Monthly Archives: April 2019

Looking for a Fairly Inexpensive ’06? Try the Winchester 670 Carbine

Posted at AP on 27 Oct 18.

You read that right.  Carbine.  19 inch barrel, and it’s a medium heavy that keeps it stiff for much longer than typical ‘pencil’ barrels.  Check out barrel in the main image above – that’s a 670 carbine in .243.  The word, ‘robust,’ fits it well!  My 670 in ’06 is just as robust, and you can’t tell the difference from the profile, save for the scope and mounts.  More on that below.

Now, you may be wondering just HOW inexpensive, and why the ’06?  First, a little back story is in order.  Over the last year, I’ve been helping the brother of an incapacitated vet liquidate the vet’s estate to offset his increasing medical bills.  In that estate sat this little rifle, and was offered to me as a ‘thank you.’  The brother wouldn’t take no for an answer.  I grateful accepted, and took it to the range  on 28 October 2018 and had a good check out session.  My plan was to use it on a hunt last fall, so zeroing and group checking was definitely in order (I ended up using it as a back up, so it didn’t see any ‘action,’ but I’m very confident in its accuracy and capabilities, so this year, who knows?).

The rifle itself was made by Winchester in the olden golden days.  The carbine was only built from ’66 to ’70, so if you get a carbine, it’s got some age on it, but not necessarily excess wear and tear.  This particular example looks just about new internally.  I have a suspicion it went on some hunts, but didn’t have more than a box of ammo every few years put through it.  Anyway, so long as the barrel checks out, she should serve your needs.   They seem to run anywhere from $200 from private sellers up to $600 on auction sites.  Me?  I’d go with the private seller.  Just sayin.’

The 670, in general,  was the ‘poor man’s Model 70.’  The carbine was a very nice innovation with a barrel at 19 inches, while the rifles had barrel lengths of 22 inches.  I suspect they took standard Model 70 barrels that were either flawed at the muzzle or in their finish and cut them down, which would account for the stiffness on the carbine chassis.  The barrel appears to be almost a ‘medium heavy’, but the rifle weighs just under 7 pounds.  Could be the stock is birch, and is light weight.  I have know way of knowing this, but it makes sense.  Really, why make new barrels for an economy rifle that is not a guaranteed seller when you can take stock you might not otherwise sell and get them on the market for some return on investment?

The carbine inspires confidence, if not awestruck wonder at it’s appearance.  There’s nothing special in fit or finish; you can tell this was for the shooters who wanted a good, reliable Winchester, but couldn’t afford the Model 70 at the time.  Wood finish is nothing to write home about, either, but it’ll serve.  Bluing is excellent, especially for it’s age, and the apparent lack of careful storage by the last owner.

The iron sights are good to maybe 200 if you have a larger target, and the tip off scope rings make it a viable ‘dangerous game’ up close rifle.  Basically, you simply grab the scope tube and flip it to the left side of the action.  The irons are right there, and it takes about a half second to get your sight on the target.

(I can hear the intake of breath and see eyebrows hitting hairlines about the rings!!)  Take a breath; this isn’t a ‘precision rifle.’  It’s a ‘grab it and go’ fairly accurate rifle that packs a punch with a good ’06 round’ out to reasonable ranges.  It’s also a great rifle to gift to a young man ready to take on a deer or Elk. Now, don’t get me wrong; I’ve already got a set of new bases and decent rings ready to go if these things aren’t as good as they need to be for the carbine’s intended purpose, but I’m willing to at least check out what kind of group I can get at 100 meters, and then take it hunting once before I make a decision.)  Update:  The rings are solid and do not affect accuracy.

The rings are Interesting in that they lock right up very tight.  Until I looked at the rings closely, I thought they were standard Weaver rings.  To be honest, I had never seen or even heard of tip over scope rings until I examined this rifle.  Old timers (and I mean OLD timers – I’m in my early 60’s) I asked about the rings were like, “Oh, yeah…those were popular for awhile….” and then changed subjects.   So, there you go.

There are a lot of budget priced, very good rifles out there; one never knows when one might find something useful for a new or younger shooter, or for a camp or truck rifle.   Here’s a story from 2017 where someone took an old 670 ’06 and made it into a very accurate little rifle.  As my wife likes to say about our house, “It’s got good bones…”  Just time and attention is all it’ll take.  We’ll see what mine does in the configuration I received it; I’ll post some results after I put a few rounds down range.

More to follow next time.

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Your Rifle and You – Squeezing the Best Performance from Your ‘Go To’

Disclaimer:  This is not a post about building a ‘sniper’ rifle.  There are a myriad of articles and posts out there on turning your economy poodle shooter into a super accurate ‘sniper’ rifles or, at the very least, long range super accurate SAR’s (Surgical Asshole Remover).   Why?  I’d be willing to bet that 99.99% or more of the readership here and elsewhere are not, ‘snipers.’  Anything offered here that a trained, qualified, and certified ‘sniper’ would read wouldn’t be anything more than basic information.

So, this post is about squeezing the most accuracy from your chosen platform and what, in fact, determines a rifle’s ‘inherent’ (as in already present the rifle based on how it was built and the quality of the parts from the original build) accuracy.  It’s also not how to do it on the cheap, either.  Bottom line is that you get what you pay for in all endeavors in life, 99.99% of the time, and the more quality you can afford, the more you’re lessening the chances that your rifle will take a dump at a most inopportune moment.  Notice that I wrote, ‘lessening the chances’ and not, ‘removing the chances.’  Remember that anything man-made will break over time and use, and that quality is the key to lowering the odds of when and where.

Ok, on to how to get better performance from your rifle.  The foundation of rifle performance is contained in one word:  Consistency.   The more consistent performance, the more accurate the rifle.  This foundation is comprised of three elements, like a three legged stool.  Take one away, and the stool falls over.  All three have to be there for the stool to stand.  They are:  The platform itself, the shooter, and the ammunition used.  If anyone of the three are not consistently (shot after shot) performing to their potential, accuracy is going to suffer.

Let’s knock out the ammunition first.  Crap ammo makes for crap accuracy.  Sure, in a SHTF situation, “any chair in a bar fight.”  Ammo is ammo, and the worst ammo in the world beats no ammo.   Right now we’re looking at squeezing the most accuracy out of your chosen rifle.  There are two ways to do that with the ammo:  First, buy nothing but match or super match grade ammo.  Yes, it’s expensive, but it’s very consistent.  The other way is to hand load your rounds.  This is also expensive at first, and must be learned.  Single stage presses are the way to go for hand loading extremely accurate ammunition.  Progressive presses don’t have the capability to accurately measure each step of the loading process, such as primer seating depth, bullet seating depth, or powder throws.  The ‘sweet spot’ load for each rifle is going to be different depending on the case (and the preparations performed on the brass prior to loading), the primer, propellant, and projectiles used.  Further, the bullets must all be seated consistently to get to the level of similar performance down range.  That means micrometer bullet seaters.  More money, but worth it if your goal is maximum down range accuracy.

