10 Dec 02
My colleague Jeff Chudwin, brought the “D” Ring to the attention of all of us earlier this year. I have now, belatedly, joined him in his endorsement of this product.
All military rifles have issues, and the AR-15 is no exception. One real weak point of the AR-15 system has been the extractor spring, which breaks at around 1,500 rounds. AR-15s with twenty-inch barrels that are fired only semi-auto are far less likely to experience this problem than are sixteen-inch rifles that have been exposed to heavy doses of full-auto fire. Even with the spring broken, the rifle may continue to fire normally, most of the time. However, a broken extractor spring will invariably cause the extractor to release the fired case too soon, causing a live round to be stuck under a fired case that is still partially chambered. This type of stoppage is particularly difficult to reduce and usually takes the rifle and the rifleman out of action for the better part of a minute, even if he knows what to do.
Until the bolt and extractor can be redesigned (or the whole rifle replaced), the interim solution has been to place a rubber ring (“D” ring) over the extractor spring. Installation takes about a minute and can be easily done at the user level. The “D” ring boosts the life of the extractor spring to 35,000 rounds and provides positive extraction and ejection even if the spring itself is broken. Seasoned operators worldwide have “D” rings installed in their ARs. I have them installed in all my ARs.
The “D: ring is available from MGI. You may contact Mack Gwinn at MACKG2@aol.com.
All light military rifles, when subjected to heavy doses of full-auto fire, will experience extensive parts breakage. Pins will shake loose. Bolt lugs will crack. Springs will break. The rifle will literally shake itself to pieces. Your weapon was designed as a military, autoloading rifle and should be used as such. Using it as a “machine gun” exceeds its design specifications and brings with it all kinds of negative issues, as noted above. When I was an infantry officer in Vietnam, the full-auto feature was added to every M16 rifle, so that any rifle could be magically turned into an “automatic rifle,” which was supposed to substitute for a machine gun. Unfortunately, on full auto, the M16 heated up so quickly that its usefulness as a “machine gun” was nil. True machine guns feature heavy, quick-change barrels. Without that feature, a light rifle that merely fires full auto is of little use, because it will quickly overheat. It cannot be counted upon for sustained fire. In practice, one is well advised to leave full-auto fire to legitimate machine guns and train himself to hit individual targets with carefully aimed, individual shots.
11 Dec 02
Comments on military rifles from a friend in the Philippines:
“John, two rifles seem to stand out in your posts: the DSA FAL (308), and the Robinson M96 (223). I don’t recall your using an AR much, at least in your posts. In fact, when we met in California several years ago, you were traveling with an M1 Carbine and a Remington 12ga 11-87P.
The reason ARs continue to be popular here is the abundance of spare parts, particularly magazines. However, I’ve seen all the AR issues you’ve mentioned materialize over here, in spades. I’d gladly change over to an RA-96 if we could get them.
Other rifles we see here:
The Galil shoots well, but, even in its abbreviated versions, it is quite heavy. Magazines are hard to find.
The SIG 550 is slim and smooth, but, again, magazines are expensive and hard to find.
The AUG works well. Like you, I’m skeptical of optics, but I’ll admit that the one on the Steyr is easy to use. Trigger pull reminds one more of a pistol than a rifle. Once more, magazines are hard to find.”
Comment: Back here in CONUS, the Galil and the Steyr AUG have been banned from import since 1994 and are today essentially unavailable. The SIG 550 is imported but can be sold only to law enforcement agencies.
Military rifles manufactured in the USA (and thus available for purchase by citizens in most localities) include the Robinson Arms RA-96, the DS Arms FAL, Springfield Armory’s M1A (M14), and ARs produced by Colt, Bushmaster, DPMS, and Olympic Arms. Robinson Arms also markets a version of the Kalashnikov called the VEPR.
That is what is currently available new. Garands, M1-Carbines, and a host of others are still available in the used category.
Any military rifle that works well and can be maintained is an eligible candidate. We all need to make up our minds and get what we need.
