Saturday, May 29, 2010

Celebrity Dead Pool

Wow, 2010 is becoming a landmark year for deaths. In music, our Three-Peat is Peter Steele of Type O Negative, Paul Whatshisface from Slipknot, and Ronnie James Dio.

And now the actors are going down. Gary Coleman and Dennis Hopper have both gone to meet their maker. I wonder who Lucky Number Three is gonna be...

Friday, May 28, 2010

Green Jello at the BriXton: Suplex!

I went and saw these guys play on the 20th, awesome show. Halfway through Green Jello's set, we all got up on stage and rocked out. The lead singer Bill Manspeaker decided to go crowd-surfing, but the idiots didn't bother to help him, and instead gave him a piledriver right on the stage. Derp! That's my fat ass in the Jack Daniel's shirt, front and center, throughout most of the video.

Axes To Grind in 919

Earlier today, I found out that my best friend was banned from the Playstation Network on a charge I have never heard being issued before: scamming.

I am accused, on May 21st, of "scamming." Of trying to collect people's information for a website that generates PSN cards. The person I spoke to reviewed my activities on that day in the chat log but could not see anything. I told this person that I do not know of any website that generates PSN cards nor would I try to get people's pesonal information. This has come completely out of left field. What is the website?

I've known J-T-W-NY since December 2008, and she is one of the most honorable and upstanding people in the universe, and an accusation like this is far beyond the pale of human imagination.

We are both passionate users of the Playstation Home application, and have continually stuck by it through the numerous bugs, glitches, and hiccups that plague the app on a daily basis. I, personally, have served a suspension for a charge of "sexual harrassment" last year, and that was right out of left field for me as well. It's insulting to think that people like me and J-T-W, who have spent countless hours and several hundreds of dollars into this app, could be accused with such infractions as sexual harrassment or scamming.

My opinion? Someone doesn't like what someone else has to say.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Whoa, lookit all the perdy colors

So I switched up the colors of the blog around a bit. Tell me what you think. Or don't, I don't have any followers.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Second Thoughts

I dunno, having had some time to sleep on my decision to apply with the TSA, I'm wondering if this was a decision that I fully thought over. The TSA is not really the best government agency out there, and I've been getting a lot of flak from people just for even thinking of doing this. I was even threatened with terrorism if I got the job.

I dunno.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

NFA Weapons And The Shitbirds Who Restrict Them

Okay, boys and girls, I'd like to take a few minutes here to rant about one of the most coveted niches in the gun world: the NFA shit. You know, all the stuff you want but don't think you'll ever get. Short barrels, silencers, light and heavy machine guns, centerfire rifles over .50-caliber, machine pistols (think Glock 18), and the original automatic predecessors to our current crop of civil rifles (AK-47s and M-16s, among them).

Some who are new to this whole gun thing may think that owning any of these is just a wet dream, that they're illegal for mere civilians to own. Well, in 40 states, that's wrong. If you're a gun law buff (e.g. me, several of you reading this), you know the '68 Act specified that if you had any full-auto pieces or whatever they listed that were made before May of that year, you had to register them with authorities and pay the government money to keep them in your hands. You also know that the '86 Act (why, Reagan, why?!?!) banned all NFA items manufactured after 1986 from civilian consumption, and all current pre-86 guns were registered to some entity and were labeled "transferable only" (basically, you're leasing them from somebody else). These guns are in some kind of limbo between ownership and non-ownership.

BUT- you can own these guns in 40 states. It's kind of easy and kind of hard: you pay the price of the gun, an extra amount of money for the special tax stamp from ATF, sign their Form 4, take said Form 4 to your chief law enforcement officer (police chief or county sheriff) and have them sign off on it, and state specific need, and assure ATF you're of sound mind with his written statement, then you submit your Form 4 along with two sets of fingerprints and two passport photos to ATF, wait 6 months for the background checks to clean you out, and then if you're given the green light, you get to mosey on down to your nearest Class 2 or Class 3 dealer and pick up your new, fully-automatic toy and live happily ever after. Oh yeah, good luck paying for the ammo. Have fun.

Now, the 1934 Act (thanks a lot Franklin, you jerkoff cripple) established our current firearm classification: Title I firearms (lever guns, bolt guns, pistols, revolvers, shotguns, semi-auto rifles) and Title II firearms (any automatic weapon, rifles with barrels shorter than 16 inches, shotguns with barrels shorter than 18 inches, overall length less than 26 inches, destructive devices, any other weapons [AOW]). The '68 Act also established FFLs and serial numbers on guns, banned mail-order guns; it was basically a word-for-word copy of the Weimar gun ban enacted in Nazi Germany (I wonder whose side we're on...) and also banned the importation of guns from other countries without a "legitimate sporting purpose" to be decided by ATF won what makes up a "legitimate sporting purpose". For instance, they could say hunting is no longer a "legitimate sporting purpose" and screw all the hunters in the USA by banning Franchi, Stoeger, Legacy Sports, Benelli, Drilling, Sauer, Sako, Howa, Tikka, and all those wonderful guns. Which would put hunters in the same boat as us who want SVDs and Romak-3s and Type 56s, UMPs, USCs, SPAS-12s and SPAS-15s, and fuckin' whatever I missed.

Prior to 1934, a 5-year-old could go to Ye Olde Home Depot and buy magazines and ammo for daddy's Thompson. That kid could have also bought a Gatling gun for $250. Now, if you want a Thompson, expect to shell out more than $75,000, wait one year, get inspected by every spook in the ATF, persuade your CLEO that you won't go bananas and walk into McDonald's on a Sunday morning and ruin everyone's McMuffin, and then when you finally get your new toy, egads! you don't have any ammo for it. And you can't shoot it at the local gun club because all they have is a trap range and 25-yard rimfire silhouettes and don't allow rapid-fire, and you can't shoot in that pit 25 miles from your town because it's government land. Dear God, what the fuck are you gonna do now? Guess I'll put the Thompson in a case and look at it every so often. Yeah. Whee. Great fun.