Next up is the shooter.  If the shooter isn’t taught or if taught, doesn’t train on the basic fundamentals of shooting in trigger depression, natural point of aim, wind reading, distance come ups, and follow through, no amount of money spent on ammunition is going to make a difference at longer ranges.  It takes discipline and time to achieve the discipline that leads to consistent habits when one gets behind the sights of a rifle position not withstanding.  If follows, then, that if you are trying to squeeze out every drop of potential accuracy at longer ranges, you must practice dry fire a lot.  Further, when performing your dry fire, you must aim at achieving flawless dry fire to apply during live fire.  Old saying:  Perfect practice makes perfect.  Shooting is a perishable skill.  If you don’t use it, you will lose it.

Lastly is the platform.  First things first on caliber:  For this subject/post, it really doesn’t matter.  All calibers have their advantages and disadvantages and limitations.  In the hands of a shooter who knows what he’s about (has been trained in deliberate, accurate, deadly shooting), has quality ammunition and a quality platform, whatever caliber is being employed will work for the projected down range result.

So let’s get to what needs to be present in the platform in order to squeeze out the most accuracy possible.

 

                              This example is a 1:7 twist. The 1:8 is identical except for the twist rate.

First, the barrel in optimum length for the performance of the caliber.  For some platforms, this can be as little as 16 inches; for some, as long as 26 inches.  Coupled with barrel length is the twist rate of the rifling.  For example, my ‘go to’ AR has a 1/8 twist rate to provide the best stabilization for the ammunition I use.  It’s also a versatile enough twist rate that I can go up or down on the bullet weight and still achieve acceptable performance at various ranges within the limitations of the round itself.  Finish also has a bit to do with it.  Chrome lining has come a long way, (my wife’s AR has a double chromed lined FN MG barrel and is very accurate) but there are also improvements such as Melonite, Nitride, and other barrel finishes that increase barrel life and accuracy while reducing barrel damage from the elements or infrequent cleaning like chromoly barrels are subjected to during their life.  Bottom line:  Get the best barrel you can afford – look for sales.  I was able to get a 1/8 twist 16 inch barrel mid length Nitride finished barrel assembly for $134.99 ($152 shipped) from Palmetto State Armory.  They’re still on sale if you’re so inclined – down from $169.99 before tax/shipping.  It was a very good deal!

Barrel Mounting – On any platform, you’re going to need to ensure the barrel is mounted properly (trued) to the receiver (aka ‘action’) so that when checking the head-space for the bolt, there is no error.Bolt runs and inner receiver – should be gently (very gently) polished to reduce bolt lug, bolt body, or gas key friction during the bolt’s travels during extracting, ejecting, and stripping a new round to load into the chamber.  Suggest jeweler’s rouge or JB’s Bore Bright polishing.  Remember, gentle action is what the doctor ordered.  You can always polish more, but once material is removed, you can’t put it back.  On chromoly barrels, I use the JB’s to condition the barrel when new to remove any factory residue from the manufacturing process, burrs, and other imperfections.  It does make a difference!

 

               AR Feed Ramps

 

                           M1A Feed Ramps

Feed ramps – Polished as described above.

And now, the trigger.  You can spend a lot of money on a really good trigger; it all depends on what you’re after.  Me?  I like the Geissele Super Dynamic strain of triggers as shown below, but there are other really good triggers out there that don’t cost as much – again, it’s all about what you’re after.  Some don’t like the flat trigger, but for me, it makes consistent trigger depression straight to the rear of the trigger well pretty much a given.

                                 Geissle Flat SDE

Lastly are the sights.  You can spend a lot of money on optics or irons, your choice.  I’ve owned ACOGS, Leupolds, Vortex, Primary Arms, Aimpoint, and a few really cheap ones.  Right now I’m pretty much settled on, depending on the purpose of the rifle, as all of the above except ACOG.  the eye relief is too short for my comfort.  If you choose to go with optics, remember that the scope base and rings are just as important, even more so, than the choice of scope.  If you go with iron sights, and they’re going to be your primary sighting system, make sure they are designed and constructed for the use you’re preparing for.  Match sights, such as diopters are really that adaptable to SHTF or survival roles.  Then again, if that’s all you got, “any chair in a bar fight.”  Bottom line is that you want to always buy the best you can afford for the capability your’e after.

And that is pretty much it.  Follow the road map above, and you’ll wring out the best accuracy possible from your chosen platform, caliber notwithstanding.

 

Non-Survival Knives – Part 3: The Randalls

Posted at AP on 27 Sep 18.

Part 1

Part 2

No discussion on ‘non-survival knives’ would be complete without describing a couple of the offerings by Randall Made Knives that are really, the cream of the crop when it comes to quality in knives.  There are many knives out there just as good as a Randall, but few and far between can ever be classified as better.  So, in the last of this series I’ll talk about two Randall Made Knives.  Most of their offerings are superb hybrid knives, meaning they are strong enough to be used for survival, attacking an enemy, and so on, such as the Model 14 “Attack” as pictured in the middle of the post.  However, they only make a couple that are strictly ‘Non-Survival Knives’.

First up is the Randall Model 2, pictured above, that appears to be a Model 2-7 (the second number on Randall knives indicates blade length).  It comes in a variety of lengths, the shortest, with a 6 inch blade, can be used as a boot knife and will cut through as far as it goes, just as well as the longer versions.  The largest Model 2 sports an impressive 8 inch blade, and believe it or not, you really CAN notice the difference between the 7 and 8 inch models. As with all Randall Made Knives, there are options; basically, they’ll modify it any way you want, for a fee.  Which is nice, in these days of personalization.  The spine, or thickness of the blade on their larger knives is most always 1/4 inch, finished, with some vintage bowies (Smithsonian, Sportsman, and Confederate), topping out the spine thickness at 3/8 inches.  The modern ones, at least what I’ve seen are all 1/4 inch.

The Model 2 is basically a V-42/FS Commando on steroids.  The blade, made of 01 Tool or Stainless Steel (buyer’s option) is much more robust, and does have the necessary hollow grind for slicing through thick clothing, sinew, and muscle.  I’ve owned about a half dozen Randall’s in my time, and I’ve always coveted one of these fine attack tools, but not so much that I wanted to trade or sell my other Randalls.  It IS a superb knife though.

Remember, I’m a general purpose kind of a guy, and the Model 1, 14, 18, and 12-9 with a 14 grind is more my speed (and using the general purpose argument to secure said tools to one’s spousal unit undercuts the reasoning behind needing the attack version that has very few uses, other than ‘non-survival’ tasks.  Just sayin’.  The above pic is an earlier Model 14 with a Green Tennite grip, and as nice as it is, it could easily classified as a ‘survival knife.’

