Saturday, February 13, 2016

What do?

So Tam talks about a new kind of gunstore customer she is seeing getting CCW pistols.

Old.  60 somethings.  Often women.  Short.  Perhaps arthritic with visual acuity not what it was.

They are buying smallish sincle stack Glock 43s and similar.  The recoil springs are on the stout side for weakened older hands.   And it is easier to get a limp wristing malfunction with em, too, for the same reason. 

Well, that's no fun.

An old skool revolver might not be the answer either.  What with 12 pound DA trigger pulls and the same seasoned trigger fingers struggling to work it. 

So what IS the answer?  Tam doesn't say.  And I sure don't know. 

But I want to know.  I am planning to get old, and weak, myself. 

Process of elimination:  Revolver out, small single stack semi 9mm out....  So option 3 is full size semi.  I guess.  Hard to dissuade folks looking for the one goldilocks gun.  I can understand why folks want not too big, not too small, not too recoily, not too weak a cartridge...  So pick the Glock 43 over the Glock 19?  Yeah, I might fixate on the small gun too if I was new to the problem like some of Tam's elder customers seem to be. 

Update:  Tam doesn't allow comments on her blog because of a crazy person, but there are other places where commenters can speak on this.  Some of them, and her, are leaning that Glock 19 direction, too.


My dad is in a similar boat.  He doesn't have arthritis but he did have some surgery on both hands to fix some tendon issues.  The powerful hands I remember as a kid aren't what they were.  But he isn't pistol shopping.  If he was, well, why NOT a Glock 43?  He lives in Maryland, too, and the 19 offers not much more advantage as the single stack when it comes to magazine capacity.  Hopefull that will get slapped down in the court, finally.

Oooo, another thing I didn't consider:  loading a double stack Glock magazine when my hands are in pain.  Even with a loader.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Dremels are Hard

That little gyroscope writhes like a snake in your hands.  Even knowing best practices and the safest techniques learned from long experience, it is a difficult device to master

EVERYONE knows the conventional wisdom that the Dremel is where amatuer gunsmiths go wrong and really mess up their gun.  Best not use it. 

But there are things you use it on that there really no better tool you can use!  You can't just swap it out for a file or something. 

Where do you HAVE to use it?

The lugs under the barrel.  The barrel ramp.  The frame to barrel ramp transition. 

"But wait!  Why use that dremel tool for the bottom lugs? Just use a barrel lug cutter."  That was a comment in a previous post.

Thing is... I did. We do. We use a barrel lug cutter.  They are vital.  But they don't take you all the way. 

The first cutter hogs off a bunch.  You better turn the cutter the correct direction or you will round over the cutting teeth.  Always use plenty of oil.  Man does it cut away little slivers of metal.  That cutter measures 0.185" or 0.186".  After that cut, you switch to the bigger cutter for the 'finish' cut.  0.195" or 0.196" depending on who you get it from.

But this isn't really the finish cut.  This section contacts the slide release.  What is the diameter of the slide pin?  0.20 inches, give or take a tough or two.  More than 0.196 inches at any rate.  A cutter that measures 0.2 or even 0.198 won't fit in the slide release pin hole in the frame.  0.185, then 0.196, then....  nothing available.  So you gotta use your Sharpie smoke-lamp and fit the lugs to the slide release.  To get at most 0.005 inches of metal removed in the right places.  And the only real tool for this is a Dremel with a carbide bit.  I WISH there was a way to so this with a hand tool 

This, is hard.  It's hard for the gunsmith, and he has done thousands of these.  Even he messes up and has to start over on occasion.   

Thursday, February 11, 2016


All the guys in the 1911 build class are in the exact same demographic as me.    Mid 40s.  Ex military or some sort of gummint service.  Makes half decent money.  Not shabby for a mid 40s dude in the DC area.  It's uncanny.

We are all spending big buck to A) learn something new, and B) get a good pistol out of it.  Sometimes the priority is one over the other.

