Tavor X95. An Israeli designed bullpup style rifle, it uses readily available AR15 magazines for the 5.56 model. They also just introduced one in 7.62 NATO, and have a shotgun, and 9mm version as well. Not cheap, but well made. It’s on the list for a potential future purchase.

Continuing on, there were knife makers, and while I consider any knife as a purely utilitarian tool. Others consider them works of art, and I appreciate that. Then there were a number of different holster and ammunition manufacturers.

Just about anything that a gun owner could want, and some things that they probably don’t, are on display there. I never even got to the row of hunting lodge outfits, but there are more than a few.

I’ll make another round or two tomorrow and try to get some pictures.

 

Lines

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There was a new Army recruit that frequently drew the ire of his Drill Sergeant. Nothing he did was right, he was always yelled at, he spent most of his time doing extra duty, or peeling potatoes.

Finally, came graduation day and the newly minted soldier ran into his tormentor.

The Sergeant said, “I’ll bet when I die, you’ll come and piss on my grave.”

The Soldier replied, “No Sergeant, when I get out of the Army, I’m never standing in line again.”

I hate lines, but sometimes we have to stand in them. After I finally got into the Dallas Love last night, Ambulance Driver picked me, we had dinner and went back to the hotel. iT was late and the NRA Press Office at the Convention Center was closed.

So, this morning, after a hearty breakfast, we walked (closer to waded) over so that I could pick up my media credentials. We figured, incorrectly as it happened, that we’d be there after the rush.

The line was longer than the one in the joke above. No one was particularly happy, but no one threw a hissy fit either. There was some joking about the slow pace of line (slower than tectonic plates), but it was good natured grumbling.

Only one guy jumped ahead in line, apparently to “catch up with his crew”, and no one shot him. No one rioted, no one burned the convention center to the ground.

A good number of the people in line with me are also NRA members. There were some “real media” people in line, but they were fewer in number.

My point is that despite what the Fake Stream Media may want you to think, gun owners are in general among the most polite people out there.

As Robert Heinlein wrote ”

An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life.”
No matter how long the lines, or how crowded the exhibit hall, I’m confident that no one will be anything other than polite.
Unlike the opposition.

Not So Fast There, Sonny

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Sitting at the airport, minding my own business when there was an overhead announcement. It seems that the flight that was to board ahead of us had a mechanical problem. Passengers will be delayed.

Too bad for them. I went back to my coffee and checking email.

New announcement. Their flight had been cancelled because the planed couldn’t be fixed and there weren’t any spare planes hanging around.

Very bad for them. They were all directed to come to the customer service desk and be rebooked. The stampede headed over and started the process.

At the risk of wrong speak, I have to say that there were five hard working airline staff was trying to get people  onto new flights without undue delay. One of the five had, shall we say, limited ability to speak English clearly. Want to guess which one was on the intercom making announcements?

A Chinese couple behind me was rolling their eyes at how bad he spoke English. They spoke both English and a Chinese dialect flawlessly. Every time this guy made an announcement, people rolled their eyes and asked each other what was said.

But I digress.

I was waiting for my flight to start boarding when my phone alerted me to a text message. Looking down at the phone I read, “This is to inform you that we took your plane to satisfy the other fliers and you are now screwed.” That’s not exactly what was said, but it was definitely the message. Now it was my turn to go up to the customer service counter and find out WTF was going on.

Then, got another text message that said, “We rebooked you for a later, direct flight.” That will only screw up my arrangement with Ambulance Driver who is picking me up in Dallas. I clicked on the link and saw what my boarding order. This that “Want to get Away” airline that lets you pick your own seat. The trick is to get there early enough so that you actually get to sit inside the airplane. I pay the $15.00  for the privilege of checking in early and getting a good seat. My original boarding order was A26, which is prime seat selecting territory. My new boarding order was C39. As they say, “C” stands “Center Seat”, usually between two smelly people. And the one closest to the window has to go to the bathroom every 15 minutes.

So, I went up to the counter and talked to the nice lady. She explained that they don’t have a “waiver” function for their business flier upgrade, so I’d have to fork over $40.00. She did, however give me a $100.00 voucher for a future cancelled flight. I kid about that, part.

So, I decided to call the customer service line for the airline and see if they can refund my feel. Which is where I sit as I type this. The nice young lady wasn’t sure she had a “waiver” key either. I might have to email customer service.

I’m on ignore hold while she checks with someone.