Next is their, ‘Arkansas Toothpick,’ which is really a forthright dirk, with a maximum blade length of 12 inches.  Their smaller offering has a blade length of 6 inches.  There’s an old saying that applies to this knife:  “Go Big or Stay Home!”  If you’ve ever held one of these, you know what I’m talking about when I say it’s formidable!  Not really a ‘fast’ knife, compared to smaller, lighter knives, but I believe what it loses in speed it makes up for in psychological capitol.  Definitely fits the bill of a ‘non-survival’ knife.  One Hollywood use was by actor Sam Elliot, who shaves a would be robber’s mustache with it as a warning.

As you can see, decidedly not a survival knife.  Heh.

The other Randall’s I’ve mentioned above are more general purpose, but are popular in military circles (at least they were when I was in).  They can easily be pressed into the ‘non-survival’ mode if necessary, but are designed as field tools.

More on that in another post, depending on reader interest.

I’ve gotten feedback already about Ek knives and the ‘commando’ and FS Mk II Fighter.  I’ve never been a big fan of the Ek fighters – personal taste and all.  I do like their ‘bowie’, which will most likely be included in any future post on general purpose knives.

Hope you’ve enjoyed the series.

 

Non-Survival Knives – Part 2: US V-42, Fairbairn-Sykes, the Tanto, and ‘CIA Letter Opener’

Posted at AP on 23 Sep 18.

Part 1, here.

To reiterate, I’m a knife junkie.  I really do loves me some knives.  I think it goes back to my first ‘Old Timer’ given to me by my grandfather when I was 6 or 7.  It fascinated me – its sharpness, the gleam of the blade, the smell of the oil, all of it, and it was a first step into the world of men.  But I digress already.  Suffice it to say, I’ve had a life long attraction to quality knives.

Before getting into the post, I should explain that using the term, ‘Non-Survival Knives’ was purposeful, and not because I am trying to be some sort of PC type survivalist.  Rather, I’m specifically setting these blades apart, because they’re just not fit to use as a survival blade, at least, in my opinion.  In the larger ‘survival/prepper/tactical’  community there are those who either do not understand the purpose of one blade over another or don’t care, and put all blades one might carry on their kit into the category of ‘survival knives’ or worse yet, ‘combat knives.’  Then, if and when they train others in their own ways of doing things, they ensure continuation of the error, which could in various scenarios cost someone their life.  Nothing is worse for the user than to be under a misconception of what his or her chosen blade can or cannot do.  Some blades are superb flesh cutters; others are more at home in the ‘general purpose’ or ‘survival’ arenas, as many readers here can attest.

That said, let’s get to the knives.

              WWII 1st Special Service Force Case V42 Fighting Knife

Here’s the first, and again in my opinion, a superb attack tool that improves on the design of the Fairbairn-Sykes.

The US V42, which I believe was/is an improvement over the Brit Fairbairn-Sykes (affectionately known during my service days as, ‘the limey sticker’ – only in later years – the early 2000’s did the Fairbairn begin to be called, ‘The FS’ in circles I moved in).  There weren’t many replicas of the V42 available until a few years ago, and the FS was/is very popular – more about it, later.

It was originally classified as a ‘stiletto,’ that is, a knife purposed for stabbing, rather than slashing or using as a utility blade.  It was also classified as a ‘fighting knife’ because it was (and is) capable of inflicting fatal injuries during a knife attack.  (I don’t usually use the term, ‘knife fight’ because of the romanticized images that term generates.  What one usually thinks of in a knife fight is more correctly called a duel.)

Designed by then Lieutenant Colonel Robert T. Frederick, US Army, it was first issued in 1942 to the First Special Service Force (aka, ‘The Devil’s Brigade’), a comined US/Canadian forerunner to our own special forces.  To this day, the V42 is honored by being part of the US Special Forces crest.  If you know the shape of the V42’s skull crusher, the knife represented on the crest is unmistakable.

If you want an original, be prepared to pay several thousand dollars.  If you can’t do that, like me, there are good replicas that are fairly strong, depending on the maker, so as far as my replica goes, ya never know, I might grab it in a pinch – any chair in a bar fight, and all that, especially if it was used for what it’s designed for:  A clandestine attack on an opponent one wishes to eliminate without the sound of a pistol or rifle.  Case Knives resurrected the V42 according to their original specifications between ’89 to ’93.   Gerber had the market then; you hardly ever saw a V42, if at all, and I’d bet most of the stock didn’t sell.  Today, you can get one as ‘new old stock’ for around $400.  A replica by the company that originally made them is sure to be superior to other company’s offering a replica…maybe.  There are other quality knife makers out there as well with less expensive replicas, but as with anything, you get what you pay for.

V-42 Strengths

  • Leather pad along hilt to cushion user’s hand.
  • Very significant skull crusher designed to penetrate.
  • ‘Thumb Print’ on the reverse side of the ricasso for purchase during stab/thrusts/slashes/back slashes.
  • Leather wrapped grip.
  • Hollow Ground blade (better at piercing than, say, a convex blade would be on clothing)

V-42 Weaknesses

  • Specifally designed for stabbing – it’s not a ‘general purpose’ blade
  • Tip was reputed to stick in bone during combat operations, making it hard to remove.

Our next blade, similar, and a competitor (and more widely used throughout the free-world’s military organizations), the Fairbairn-Sykes ‘Commando’ Knife.

Here’s the description and purpose all in one from this site:  “When Major William Ewart Fairbairn, chief of police for the British concession in prewar Shanghai, China, collaborated with Eric Anthony Sykes to design a special knife, he had murder on his mind. Conceived for the close-in combat then common in Shanghai’s streets and back alleys, the Fairbairn-Sykes fighting knife saw wartime use by several Allied assault forces. London’s Wilkinson Sword began full-scale production in January 1941, and by war’s end it and other manufacturers had produced almost 2 million knives of varying patterns and quality, some 20,000 seeing service with the U.S. Office of Strategic Services, precursor of the CIA. Brig. Gen. Robert T. Frederick, commander of the American-Canadian 1st Special Service Force (aka Devil’s Brigade) designed his own variation of the knife, the V-42 stiletto, manufactured in western New York by W.R. Case & Sons.”

As you can see, the FS and V42 are closely related; the V42, in my opinion, being a ‘product improved’ version.  Some may differ, but the FS isn’t quite as strong or user friendly as the V42.  Still, a good purposeful ‘take the bad guy out’ knife, and NOT suited to survival at all.

My next knife I like better than both the V42 and the FS, mostly due to martial arts training earlier in life, and the fact that I can’t afford an actual Tanto made by a Japanese sword maker, is the Cold Steel early version.  These things are bomb proof.  They also made a nice ‘tactical’ model called the ‘recon tanto’.  Didn’t like the rubber handle much, but the blade was superb.

Cold Steel Early Tanto – My favorite of what’s out there. 6 inch blade that sharpens well and keeps its edge. GREAT penetration from its chisel tip.

Cousin to the Tanto above to be sure; very nice knife. Don’t care for the plastic sheath, though. When I had mine, I had a leather one made for it. Old school and all.