14 Dec 02
From a friend in South Africa on their new gun laws, going into effect sometime after the first of the year:
“This legislation was promulgated in order to vastly reduce the number of privately owned firearms. All civilian firearm owners will be restricted to owning only two guns. Even then, licenses will only be issued on presentation of ‘adequate justification,’ so government bureaucrats can still arbitrarily veto anyone they don’t like, such as their political opponents or anyone who dares to speak out against them. Anyone with ‘extra’ firearms must turn them over to authorities for destruction or ‘other uses,’ without compensation. If a gun breaks, there is no provision for a person to borrow one while his is being fixed.
A ‘reason’ or ‘purpose’ will attach to each licensed gun. If a person owns a rifle for ‘hunting,’ but is forced by circumstance to use it to defend his home or himself, he will be liable to prosecution, because the gun was not used for its stated ‘purpose.’
In addition, severe limitations will be placed on how much ammunition a person may possess, two hundred rounds per licensed firearm.
Firearms licensed for ‘defensive purposes,’ may still be carried concealed, however vast areas of the country are now being declared ‘Gun Free Zones’ (read that: ‘Criminal Empowerment Zones’). Virtually every building will be a ‘Gun Free Zone,’ making the routine carrying of a defensive firearm virtually impossible.
Everything is directed towards legal gun owners, who aren’t the problem and never were. As you can see, most provisions are unenforceable. Criminals aren’t even mentioned.
We all know, and the government has admitted, that none of the foregoing will reduce crime, just as it has failed to reduce crime in Australia or the UK. What they care about, and the only thing they care about, is control, and, if innocent citizens are murdered wholesale as a result, our politicians (much like yours), couldn’t possibly care less.”
Lesson: We must consistently distrust promulgators of such innocent-sounding schemes as “Gun Free Zones” and “reasonable” limitations placed on guns and ammunition. You can see where it is all leading.
We must all recognize that politicians positively love high crime rates. After all, the more crime you have, the more “government” you need! When crime is rampant, people are scared. Scared people vote for Democrats (and Marxists).
17 Dec 02
Latest from NJ:
“The state of New Jersey is passing a bill that would require all handguns sold after 2007 to be equipped with ‘smart gun technology,’ even though, at present, such technology is nonexistent.
In an effort to assist with the magical and precipitous appearance this currently nonexistent technology, the state has given millions in taxpayer dollars to the New Jersey Institute of Technology. NJIT’s latest attempt (of many; all the rest have since been abandoned) is to develop a device that measures and recognizes the ‘unique and distinct’ position and pressure of a shooter’s grip and trigger press. They assure us this device would recognize the characteristics of the programed shooter, thus allowing the gun to fire (at some point) after the recognition of the ‘distinct signature’ of bone structure and pressure produced when they grip is attained.
Questions like: Does this mean that I can never gain or lose weight? Does this mean that I can only hold the gun one way and in only one hand? Will it work when I’m wearing gloves? How many people can be programmed into one gun and how long will it take? Will all this add unacceptable bulk and weight to a gun that is designed to be carried concealed? What happens when the batteries go dead? Will it work in all foreseeable ambient temperatures, pressures, and humidity? Will the technology itself ever be reliable enough for ‘emergency’ equipment? Will this make defensive handguns prohibitively expensive?… have all remained casually and contemptuously unanswered. However, it is interesting to note that state law enforcement agencies, including the governor’s bodyguard detail, will be exempt. We are told that the whole thing would be ‘impractical’ for them!
Those of us that are temporary stuck in the state of NJ are not impressed with this dubious and comically abstract ‘technology, nor by the fact that our tax dollars are being spent on this fools’ errand. As a result, we are all currently engaging in a desperate attempt by acquire as many “dumb’ handguns as we can possibly afford.
While all this is going on, our state’s black bear population is rapidly getting out of hand. Attacks and other ‘negative contacts’ with black bears are becoming alarmingly commonplace. The obvious solution is to simply institute a hunting season. But, of course, the very notion of citizens actually benefitting is unthinkable for any good Democrat. So, our Game Department has received a grant to research a ‘contraceptive’ for female bears. No one has yet suggested how all these female bears are going to be persuaded to take ‘the pill,’ but, of course, no good bureaucrat ever worries about such things.”
