Thursday, December 30, 2004

Publicola: Additions To The Blogroll Archives

Hey, look at this! Publicola: Additions To The Blogroll Archives I got mentioned on Publicola's blog!

Geez, I gotta write something--company's coming...

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Guns: New Toy, Part III

Ah, a range report. I took the new gun--the Yugoslavian SKS--out to Angeles Range today for its maiden outing, and survived.

Why survived? Because the flinkin' op-rod insisted on sticking out after every shot, turning my 10-round semi-automatic rifle into a singleshot!

On the plus side, no slam fires from a too-extended firing pin, so...I'll count my blessings.

I did find someone else at the range with an SKS and chatted with him about removing the gas tube (yeah, I'm doing it the right way, it just won't come off) and how my op-rod is sticking out.

So, shooting Wolf 123-grain FMJ at 25 yards, I killed that cardboard backer!

Hit the targets? A few wild rounds hit the black on one target, all in the white on the other.

Same thing again at 50 yards. But I did ring the gong at 100 yards. Once.

Rifle marksmanship is a new skill for me to master, and the SKS isn't really the best rifle to practice that one. But it's what I've got, so it's back to the range for me on Monday (and Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday!).

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Guns: New Toy, Part II

Today I cleaned my SKS. When I picked it up from Turner's, it was lightly, but still liberally, coated in cosmoline. I unwrapped the plastic around it and gingerly inspected it.

Then I took it apart: magazine, trigger assembly, receiver and barrel, stock. And there it lay for a couple of weeks, until I could clean all that cosmoline off it.

I used most of one can of non-chlorinated brake cleaner to dissolve the cosmoline on the metal parts, and a quick soak and scrub in the tub with hot water and Simple Green to clean the stock. And a foaming bore cleaner followed by a bore snake on the barrel.

After carefully drying everything, oiling the appropriate parts, I began to put it all back together: receiver and barrel into the stock, magazine into stock and receiver, trigger assembly into stock (press that assembly catch out of the way!), bayonet, buttplate and new butt pad.

Then the bolt and bolt carrier (ah, the gentle rattle of the firing pin!), the (oof!) recoil spring and finally the receiver cover.

Hey, look at me--I've got a new gun!

Part III, the range report, tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Guns: New Toy

Well, now I've gone and really done it this time. I bought a rifle, a Yugoslavian SKS M59/66 (alas, no grenade launcher for me).

Technically, all of the above is true.'s a pile of parts, waiting to be degreased and re-assembled. Oy. I think it'll be a couple of weeks before I'm able to get it finished up and try it out...but Christmas came a little early for me this year!

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Beautiful Atrocities: Disposable Wisdom

Beautiful Atrocities: Disposable Wisdom

Yeah, baby!

Politics: Election Day, 2004

I've done my civic duty today and voted.

I voted for Bush/Cheney, and "No" on all California and Los Angeles ballot propositions.

I hope Bush wins, by a lot, so there's no chance that the election can be contested.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

LA County Gunstores: Sharp Shooter, Torrance

Sharp Shooter, 1827 W 208th Street in Torrance (310 618 9971), is located in a small business park. Not a lot of character on the outside, the inside is much bigger than it looks.

It's more of an indoor range than it is a gun store, although there are new pistols for sale and sundry other shooting-related items (targets, cleaning supplies, drop-in gunsmithing bits and pieces for 1911s). What's most impressive is the window all the way across the back of the shooting range, so you can see all the shooters at the same time.

West Coast Tactical has its shooting classes here. I hope to get to one of their Handgun 1 classes next year.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

LA County Gunstores: Santa Fe Gun Galeria, Palmdale

Someday, when I win the lottery, I'll be able to buy any gun I want to. Until then, I like to look. Now, new guns are new guns, anywhere you go. But for old guns and those that are out of production, you have to go where they are.

Santa Fe Gun Galeria is a small gun store in Palmdale, at Sierra Highway and Avenue P. That intersection is an L-shaped strip mall, with a liquor store on the short leg and Gun Galeria on the long leg.