I really like the tanto for practicing on dummies for a downward clavicle cut into the aeorta after coming across the tricep….never mind.  Hard to explain here, and I don’t do social media/videos.  Go find a disciple of Danny Inosanto and learn JKD concepts from him.   You’ll learn that and more.

I would be remiss if I didn’t put a photo of my ‘Sunday-Go-To-Meetin’ knife, the Cold Steel Pro-Lite Tanto.  Wonderful back up ‘confined space rescue tool’ if I need one.  Very nice balance, opens in a half-second or less, once you practice a few times.  I’ve had this for more than 10 years and will NOT part with it.

     This is my ‘Sunday-Go-To-Meetin’ knife.       Extremely strong, sharp, and a fast moving                                    knife.

And, need I repeat myself, the 3 knives above are decidedly NOT survival knives in their purpose, no more than the V42 or FS knives.  Carrying one on your LBE as a ‘general purpose’ knife is an error and a waste of a good knife designed for ‘human consumption.’

A quick digression on the phrase, ‘fast moving knife.’  In my experience and training, the larger and heavier a knife is, the slower it appears to be moving when manipulated.  The smaller and lighter the knife is, even when using the same amount of speed and technique, the knife appears and ‘feels’ faster.  Basically, this is because the larger knife can’t be manipulated (change directions and/or angle of attack) as quickly as a smaller, lighter blade due to it’s length and mass, hence, it’s ‘faster’.  That’s one of the reasons I never worry about carrying a smaller (say 3 inches from the ricasso), high quality blade with me as a back up.  They’re very fast, and if you keep your ‘fast’ knife razor sharp, and you know how to use a knife as a last ditch self-defense tool, you’re far ahead of many others, it’s truly a formidable tool.

Next up, and last for this installment, is the vaunted, “CIA Letter Opener,” non-metallic version.  AKA, ‘Tent Pegs,’ which they could easily be used as, but for $10 each (typical price nowadays), I’ll make my own tent stakes with my survival knife and small branches.  Just sayin’….

   Nice example of the famous ‘letter opener’

These things really are user friendly once you figure out how to sharpen them.  Basically, they’re polymer, and you need a very gentle touch and a fine rasp, or you can use sand paper.  I’ve seen them sharpened on a belt sander, but you gotta be really careful or you’ll ruin the knife (so I’ve heard).  Notice the thumb notch in the choil (or what can be described as close as possible as the choil).  You can get a great grip for thrusting upwards at a 25 degree angle if necessary.

Well, that’s it for this installment.  Hope you enjoyed it.

Non-Survival Knives – Part 1: Gerber Mark, Guardian, and Command 1 & 2

Posted at AP on 17 June 18.

UNDER FIRE, Ed Harris, 1983,  (c)Orion Pictures*

*Mr. Harris’ character in that movie was attributed to be loosely (REALLY LOOSELY) based on Michael Echanis.  If you don’t know who Echanis is, look him up.  He was a forerunner in the 70’s to what ‘commando’ means today.  In fact, the way Harris is carrying his Gerber MK II is exactly the way my team carried theirs.  Except for the idiot who wanted to carry it upside down on his harness and lost it on the first training mission he carried it on.  Bigger tears were NEVER cried!

First, I must admit to being somewhat of a knife junkie.  I own a lot of them.  Name brands, knock-offs, GI issue, ‘made for the GI’ knives, Cold Steel, Gerber, Randall, Ontario, Camillus, Buck, Kukri, Wall, Edge Brand (German), CRKT, Case, Rubley, even a LFC, and some other custom blades.  Yes, I do love knives.  Admittedly, most of my knives are ‘old school’ as I appreciate the workmanship and bomb proof (almost always) construction (the latest example I’ve bought recently is a Chris Reeve ‘Green Beret’ Knife.  It’s the civilian version of the knife issued to successful SF qualification folks, because the ‘real’ SF knife is serial numbered and can only be issued to SF folks.  I also bought a Rubley, “Daniel Boone” knife exactly copied from the design of the knife Daniel Boone had on him when he died.  The Boone family licensed the design to Mr. Rubley, who is a Master Bladesmith and likes to make his knives the way they did it in the old days, before commerical stampings and methodology.  In essence, it’s done the ‘old way’ and all by hand.

I especially love figuring ways to strap a favorite to my kit, or if I should put one or another into or on my harness or my ruck.  Most of these will eventually either make their way to male descendants through early gifting or my will, or get sold to provide my survivors some cash (should the FRN be worth a damn by then).

That said, I want to focus on the old-school Gerber boot and combat knives in their 1 & 2 series.  I carried Mark I’s, Guardian 1’s, and Command 1’s in my field gear from the late 70’s until I fell in love with Randall knives in the late 80’s.  It started when, as a member of a Rapid Deployment Force 81mm Mortar team member, our branch wouldn’t issue us anything more than a M7 Bayonet, and, from what our command told us, we couldn’t sharpen them due to Geneva Convention rules (I was then young naive enough to actually listen to that garbage).  So, my peers and I all looked for remedies to our situation.  We had been issued USGI ‘Scout’ knives (basically a boy scout knife made completely of stainless steel), but that wouldn’t cut it, so we decided we’d purchase our first ‘combat’ knife, a KaBar imitation made by Camillus.  We also simultaneously were learning to sharpen knives (I made two butter knives out of perfectly good Camillus knives doing it wrong….sigh….it was all trial and error, until the appearance of one former US Army Ranger who came over to the USAF and taught all us pups things we REALLY needed to know.  A true mentor if there ever was one, and I hope he’s still alive.).

A bit of time went on and we were introduced to Gerber Mark I boot knives.  They clipped nicely to our cargo pockets, and if you got some 100 mph tape (it was ALWAYS Olive Drab until recent years) and cut it just right, you could get rid of the polished stainless steel clip, which was a good thing.  We very, very, very carefully kept the edges honed with a fine stone, and would always keep them in the strong side cargo pocket as either a ‘confined space rescue tool’ or a last ditch weapon, should we need it.  Years later Gerber came out with a black anodized clip that subdued any shine nicely.  They had to have fielded a LOT of complaints or suggestions from the field to change their manufacturing methods, I’m thinking, but it was a good thing they did.  Lots more knives were sold.

From there, it was a natural progression to the Gerber Mark II, and good bye, “Camillus Combat Knife”, which, actually, based on our mission and skills, a mistake.  The Camillus fit our needs much, much better.  But that damn Gerber sure had a YUGE ‘CDI’ factor to it, and about 95% of us carried them, including our team leaders, except for my mentor, mentioned previously.  He carried a Randall 14.  Didn’t say a lot about it, but basically rolled his eyes on occassion when I, and a couple other of our team mates showed him our, latest and greatest, in this case, the Gerber Mark II.  He asked once, “So, you planning on taking out any sentries with that?”  Went right over our heads (we were young….about 23 average age).