18 Dec 02
Wolf and S&B incidents:
“I arrived thirty minutes after everyone had started punching paper and noticed a large supply of Wolf ammunition. I spoke to my friend and reminded him of my earlier caution about Wolf.
I had barely completed my sentence when a SIG broke its extractor. A new Para-Ordnance 45 did the same thing minutes later.
I gained no happiness in saying, ‘I Told You So.'”
“I was shooting my brand new AR15-A2 and thought I would use up some Sellior & Bellot 223 ammunition. I was aware of your caution on S&B, but I thought there was no harm in using it for practice.
After a few minutes, I discovered that a good percentage of the cartridges would neither fire nor extract. A close examination revealed that some of the cases were visibly shorter than others in the same box. I immediately stopped using it.
That evening I pulled out the remaining S&B boxes and randomly measured cartridges with a Dillon head space gage. Although all cases were all marked ‘223 Rem,” 120 of the 560 rounds I checked were way too short!
All remaining S&B ammunition (in all calibers) was immediately dumped. I will never purchase or use S&B ammunition again.”
Lesson: Again, most foreign ammunition is trash, particularly the stuff coming from Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. You’ll have to save a lot on ammunition to make up for a ruined gun and/or a personal injury!
18 Dec 02
An individual was traveling by air last week and had a connection at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport. He was stopped by the new federal security folks and informed that he had been selected for a random search of his checked baggage. Officers from the Chicago Police Department came along. His checked luggage was examined and found to contain a sheathed knife. I don’t know how big it was or what brand. In any event, the feds were indifferent to the knife. He was told by the federal officer that it was okay to transport knifes in checked baggage. The examination was completed, and he was sent on his way.
“Not so fast,” said the CPD officers. They arrested him, saying that, notwithstanding the federal rules on transport of knives in checked baggage, the City of Chicago considered this knife to be a “concealed weapon,” in violation of city ordinances.
This person, of course, missed his flight. The case is still pending in Chicago.
The lesson here is that overlapping and contradictory laws that apply simultaneously make compliance, or even knowing that you are or are not complying, impossible. In the government’s ongoing war on all forms of privacy, authorities now have access to areas previously unexposed and considered private.
Several months ago, in a similar incident at O’Hare that involved me, I personally found the CPD guys to be pretty cool. At that time, they had no problem with knives and a number of other items I had in checked baggage. The above incident may have involved a young officer still in “academy mode.” I don’t know those details. Makes one think twice about declaring anything!
With the world situation the way it is, we must all reexamine our personal profile. The “stealth existence” is going to be the order of the day, and we all need to be experts at it!
19 Dec 02
Incident avoided in SA. This is from one of my instructors there. He is also a local police officer:
“Last week I was the selected victim of a group of three would-be robbers. My wife and I drove to a local market to buy groceries. It was a particularly hot day, and I was wearing shorts and a loose top but had my CZ75, loaded with 115g Cor-Bon, in an IWB holster similar to what you wear. My wife was armed also. Standard procedure for us.
On arriving I noted three men standing next to the vehicle parked a few bays away. They seemed interested in something else, so my wife and I exited our vehicle and went into the supermarket to do our shopping. It is not uncommon to see these people in shopping areas. You would call them ‘street people.’ Over here, they are everywhere, and they can be extremely dangerous.
Upon exiting the market, I scanned and immediately picked up one of the men. He was loitering about looking shoppers over, including my wife and me. Suspecting that an assault awaited us in the parking lot, I directed my wife to go back into the supermarket, exit via the other side of the mall, and wait for me there. I then exited alone and entered a secondhand store next to the supermarket in an effort to see where the other two suspects had gone.