She’s back and busy clicking away on her keyboard.

The verdict is…

They refunded the upgrade fee.

All in all, I did okay on this. Although I still have to sit in the airport for four more hours.

Adventures in travel.

 

I’m A Traveling Man

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I’m off to the Dallas for the NRA Annual Meetings. I’ll be posting from there with information on new gun gear, the speeches, and whatever else pops into my mind.

After that, it’s off to Austin for some family time with Mrs. EMS Artifact and our lovely daughter. As a bonus, we get to meet her new beau. She seems quite taken with him and I’m happy for her. Still the Dad in me wants to see what he’s all about since it’s only been a couple of months since they met and started going out.

Her ever protective older brother wants a 2,000 word essay from him on the 2016 Presidential election before he approves. He’s afraid that she’ll marry a Democrat.

I have some posts floating around in my head, but haven’t had time to sit down and pound them out on the computer.

Upcoming topics,

What’s Changed in EMS.

The Second Most Dangerous Thing in EMS

EMS Artifact versus the Forsythia, Part II

Some Days I Just Want To Bang My Head On My Desk

Plus, I’m sure I’ll post something about current events and stupidity in the world in general.

Until then, a musical interlude.

Not A Victim, A Hero

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Early in the morning James Shaw Jr. was sitting in a Waffle House restaurant when a criminal, who shouldn’t have had a gun, started shooting patrons. Ultimately four people were killed and others injured.

Mr. Shaw reacted instinctively and wrestled the rifle away from the shooter. He then dragged the shooter outside where they separated and each went in a different direction.

He doesn’t think of himself as a hero, but then heroes never do. What he did was save several lives, even if that wasn’t his plan when everything started. That’s where the instinctive part comes into play.

He doesn’t seem to have had a plan, he just saw what needed to be done and did it.

Man fought gunman: He ‘was going to have to work to kill me’

The man who wrestled the gun away from the Waffle House shooting suspect in Tennessee said Sunday if he were going to die, the gunman would “have to work to kill me.”

Police are calling James Shaw Jr. a hero for saving lives in the busy restaurant, but the 29-year-old Nashville resident said he only made a split-second decision to challenge the shooter and called it a “selfish” act to avoid being killed.

Selfish? Maybe, but I wouldn’t call it that. I’d call it heroic, even if Mr. Shaw doesn’t see himself that way.

When Shaw’s father went to visit him in the hospital before he was released, he had one piece of advice for his son: “Don’t do that again.”

“I take no pride in him charging a loaded gun,” James Shaw Sr. said. “I do take pride in him helping save the lives of other people.”

After the son’s release from the hospital, the family went to church together.

The Shaws, and all of us, have something to be thankful for.

Amateur Gun Smithing

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I’ll start this post on with one of those “Don’t try this at home” warnings. At least don’t try this at home and blame me if something should go wrong.

As all but the most casual reader of this blog will know, I have a fondness for the Smith and Wesson semi automatic pistols. Not the newer polymer framed reliable but bland M&P guns, but the older all metal Third Generation pistols.

Starting in the late 1980s, these were among the first wave of semi automatic pistols that replaced revolvers in many law enforcement agencies.

They are well designed, well built, utterly reliable, and accurate. Oh, and expensive. By the mid 1990s, Glock semi automatics had started to displace S&W weapons in police holsters. Glocks are reliable, accurate (for the most part), and well built. I don’t think that they are particularly well designed since they have a combination of no magazine safety and require the trigger to be pulled in order to field strip.

The biggest advantage of Glock was cost. The injection molded receiver (frame) of the Glock is far less expensive to manufacture and can be made in less time. As a result a lot more Glock frames can be produced in a work day than can metal frames.

That is despite the fact that S&W owns the most CNC machines on the east coast. In the days when they offered factory tours I went often and always marveled at the ability of the factory to turn out lots of frames in a relatively short time. The problem is that demand for 1911 pattern pistols, revolvers, and AR15 pattern rifles takes up a lot of machine time. Cost is less of a an issue for those items because the target market is different and likely smaller.

Law enforcement firearm sales are a huge market and very competitive. This drove S&W to develop polymer frame pistols. I’ll let the interested reader research that, including some legal unpleasantness with Glock.

Commercial sales of the Third Generation semi autos pretty much ended in 2006. There were still some available in the supply chain, but for the most part they were being phased out. A few larger LE agencies retained their pistols and S&W even made some for those client agencies who insisted on metal over plastic.