           A Mint Example of my First Gerber MK II

Didn’t stop me from loving that Gerber MK II, though, or the MK I for that matter.  I carried the MK 1 until I was gifted a Guardian I & 2 as a going away present by my last Flight (Air Force for ‘Platoon’) when I left to teach at the USAFE NCO Academy.  I kept them with my personal gear, even in an admin assignment as a NCO Academy Instructor.

Well, time went on, and I had the opportunity to own all three of the Gerber series, Mark, Guardian, and Command.  I still have mixed emotions about the Command, which is closest to meeting the needs for combat and survival because A:  It has a single primary edge, and B: it has a small serrated false edge.  Why?  Because I had learned that survival knives and combat knives should not be crossbred with a dagger.  And that’s what the Gerber series is, friends.  It’s a dagger, made to do ‘dagger things’ (Fairbairn-Sykes anyone?).  If I had to choose between the three iterations, I’d choose the Guardian series, because A:  It’s what it purposes itself to be:  An anti-personnel dagger and B: it’s camouflaged and the blade is non-reflective black.  Easy to keep hidden.   But that’s me…

So, I’ve got a Mark I & II, a Guardian I & II, and a Command II.  I’ve owned a couple Command I’s, but either gave them away or sold them throughout the years.  Very nice daggers; much better than the original Sykes-Fairbairn, “Limey Sticker” or V-42 of the Devil’s Brigade.  The Gerbers can be considered, ‘product improved’.  They’re light, strong, and very ‘fast’ knives.

If you want a good dagger, you really can’t go wrong with a Gerber.  I must admit, I’m not a fan of the ‘newest’ generation of the MK II, though – the serrations are too deep.  If Gerber were going to do it right, they’d re-do the Wasp model with the 5 degree cant, no serrations.  Perfect dagger.  Perfect.

Throughout this series, I’ll write up several types of knives from general purpose to special purpose, depending on interest and feedback.

So what do you think?

The Importance of Keeping Your Head….Especially These Days

Posted at AP on 11 Oct 18.

There’s a heck of a lot of incidents, rhetoric, racist taunts (Hello, CNN) outright threats, and seditious talk coming from the communists these days.  All one needs to do to verify the preceding statement is check the MSM lately.  It’s also evident that our country is more polarized than it has been since 1860, and all it’s going to take is the right spark at the right time into the right ‘fuel,’ and we’re going to be spiraling towards Matt Bracken’s prediction of Bosnia times Rwanda and national Balkanization.

The communists are betting the farm on successfully pushing the country to civil war, IMHO, because they see the opportunity to rid the US of its traditions and black letter law, specifically, the US Constitution, which is the Supreme Law of the Land (don’t bother attempting to argue on its importance to me, either. If it wasn’t for its existence, we’d have been under communist rule long before now…).  Once that goes, there’s nothing to stop them.  It’s one reason, again, IMHO, that they’re attempting to use it as a ‘suicide pact’ and literally kill the country with its own guarantor of limited government intervention on naturally held rights.

In the news there are leading communists that are calling for even less restraint in conducting seditious operations (Hello, Hillary Clinton, Eric Holder, Maxine Waters and others).  Conservatives have been attacked with weapons fire at soft ball games, have been beaten, have been run out of restaurants, harassed at home and while out with family, just to name a few incidents, and the bad actors, not seeing any real consequence for these activities, want to turn up the heat.  They are pushing to get someone on the conservative side to go Dorner on them.  That’s the objective, because they want to use that as a ploy to bring down harsh, draconian measures.  They want the implementation of martial law and whole scale weapons confiscations to begin.  That’s their, ‘Rubicon.’  If that occurs, the die will truly be cast.  It’s not like they’re keeping anything secret.  The tactic they’re trying to employ is right out of the guerrilla warfare play book issued to all communists.  In order to turn the people against the form of government held, the guerrillas must, in fact, cause the civilian population to suffer by government clamp down in order to keep control.  Travel must be restricted; food distribution must be restricted; police action must be increased against everyone on the street.

And, unfortunately, most Western governments do exactly as desired once these guerrilla actions begin in earnest, which works against the government and the people only desiring to be left alone to live their lives, raise their children, and peaceably go about their everyday business.

Right now, it would be easy to say, “to hell with it….they want a war?  Let’s give them a war they won’t believe….” While it could be historically justified, we must keep in mind that the pain of war is nothing compared to misery of aftermath.  And, so observing, each man and woman must realize a certain truth:  Once it starts, there’s no going home after your shift and sitting down with the family for dinner.  No more school field trips, no more magical family holiday gatherings, no more upward movement on the corporate ladder.  Not until one of two events occur:  Winning and death.

And, if that’s what must happen, then it will be evident that there’s no other recourse for a sane, liberty loving, and Christian people (we were founded as, and still remain, to a large extent, a Christian nation), and we’ll all do what we need to do to rid the country of the communists.  Losing won’t be an option, because  if and when it starts and the communists win, Hitler’s death trains will look like Romper Room.

Until that time, it’s vital to keep your head and don’t do brash, hasty things.  Bear your pain stoically, remove anger’s ability to unbalance you, train, have faith, and continue to prepare for that which we may not be able to avoid some day in the foreseeable future.

 

 

Ammo Considerations: Base Line Possession, LBE & SHTF Load Outs: What Works?

Posted at AP on 6 June 18.

Just received a question on whether or not I still believed the minimum amount of ammo held in reserve (meaning, never used for anything but SHTF, and when rotated out, new stock is put in before old stock is removed) for each rifle and pistol owned should be 1000 and 500, respectively.  Short answer:  ABSOLUTELY!

DTG has always recommended the absolute minimum is to have 1,000 rounds per rifle and 500 rounds per pistol owned in reserve, which does not count that which you use to keep your skills honed, which should be about 750 to 1,000 rounds per year with your rifle, and 500 to 750 rounds per year on your pistol.  I’ve upped shooting to 1,000 to 1,500 rounds per year with pistols and kept the rifle the same (I carry every day, and need to ensure I’m efficient, as should anyone who carries IMHO, especially now that ammunition is cheaper than it ever has been).

You might also throw into the ‘Reserve’ equation replacement magazines for all mag fed weapons.  DTG’s always recommended an absolute minimum of seven magazines for each rifle (7.62NATO will most likely be 20’s/5.56NATO, 30’s) for SHTF preparation and three magazines per pistol.  Dead minimum.  That number doesn’t take into account any you might load for your ruck/resupply, etc.  More on that, later.