I am an A) person.  Right now I can put a gun together that is better than a factory pistol.  But that isn't saying much.

I am telling you, you can feed yourself if you can make a drop in 1911 with a decent sear/hammer engagement, get it together and pass safety checks, then get a decent finish on it.  You can churn out two $2000 gun a week like that that will be better than the other $2000 1911s in the gun store display case.  Maybe $500 profit if you cut corners?   Liability is expensive, tho.  It will keep you awake at night.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Gun Skool, Discouragement

Sometimes in class things go well and it feels like I am getting the hang of it and I am learning new things.  A few more guns like this and I do retire one day and make extra money just building 1911s!  I am great!  Well not great, but heading to ok, maybe even the bottom part of pretty good.

Other times I hope that next class I can drop the scroo-up to about 90% of what I was doing during that day's class.  It feels hard.  I am understanding less.  I am breaking stuff.

This previous weekend was more like that.

Anyway.  The thing for this weekend is fitting the bottom lugs and installing the proper barrel link.  I already knew this part was hard because we had done it before.  It's hard. 

My Dremel skills are WEAK!  WEAK!!!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

If you have to lie

And it is so obviously a lie.

Vincent DeMarco, president of Marylanders to Prevent Gun Violence, says it was the wrong decision, but doesn't think it will be upheld. He is pushing for a universal background check across the country.

"That is something which will prevent gun violence,” he states. “We definitely need national laws, but states that have these kinds of measures have lower gun deaths."

And so easily and regularly debunked...   You movement is on borrowed time.  Thank goodness.

Vincent DeMarco lies.  States that have those kinds of measures do not track with lower gun deaths.  Or lower gun violence.  Or lower violence.  One doesn't correlate with the others. 

Unless he want so argue that the the NRA gets the Justice Department to fudge its numbers.  I guess he can go that route.  People won't believe that either.

Bill 'O Health

So, on a personal note. 

Had my annual checkup, but for the previous month I've been teetotalling.

"Oh my GAWRSH T-Bolt, but you LOVE good beer!  Heck weren't you brewing beer for realz for a living for a mess of years?"

Yes, that is true.  But I wanted to see something.  I had read this article last fall.  Dramatic health benefits by giving your liver a vacation: 

‘The results were staggering,’ said Professor Kevin Moore, who was involved in both experiments. ‘If you had a drug that did this it would be a multi-billion pound market.  ‘There was a 40 per cent reduction in liver fat, they lost about three kilograms in weight and their cholesterol levels improved.’

Heck, I can do that.  And it don't cost nothing.  If I can quit smoking I can go a month without a drop.  It's not like I am quitting forever, just for January.  I did nothing else to boost any good effects.  No extra niacin or vitamin D or what have you. 

I had my last drink on the 3rd of January.  And the doc was the 8th of February.  And to break my fast I had a decent IPA from Troegs called Perpetual.  A well made offering that resists going too crazy with the hops like many IPA makers are wont to do.  Was good. 

Results?  Who knows on Cholesterol levels.  Only had blood drawn yesterday.  My pants and belt are looser, so some ell-bees melted off.  Good.  My BP was 138/80.  Meh.  When I was a kid it was 115/70, and I used to get head rushed standing up.  So that is no good, dangit.  No real improvement.  I wasn't 145/90 this time last year.  I was about the same. 

We'll see when the cholesterol number come in.  Maybe do 2 months next time and zap myself with niacin/aspirin/vitamin D.  I'd like to avoid Crestor type meds as long as possible. 


What else is wrong with me?  The beginning of old man complaints.  Sciatica.  The tips of my kneecaps hurt.  Dad had that about this age, but then it went away after a few years.  Mystery!  I look forward to it going away... 

I need to go hiking more

Maybe not.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Those French

They contemplated a pretty tank.  Even if potentially ineffectual, it had style

I guess if development had been done with more alacrity and it was fielded in March 1940 it'd be as good as many other possible opponents.  But in WWII you had to developed and produce tanks fast, the technological competition was fierce.