I've said it before, but I'll say it again: laws only stop the law-abiding. Bad guys will get whatever the fuck they want, whenever the fuck they want, wherever the fuck they want, far away from the law. I don't have to pay an extra $200 for a band saw, but it sure can cut through a human neck like nothing else. I don't need to have a CLEO sign off on paperwork for a jackhammer, but I sure can bust up a driveway, building foundation, or car easily with one. I don't need to register my antifreeze, but if I pour it down someone's throat, they won't feel too good in a few days. I don't have to wait six months for a sledgehammer, but human bones sure break easy when you wallop them with one. But if it's a really fat fuck, the hammer may rebound and hit me, so I wear a hard hat and face shield. Also helps if there's a chance of spray.

Why should I have to jump through so many hoops just to own something as trivial as a machine gun? It's like an ATV or a drill press: a machine that serves a specific purpose. Suppose the CLEO won't sign off on the Form 4 because he doesn't trust you. I'm gonna tell him straight up, listen here, Chief. I'm laying down 60,000 bucks for this gun, an extra $200 to have it shipped here from Arizona, then I'm gonna wait for six months while ATF dissects my turds to find out how many bean burritos I've eaten or how many chicks I've fucked since then, and then, IF they don't think I'm a nutcase, I'll be able to take my prize home and feed it and comfort it and give it TLC and maybe I won't have to drive all the way to the damn sticks to shoot it every week. And you have the audacity to think that I, an honest law-abiding citizen, MAY pose a slight threat to your county just because I want this M-60? I'm not gonna be a stupid fuckup and ruin all that hard work and money to go bonkers and tear Downtown a new asshole with this new present to spend the rest of my life in the slammer wth some tweaker motherfucker and lose whatever right I still have? I think not.

Anyway. If I want to buy an MP5, I should be able to march into the Home Depot, lay down $700, get $6.23 in change, and walk out with the SMG in a case with 5 extra magazines, 1,000 rounds of ammo, and a 9mm Bore Snake. I should also be able to take a Glock 21, install a fire-rate selector, 7.5" barrel, and shoulder stock, and then have a .45ACP machine pistol without having to pay $300 every 5 years for some stupid license. If I wanted to buy a PPSh-41 with 3 drums, in pristine condition, no shitty cut-up receiver, I should be able to do so. If I wanted to buy five AKMs direct from Izhmash or five M95s direct from Zastava, I should be able to do that and not have any ugly importer's marks on them when they get here, to my front door, via UPS. If I wanted to buy the entire remaining stock of Sten and Sterling SMGs from the SAS, I should be able to do just that, over the phone. If I wanted to buy a couple of Steyr AUGs from the Aussies, I should be able to do that, too. If I wanted to buy a PSG-1 from a GSG-9 sniper in Berlin, then I should be able to do so. And I should be able to do all this cheap, and with little or no government resistance.

We're supposed to be a free country, so let's get free. Ditch the laws and focus on being a government that bows to us instead of us bowing to you. Peace.

Gun Laws and Gun Myths: A Quasi-Intellectual Dissertation

The facts show that hardened criminals don't give two flying fucks about any gun control laws out there. Ain't no law gonna stop them from shooting somebody to steal something, or shoot them just for the hell of it. They just don't care. Gun laws have NEVER worked, and they don't work today.

Gun laws only make it harder for ordinary citizens like you and me to be able to defend ourselves against said bad guys. If you were a father or mother, and you had some kids, wouldn't you want to be able to protect them safely and effectively, and at the same time, teach them responsibility and proper firearms safety, and not have them learn the hard way later in life?

A gun can do just that.

Now, if any of you reading this have been fed a steady diet of Hollywood and news media, let me blow a couple of popular gun myths out of the water.

First: The GLOCK family of pistols are NOT METAL-DETECTOR-PROOF. That was just a plot point from the movie Die Hard 2, where John McClane makes a statement about an all-plastic gun called the "Glock 7." No such handgun exists, and even the technical consultant for the movie said it was a bad idea to say that.

Second, a .50 BMG rifle cannot possibly take down a commercial airliner mid-flight. You may have seen some pictures of firearms that chamber the impressive cartridge in your local newspaper or television news broadcast being held by some hotshot cop or a so-called "weapons expert", claiming it to be a "terrorist favorite" and capable of causing havoc and killing babies from thousands of yards away. Bullshit. Nothing could be further from the truth. Sure, the maximum effective range of the .50 BMG is around 2,000 yards, but that's the farthest you can possibly send the bullet and still guarantee a hit on an object as big as, say, an industrial-size A/C unit. The reason it's so powerful and so accurate at that distance is because of the cartridge's amazing ballistic coefficient. With a 750-grain Hornady V-Max bullet seated over 214.9 grains of H50BMG and a CCI 350 primer, that sucker will send that bullet screaming out at 2,700 feet per second with a muzzle energy of 12,650 foot-pounds. Ballistic coefficient is in the neighborhood of 1.050 and standard deviation clocks in at 0.412 for the V-Max bullet. In plain English, that means you can put five .50-caliber rounds into a target no bigger than a truck tire from a mile away.

Now, all that technical mumbo-jumbo may have just fried your brain, so I'll try to make it nice and simple. Street hoods don't want a .50-caliber rifle like one of these. The majority of these rifles are bolt-action, single-shot models, they are normally 55+ inches long (that's almost 5 feet!) and can't be concealed without the aid of several blankets or one big-ass comforter, they weigh well over 20 pounds unloaded, and prices can range from $3,500 to $7,000 apiece. That goes double for black-market guns. Plus, the ammo is just as expensive, with individual rounds adding up to as much as $2. Compare that to 35¢ for a round of .223 Remington FMJ.