Here’s a fictional example of what someone might want who owns 2 M4geries and 2 pistols:

  • M-4gery’s owned:  2
    • Ammo in Reserve:  2,000 rounds (1K for each M4gery)
    • Ammo for annual training: 1,500 – 2,000 rounds (presumes 2 shooters – if one M4gery is a spare, you could cut this number in half, but then again, why not simply switch out the ‘4geries and get in more trigger time?)
    • Total rifle ammo owned now:  3,500 – 4,000 rounds (and having definite plans to acquire more!)
  • Pistols owned: 2
    • Ammo in Reserve:  1,000 rounds (defense ammo, not FMJ (500 per pistol) – see above about acquiring more.
    • Ammo for annual training: 1000 – 1500 rounds (see above – presumes 2 shooters)
  • M4gery mags:  7 per M4gery
    • Mags owned now:  22 (still building supplies based on budget)
  • Pistol mags: 3 per pistol
    • Mags owned now:  16 (good to go for now – can concentrate on other needs)

While it might seem like a lot, it’s really not, unless you’re buying all of this at once.  If you’re just starting out, get it incrementally.  Look for ammo sales (they happen ALL the time).  Take a year to get your minimums up to par, and then every year, do the same and add to your reserve.  It’ll seem easier the 2nd year, because you’ll most likely have adapted your budget to include these essential items.  If you’re worried about shelf life, don’t.  There is NO shelf life on ammo.  I have some WWII M2 Ball (30-06) that still pops, and pops well!  (The only thing to remember about older ammo such as the M2 Ball is that it is corrosive, and when you shoot it, you need to clean your weapon thoroughly after the range, especially the gas system (if it has one).

Storage – All you need do to ensure you’re ammo will last in storage is keep it in a reasonably consistent cool temperature storage area and dry – consistency in temperature and low humidity is what lets ammo last longer than a lot of us will be alive.  Something else you might do is refrain from touching the ammo (unless you’re wearing rubber gloves) until you’re going to use it.  Doing so will keep the salts contained in your finger oils from corroding the brass over time, which is bad.

Caliber is irrelevant to the amount of ammo you keep in reserve.  It doesn’t matter if you choose a 7.62NATO, 5.56NATO, 7.62X39, 9mm, .45, 10mm, whatever.  The baseline is 1000 rounds per rifle and 500 rounds per pistol/revolver owned held in reserve as a minimum.  That means it’s the absolute smallest amount you should have.  Your plans to build up your ammo reserves incrementally should be a priority in your budget, because once S does HTF, what you got is what you got.

Same with magazines.  Find the sales.  Right now there are sales going on for aluminum 30 round mags for $7.99 with free shipping if you purchase 10 at once.  It’s a no brainer!  You don’t have to take them out of the plastic, either.  As far as numbers of mags go, you’re the judge on how many is ‘enough.’  Back in my youth, I remember the old timers telling me that if I bought a magazine fed rifle, I should spend half the value of the rifle on magazines.  Why?  They break, and a mag fed rifle without a functional magazine is a fancy looking single shot.  Mags are much more expensive now than when I received that sage advice, but it can be done without too much pain.  Incremental mag purchases, like ammo, add up over time, which is a good thing.  You can relax on magazines when you have 30 per rifle and 15 per pistol in reserve.

Next up is carrying on your LBE, Vest, or belt for SHTF purposes.  How many magazines do you carry?  It’s a good question that has numerous answers based on the conditions you may find yourself faced with.

Here’s a few basic questions to help you find out what’s right for your situation:

  • Are you sheltering in place (SIP)?
    • If so, would you be defending your home (and helping defend others) and staying in close proximity?
    • Are you part of a Neighborhood Protection Team that might be posted to protect an area perimeter?
    • In the event of a firefight, presuming you survived, would you be able to easily return to your home and resupply yourself?
  • Are you planning to “Bug To” a new location on foot or in a vehicle?
    • Important, because your equipment will most likely be set up differently for each scenario.
  • What physical shape are you in?
    • Have you practiced long walks with a full pack (ruck) and your LBE?
    • Do you have a regular PT plan that you maintain?
    • Do you ensure you don’t eat much (if any) processed food?
  • Do you have a cache (or several) with a resupply en route to your “Bug To” location?
  • Do you have ‘way point’ safe locations with pre-positioned resupply available?
  • Are you leaving your home for the rest of your life?
  • Are you moving alone to join family/friends/security group or are you bringing your ‘precious cargo’ (family) with you?

And you do realize, don’t you, that no matter how much you carry, your primary objective is to avoid contact, right?  Getting into a fire fight is not going to work for you or your escorted family members.  Your key tactic is to be able to fight a delaying action, defined as trading space for time – giving you time to get further away (putting space between you and the bad guys).  Digressing a lot here, but it’s related.

The amount of ammo you should carry on your LBE/person depends entirely on the answers to these and other questions to get to the amount that would most likely work, but there are some general parameters you can use to start your evaluation.  Doesn’t matter what caliber; a lot of people have the AK platform and the 7.62×39 or 7.62X54.  For brevity, I’m keeping the scope of this Op-Ed to the 7.62NATO and 5.56NATO.  Adapt from there to whatever caliber is your choice.

First, the platform you have is going to have a direct impact on how much ammo you can physically carry when balanced against your fitness level.  Here and on other training blogs, the cry of, “MORE PT!!” is echoed regularly by bloggers and students after attending classes and learning first hand that being in shape is the foundation of being able to do what you need to do.  So, take that in and let it burn in, real good.  Get into the best shape you can get.  Digression complete.

Back to the platform.  7.62NATO weighs a lot when you start putting loaded 20 round mags on your LBE (kit).  The most I’ve ever carried is 13 (12 on the LBE; 1 in the rifle), and that was not typical.  That’s 260 rounds.  In the ruck I had another 200 rounds in bandoleers and another 4 mags on the outside of the ruck in pouches.  540 rounds of 7.62NATO is extremely heavy.  So, back to PT if you’re chosen caliber is 7.62NATO.  Long, long walks with a full ruck, LBE, and a rifle to get used to it is your requirement.  As you go, move to inclines, rough ground, and so forth, because that’s what you’re going to be dealing with once you get out of populated areas.  I carried the M-14 type rifle (civilian) doing training, walks in the hills, and on shooting excursions at local ranges for about 20 years before I realized I was getting to the age that I might want a lighter rifle and ammo so I could go a lot longer during a SHTF situation, because truly, if S does HTF, you’ll be facing the probability that you’re carrying all the ammo you need for the rest of your life….or so I’ve heard.

The last few years that I carried the M14 type rifle, a realistic load (at least for me and my situation) was to go down to six 20 round mags on the LBE, one in the rifle, and still keep 200 rounds in bandoleers (complete with mag charging spoons pinned to each bandoleer) in waterproof bags in the ruck where I could get to them easily.  340 rounds was a lot more manageable to me with that platform.  I still conditioned with ruck walks of up to 10 miles with the pack weighing anywhere from 35 to 80 pounds, depending on the training day/cycle.  It helped, and still does.  (Notice a pattern here on PT and fitness level?)