While in the secondhand store I inadvertently noted a fine selection of axes. Inspiration! I purchased a large one and left the shop with it in my hand. Immediately the one suspect I had spotted started to follow me, but, upon seeing the axe, he nervously sped up past me. I then saw that his two friends were waiting for him, crouched behind a car. They spoke and then all looked at me. All three then stood up and gingerly jogged away, never looking back. I picked up my wife on the other side of the mall and we were on our way.
Another aggravated assault (and probably a fatal shooting) averted. Here, it is something we have to deal with all the time.”
Lessons: (1) There is no substitute for alertness. The most dangerous threat is the one you don’t see!
(2) Have a plan! The ability to confront an unpleasant situation squarely, size it up, and make a plan on the spot is far better than stumbling into something and then having to make it up as you go along. Plans often have to be tweaked and sometimes even abandoned for another, but always having a blueprint in front of you will show you to the next step and prevent panic. At the moment of truth, the best thing to do is the right thing. The second best is the wrong thing. The worst this to do is nothing!
(3) Be armed! Have the tools you need always at hand. Your next fight will be a “come as you are” affair!
20 Dec 02
The turning points: Bunker Hill, Saturday, 17 June 1775, and Saratoga, Friday, 17 Oct 1777, two years and four months later.
During the American Revolutionary War, the Battle of Bunker Hill showed everyone that American militiamen could stand up to British regulars, even though British occupied the disputed real estate at the end of the day. Prior to that, everyone believed the Americans would all run away instead of fighting. The Battle of Saratoga showed everyone that Americans could not only stand up to the British but could actually win a decisive victory and even capture a British crown officer (“Gentleman Johnny” Burgoyne) in the process. It was this battle that persuaded the king of France to throw in with the Americans. Holland and Spain quickly followed. From that point forward England’s attention was divided, and all the American Colonies had to do was hold out and give their army minimal support, which is about all they did!
Aside from the Battle of Saratoga and a few others (such as Washington’s surprise victory at Trenton in December of 1776), the American Revolutionary War featured few clear victories, even fewer decisive ones. The famous British naval blockade, so effective with other colonies, was useless here. Like most wars, this one gradually fizzled out with the two sides coming to an unworkable agreement to which neither had any intention of adhering. No sooner was the “Peace of Paris” signed in 1783 than British inspired and led Indian insurrections began to plague the American western frontier. Called the Northwest Wars, it started with St Clair’s ignominious trouncing at the hands of Little Turtle in November of 1791 and ended with “Mad” Anthony Wayne’s victory over Little Turtle and Tecumseh at Fallen Timbers on 20 Aug 1794.
The British were still smarting when fighting broke out with Napoleon in 1803. Sea battles in particular became ruthless, with the British contemptuously refusing to acknowledge American citizenship (which they had agreed to do) as they forcibly “recruited” sailors. The smoldering relationship between England and America ignited into open conflict once more. In August of 1814, amphibiously landed British troops brushed aside American defenders, entered Washington DC, and burned many government buildings, including the White House, before leaving. President Madison steadfastly refused to negotiate, and, after an astounding mauling at the hands of American soldiers in Baltimore a month later, British troops got back on their ships and withdrew. The fight then moved to the City of New Orleans where, in January of 1815, the British contingent of over two thousand, under Pakenham, were wiped out in a single morning by Andrew Jackson. Jackson’s stunning victory provided a moral boost to the Americans, but it actually took place a month after the war had officially ended with the Treaty of Ghent, Belgium on 24 December 1814.
In 1818, then in Florida, Jackson executed two Englishmen (one was hanged; one was shot) who were advising local Seminoles. These British nationals were the last two casualties of the protracted “Revolutionary War,” America’s longest war, which had begun forty-three years earlier at Lexington Common in Massachusetts. American and British soldiers would never fight each other again.