Besides, where will they use it? Atop of buildings? The average slum is jam-packed with all kinds of residences of varying heights, and it would be a fool's errand to be able to plot out a trajectory in a maze of apartment complexes from across the street. Drive-bys? Did you read the part about the rifles being 55+ inches long? That's longer than the standard interior width of a common 4-door sedan. You'd have to break both windows or open a door to get enough clearance, or cut down the barrel quite a bit, thereby reducing muzzle velocity and energy, and from that, introducing an INSANE amount of muzzle blast and report inside the hooptie upon firing, PLUS most of that unburnt powder and aforementioned muzzle blast setting fire to the interior. What? Speak up, I can't hear you! I can't see you either, I'm blinded! Ahh, the back seat's on fire! *crash*

Now, getting to the airport deal. Most of you will argue "But they'll be able to shoot the airplane on take-off and landing!" Highly unlikely. First, you'd need to find a way to get on the tarmac without being seen. Let's use LAX for an example. LAX is surrounded by chain-link fence 10 feet high, topped off with coiled barb-wire like you'd find in a maximum-security prison. And if I know LAX, it may have two of these fences. The perimeter is patrolled by the LA Airport Police, a special branch of LAPD that is currently trying to get recognized as a separate police agency. And LAAP does a better job protecting those borders than ICE does. *ba-dum tish*

Now, after successfully jumping the fence and slipping past the patrols, you'll need to find a nice spot on the tarmac from which to make the shot. The tarmac is a mile in each direction, and I think only the stupidest or most die-hard criminal is gonna run halfway around the world looking for a spot on a concealement-free blacktop with a 30-pound rifle on his back and 5 rounds in his pockets, all the while trying desperately not to be seen by police, ground crew, pilots and passengers, get himself sucked into a spooling jet turbine, or be flattened by incoming and outgoing air traffic.

Now, you might say "What if he snuck in at night and found a spot before morning?" Again, he'd have to sneak past police and other ground crew, and not be caught in any spotlights or seen in any infra-red or night-vision devices. And then, when he HAS found a spot to hunker down in, he better pray to God that they didn't have a FOD search scheduled for that morning. During a FOD search, all air traffic is halted while the airport team scours the entire tarmac for little bits and pieces of debris that could get sucked up into a jet engine and cause a whoopsie. And FOD checks are thorough. They leave no stone unturned. So they'll eventually find the dude, who may be hungry, thirsty, and may have soiled himself from the wait in the middle of nowhere-land. He'll then be hauled off to jail and the rifle will be sent to some evidence locker to await trial.

Now, say that the criminal has not been found, and he's ready to shoot down a flying vehicle of the Great Satan and assure his place in Heaven with the 72 virgins or something. Well, I sure hope you're a trained super sniper, because those planes move a lot. Not to mention the wind direction (airports are always built with the runway planned out to make planes take-off into the wind), air temperature, humidity, elevation, wind speed, all that good stuff. Hitting a moving target is no easy feat, even for a trained Army Sniper. (Of course, they'll never publicly admit that.) And unless you have a straight-on shot at your target, you're gonna have to lead that plane, which is traveling at around 150 miles an hour at either take-off or landing. So you better know your dope before taking a shot like that, or else you just wasted your only shot at making the FBI's Top Ten list. Or you could get squashed by the plane rolling over your dumb ass on landing. We law-abiding citizens prefer it to be the latter. Because if you DO manage to beat the odds, you'll have been compromised, and you'll have to escape. Chances are you'll either leave in handcuffs or a body bag, depending on how pissed-off the police are at that point.

There's your dose of reality concerning a couple of firearms being portrayed in today's biased media as cop-killers and hell-raisers, not fit for human consumption, all the while perpetuated by lies like a 9mm hollow-point can pierce a police officer's body armor. What childish nonsense. Hollowpoint ammunition was not designed to penetrate body armor, it was designed to expand upon contact with flesh and expend all its kinetic energy within a short space and not exit the body, thereby rendering the victim incapable of further attack. Ideally, this victim should be a dumb criminal. Not only are hollowpoints dreadfully ineffective on body armor, most hollowpoints are impeded by mere clothing, like a pair of blue jeans or a fluffy down parka. The JHPs pass through the material and, on occasion, take some with it, plugging up the expansion cavity and making it no more effective than normal hardball ammo. A well-made hollowpoint (Federal Hydra-Shok or Speer Gold Dot, zum Beispiel) should go through these layers of clothing unimpeded and expand as advertised. However, not all hollowpoints are created equal. Some brands, like Remington's Golden Sabers, have been known to have the jacket and core separate upon penetration. This is not a good thing, because all that kinetic energy is wasted and not much gets done, ballistically speaking. However, I am not a supreme magistrate on hollowpoint performance, I don't have exact figures with me, I just calls 'em like I sees 'em. Many citizens use Golden Sabers and find them just fine, without any malfunctions. There may be several bad apples in a bushel, but that's not an accurate representation of the entire product line.


Okay, now that you've been exposed to some reality about gun myths, let's talk about gun laws. These laws come in many shapes, forms, and flavors, all of them inedible. For some of you, this may be your first foray into the scary, convoluted world of firearms legislature, and you may not like what you're about to hear. But I will try and break it all down into manageable pieces for you to read and think about. With that in mind, I will start off with the three most recognizeable gun laws in the United States.

The National Firearms Act of 1934

This one was Franklin Delano Roosevelt's creation, and was passed in the midsts of the Great Depression during the Dirty Thirties, when such gangsters like Al Capone and Machine-Gun Kelly were scootin' around in their giant Fords and Packards, robbing banks and shooting coppers and running liquor to the speakeasies during the dry period of Prohibition. This is what you might call the door that was opened for federal gun control in the modern United States, since most of the gun laws were town ordinances and county codes which were followed by (you guessed it) the law-abiding citizens, not so much by the criminals (as usual).

What the National Firearms Act did:

-Established separate categories for all the different types of firearms out there: Title I firearms, which are all you regular rifles, shotguns, handguns, lever guns, bolt guns, what-have-you; Title II firearms, which are all rifles with barrels shorter than 16 inches in length, all shotguns with barrels shorter than 18 inches in length, all long guns shorter than 26 inches, all guns that had select-fire capabilities, silencers; and any other weapons, like pen guns, cane guns, stuff like that.
-Established a special tax stamp for an individual to own any Title II firearm, price $200
-Established a special tax stamp for an individual to own any "AOW", price $5
-Established special taxes to be paid by gun shops to sell Title II and AOWs
-Established that a firearm must have a make, model, and serial number that shall not be altered or scratched off, and should the existing firearm not have a serial number, to have one assigned to it by the Secretary

There are other things in there, but for the most part, that's how the law reads. Now, onto the next one.