5.56NATO allows you to carry a lot more in the way of ammunition, and from reports from people who spent a lot of time in the last 10 years in Afghanistan shooting people, it does a really good job.  Not quite as good as the 7.62NATO, but everything’s a trade off.  With the 5.56NATO, shot placement is KING, which means you have to actually SHOOT WITH YOUR GEAR ON (I know, I’m digressing a lot) REGULARLY when training! Right now, I carry eight 30 round mags on my LBE, one in the rifle, and up to another six in my 3 day pack or ruck (along with 210 rounds in a bandoleer inside if my personal DEFCON is elevated) when I’m in peak shape.  So, that’s a total between 420 and 630 rounds, situation dependent, and they noticeably weigh less than my full load of 7.62NATO when I carried it.  Some guys like to carry 13 mags (390 rounds) between their LBE and rifle, and another 360 rounds in their rucks either in mags or in bandoleers.   That’s 750 rounds!   They are much younger and in much better shape than I am.  I am working on the PT but I can’t do anything about the wear and tear of years lived, though.  So, I carry less than they do.  Plus, should things go South, I’m figuring I won’t be doing much ‘snoopin’ and poopin’; that’ll be for the younger guys.  I’ll be helping from a ‘centralized command location’ or pulling guard duty, or something less dynamic.  The point remains, however, don’t sweat having 5.56NATO as your primary round.  You can carry more and it will do the trick.

Here’s the bottom line for how much you should carry:  You have to figure out what works for you and balance it against the threat you’re planning for,  That means experimenting while taking into account your physical capabilities, your GOOD planning, projected daily activities, how fast and how far you think you’ll have to move, what resupply may be available along your route or at your future location.  That’s why your pack list will continuously change to one degree or another as you learn and try to improve what you carry in the way of ammo and equipment in terms of Return on Investment (ROI) for effort expended and the capability of the item in question to help keep you alive.  If you were to reduce everything to a simple equation, it would be this:  Ammo, water, food, essential survival gear/equipment, all else.

The one factor you can influence that will have the most bearing on how much you carry?  Your fitness level.  Do more PT!!

So, now you have something to work toward.  Remember, the solution you choose for your own situation is going to have a definite impact on what happens when/if things go, ‘sporty.’

Choose wisely.

Better Weather Can be YOUR Motivator to a Fresh Start in Your Training

Posted at AP 6 Jan 19 as ‘A New Year Can Mean a Fresh Start in Your Training”

Simply put, sometimes life will get in your way, and pretty soon, you’re not training like you should in any area, and then, even with a couple attempts at getting back on schedule, you might feel overwhelmed…..and then just lay off for a few or more months.  Then, if one isn’t careful, the habit of no longer training will become routine, rather than the forced discipline of training becoming routine.  And then comes the end result pictured below:

                                And this is before TOO much damage has been done!!

Not a good outcome for you OR your family, if you are the leader and/or protector.  Not good from any perspective that you might have if you’re a regular DTG reader.  Here it is, already the 3rd week of April, and you haven’t gotten serious about being in shape, because ‘weather.’

Right now, anyone (used to include me – I’ve been at it now for about 6 weeks) who’s slacked off for whatever reason have an opportunity to motivate themselves and get back on track.  The hardest part of the journey is making the first step, and that’s getting off the couch.  Use the mild weather to help you.  Open some windows, walk around outside.  Add some stabilized oxygen to your drinking water a couple times a day.  The more oxygen in your blood stream, the more you’ll be energized.

The second step is to start doing ‘push away’ exercises (push yourself away from the table).  The third step is to restart your PT program.  Now.  Today.  In the rain if necessary.  No matter how inviting and warm that chair or couch near the fire place, wood stove, or TV looks!

Each step comes easier following that extremely difficult first step.  And yes, you’re going to be sore, possibly even cranky as your food intake decreases.  Persevere.

In addition, consider cutting back on sugar/carbs/starches/alcohol.  They have one purpose beyond the very little bit your body needs:  Make fat.

Increase your intake of natural fat, vegetables (especially green ones) and natural protein.  Natural fat is necessary for good brain function and also will help jump start your metabolism again.

And, if it needs to be said, check with your doctor before doing anything rigorous.  Personally, I’ve got a clean bill of health, but I’m also starting out again gradually, on that long, hard road to fitness.  Being able to move without screaming is actually a positive!

My first phase still includes increasing numbers and sets of push-ups, walks of increasing distance (no weight) and speed, and abs all summer.  About a month ago, I started rucking again in addition to more rigorous PT.  Right now I’m at 5 miles with 50 pounds at about a 17 minute mile.

It can be done without too much agony.  Remember, science shows us that we can rebuild muscle mass, strength, and stamina into our 90’s…..so there’s really no excuse not to, especially in the preparedness world.

Here’s a couple of good resources if you like guided programs (like I do).

Buy it here for less than $9.

Here’s another for pure body weight exercises that cover entire physique conditioning that can be done in a small space.  It’s called, “Convict Conditioning,” and it can take you from no strength whatsoever to powerhouse strength.  When I bought mine it was almost $40; now?  It’s less than $24 on Amazon, here.  Such a deal!!

For abs, my favorite reference is, Legendary Abs – Gold Edition.  I’ve been using this routine since my early martial arts days, and it really does work without stressing or hurting your back.  It also provides the science behind the routine.  It’s just under $24, too, if you want to try it out.

 

Once I get to April, or possibly mid-March, I’ll be adding this back into my routine.  Up to 10 miles, eventually, most likely by August/September, and, as I’m purging my ruck, probably 65 pounds.

80 lb ruck – Prior to a 7 mile walk – 2016 – I was 60.  Still rucking 3 years later.

Whatever you choose as your primary routines, the most important ingredient will be your resolve to see it through and form the habit of exercising so that when you have to miss it, you feel guilty.  It helps.

So, what will your routine be?

 

Survival Artillery Update: The Desert Eagle .44 Mag & .50AE on the Range

Posted at AP on 13 March 19.

As you may have read on an earlier post, I recently came into a DE .50AE and ordered a .44 mag barrel for it as I am looking to retire (sell – interested parties may drop me a note at defensivetraininggroup@outlook.com) my 629 in the original post as I like the magazine fed DE better than the wheel gun SW 629.  Habit and all.  I still have my favored SW 686, and 66, and a Colt Lawman III, but I like pistols better.  Now, don’t get me wrong, the 629 is a sweet piece, very accurate, and a joy to shoot.  It is, however, to me, a PITA to clean, especially around the face of the cylinder, the inside strap, the forcing cone area, and so forth, the carbon so it looks good (ie, ‘new’).  I am OCD about carbon on a stainless side arm, just sayin’. The DEAGLE is much more forgiving when cleaning, and is very simple to get clean all the way down to detailed disassembly.  For whatever reason, carbon easily comes off standard finishes such as the Israeli DE I own.