The store is split lengthways by display cabinets down the middle, creating two long aisles on either side. The left side as you go in is the pawnshop side; lever-action rifles are kept on pegs on the wall.

All the way at the back is a display cabinet with used handguns--two S&W Model 41 .22 target pistols, some Browning Buckmarks, some Colt Woodsmans. More handguns are on display as you follow the aisle around to your right--double-action Colt revolvers in .45 LC, a S&W in .44 Schoenfield, small foreign pre-WWII automatics.

The guy behind the counter was working on a rifle when I went in, while a customer barraged him with questions about which handgun was safer or better or more powerful--finally he sent the guy away with a copy of the DoJ gun safety booklet to read.

Rifles and shotguns were out on the store floor to look at, something I haven't seen in a while. I glanced over some .22 rifles, a .303 Enfield.

In a display cabinet all the way down front was a little three-drawer chest. The bottom drawer was pulled out, showing a cased black powder pistol. The two drawers above that had hand-lettered signs on them: "Bicentennial SAA" and "Bicentennial Python". No prices listed--I didn't bother asking.

I did ask to look at the Model 41 ciraca '58-'62, with a 7-1/2" barrel. LA Guns has one for almost a thousand dollars--this one was only $600. I didn't buy it, 'cause I've already blown my budget for guns for this year. But I'll start saving my nickels and dimes and twenties and fifties!

A different version of this post was cross-posted to

Sunday, October 03, 2004

LA County Gunstores

Los Angeles county is pretty big, and it's got quite a few gun stores. I've pulled a list together from on-line yellow pages and I'm going to try to visit all of them.

Not to be dismissive of any business, but a Turner's is a Turner's. I go to the one in Reseda and the one in Pasadena, and I'll get around to the others in LA county eventually, but unless I find something fantastic on consignment, I won't have much to say about them.

I've been to LA Guns, in West Hollywood. It's a nice little showroom of a store, upstairs on the third floor, behind two security doors (*bzz!*). I've bought some shooting supplies there, but no guns.

I've been to King's Gunworks, in Glendale, on Glenoaks Boulevard. The store has been in that location for quite some time, looks it, feels it. Again, bought some supplies there, but no guns.

Gun World and Stevenson Gun Country, both in Burbank, on Magnolia Boulevard. Bought a box of ammo one time at Stevenson's. Browsing at Gun World is a treat, because of the glass-fronted cabinets in the back room they keep their handguns in--it just looks nice--but their prices seem high to me.

I know that Greta's Guns in Simi Valley is over the county line into Ventura, but I'm not sure about Bullseye Sporting Arms. I went to Bullseye because of a brief passion for double rifles (think African big game), but I was disappointed in the "store". It was a totally anonymous store front (no name, no ads, no nothing) in a non-descript business park in Simi Valley.

Strictly speaking, there was no store inside, just a front desk manned by the owner, and a back room area that felt more like a basement game room, with lots of expensive ($5K and up!) shotguns laying around. Maybe someday, if I win the lottery...

I had some time today and went off to Antelope Valley to check on gun stores up there. Because it was Sunday, three of the five I checked on were closed, the fourth looked like it was out of business, and the fifth was a residential address. Hmmph.

But now I know where those three are and can go visit them this week.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Saturday Poetry

Andrew Marvell, 1621–1678

To His Coy Mistress

Had we but world enough, and time,
This coyness, Lady, were no crime.

We would sit down and think which way
To walk and pass our long love's day.
Thou by the Indian Ganges' side
Shouldst rubies find: I by the tide
Of Humber would complain. I would
Love you ten years before the Flood,
And you should, if you please, refuse
Till the conversion of the Jews.

My vegetable love should grow
Vaster than empires, and more slow;
An hundred years should go to praise
Thine eyes and on thy forehead gaze;
Two hundred to adore each breast,
But thirty thousand to the rest;
An age at least to every part,
And the last age should show your heart.
For, Lady, you deserve this state,
Nor would I love at lower rate.