Alas, those days are coming to an end as agencies such as NYPD, CHP, RCMP, and others are replacing their pistols with polymer framed guns.

The good news in all of this, at least for those in most of the country, is that surplus pistols are starting to show up at reasonable prices. These guns have been well maintained by certified armorers, and are carried a lot, but shot very little. If you are interested in one, now might be a good time to buy.

All which falls into the “I told you that, so I can tell you this.”, category.

The guns are relatively easy to work on as long as you have a minimal set of mechanical skills and some quality tools. As it happens, I have both, especially the minimal set of mechanical skills.

The subject of today’s post is the S&W 457, which was part of the “Value Series” of semi automatics. These were an attempt by S&W to produce a less expensive pistol while retaining the all metal design. There were a variety of models, some of which were variations of existing designs. The 457 was different in that there was really no direct analog in the regular series of guns.

The 457 is a seven shot .45ACP semi automatic with an alloy frame. It came in a few different variations. The early guns were alloy frame with carbon steel slide. Then came the 457S with a silver colored frame and stainless steel slide. There were some made in Double Action Only (DAO) configuration, but they are rare and never seem to come up for sale.

Like all Third Generation guns, they are reliable, accurate, well designed, and easy to shoot well.

I was never a big fan of the .45ACP, but a friend convinced me that I should have one. Having no interest in 1911 pattern guns, but a lot of interest Third Generation pistols I started looking for a compact version. Which lead me to the 457. I bought one, shot it, and found it as accurate and easy to shoot as my 9mm guns. I don’t carry it much, but it’s there if the mood or need strikes me.

I’ve been looking for a stainless version, but on the rare occasions when they show up, the prices are outside of the reasonable range.

A couple of months ago while searching for a stainless gun, I came upon a black alloy version for a very reasonable price. I wasted no time buying it. I had no particular reason for that, but since the price was so good, I didn’t need one.

After I got it home, I started to think. Thinking is dangerous.

Since I’ve never seen a DAO version, let alone one for sale, I thought it would be an interesting experiment to see if I could convert one.

I asked around on a couple of shooting forums and found someone who gave me advice on how to do a conversion. In fact, this was how S&W modified the gun for customers who wanted it.

I went shopping on Ebay and bought some parts so I could keep the original parts in order restore the gun to original condition.

The parts needed are a hammer, sear (should be changed as a set), and firing pin retainer. That firing pin retainer replaces the safety/decocker on the Traditional Double Action (TDA) guns.

That is required to make the conversion work is filing down the single action notch on the hammer. This is done slowly, by hand, until the notch is gone and the bearing surface is smooth. Not a great picture, but I am NOT taking this apart again.

Reassembly is not difficult, but it is a bit fiddly. It helps if you have three hands or a couple of assembly aids. I don’t have three hands and only found out about the assembly aids after I was all done.

Then the frame is reassembled with the new trigger and sear. The safety/decocker is then removed and replaced with the firing pin retainer. For good measure I cleaned out the firing pin channel and put in a new firing pin spring, along with a main spring.

Here is the result. The silver colored part is the firing pin retainer. Carbon steel ones are supposed to exist somewhere, but no one has ever seen one for sale.

Once everything was back together, it was off to the range for some testing.

Staring out with just a single round loading I test fired. Success! The gun went bang when expected, the shot hit the target where it should, and the slide cycled properly. Testing continued with two and then three rounds. After that, I shot a fifty round box of range fodder.

The results were… acceptable.

A couple of things to note with the DAO trigger pull. It’s long, very long. Which is how the double action trigger pull is be design. I’m used to the first round trigger pull being long, but it took some time to get used to the long trigger pull every time. Which is why some shots weren’t exactly where I intended them to be.

The factory DAO guns have a prestaged hammer to shorten the trigger pull, but the ones that were originally designed as TDA don’t. At least that’s what other people who have done this conversion tell me.

After a bit of practice, the large hole in the center of the target appeared, which is what I wanted to happen.

The other thing is that after a while, that long trigger pull started to take a toll on my forearm muscles. That’s a range problem and if I should ever have to use this gun to defend my life the statistics tell me that I’ll fire about 3.5 rounds.

If I can ever find a stainless version of the 457, I expect to move the conversion parts to that and sell off one of the black guns.