The Gun Control Act of 1968

President Lyndon B. Johnson signed this one into law, and it can most arguably be the single worst travesty in American history. In firearms legislature, this one would be known as the whopper. Here's some snippets of the GCA '68:

-Established that all firearms produced after May 1968 be made with their own unique serial number
-Established the groundwork for a gun shop to be licensed by the federal government to sell firearms
-Established that all holders of Title II firearms need to fill out an insane load of paperwork and be registered in a federal database of Title II weapons holders
-Established that all new Title II firearms being manufactured be subjected to same insane amount of paperwork should an individual wish to purchase one
-Established a ban on mail-order firearms and ammunition

Folks from Jews for the Preservation of Firearm Ownership (JPFO) have good reason to believe that the Gun Control Act was taken mostly word-for-word from the Nazi Weapons Law of 1938, and have said that "Hitler would be proud to see his last legacy in action: gun-control, in the form of the American Gun Control Act of 1968." (emphasis added) I don't know if that's true or not, but I'd be willing to bet it's true. Your mileage may vary.

The last major gun law you should know about is the Firearm Owner's Protection Act of 1986. Signed in by President Ronald Reagan, this was more of an amendment to GCA '68, and changed some things around to make it more fair for honest, law-abiding citizens. (Keep in mind: no gun control law is fair for honest, law-abiding citizens.) Some of the changes and additions:

-Established that it would be a federal felony to transfer a firearm to a prohibited person
-Established that the federal government cannot make a list of gun owners from dealer records and store it in a database
-Established that ordering of ammunition by mail-order is okay again
-Established that an FFL holder can do their business while they are away from their normal business (at a gun show, zum Beispiel)
-Established that no records can be kept for sales of ammunition except for true armor-piercing ammo
-Established that the general public cannot own or purchase any Title II firearm made after May 19, 1986
-Established that the term "machine-gun" should be applied to any parts or kits that convert a semi-auto firearm into a full-auto firearm

The FOPA did amend parts of the GCA68, but was also directed at cutting down ATF's power. As most gun owners know, ATF will take any chance it gets to harass and persecute gun owners, even on the smallest technical violations.

That's it for the Big Three. If you want to know more about the laws themselves, or want to read the entire wording of any of them, Google is a nice tool. Now, in no particular order, I shall read off MY ideas for a safer America.

-Repeal all federal firearms laws, stopping only at the Second Amendment. 20,000+ laws are ridiculous. 27 words aren't.

A Well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to Keep and Bear Arms, shall not be Infringed.

Simple, to-the-point, non-negotiable. That's how they all should be. No legalese double-talk, no confusing boiler-plate language, no nonsense. Next.

-Once you reach 18 years of age, you can legally purchase any firearm you want. Until then, you may possess a firearm, but you may not own it. So it's okay to be in possession of Grandad's old shotgun, but you can't buy it from him until you're 18. This goes for all rifles, shotguns, handguns, sub-machine guns, machine-guns, sawn-off shotguns, and all those nice things except for explosives and crew-served artillery. You can apply for a license to own these things at 20, and the cost is a one-time fee of $100.

-The ONLY database that will be in place is a list of all individuals who are prohibited from owning a firearm, including felons, certified sexual predators, those with serious drug violations, and the clinically and criminally insane. Once you hand the clerk the money, they enter your name and driver's license/ID number and begins the search, which should not take longer than 10 minutes. If there are no hits, you get to take possession of your new firearm, and off you go on your merry way.

-No gun-free zones anywhere, at any time. Ever. You should not have to render yourself defenseless just because you've entered a certain building or establishment. Crime can happen anywhere at any time, so it pays to be prepared. Crime also has a tendency to happen in gun-free zones, so eliminate the gun-free zones to eliminate crime.

-At 18, you can take a special safety course from a certified firearms instructor at any local gun range, and when you pass the course, you will receive a certificate that will allow you to apply for a license at your local Sheriff's department to carry either concealed or open, or for $15 extra, you can get a combo deal which allows you to do both. You fill out the application, and then you hand it to the deputy who will process your information right there, depending on how crowded it is. The same database check is initiated; if your name ain't on the no-go list, you get your license and then you can put a little sticker on it that shows when you last qualified with any of your carry pieces. It works like the tags on your car's license plate: Whenever you go to the range, you have the option of telling the rangemaster you're qualifying for your carry license, and he'll give you the regulation targets you need and assign you a certified instructor; you'll get targets for each piece you plan on qualifying with. Once you are finished shooting, the instructor will grade your performance. If you pass the qualification, you get a sticker to place on your license showing the month and year you qualified with. You get unlimited chances to qualify with any piece at any time; you don't have to shoot them all in one go.

-Age limit to buy ammo will be reduced to 16½. This is the youngest issuance date for a valid driver's license or ID, and I see no reason why not to have some valid ID, just in case.

-National reciprocity on concealed/open carry. If you cross state lines, you don't have to worry if your permit will be recognized, because it is. As long as your tags are still valid, you're good to carry anywhere in the United States.

Well, that's all I have for now. I sure hope some of this is understandable to you, my readers. But I will leave you with this little pearl of wisdom: laws are only followed by the law-abiding. History has shown time and again that gun control almost certainly leads to confiscation, disarmament, and mass genocide. Take that however you want. Just be informed, keep your eyes open, and learn as much as you can. Why stay in the dark when you can see the light?

Ammo Spotlight: The .50 BMG (Browning Machine Gun)

Thassa lotta boo-lits. With each cartridge weighing in at around $1.75, they're not the best thing for your savings account.

A while back, I blogged about a giant cartridge called the .458 Winchester Magnum. I'm sure some of you out there thought it was the biggest, baddest mother of a cartridge you ever saw. Well, I'm here again to do you one better. Say hello to our good friend, the .50 Browning Machine Gun cartridge. Better known as .50 BMG or 12.7x99mm NATO, this sucker's been here for a long time and will stay here until the good Lord returns.

