Saturday, March 26, 2011

S&W Model 40 Centennial Part 3, Gemini

  Even though I am writing about this last the first trip this little guy went on was to Gemini Customs. The purpose was function and reliability. The first step was the action, from the factory a stock J-frame has a pretty hefty pull. Marc took it down to 11 pounds, replacing the springs and installing an extended firing pin. He straightened the crane to 0.0005, straightened the ejection rod to 0.003 and polished the indent, throated the barrel and set cylinder to barrel gap at 0.005, and lastly he did a test fire to proof the grip safety. He then cleaned and lubed the gun before sending it back. This was a pretty straight forward and fast post but to the point and I believe I have included all the necessary information. I might take some more pictures if someone wants, otherwise that is it on the Model 40.

Friday, March 25, 2011

How gucci is your gun?

  I get a good laugh every time I pickup a gun magazine or see certain peoples weapons. Specifically their M4 variants. I love seeing some base level AR with a cheap rail, light and laser combo, a grip with a bi-pod falling out of it's bottom and some scope with 20 sun shades stuck on the end. Really? What are you going to do with that thing? Duct tape it the top of some half track and invade Poland? Both make about the same amount of since. People throw so much junk on their guns they almost become crew served weapons, you need a whole fire team just to help haul the darn thing around.

  Every once in a while some gun writer will might mention this but for the most part their job is to sell product. The magazine is not paid for off the shelf of some store or by your subscription, it is the marketing that pays the wages and for the production. You can't turn a page without seeing two pages worth of adds. When it comes down to it and you ask any operator that has some common sense (not all do) be it law enforcement or military they will tell you less is more. If you don't use it take it off. METT-TC will determine what you want to have with you.  Basically, if you are not clearing dark rooms in buildings you probably don't need that two pound 500 lumen disco ball hanging on your gun. I am not saying don't have a flash light, just don't keep it on your gun.

  I come from the military point of view and have seen people in the military do some really stupid stuff. I saw one fellow while going through some training in Iraq constantly hold his mag well no matter what shooting position he was in. This is not a bad thing to do, use what works for you. The problem is when you have a fore grip on your gun like he did and he never used it. The instructors thought the same thing and several days into training he get chewed out because they repeatedly told him to use it or take it off.

  Optics. Those wonderful little buggers we can't get enough of. Too much is not a good thing on an AR when it comes to optics. Most engagements happen within 300 meters, more like 100 meters (in war that is). You don't need some 10X optic to shoot 100, 200, 300 or even 500 meters. With a properly sighted in Aimpoint I can consistently drop all the targets on a pop up range out to the 300 meter mark and farther. That is without any sort of magnification. Again I am not saying having something like a 4x ACOG wouldn't be useful, I really like them, but why stick a huge spotting scope on a gun that doesn't need it. Do I even need to go into the logic behind having a light on your gun for building clearing when you have a 10+ power scope on your gun? All I have to say is I wont be in that building with you.

  When we deploy everyone is issued several items for their weapon. I will not go to great detail but most has to do with night vision and infrared lasers. I personally never had a use for them. Night vision yes, but never mounted on my gun, it comes with a mount but is not meant to be used that way. The M68 is a both eyes open sight. You have your night vision on your left eye (or your non-dominant eye) and you look through your sight with your right eye. Both pictures come together and guess what, that little red dot is right on your target. You maintain the ability to look around without your weapon shoved in your face all the time and you can still fire accurately if the need arises.

  War and armed confrontations have changed a lot in the last 30 years so have our tactics. Our biggest worry in America right now is the active shooter scenario. These require fast response often with little or possibly no backup near by. You have to get to the shooter and stop the action. You and hopefully a small team will need to be highly maneuverable and fast. The last thing you want is cumbersome gear and extra junk to slow you down. Grab your rifle and get in the fight. I just hope it is equipped for the job at hand.

  The best illustration of the point I am trying to make came from some cartoonist for the military.
There are two soldiers in the drawing. One is holding his M4 with more gadgets than you ever knew existed on it. The other soldier sees him and says, "wow that is sweet, where do you work?" The one holding the gun replies "I work in supply"

I will look for this cartoon and add it to this post if I find it.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Quote of The Week

"There are no half measures when one sells one's soul."

-Lt. Col. Dave Grossman
  On Killing 

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Kids are Nuts

Does he look sane to you?
  I try to keep from being an abusive parent, it is hard sometimes. Kasey is still in Florida so the little ones get locked up while I'm at work for 9 hours. I get home and they go crazy for about 2 hours before I lock them back up to for bed. They have spent a lot of time in their cages so I tried leaving them out one night. To my surprise they didn't make any noise till about 0930. I let them out to terrorize the squirrels and walked into the kitchen to make my coffee. Yup there it was, the larger of the fur bellies had left a steaming earth loaf on the kitchen floor. Seems he knew just how to send my morning to the crapper.