I’ll close with the previous disclaimer. Don’t attempt this unless you’re comfortable with taking firearms apart. There are some very useful videos on Youtube, at least for now. Also, be sure to keep the original parts in case you ever want to revert the gun back to original configuration.

Oh, if you should find yourself with the opportunity to buy a S&W Third Generation gun, be careful. They tend to be addictive.

 

EMS Artifact Versus The Forsythia

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It’s been busy here at EMS Artifact Galactic HQ. The company I work for has picked up some new client agencies. That means that in addition to work with my regular clients, I’m doing introductory classes for a new client. Plus I’m doing my regular periodic reviews for all three of my existing clients.

In addition, my boss wants to lighten his work load, so he has asked me to pick up an existing client. This one is pretty easy as they do a good job with their EMS responses.

All of that means that I’ve been working a lot of hours and have had less time to blog. I have a couple of posts circulating in my head, and I’ll get them out as soon as I have time.

In the meantime, here is a post about nothing to do with firearms, EMS, politics, or much of anything else.

Forsythia is a deciduous shrub with upward and arching shoots that may be 10 feet tall and 15 feet wide. Forsythia is a popular cultivated plant that is used often in landscapes. Native to China, you can find forsythia throughout much of the northeastern US and Canada.

So says the online guide to Forsythia that I read in preparation for this post. “Native to China” means, at least to me that Forsythia is an invasive species that displaces native flora.

This article When Forsythia Becomes a Ground Cover describes the issue thusly.

Yes, forsythia is ‘easy to grow’; a phrase that has many meanings. But the survival of my specimen is a clue to what’s going on with Jason’s plants in Kettering: “layering”. Some plants can be propagated simply by pressing one of their branches down against the soil. Sometimes you need to put a rock on top to keep the soil contact, but with forsythia—and tomatoes—a branch that droops down low enough will do this naturally.

That’s pretty much it. Forsythia does well and can be contained if it’s pruned back on a regular basis. Guess who never knew that and before he knew it, had an infestation of ground covering, flowering, shrubbery.

If you came here from Facebook, the featured image you saw there is a “well pruned” Forsythia bush. Which looks like Harpo Marx’s hair style.

If you look at the picture above, the large patch of bare earth is where the Forsythia was up until recently. Back when we bought the house thirty-eight years ago, that was all grass. In fact, up until a few years ago, that was all grass. Then, seemingly while my back was momentarily turned, Forsythia moved and and supplanted the grass. I cut it back last year, but made the rookie mistake of not digging out the roots. The roots of the Forsythia, like roots of all plants and tree, suck up water and other nutrients from the ground. In the case of the Forsythia, they spread out horizontally more than vertically. Which means that you have to dig a big hole around the stumps of the cut of plants to get the roots out.

If you don’t get the roots out, the plants grow back. Just as if you don’t get all of a cancer out, it will grow back. That’s a good analogy, I think.

I first started cutting about three weeks ago, between rain storms. Then, about a week went by before I could get back to the job. At that point, to my horror, I discovered that shoots were sprouting up out of the recently cut branches. Soooo, I decided that the roots needed to be dug up.

The problem being that the larger the plant, the deeper and wider the roots.

Here is the biggest of the stumps which I dug out of the yard. The stump is partially hidden by the two big rocks I had to dig out to get at the roots. The trash bags give an indication of the size of the stump/root bundle. That one stump took about an hour of digging with a shovel and pick axe.

I put the big hole to use as a burn pit over the past weekend. Town burn permit in hand, I spent five hours on Saturday and six hours one Sunday chopping the previously cut Forsythia branches, along with some thick as an axe handle things  with 1/2″ thorns on them. That was just an extra bonus to the fun. I then cheerfully consigned them to the fire pit and watched with glee as they burned.

For all the world, my arms look like a someone who made an attempt to cut my wrists.

While doing all of that, I discovered some of the roots that I thought that I had dug out had left little bits behind. Guess what started to regrow? Which meant that I had to spend some more shovel time rooting out roots. Plus I found more under the leaves that had gathered on the edges of the yard.

During all of this my neighbor came over a couple of times to look at my handiwork. I get along very well with him and his lovely wife. I was a bit concerned that they might not like that I had strayed about five feet into their yard. Nope, no problem, although they did invite me to continue as far into their yard as I wanted. I politely declined.

I’m still not done with this battle. I have one more big stump/root section to dig out. Then that part has to go out into the deep woods behind the house. Where I have no doubt that they will take root.