Back in the good old days, before World War One, a request was sent to the desk of Our Patron Saint of American Firearms, His Ballistic Majesty John Moses Browning. The miserable pea-brained commanders of the United States military wanted Browning to develop a cartridge and a weapon suited for anti-aircraft purposes. John shook his head and exclaimed "Can't these yokels do anything without my help?" Having said that, he went to the drawing board to make his creations. He started with the help of a previous design, the M1919 series of machine guns, and used that as a template for his new AA gun. For the round, he turned to the .30-06 cartridge as a starting point. He had an idea to "grow" the .30-06, and basically almost doubled the size of it. He then built his super-M1919 to fit around his new round. The results were successful: in 1914, Ol' Moses trotted out his M-2 heavy machine gun, along with the new round: the .50 Browning Machine Gun. The military loved it so much, they married it. However, they waited for three years before making it official. Typical.

The Browning M2 HMG, in its original anti-aircraft role. Sweet.

From there, the .50 had a great life in the military. The M2 was taken into the air aboard the B-29s and B-52s, mounted into the wings of the P-51s and P-40s, taken to the sea aboard Navy destroyers, battleships, and PT boats, stayed on land as a crew-served emplacement, used as a coaxial gun on Shermans, and almost went into space. (Actually, that's a lie. It would be cool, though.) The most amazing part of all this? It's still here! You see them all the time, mounted on HMMWVs, M1A2 Abrams, Strykers, and set up on fire bases and posts all around the world. Some of them are in the hands of ordinary citizens who have a lot of money and time on their hands. And some of the guns in the field are actual vintage, with receivers and side plates dating to the 20s and 30s. Now that's a testament to American craftsmanship.

But enough about the M2. Let's get back to the round. The .50 BMG earned its stripes in more ways than one, and here is a list of some of the variations that were cooked up by the U.S. military.
  • Cartridge, Caliber .50, Tracer, M1
Tracer for observing fire, signaling, target designation, and incendiary purposes. The M1 has a red tip.
  • Cartridge, Caliber .50, Incendiary, M1
This cartridge is used against unarmored, flammable targets. The incendiary bullet has a light blue tip.
  • Cartridge, Caliber .50, Ball, M2
This cartridge is used against personnel and unarmored targets.
  • Cartridge, Caliber .50, Armor-Piercing, M2
This cartridge is used against lightly armored vehicles, protective shelters, and personnel, and can be identified by its black tip.
  • Cartridge, Caliber .50, Armor-Piercing-Incendiary, M8
This cartridge is used, in place of the armor piercing round, against armored, flammable targets. The bullet is colored with silver tip.
  • Cartridge, Caliber .50, Tracer, M10
Tracer for observing fire, signaling, target designation, and incendiary purposes. Designed to be less intense than the M1, the M10 has an orange tip.
  • Cartridge, Caliber .50, Tracer, M17
Tracer for observing fire, signaling, target designation, and incendiary purposes. Can be fired from the M82/M107 series of rifles.
  • Cartridge, Caliber .50, Armor-Piercing-Incendiary-Tracer, M20
This cartridge is used in place of the armor piercing round against armored, flammable targets, with a tracer element for observation purposes. The tip of the bullet is colored red with a ring of aluminum paint. This cartridge is effectively a variant of the M8 Armor-Piercing Incendiary with the added tracer element. Can be fired from the M82/M107 series of rifles.
  • Cartridge, Caliber .50, Tracer, Headlight, M21
Tracer for use in observing fire during air-to-air combat. Designed to be more visible, the M21 is 3 times more brilliant than the M1 tracer.
  • Cartridge, Caliber .50, Incendiary, M23
This cartridge is used against unarmored, flammable targets. The tip of the bullet is painted blue with a light blue ring.
  • Cartridge, Caliber .50, Ball, M33
This cartridge is used against personnel and unarmored targets. Can be fired from the M82/M107 series of rifles.
  • Cartridge, Caliber .50, Saboted Light Armor Penetrator, M903
This is a Saboted Light Armor Penetrator (SLAP) round, which uses a smaller 355-360 grain bullet fitted in an amber colored plastic sabot. For use only in the M2 series of machine guns.
  • Cartridge, Caliber .50, Saboted Light Armor Penetrator-Tracer, M962
Like the M903, this is a Saboted Light Armor Penetrator (SLAP) round, with the only difference being that the M962 also has a tracer element for observing fire, target designation, and incendiary purposes. Uses a red colored plastic sabot for indentification. For use only in the M2 series of machine guns.
  • Cartridge, Caliber .50, Ball, XM1022
A long-range match cartridge specifically designed for long range work using the M107 rifle.
  • Cartridge, Caliber .50, Armor-Piercing-Incendiary, Mk 211 Mod 0
A so-called "combined effects" cartridge, the Mk 211 Mod 0 High-Explosive-Incendiary-Armor-Piercing (HEIAP) cartridge contains a .30 caliber tungsten penetrator, zirconium powder, and Composition A explosive. Cartridge is identified by a green tip with a grey ring, and can be used in any .50 caliber weapon in US inventory with the exception of the M85 machine gun.
  • Cartridge, Caliber .50, Armor-Piercing-Incendiary-Tracer, Mk 300 Mod 0
As with the Mk 211 Mod 0, but with a tracer component. Cartridge is identified by an unknown coloring, and likely can be used in any .50 caliber weapon in US inventory with the exception of the M85 machine gun, as with the Mk 211 Mod 0.
Whew, that was a whole lotta nomenclature. For the three of you still reading this, the .50 has many more applications than just military use. It has also traveled off the battlefield and into the hands of civilian shooters and enthusiasts. Barnes and Hornady have developed .510-caliber bullets, most notably the A-MAX, with the highest ballistic coefficient that I have ever seen. Hodgdon developed its own powder specifically for the round, H50BMG. As far as I know, surplus is the only known source of brass, but a skilled operator can buy some ordnance-grade brass and turn some cases out on a lathe. Wildcatters have been busy making new rounds from the original specs, and are still making even newer ones. If you don't reload, a couple of manufacturers make .50 BMG ammo, but expect to pay up the ass for them. Rifles range from the mundane to the bizzare; a Barrett M82 or McMillan TAC-50 will set you back $7,000 while a Cobb or Serbu is only $3,500 or so. With the right loads and rifle, and the will to use them, you too can score top marks in one of the several .50 matches held nationwide each year.