But that thing might have done ok against a Panzer III, even.

Monday Blahs

Standard Bupkis.

Coming offa Gun Skool weekend, too.  You'd think I'd have something to yammer about.

A guy in class had one of these Veil Holsters for his Glock.  They are a pretty minimal holster with only one belt loop on the model he had.  He found it didn't shift around much that way.  And the holster was very comfortable.  An important consideration as 99.9+% of the time comfort is critical factor.  Don't you think?

Sunday, February 7, 2016

The Gipper

Yesterday was Ronald Reagan's birthday.  He would have been 105 years old.  Some folks want to carve his likeness up on Mt. Rushmore.  This is a horrible idea in my opinion.  Just wrong.

No, carve his mug onto the surface of the moon.  Big enough to make out easily from earth.  Twice.  Happy, smiling Reagan on this side.  ANGRY Reagan on the dark side.  To scare away Aliens. 

This Woman

Is like a cross between RobertaX and Jan Brady.  On a houseboat. Which is awesome.

Lockup Pt 2

The modern pistols are genius in many ways.  They took the great ideas invented by John Moses Browning and improved upon them in important ways.

One of the important ways was making it easier to manufacture a gun with good lockup that requires less hand fitting. 

The 1911 is a great gun, as you all know.  But it is hard to get right cheaply.  If all gunnies were billionaires they'd never turn their nose up at a $5000 gun.  And five large buys a nice pistol.  And who cares if there are $500 guns then? 

But we aren't all rich.  What does that $500 gun have to offer?

Well, look at the barrel of your modern pistol and compare it to your 1911 barrel.  It doesn't have that link think on the underlug, and instead of lugs on top, that squarish hood does double duty and fits into the slide port.  Fewer things to keep track of, and easier to make with machine tools instead of getting close and hand fitting with files.  Less skilled needed in assembly means cheaper, and faster.  Fewer parts and fewer steps and fewer machine operations meands faster and cheaper.  Simpler means less maintenance later.  And less skilled maintenance. 

Which is why I love the 1911, but if I was a police commissioner I'd never equip my cops it.  Not unless my budget was unlimitted.  And budgets never are.

Same with equipping an army.

But to equip T-Bolt?  T-Bolt is willing to learn the upkeep and spend the money to make the sleection of a solid slim pistol like the 1911 more sensible.   I recommend everyone that own a 1911 and likes it to learn this maintenancy gunsmithy stuff.  In a few more years of gun classes I'll kinda know what I am doing enough justify carrying one in my holster... 

(Is it really that big a deal, T-Bolt?  Well... maybe not that extreme.  I still recommend the learning.  Don't got time for that?  You might want a more modern tool, then.  Might.)

In 1945 there was nothing better and cheaper than the M1911A.  It was the glock/m&p/hk/sig modern pistol of it's day.  

I've gone over all this before.  But what do I know?

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Gun Skool, addendum

All that stuff I talked about yesterday? One of the things I gloss over is the prep work ahead of time. Before you got fiting the barrel hood to the breech face you be sure the breach face is smooth and should and there is no shelf from the tooling that might add friction to this area as the bullet case slides along it. This happens in a lot of step. Under the slide there is the little divot the disconnector goes into, and then slides along when the slide works back and forth. There are numbers stamped on there. You can smooth this area (not TOO much!) and be sure that divot is sound and has no tooling marks itself. All our caspian slides in class did have a good disconnetor relief area, smooth as a babies bottom. I've seen uglier slides my own self, and I am a n00b.

Speaking of n00bs, don't do this:

OHMYGAWD!  Bless your heart, fella, but fast forward to 16:54 and listen to that? What you hear, even my n00b ears know, is galling. He calls it 'smearing' later.  He smeared off some metal.  See this still? The slide has actually planed a ship out of the frame. No no no!