On to the range test.  The week before, the new .44 mag barrel arrived, as did the extra magazines I ordered for each caliber (looking pays off as I averaged $38 per mag shipped (both calibers) – which is good for IMI factory mags), so did my new case (I had decided to build a case with both barrels, 4 mags of each, and at least 40 rounds of each caliber for travelling purposes.  Here’s the case:

Didn’t want to pay for a Pelican, and this one, by Plano, serves nicely.  Pretty rugged, and can secured completely for air travel.  I like it so far.  The only nit to pick is the top layer of foam is way too thick.  After I cut the outlines for everything I wanted, the DE had about an inch and a half of foam above it, so it can be jarred.  Don’t like that, so I’ll get myself a couple of thinner layers that hold it where I want.

During dry fire familiarization, I noted the trigger is very nice; no creep and breaks clean.  The standard iron sights are very well centered with no adjustment necessary, but they’re black, so only good for illuminated scenarios (note to self:  gotta get some tritium sights! – Update:  Done.  Gotta get them installed!)

Range Day:  Got everything together and headed out.

Disclosure:  Until the .50AE, I had never fired any side arm larger than .44 magnum before, so I was mildly anxious as to what may occur when I touched off the first round.  I did some research and everything I read said the same thing:  “recoil is significant as is the fireball….” Great, I thought to myself; how’s this gonna look when I fire the first round, put it back in the case and go home???  (I had fired a Desert Eagle in .41 magnum in ’94, but only about 20 rounds, and only once.)

Well, time to cowboy up and put all that away, so….break it out!  I had purchased some .50AE ammo from Steinel; 335 gr flat-nosed FMJ.  Reasonably priced at a dollar per round.   Not ‘nicely’ priced (‘nicely’ to me is a 50% off sale, and then I buy a bunch!); but reasonably priced.  And it should go without saying that at that price, going to the range and popping off more than 20 rounds at a time will be extremely unusual.  Of course, other ammo manufacturers charge way more, so I’m not bitching; just being tight in the wallet (the Steinel 355gr pictured below is no longer made, but they have made a new 300gr JHP with Gold Dot projectiles).

The first 10 rounds of .50AE all hit the target at 25 meters, but the jerk behind the trigger needed some calming down….so I switched to the .44 mag barrel and did about 30 rounds of 240gr Federal American Eagle.  That seemed to help.  I save the last 10 rounds of .50AE for last.

Now, this Steinel ammo is fairly hot, coming out of the 6 inch barrel at 1410FPS.  BIG fireball; VERY loud.   Digression:  It was so loud that a shooter from several lanes down came over when I had completed the first mag and asked, “Excuse me, but WHAT exactly are you shooting?!?”   Of course I showed their party the pistol and they were very appreciative with the male partner asking his female partner if he could save for one…at that point, I decided to go back to my lane and shoot some more rounds.  Digression complete.

Bottom line is that the Steinel ammo shot so well (especially for my first time firing this caliber) that I ordered more for ‘the next time’.  And yes, I’m considering hand loading it also.  Update:  Have ordered 100 rounds of Steinel’s new 300gr JHP (Gold Dot) .50AE for Phase 2 of the range testing.

Ammo experimentation will be on-going; Buffalo Bore, for example, says that their hard cast 380 gr .50AE ammo doesn’t clog the gas port (I still get a kick out of shooting a ‘gas operated’ pistol!).  Here’s a quote from their site:  “Magnum Research warns against using hard cast bullets in the Desert Eagle, as the gas port can become fouled and I suppose this is true with soft bullets (these are very hard at around 22 BHN) with a plain base. Our load features a very hard bullet with a gas check on the base and in several hundred rounds of firing, did not foul the gas port on either pistol. ”  So, I’m considering getting some of that for giggles.  One thing about that hard cast, heavy projectile:  the penetration is amazing!

During my .44 magnum shooting, I also used some Winchester 250gr Platinum Tip.  Both performed very well, as expected, and since it was my first time, I only went out to 25 meters or so.  All in all I shot 80 rounds.  The last 10 rounds I fired were .50AE at 20 meters at an 8.5X11 target pictured below.  Once I get myself disciplined with this new pistol, I think I’m going to really like it for days out in the bush where dangerous things live.  Of course, I’ll carry 5 mags (overkill of course, but hey….).

As you can see, once I settled down, the group did, too.  All 10 rounds would have been immediately fatal.  So I’m happy with the new acquisition and it’s capabilities.

Next up on the improvements is to get Trijicon sights for both the .44 and .50AE barrels installed.  After that, it’s basically practice, practice, practice.

To tell the truth, if I’d have known how well these handle, I think I would have purchased one long ago.  Now, I have 2 calibers that take about 5 seconds to change out from one to the other.   Versatility is great!

Some Skills NEVER Go Out of Style!

Posted on AP 27 Nov 18.

In relation directly to this news post over at American Partisan, this two year old, short article, from the Defensive Training Group blog, on why one might want to know Land Navigation and have the requisite equipment is very apropos.

 

 

 

GPS Operation

 

So, you say, you don’t need to know how to use a map or compass, figure declination, or plot coordinates because you’ve got your handy-dandy palm-sized GPS that goes 5 years on a set of batteries, and is accurate to within 1 meter, huh?  If that’s you, you might want to consider that the old story regarding GPS signals being subject to random programmable errors (meaning that your super-accurate GPS can purposely be fed signals to take you off target as far as the programmer wishes) is true.  What’s more, the increased dependency of our society to have our navigation done for us by mini-computers makes us dependent upon that technology, and puts us at the mercy of the machine and people running it.  Add to that mix our national enemies that already have our communications & GPS satellites targeted for best case, jamming, and worst case, physical destruction.  Makes ya feel all warm and fuzzy on getting from point A to B, now don’t it?

The GPS system is now being purposefully jammed in tests by the US Navy [and refer to the link above for another successful GPS jamming exercise, this time by the Russians] to test a new device used specifically for jamming GPS signals.  Remember, if you’re dependent upon GPS and someone jams the signals, you’re screwed.

Read the full story, here.  Below are some key quotes:

“Starting today, it appears the US military will be testing a device or devices that will potentially jam GPS signals for six hours each day. We say “appears” because officially the tests were announced by the FAA but are centered near the US Navy’s largest installation in the Mojave Desert. And the Navy won’t tell us much about what’s going on.

The FAA issued an advisory warning pilots on Saturday that global positioning systems (GPS) could be unreliable during six different days this month, primarily in the Southwestern United States. On June 7, 9, 21, 23, 28, and 30th [2018] the GPS interference testing will be taking place between 9:30am and 3:30pm Pacific time. But if you’re on the ground, you probably won’t notice interference.”

……………………………………………………….

“GPS technology has become so ubiquitous that cheap jamming technology has become a real concern for both military and civilian aircraft [and anyone else using the technology on the ground].”

map and compass 1

The nice thing is that Land Navigation Skills – Old School – work ALL the time!   If you don’t know how, you might want to move it up a bit on your priority list – it’s not that difficult to learn.  I’ll be reposting some older ‘how to’ and ‘why’ pieces in the next couple weeks.

Additionally, if you’re local to my AO, and you want to set up a training class, drop me a line.

Stay tuned!