A .50 BMG round next to a standard 12-gauge, 2¾" shotshell for comparison. Dang that's big!

Unfortunately, some people on God's green earth don't think you can be trusted with this simple cartridge. My conservative audience will tell me "Mah state ain't got no silly restrictions on no .50 BMG, an' I ain't never heard of no laws about 'em, neither." Ask the gun owners of California, like me. We've heard of a law. It's called AB50, and was passed with a saddening lack of opposition in 2004. Some California Assemblymember was watching too much CNN (Communist News Network) and saw something about .50-caliber rifles, and got his panties in a bunch (Assemblyman Paul Koretz) and wrote up some nonsense legislation to submit to Congress. Sadly, his crap got through all the checks and balances with nary a scratch.

Here's the skinny of AB 50 that the bubbling dunderheads over at Sacramento made law to further their agenda of Nanny-State Re-Stalinization.

-Any and all .50 BMG rifles within the SHPDSRKA* are classified as "assault weapons" pursuant to the Penal Code.
-The .50 BMG cartridge itself is banned form ever entering or leaving the state. The law spells out the exact measurements for the cartridge as well.
-Anybody in possession of a .50 BMG rifle had two years to register it with the CA Department of Justice in order for them to hang on to it. Illegal confiscation of same rifles on the list to be named at a later date.
-No .50 BMG rifle may be imported into the state at any time.

This is what happens when you elect Commies to positions of power. They take their inch that you've given them and create so much boiler-plate language that stretches that inch into 100 leagues. Right now, all the California pro-gun groups are working their butts off to get these laws repealed, and I am proud to say I'm in the fight as well. I will not retreat like a coward when it's obvious that we can win this fight.

But enough of the sob story. In closing, the .50 BMG cartridge is a wholly American design, it has been with us almost 100 years, and it will stay with us forever more. It is a true legend, and that's why it's so great.

*Shiny Happy People's Democratic Socialist Republic of Kaliforniastan. The State of California no longer exists.

I'd like to give a big thanks to:
for help with the bullet weights and some history,
for a little more history and some load numbers,

for the list of cartridge nomenclature and some more history,

-The Fifty Caliber Institute
for a LOT of history and info on AB50.

Thanks guys!

Ammo Spotlight: The .30-06 Springfield

104 years and over 10 million rounds can't be wrong: the .30-06 rules.

This is a tale of a cartridge that has been in the United States for over a century, and will remain for many more to come. I'm talking about none other than the .30-06 Springfield.

The ,30-caliber cartridge was developed directly against German ordnance, who had their successful 7x57mm and 8x57mm Mauser cartridges. It was preceded first by the introduction of the 6mm Lee-Navy, in 1895 and the .30 U.S. Army (.30-40 Krag) in 1892. The Krag had a rimmed shell casing and was fairly accurate. The Krag-Jørgensen rifle that fired it is renowned for a butter-smooth action and an ingenious feeding system, but the bolt wore only a single locking lug. This kept the .30-40 round from being loaded over a certain pressure to keep from breaking the action. In 1903, the .30-40 was replaced by the .30-03 (pronounced thirty aught-three) cartridge, which was chambered in the new Springfield Rifle, Model of 1903. The .30-03 had a 220-grain round nose projectile, similar to the bullet of a 6.5mm Carcano or very early 7.62x54R.

The round was well-constructed and worked just fine, but there was one slight problem: by this time, the entire world had switched to the lighter and more accurate spitzer-type bullets. The United States needed to upgrade, and fast. Three years later, enter the .30-06.

Basically a wild-catted .30-03, the case neck was shortened by a few hundredths of an inch, the powder charge was slightly reduced, and the 220-grain RN was replaced with a 150-grain full metal jacket (FMJ) spitzer bullet. And there you have it, folks: the .30-06 Springfield, realized. The metric measurement is 7.62x63mm, although that name didn't really take off. Since it was a smaller size than the .30-03, it could be chambered and fired in the same rifles without any modifications, but accuracy and precision would suffer greatly. So, the U.S. military recalled all the current .30-03s, re-rifled the barrels to optimize the new bullet's performance, re-chambered the bores, and beefed up the actions.

So, what were the guns that were chambered for this round? For starters, there was the Browning Model 1895/14 "Potato Digger" machine gun; the Springfield Rifle, Model of 1903; the Model 1917 Enfield Rifle; the Browning M1928 BAR, the M1 Garand rifle, the Model 1941 Johnson, the Browning Model 1919A4 and A6 machine guns, some Gatling Guns with the hand cranks, the Benet-Mercie 1909 Machine Rifle, the 1917 Chauchat, and the Lewis Gun. The .30-06 had a great run as a military cartridge until 1954, when the U.S. Army decided to play with it some more. With a shorter shell casing and a modernized bullet, from the .30-06 was born one of the best intermediate centerfire rifle calibers ever made: the .308 Winchester, or 7.62x51mm NATO cartridge.

The .30-06 Springfield was the U.S. military's main cartridge for over 50 years, so naturally it was designed to perform more duties than simply anti-personnel use. Among the many versions of cartridges that were made were ball (FMJ), armor-piercing, incendiary, tracer, dummy, blank, rifle grenade launching rounds, explosive targeting rounds for marking areas of fire for artillery, and match rounds, which are highly accurate.

After the .30-06 cartridge was officially retired from military service and replaced by the .308 Winchester, it was already the favored hunting caliber of the country, well-suited for deer, elk, and other medium game. Several attempts to create new cartridges through wild-catting have produced four popular rounds still available today: the .25-06 Remington, the .270 Winchester, the .280 Remington, and the .35 Whelen. But it doesn't end there. This cartridge is being made continuously by nearly every major ammo manufacturer out there, in all sorts of bullet weights, powder charges, bullet types and velocities for everything from super-accurate match ammo to bonded hunting rounds designed to take down the toughest game. If you are an avid shooter, you are guaranteed to shoot a .30-06 Springfield at least once in your life. I have, and it is an awesome round, and I guarantee you will like it, too.