But at my back I always hear
Time's wing├Ęd chariot hurrying near;
And yonder all before us lie
Deserts of vast eternity.
Thy beauty shall no more be found,
Nor, in thy marble vault, shall sound
My echoing song: then worms shall try
That long preserved virginity,
And your quaint honour turn to dust,
And into ashes all my lust:
The grave's a fine and private place,
But none, I think, do there embrace.

Now therefore, while the youthful hue
Sits on thy skin like morning dew,
And while thy willing soul transpires
At every pore with instant fires,
Now let us sport us while we may,
And now, like amorous birds of prey,
Rather at once our time devour
Than languish in his slow-chapt power.
Let us roll all our strength and all
Our sweetness up into one ball,
And tear our pleasures with rough strife
Thorough the iron gates of life:

Thus, though we cannot make our sun
Stand still, yet we will make him run.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Range Report: Armscor 1911 EFS

EFS? Hell if I know.

Anyhow, this is a basic 1911, made in the Phillipines. It has an ambidexterous safety and an extended slide release. Magazine holds 8 rounds of fat .45 ACP.

Its first outing was the same windy day at Angeles Range as the Taurus 94. Didn't go quite as well as the Taurus--several failures to feed, one jam that had to be cleared by the RO with a borrowed pen (poke poke poke down the barrel, finally fell out--how embarrassing).

But tonight, I went to a range in the neighborhood, Gun World. Put another 50 rounds through the gun, only had a few FTF, no jams.

Shooting the gun is significantly different than my other guns (all revolvers). There's more going on immediately after each shot (the slide slams back, slams forward into battery), the empty brass is ejected high to the right, and the gun itself twists in my hand. Weird.

But dang, the holes it makes in the target! So much easier to see at any distance, especially with my eyes.

And I went ahead and bought a one-year membership at the range--unlimited range time and $5 gun rentals (with their ammo, natch)--$130.

I guess I'm going back tomorrow. Wow. I gotta buy more ammo.

Range Report - Taurus Model 94

While I have shot a few .22 handguns, this is the first one I've owned. A couple of weeks ago, I took it to the range (Angeles Shooting Range) for its first outing.

It was very windy and the range office wasn't letting any handgun targets out on the line, since they would just blow away. So I was limited to the steel silhouttes at the left end of the line.

What a blast! I'd been concerned about the grip on the gun, which was just a little short for my hand, as well as the stiffness of the action in double-action, but once I loaded that little gun up with nine rounds of .22 LR and started squeezing off shots, I just had a big smile on my face.

This is definitely the way to go for a first gun: Small, simple, minimal recoil ("bang! pfft" in the hand). And accurate enough to reach out and touch those silhouettes ("ping!") when I did my part.

Since then, I've swapped out the factory grips for a set of Uncle Mike's rubber grips that are just longer enough that my whole hand curls around it.

This little gun is a definite keeper, and I'll be on the lookout for another one, or the Model 96, a K-22 clone. What I'd really like, of course, is a Model 94 with a 6" barrel--hmm, I wonder if anyone's selling just barrels, somewhere on the web...

Saturday, August 07, 2004

Saturday Poetry

Langston Hughes (1902 - 1967), "Ballad of the Landlord"

Landlord, landlord,
My roof has sprung a leak.
Don't you 'member I told you about it
Way last week?
Landlord, landlord,
These steps is broken down.
When you come up yourself
It's a wonder you don't fall down.
Ten Bucks you say I owe you?
Ten Bucks you say is due?
Well, that's Ten Bucks more'n I'll pay you
Till you fix this house up new.
What? You gonna get eviction orders?
You gonna cut off my heat?
You gonna take my furniture and
Throw it in the street?
Um-huh! You talking high and mighty.
Talk on--till you get through.
You ain't gonna be able to say a word
If I land my fist on you.
Police! Police!
Come and get this man!
He's trying to ruin the government
And overturn the land!
Copper's whistle!
Patrol bell!
Precinct Station.
Iron cell.
Headlines in press:

Saturday, July 24, 2004

Saturday Poetry

Ogden Nash, "The Tale of Custard the Dragon"

Ogden Nash, 1902 - 1971

Belinda lived in a little white house,
With a little black kitten and a little gray mouse,
And a little yellow dog and a little red wagon,
And a realio, trulio, little pet dragon.