Once that’s done, I’ll fill in the fire pit, spread some loam around, and churn it all up with my handy roto tiller. Then comes the grass seed and fertilizer. Hopefully, the grass will grow in. Then I’ll have to make sure to cut the Forsythia back.

Because I know that the Forsythia isn’t defeated, it’s just regrouping.

Hoist on His Own Petard

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The saying in the title goes back to medieval times when unfortunate souls who were intending to blow up their enemies blew themselves up instead.

A Petard was a small explosive used for breaching doors or gates of fortifications. The Petard was the original shaped charge and the term was used by the British military as late as World War II.

There are two potential problems with Petards and other explosives. First, they might not go off when intended. Second, and worse, they might go off when NOT intended. Which is where the term came from. It’s actually attributed to Shakespeare and he meant it figuratively, not literally.

Which brings us to the late Benjamin Morrow.

Wisconsin Man Killed in Home Blast Had White Supremacist Materials, Stash of TATP and Guns

A search warrant filed in last month’s explosion of an apparent home explosives laboratory at a Beaver Dam, Wis., apartment complex revealed that the suspect was tinkering with TATP, an explosive used in several terrorist attacks.

“Tinkering” is not what I’d think people would do when mixing TATP, which is a very unstable explosive concoction. Richard Reid aka the “Shoe Bomber” injured himself when is TATP didn’t explode, but did cause serious burns to his nether regions. Other terrorists have been more successful, but a good number (and I do mean good) have detonated themselves when they didn’t get the mix just right.

The document, filed March 9 in Dodge County (Wis.) Circuit Court, also indicated that Benjamin Morrow was interested in or adhered to white supremacist ideology.

No details on exactly what “white supremacist” documents were found or that the late Mr. Morrow adhered to him. For all we know, he could have been doing research on “white supremacists” to help with development of his weapons. About ten years back, I was searching for information on home made target stands. The best plans I found were on a Neo Nazi website. I copied the plans, deleted as much of the history of my visit, and took a long shower afterwards. Those people are whacked.

No doubt if someone decided to do an in depth search of my browsing history, they could probably find out that I was there. Nothing ever goes away on the Internet. Which would not mean that I was Neo Nazi.

I’ll stick in one more quote and encourage my readers to go to the link and read more about this sad story. Sad not so much because Mr. Morrow killed himself. It’s sad that the entire building had to be destroyed and the occupants dispossessed.

Also found were rifle accessories, “8 handgun mags, 2 rifle mags, cordless drill, rifle case, rifle scope, ballistic helmet and vest, 680 rounds of 5..56 ammo, 110 rounds of 223 ammo, 1379 9mm, 3 loaded mags with 40 9mm rounds, bottle of BBs, pistol case, 20 rounds of 308 ammo, 3 bottle of calcium chloride” and a bottle of hydrogen peroxide.

Last time I checked, my cordless drill was not a rifle accessory. I guess it’s the intent, not the actual inanimate device that’s important. The police found at least one handgun, one rifle, and some ammunition. Not really a lot of ammunition if one is a serious shooter. Actually about two days worth for many people.

Police were also concerned about possible co conspirators, but none have been found nor presumably were there remains in the apartment that could not be identified.

I’ll also add that Mr. Morrow may have used some videos on YouTube to help him with his experiments in Kaboomery. Which, if you go to the web site you’ll still find available. Conservative views not okay, but how to videos to make very dangerous explosives are just fine.

We’ll never know what Mr. Morrow might have been up to or why. Which won’t stop some of the media from jumping to conclusions and making assumptions.

The moral of the story here is don’t play with volatile explosives. Seriously, not good can come of this. Other than his family, I don’t know that many people will really be sad that Mr. Morrow has shuffled off this mortal coil. It’s just fortunate that he didn’t take anyone else with him and he never got to carry out whatever plan he had in mind.

I’ll leave you with a quote from Robert Heinlein,

“Stupidity cannot be cured. Stupidity is the only universal capital crime; the sentence is death. There is no appeal, and execution is carried out automatically and without pity.”

 

All About Me

After a long career as a field EMS provider, I'm now doing all that back office stuff I used to laugh at. Life is full of ironies, isn't it?

I still live in the Northeast corner of the United States, although I hope to change that to another part of the country more in tune with my values and beliefs.

I still write about EMS, but I'm adding more and more non-EMS subject matter.

Thanks for visiting.

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