Restricted Law Enforcement Use/For Export Only

Pardon my French, but give me a motherfucking break.

What do you twits over at ATF spend your money on? For being the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, I hardly see any action being taken on alcohol, tobacco, or explosives. When's the last time anybody read in the paper of an unlicensed bar being shut down by ATF? When's the last time ATF filed suit against Philip Morris for selling 700 billion metric tons of cancer-inducing twigs a year for a little over a century now? When's the last time ATF stopped some non-union mining operation from buying 800 pounds of commercial dynamite to construct a non-existent railroad tunnel?

You don't. You don't hear those news articles because nobody is concerned about alcohol or tobacco, or explosives anymore, because you can now buy them in bulk at the local Wal-Mart. They've gone by the wayside to make room for the real whipping post of the ignorant unwashed horde: FIREARMS. Oh noes, guns are terrible, bad bad things that don't serve any real purpose except to kill! Guns are mass murder hot seething molten liquid death penis extensions with their very own minds and hearts and legs and arms and gastrointestinal tracts that wander the streets killing innocent babies and kitties and puppies and police! Oly the military and police need guns!

Why? Why do you think only law enforcement and the military should have unfettered, unadulterated, unrestricted access to firearms, John Q. Socialist? "Because only the police and military are properly trained to use guns!" Hang on just a second here. If you ask any ordinary run-of-the-mill Johnny Flatfoot beat cop who patrols downtown Mayberry how often he shoots his duty weapon, the most likely answer given is "Usually at qualifications." So, once a year. That's one day out of 364/5 this officer, whom you unquestioningly trust to be there to protect your family whenever you dial 9-1-1, that he will fire his weapon. When he needs to re-qualify, to show he still looks competent in that spiffy blue uniform. Mileage may vary: some cops in the know, usually in places like Los Angeles, Detroit, or Atlanta, probably pull their weapons a lot, and most of the time, there's a good reason for it. But for the most part, Mr. Gumshoe only fires his weapon once a year. Now see if you can tell me with a straight face that that, in any conceivable sense, is proper training.

Tell me again, John Q. Stalin, why only police and the military should be allowed to have all the firearms, without question. "Because police and the military earned the right to be there, and therefore also earned the right to use guns!" So you're saying that the uniform, or the badge, makes a man some kind of supreme being who has all knowledge of firearms and their internal workings? Sorry pal, but a badge or a uniform does not make a man. Lee Harvey Oswald was a Marine, and he wore a uniform. Does that mean you think he should have owned a firearm? The Nazis wore uniforms. So the Nazis should have been the only people in Germany and Austria to own firearms? Rodrigo Duran, William and Joseph Ferguson wore uniforms. Duran was a member of the LA County Sheriffs, Wm Ferg was a member of the LAPD, and Jo Ferg was Wm's brother and a member of the Long Beach PD. They ALL wore uniforms, and had badges. They also led a group of gangsters who broke into peoples' homes to steal drugs, money, and guns. They also supplied all their cronies with stolen LAPD uniforms, badges, weapons, and other shit. So you're saying that these three crooked cops should be the only ones trusted with firearms? Police suicide is also a very big problem, and not because of access to firearms. Things like seeing friends get shot in the face, post-traumatic stress, double or triple shifts in a row, not knowing if you'll make it home to see your family this evening, these all contribute to officer suicide and it is a big problem. A police officer having all these emotions, and bearing a weak mind, could very well wander off into a crowd and open up with a department-issue weapon, and nobody in that crowd would stop him, because they are told never to question the law, or law enforcement.

So, with all these cards laid out on the table, I offer these solutions.

-Disband the ATF permanently. This is a federal law enforcement agency that is nothing more than a big joke. They, along with the FBI, are responsible for murdering innocent men, women and children in Waco, Texas thanks to Janet "Kill Them All" Reno, and should also be charged for the first-degree murder of Vicki Weaver, an unarmed woman who was shot in the face through her husband Randy, by famed FBI sniper Lon "Kill the bitch" Horiuchi, who is also now a corporate sponsor of H-S Precision riflestocks. Now, ATF will do absolutely anything to forcibly disarm American citizens, most preferably by force, and completely bankrupt legitimate, licensed gun dealers for such minor infractions as a few clerical errors on a single sheet of paper. Let the gangbangers loot, steal, rob and kill regular people, but gun shops, we gotta drive them out of business because they're not selling guns to criminals. Socialist scum.

-Repeal the Gun Control Act of 1968 and the Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1986. No other travesty has made a dent in American legislature more than these two pieces of shit. This also gave us the law enforcement/military restricted use bullshit. Excuse me a second for a minute here while I go off on another police tangent.

Since when was it decided that a uniform, or a badge, should make the man? Because apparently, it is common knowledge that anyone wearing a badge is a supreme being who knows all and sees all, and deserves to be the only human to own a firearm. Sorry to burst your collective bubbles, but a badge does not make the man. There is no reason to believe that simply wearing a badge with a blue uniform is the sole deciding factor for firearms ownership. Lest we forget the immortal words of Sir Robert Peel, the father of modern law enforcement: "The police are the people, and the people are the police." What this means, is that you and I are no different than Robocop over there. We are one and the same. The only difference is that I don't drive around in a black-and-white car all day, wear a blue uniform or a Sam Browne, don't have to contend with infringing on someone's 4th, 5th, or 16th Amendment rights, and don't have to report to the shift commander every night. A police officer is simply a citizen who swears to uphold the laws of the land and the state, and to protect and to serve the people. The only special powers a badge bestows upon somebody is the power to make an arrest and the power to appear in a starring role on Cops.