Back to our story:
In June of 1755, during the French and Indian War, a young Thomas Gage served with Braddock at the infamous Battle of Monongahela and was wounded. In fact, he narrowly escaped death, along with two other notables, Daniel Boone and George Washington. By 1773, Gage, was a general in the British Army, had married an American woman from New Jersey, had spent most of his adult life in the American Colonies, and was indeed planning on retiring in America rather than returning to England (as things worked out, he became governor of Canada)
In 1773 Thomas Gage, in fact, found himself commander of all British troops in North America. His army was top heavy, with an excess of semi-retired colonels left over from the French and Indian War. In addition, his army had amply demonstrated its ineptness at fighting Indians, but Gage was confident he could keep the lid on his fellow Englishmen. Unfortunately, He consistently overestimated British loyalty among colonists and underestimated the ability of colonists to organize an operative fighting force that was not afraid of his “regulars.”
With the Boston Tea Party in December of 1773 and the subsequent “Intolerable Acts” which King George III used as a reprisal, local unrest was getting out of hand. Gage had an extensive spy network, and he knew a colonial shadow government, complete with its own “army” of Minutemen, was in place and operating. They were well armed and had military equipment stored in various locations. Trouble was brewing!
On Wednesday, 19 Apr 1775, Gage’s troops approached Lexington Common in search of military supplies that Gage’s spies had told him were stored there. The rebels had their own spy network and knew of the British approach. Captain John Parker, commander of the local contingent of Minutemen, ordered his hastily assembled men to “Stand your ground. Don’t fire unless fired upon. But, if they want a war, let it begin here.”
“Lay down your arms, you dammed rebels, and disburse,” came the command from Major Pitcarin of the Royal Marines. Parker told his men to disburse, but to keep their arms. A shot was fired, and Pitcarin’s men immediately fired a volley into the Minutemen. The volley was followed with a bayonet charge. One British soldier was wounded. Eight Minutemen were killed and as many wounded. The rest ran away. Pitcarin’s unit went on to do what it had come to do. They located military stores, and, without even bothering to break open the crates and boxes, threw them all into a local pond. They were later recovered, intact, by the Minutemen.
That was that, Pitcarin thought, and his men started marching on toward Concord to finish their job. At Concord, they met more organized resistance, and street fighting resulted in a number of dead British soldiers. Colonel Francis Smith, Pitcarin’s commander, decided to retreat back to Boston before more of his men were killed or wounded.
But, word of the clash had spread, and Minutemen from all over rushed to the area and began to line the road back to Boston. Many had rifles instead of muskets. They fired on the British from long ranges using stone fences, trees, and logs as cover. Volleys fired in return were ineffective, as were bayonet charges. Smith’s entire unit, thoroughly chewed up, was, in fact, about to crumble as it crossed Charlestown Neck to Boston and safety. Smith’s losses were seventy-three killed and several hundred wounded. He and Pitcarin were in shock. The American Revolutionary War had well and truly begun!
American militia units were everywhere mobilizing. London demanded quick and decisive action from “Blundering Tommy” Gage, as he was coming to be known. They sent Gage more men and three new generals, Howe, Clinton, and Burgoyne. Howe and Clinton were to suffer terrible losses at Bunker Hill. Burgoyne would be captured at Saratoga, after seeing his entire army decimated by Daniel Morgan’s riflemen.
On the evening of 16 June 1775, Militia colonels Israel Putnam and William Prescott led twelve hundred armed farmers to Breed’s Hill in order to fortify it. Bunker Hill, just behind it, would serve as a secondary position. The hills were strategically important to Boston Harbor, and Gage knew well the importance of driving the rebels out. General Howe, right up with his men, engineered three determined charges. All failed, with catastrophic losses. Defensive positions, dug by the farmers were well designed and held, and the rebels were able to reload faster than Howe had thought possible. In addition, farmers equipped with rifles were tasked with picking off British officers and NCOs, and they performed their duty with fearful precision! British ships shelled the hill, but with little effect. Howe organized several more charges, all with the same result. Seeing the wholesale carnage all around him affected Howe greatly. He never recovered.
Rebels in their revetments were nearly out of ammunition. Nails, bits of broken glass, and pebbles were substituting for lead balls. Powder was nearly gone. A final British assault broke through, but the Americans retreated in good order and most escaped. British troops finally occupied the two hills. Clinton was heard to say, “A dear-bought victory; another such would have ruined us!”