  The kitchen is clean, less half a roll of paper towels.
The guilty parties, Matt Lauer and Prudence

  Matt Lauer has decided he likes to dig. The vines in the concrete pots did not survive the devastation that is Matt Lauer. He also decided he likes the taste of roots and that he should dig to find the choicest ones.
Matt Lauers handy work

 The albino looking child likes to eat trees and bushes. She has taught or possibly just reenforced Matts natural tendency to do the same. All I have to say about this is the Rhododendron does not look as healthy as it use to. Poor thing probably wont last out the year.
Prudence Chewing on Rhododendron apendage 

 Aside from that they have been great and I do love them. The best part is I will never have to put them through college. 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Boredom, Draco Time

  My wife is in florida getting a tan without me. The bad part of this is she keeps texting me pictures of beautiful weather, I like the ones with her in them (she's a hotty). With her gone I am stuck with the kids, Matt Lauer and Prudence. They take up a lot of time with Matt crying to go out side and Prudence always wanting to be in my lap. I usually end up yelling at them a little then kicking them outside. They are dogs after all.
  I picked up a Draco AK47 pistol a little while back and have a couple things I want to change on it. The barrel nut was spot welded so I used a dremel to free it up. An RPK flash hider will be going on it in a couple days. I will be changing the sights and furniture at a later time.
  I usually have some regular FMJ 7.62x39 sitting around but picked up four boxes of hollow points because it is illegal to hunt with FMJ in my state. I wanted to make sure they would function, loaded up a mag and tried chambering a round. CHUNK, right into the base of the barrel it went. It really isn't too uncommon for this to happen with AKs I guess. If you run a search pages of posts on forums addressing this will pop up.
  I am sure most of you know why this happens but I will touch on it real quick for those that do not. Hollow points are cut down slightly and then recessed in the center. This creates a flat nose on a shorter bullet causing the tip of the bullet to hit the barrel throat at lower point. On most weapons this is not a problem but on an AK the feed ramp is a metal piece that sits right in front for the mag well extending out from under the barrel. There is also a small ramp ground into the bottom of the barrel. The hollow points make contact right below the small ramped area in the barrel causing the stoppage.

  My first thought was to just widen and lower the ramped area on the barrel a little. So I did. This helped some but I still had failure to feed every once in a while with the tip hitting low and to the left. AK mags are double stack feeding from the left and right side. All the failures were coming from the right side. I was a little confused at this point so I pulled out another AK I knew fed HPs fine for a reference. I was looking at the actual feed ramp and comparing the two. The one that worked was shorter and the total distance the hight from the ramp to the bottom of the chamber in the barrel was less. It was at this point I realized the feed ramp on the Draco was not straight across, it was canted slightly, the right side sat closer to the mag than the left. This caused the rounds to angle left and down. Simple fix, I filed the feed ramp on the right side making it flat across. So far it has cycled fine by hand all the way to the last round. I hope to get out to the range soon to test it once more.

As an added note everything I ground or filed I finished with 600 grit sandpaper to give it a more polished end product. 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

What I like and why: Plain Edge Blades

Spyderco Folders
  You send the little noisy food dumpsters to go grab the mail saying " there might be something in it for you". Good job, you got them to go outside at least once today. When they come back with all your bills and that rebate from your lawnmower purchase you whip out that trusty little pocket shank to start opening. The only problem is you bought a serrated knife that is now dull, it only tears the envelopes, no longer cutting.
  Yes we all like to think that our pocket/EDC knives save the world and protect us from unseen dangers but in reality they are just opening letters most of the time. I guess serrations have their place somewhere but when asked most people state that it is good for cutting rope. The only problem is that serrations don't cut as much as they do tear/saw. When was the last time you cut a rope? How often do you do this? To be more precise what percent of your cutting is comprised of rope? I am going to guesstimate less than 5%, and that is being generous. Here is a visual.
Cutting Pie
  Yes you can add more things to cut but why complicate it any more. Most of your actual cutting power comes from lowest part of your blade near the choil or handle. This, the most used part of the blade, becomes useless for normal cutting when serrations are added. Yes there is more blade that can be used but the leverage is lost and cutting surface is decreased. This really hurts the knife if you plan on using it to baton larger pieces of wood, if it is a fixed blade. I would never recommend doing so with a folder, not to say you can't. Lastly, have you ever tried sharpening them in the field with a stone? Not fun and doesn't work so well.

 So, in my wonderfully opinionated view, serrations are more of a fad item that people want because it is an added option and sometimes looks cool. I do own several knives with them but they sit in my safe nowadays. You will only find me carrying a plain edge, sharp enough to cut rope.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

S&W Model 40 Centennial Part 2, Grips

  FINALLY!!! My little bundle of joy is back. Several days ago it came in at my friends house, he didn't directly tell me but may have mentioned something about having a grenade in his truck. I figured my S&W had to be back.  It had been sent to Patrick Grashorn of Grashorn's Gunworks to have custom Elk grips fitted. Check out his website he has a lot to offer and will custom build your grips to your liking. If you want more of the butterscotch look go with the elk if you want a darker look you can opt for moose. I like having options. Another plus, if you are military or law enforcement he might hook you up. Most grips can just be ordered but for some models like my Model 40 he will need the gun to fit them. The reason for this is the Model 40 Centennial is a "Lemon Squeezer" as it has grip safety. The grips have to be fitted then safety tested for reliability. Personally I like my gun to go boom when the trigger is pulled so I didn't mind sending it out. Grashorn fitted two sets of grips (one set for my gun and one for my buddies) with a turn around time less than a week.
  There were several reasons for the changing out and ordering of custom grips. The first was purely aesthetic, a more classic custom look was desired and the most logical option in mind was stag grips. The second is part of the first, what is a custom gun without custom grips? Thirdly is function, if you have ever handled a classic J-frame with the wood grips you may remember them being on the smaller side. This becomes and issue for some people when trying to engage the grip safety. If you have large hands it becomes even more of a problem and may even turn you off to the gun. I have two possible fixes, first buy grips from Grashorn, they are much larger than the originals adding girth to the handle. Then get yourself a Tyler T-grip. I had a T-grip on mine before sending it to Grashorn and left it on for the fitting of the new grips. The T-grip does not only help with the safety function but also helps with ergonomics and trigger control.
  I probably should touch on the internals and the great work that Marc Morganti does at his shop Gemini Customs. I will talk about that next time.