Back to the Gun Control Act. Repeal that shit, and remove the law enforcement restriction. There should be no special set-asides just for police, jest because they wear a badge. If a police agency can trust Joe the Flatfoot with an MP5 when he has no experience, except once a year at the qualification range, then why not let Joe the Armed Citizen have one too? I'm sure Joe the Armed Citizen would be more attentive to his gun, and actually shoot it on a regular basis. Let M-60s and Thompsons and American-180s and Calicos and MAC-10s and BARs back on gun store shelves. Same with all the now-lifted post-86 stuff like AK-101s, M249s, P90s, M4s, MP5s, PSG-1s, G3s, M16s, M240s, and all that good stuff. And also, kick HK's ass for reluctantly selling the half-assed "civilian" products. Put up or shut up, HK: either sell your full shit to the citizens, or close up shop and continue your socialist extortion by catering exclusively to military contracts. Same with Colt. The 1990s are over, get back into the citizen market. We could use those 1911s right about now.

The uniform does not make the man. The mind does. And I'm of a mind that thinks law enforcement/military restrictions are crap.

Ammo Spotlight: The 7.62x39mm M43

A bunch of 7.62x39mm cartridges, namely the Yugoslavian M67 type. It featured a bullet with a lead core and a hollow cavity on top to promote yaw once it hit flesh.

AK-47. SKS. Mini-30. RPD. You hear these words and think of assault rifles, machine guns, weapons of terror, deadly killing machines that can mow down an entire field of troops with one pull of the trigger.

Or, that's what the media wants you to believe. What all these guns have in common is they share the same ammo. That ammo is the well-known 7.62x39mm.

The history of this cartridge starts at the end. The end of World War II, to be exact. The Russians loved their Mosin Nagants, but these rifles were too big and bulky, and the 7.62x54R rounds were just too powerful for the close-in fighting that was going on. So they took a hint from the Germans, and based a new round off the 7.92 Kurz (of MP44 and FG42 fame) to be used in auto-loading carbines, assault rifles, and light machine guns.

First in the family is the Samozaryadnyj Karabin Simonova, or SKS carbine. Although they weren't perfected and issued until 1949, they were tested in the front lines in 1945 to much acclaim, and the 7.62x39 round started its tour as Russia's new cartridge.

In 1947, the much-acclaimed Avtomat Kalashnikova was issued as the standard infantry rifle for Soviet military, and remained so until 1974, where it was replaced by the AK-74. But the 7.62x39 didn't stop there. Far from it.

Before the 5.45mm takeover, the Soviets sold several million AKs and ammo to other groups, some benign, some malicious. They also sold the plans for the AK to several countries, who in turn started producing their own variants. Soon, the AK population exploded as everybody was building more and more of these rugged and dependable rifles, and selling them for peanuts on the dollar.

In 1987, Ruger produced a version of its Mini-14 autoloading rifle chambered for 7.62x39, called the Mini-30. These guns are not as well-known as the SKS or the AK, but they are in the same family nonetheless.

Now, back to the bullet. The 7.62x39mm M43 cartridge as we know it today was designed by Mikhail Timofeyevitch Kalashnikov - who also designed the rifle of the same name - to be an intermediate-range cartridge designed to provide aimed, rapid fire in offensive or defensive situations. The projectile itself is a 123-grain full metal jacketed boat-tail with a steel core and lead filler in between. The case is Berdan-primed, which means the anvil is a part of the cartridge case and is not included in the actual primer bit. These cartridges are not the easiest to reload, and is not recommended to be attempted by handloaders, who prefer to use Boxer-primed ammunition.

The steel core of the projectile has one drawback, though - it keeps the bullet stable, and yaw only begins after passing through about a foot of organic tissue. Not an effective anti-personnel round by average means. The Yugoslavians improved on this misgiving by creating an air cavity in the nose of the projectile - the M67. This air cavity moves the center of gravity to the rear of the projectile, and yaw in organic tissue begins at half a foot. Not as effective as an expanding bullet, but an improvement nonetheless.

There is some dispute that the 7.62x39 has as much power as the .30-30 Winchester cartridge. This is not true. The case size can't hold enough powder to propel that projectile to .30-30 velocities. Also, a common misconception is that the 7.62mm projectile is .308 inches, like the American 7.62mm projectile. This, too, is wrong. Russian 7.62 ammo is actually .310 or .311 inches, but can be fired safely in .308 bores, which might cause a slight swage in the bullet. The Mini-30's barrel is .308" diameter, but it can accept the surplus .311 ammo just as well.

Also, the Mini-30 doesn't stand up well to the surplus corrosive-primed ammo. After firing corrosive ammo through any firearm, you should immediately swab the bore, chamber, and bolt face with a 50/50 mixture of Windex and ammonia on a patch, and then a dry patch to get it all out of there. If left unchecked, all that superheated salt can turn that rifled bore into a sewer pipe.

7.62x39 is one of the cheaper centerfire calibers that can be found in the shooting world, but by no means is it a big boy's .22LR. Ammo prices aren't that cheap, but you can still have lots of fun when you buy in bulk.

No matter what your take is on the rifles that chamber it, the 7.62x39 is a versatile, reliable, if not underappreciated cartridge that certainly has a place in the shooting world

Why yes, I WOULD like the extra insurance

So I e-mailed the folks at about my PS3's little accident, and since I sprang for the six-month warranty instead of the two-month one, my console is still under warranty and therefore gets FREE SERVICE.

All I have to say is, if you are asked if you want extra insurance on anything, whether it be a rental car, shipping, goods and services, do what I did and take it. You never know when you might need it, you know?

*P.S. If anybody out there would like to help me with getting a new PS3 Slim to replace the shitty one, please feel free to kick the tip jar, or spam it anywhere you can to folks who would lend a helping hand, or even just a few nickels and dimes. I'd really appreciate the help.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Help me get a new PS3! Please?

Okay, yesterday my PS3 died for the third time. With money as tight as it is for me, and unsure if I will get this job I'm applying for, I would like just a little help in getting some money together to purchase a new console. Or don't, I'm not really expecting this thing to take off.

Gentlemen, start your engines.

Here it is, the inaugural first post on my new blog. Hope you enjoy it.