After Bunker Hill, even formally loyalist Georgia and New York joined the rebellion. The point of no return was now well past.
Howe replaced Gage, but was never his daring self again. He failed to attack George Washington in Long Island and later during the Battle of Brooklyn, allowing Washington to escape both times. He failed to attack at White Plaines. He even failed to attack the starving American Army at Valley Forge during the winter of 1777, which would have been an easy victory. Howe had no stomach for it any more.
By the time Howe was replaced by Cornwallis, the war was mostly over. Cornwallis ran his army ragged chasing rebels throughout the Southern colonies, only to stagger into Yorktown, out of ammunition, unable to care for his wounded, and starving. It was there he met his final defeat at the hands of George Washington and Alexander Hamilton on 17 October 1780. Two more years of sporadic fighting went by before the Peace of Paris was finally signed on 3 February 1783.
Lesson: If that bedraggled group of armed citizens at Bunker Hill had broken and ran, the revolution would have been all over at that point, and we would still be a British colony. But, they stood up and held their ground. Sometimes we must be heroes, whether we like it or not! “Difficulty” is an excuse history never accepts.
23 Dec 02
News from Cor-Bon:
Just got off the phone with my friends at Cor-Bon. PowerBall ammunition, heretofore available only in 45ACP, is now available and shipping in 40S&W, 400CB, and 10mm. Shortly after the first of the year 9mm, 357SIG, and 38Spl will also be available.
This product line is a significant development in pistol ammunition technology, and it appears that all serious pistol calibers are now included or will be shortly. From the standpoints of feeding reliability, terminal performance, and cosmetics, there is nothing not to like!
29 Dec 02
The term comes from the first scene in Alice in Wonderland. The heroine vainly chases an elusive rabbit, but never catches it.
At the poker table, the term, “rabbit chasing,” refers to the situation where losing players ask the dealer to show them the card they might have gotten or ask the winning player, after all others have dropped out, what his hand was or if he was bluffing. In poker etiquette, rabbit chasing is an unambiguous faux pas. Repeated instances of the practice will get the offending player invited to leave the table! At the poker table, good manners and personal honor are expected of all players, and ungraciously seeking information to which one is not entitled under the rules of the game is the sure sign of a bungling amateur or a cheater. It is also foolish! The information they think they want is actually damaging to them and to their game. It will do them far more harm than good.
The prophets of Old Testament all led miserable lives, and, in the end, most were homicide victims. Although the prospect (on the surface) seems attractive, only a fool would want to know the future.
Likewise, spending time and emotional energy wondering about what might have been will drive you to inaction, and maybe crazy too! Wondering what might have been is little more than looking for an excuse to lose.
In poker, as in fighting, winners spend their time and energy looking for a way to win. Losers spend their time looking for an excuse to lose. Both are usually successful. In poker, at the end of every hand, losers want to talk endlessly about what might have been if something had been different. Winners just smile fearlessly and say, “Deal the cards!”
30 Dec 02
Violent Crime in SA:
“As usual during this time of year, there has been a dramatic increase in armed robberies here. The MO of robbery/burglary suspects includes brutally murdering victims, family members (of all ages), and all others in the house. This is, of course, an attempt to prevent identification later, but, in addition, violent criminals here know our government is really on their side. Our government likes people to be scared, and criminals are only too happy to provide that valuable service for our politicians. Violent criminals know that there is little chance of being caught and even less that they will be punished in any way that will disrupt their lifestyle.
When confronted by violent criminals, I have advised all of my (and your) friends to immediately and enthusiastically counterattack, at once applying maximum deadly force to all suspects, no matter the odds. As is the case in your country, our bad guys here do an amazing disappearing act when confronted by an armed citizen who gives every impression that he knows what he is doing with a gun.”
Lesson: Weakness perceived is weakness exploited! “Prey behavior” on the part of victims always elicits “predator behavior” on the part of criminals. If you’re legitimately ready, able, prepared, and willing to fight at all times, you’ll probably never have to. As my first chief once said, “A little respect goes a long way.”