I am a fast worker. I am consistently ahead of the other guys in class. Even the machinist guy. I am comfortable with tools and have always been fast with things. Taking tests in school, for example. I was the first to finish almost every time. I find things easy, I cruise through it. It applies to other things, too. Like, mopping floors and mowing lawns. Churning out blog posts.

This is a good thing. And it is not.

Speed has a quality of it's own. But it sacrifices quality sometimes. You see my atrocious and egregious typos? Speed has no time for proofreading!

I have to fight against this natural tendency in class. I want the best gun I can get not the fastest-made gun. Stop myself, pay attention, do a better job. If I do get ahead think on the stuff I just did and see if there is some area I can concentrate on to make better. 'Proofread' the gun. So to speak. Attention to detail.

You know where this tendency of mine will actually hurt me the most? The final finish. I won't take enough time to do it right.

My speed might make me a good get for a factory where they are pretty much just dropping in parts and making them work.  But I don't want to just make below average factory guns...  It's something I struggle with, self-discipline wise.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Gun Skool, barrel lockup.

So, what, pray, is the very most critical areas to concentrate on when building a 1911 to get as good a lockup as possible?

Where the barrel hood touches the breechfaces, where the underlugs touches the slide release, and where the slide lugs engage the top lugs on the barrel.

What you want in the lugs in top of the barrel is have them contact the slide at two point at 10 o'clock and 2 o'clock.  I noticed that factory guns tend to contact at 12 o'clock only.  With this one central point of contact the gun can roll a bit.  It's relying on the barrel hood contact with the sides of the slide, and underlug contact with the slide release, to hold it in the same place.  

With the rebuilt gun we couldn't achieve 10 and 2 with the factory barrel.  We concentrated on the other areas.  With a new build with a new over sized barrel we get to fit the barrel to the slide and we get to shoot for really crisp lockup and at the 10 and 2 postition.

Like I said, good 10 and 2 and good underlug, and you are miles ahead of what I have seen with mulitple facotry guns.

That's what we did last class time.  We mark the barrel hood with magic marker and get the hood to fit into place until it just locks into the lugs by filing the spots where there is contact where you see marker removed.  Then we mark the barrel lugs and file on the barrel where it touchs at 10 and 2.  As we file we are also 'lifting' the barrel into position.   When I started the firing pin would strike a little above center on the primer.  I am trying to get it closer to center without going below center.  File too much away, move the strike point on the primer, and there is no fixing it.  Remove too much on the barrel hood and you can add metal with that area with a welder.  Same with the under lug.  But remove too much metal in the barrel lugs on top and you need a need a barrel. 

(Let me just add, let's say I was a really good gunsmith and made a pistol that could shot holes in an inch and half radius circle at 50 yards.  I, as a shooter, am not skilled enough to notice.  Chances are you the reader are not skilled enough.  Nor do you know anyone in person that is skilled enough.  Even famous competitive shooters you watch on Youtube, many of them are not skilled enough to notice 1.5" vs. 4".  It's still fun trying to make a gun that runs as well at a 9" gun in reliability, but shoots inside a half dollar.  Trying.  TRYING.) 

Thursday, February 4, 2016

NRA Court Announcement

Well, THIS is nice.

"Appeals court decision casts doubt on Maryland’s assault weapons ban"

It's nice to see a disappointed Frosh, too. We hate that guy. 

The ruling doesn't speak to carry outside the home, but the law agin 11 round magazine and AR15s that weren't Heavy Barrel varieties does implicate Heller stuffs directly.

You want to stop a home invader in Maryland, yesterday, you gotta use an AR that shoots .308, not .223. 

Yeah it doesn't make sense to me either.

Still gotta wait for legal wrangling to, er... wrangle out.

Dissent says:

Judge Robert B. King wrote: “Let’s be real: The assault weapons banned by Maryland’s [law] are exceptionally lethal weapons of war” and as such, he said, not constitutionally protected.

Hmph.  AR10 is, again, okey dokey.