Now the name of the little black kitten was Ink,
And the little gray mouse, she called hum Blink,
And the little yellow dog was sharp as Mustard,
But the dragon was a coward, and she called him Custard.

Custard the dragon had big sharp teeth,
And spikes on top of him and scales underneath,
Mouth like a fireplace, chimney for a nose,
And realio, trulio daggers on his toes.

Belinda was as brave as a barrel full of bears,
And Ink and Blink chased lions down the stairs,
Mustard was as brave as a tiger in a rage,
But Custard cried for a nice safe cage.

Belinda tickled him, she tickled him unmerciful,
Ink, Blink and Mustard, they rudely called him Percival,
They all sat laughing in the little red wagon
At the realio, trulio, cowardly dragon.

Belinda giggled till she shook the house,
and Blink said Weeck! which is giggling for a mouse,
Ink and Mustard rudely asked his age,
When Custard cried for a nice safe cage.

Suddenly, suddenly they heard a nasty sound,
And Mustard growled, and they all looked around.
Meowch! cried Ink, and Ooh! cried Belinda,
For there was a pirate, climbing in the winda.

Pistol in his left hand, pistol in his right,
And he held in his teeth a cutlass bright,
His beard was black, one leg was wood;
It was clear that the pirate meant no good.

Belinda paled, and she cried Help! Help!
But Mustard fled with a terrified yelp,
Ink trickled down to the bottom of the household,
And little mouse Blink strategically mouseholed.

But up jumped Custard snorting like an engine,
Clashed his tail like irons in a dungeon,
With a clatter and a clank and a jangling squirm,
He went at the pirate like a robin at a worm.

The pirate gaped at Belinda's dragon,
And gulped some grog from his pocket flagon,
He fired two bullets, but they didn't hit,
And Custard gobbled him, every bit.

Belinda embraced him, Mustard licked him,
No one mourned for his pirate victim.
Ink and Blink in glee did gyrate
Around the dragon that ate the pirate.

But presently up spoke little dog Mustard,
I'd been twice as brave if I hadn't been flustered.
And up spoke Ink and up spoke Blink,
We'd have been three times as brave, we think,
And Custard said, I quite agree
That everybody is braver than me.

Belinda still lives in her little white house,
With her little black kitten and her little gray mouse,
And her little yellow dog and her little red wagon,
And her realio, trulio little pet dragon.

Belinda is as brave as a barrel full of bears,
And Ink and Blink chase lions down the stairs,
Mustard is as brave as a tiger in a rage,
But Custard keeps crying for a nice safe cage.

Saturday, July 10, 2004

Saturday Poetry

Robert Frost, 1874 - 1963

"The Road Not Taken"

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Thursday, July 08, 2004


Stopped in at the Turner's Outdoorsman in Pasadena for a little bit to browse for .44 Special ammo. They had PMC 240gr LSWC for sale, but no price ticket on the edge of the table. (Guess it must've been free...)

Since I'm also interested in getting a S&W Model 25 in .45ACP at some point, I looked at prices for ammo--quite a bit less than .44 Magnum/Special, hmmph. I'm not ready to start reloading (yet another all-consuming hobby to begin in my copius free time...)

Anyhow, right above the bottom shelf of consignment guns was an Armscor .45 for $400. Dang, show me that one! Nice full-size .45, 8 + 1, extended slide stop, ambidextrous safety, half-cock capability, probably their M1911-A1-45 FSB.

I've started checking around for reports on the gun, and will post an update on what I find.

Update: I found an extended thread on Armscor and Charles Daly 1911s on rec.guns. Armscor makes Armscor, Charles Daly and Rock Island guns. The thread was more or less evenly divided vis a vis the construction quality and functioning: "They're crap, don't bother" versus "Good value for the money".

Well...huh. Something to keep in mind.