Friday, June 26, 2009

Heller +1 Year

One year ago today the United States Supreme court handed down the landmark Heller decision that affirmed what most scholars and students of history already knew – the Second Amendment affirms and enumerates an individual right to keep and bear arms. The decision was far closer than it should have been. On the fundamental question of a “collective” versus an individual right, the decision should have been 9-0, but it was a squeaker 5-4 decision.

Since then, the march of the legal apparatus has continued onward with both victories and defeats for champions of the Second Amendment. We’ve seen one appellate Court rule that the Second Amendment is incorporated under the 14th Amendment, but two others state that it isn’t. An unambiguous ruling from the Supreme Court that the Second represents a universal right not subject to state or local contradiction would be welcome as it would put all anti-gun laws in jeopardy at once.

Recent polls also show that America’s desire for additional gun control laws is waning. Recognition that the Second Amendment affirms an individual right is at an all time high while desire for handgun bans is at an all time low according to several recent polls. Opposition to gun control is truly becoming bi-partisan with members of both major political parties in the U.S. coming out against additional strictures.

Opponents of the Second Amendment haven’t been idle, however. The Obama administration has tried to internationalize the issue. They used false statistics about American guns seized in Mexico and claimed they were fueling Mexican drug cartel wars. They used this basis as a platform to call for a new “assault weapon” ban. The use of patently false statistics was quickly exposed, but much of the media continued to report the faulty numbers. America, however, seems to have seen through the deception – though now Jamaica is claiming American guns are fueling their own drug wars. The administration has furthermore nominated a Second-Amendment unfriendly judge to the Supreme Court, and has nominated several other rabidly anti-Second Amendment individuals to other key positions.

Unfortunately the Heller decision wasn’t the final word in settling the legal questions surrounding our right to keep and bear arms, but it was an important first step in securing our rights. It also served as a wake-up call for those opposed to the Second Amendment. Expect their tactics to become more desperate going forward as legal precedents in our favor mount. Some are already calling those who support our right to bear arms “insurrectionists” – undoubtedly as a precursor to bringing military or civil authority to bear. Internationally the situation hasn’t improved much either with the most of the EU, Canada, and Australia still languishing under various levels of gun control from registration to outright bans.

The Heller case represented an important step forward for securing our rights, but it was really only the first step in a much larger effort. It will take years for the various challenges to the various failed gun control laws to make it through the courts, and there will undoubtedly be setbacks along the way. We have the force of history and Framers’ Intent on our side, however, and I am confident that in the long run we will win this battle.

Until next time!!!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Join the "Insurrection"!

According to a new book by authors Joshua Horwitz, the executive director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, and Casey Anderson, a Washington, D.C. attorney, individuals who support the Second Amendment are now to be labeled “insurrectionists.” The book, Guns, Democracy and the Insurrectionist Idea, recycles a lot of the “right-wing extremist” rhetoric, “militia” rhetoric, and adds the concept that supporters of the Second Amendment are a danger to democracy. Noted anti-Second Amendment professor Saul Cornell states the book “is an important first step in demonstrating how reasonable gun control is essential to the survival of democracy and ordered liberty.”

A piece by Dave Workman makes a very astute observation about the Amazon description of the book:

“And when gun enthusiasts talk about Constitutional liberties guaranteed by the Second Amendment, they are referring to freedom in a general sense, but they also have something more specific in mind---freedom from government oppression. They argue that the only way to keep federal authority in check is to arm individual citizens who can, if necessary, defend themselves from an aggressive government.”

Dave compares this statement to one of the most subversive documents in American history. Namely the Declaration of Independence:

“But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.”

The parallels are obvious, and like Dave, being compared to the signers of the Declaration of Independence is a badge of honor in my book – though I’m sure that’s not the picture Horwitz, Anderson, and Cornell are trying to paint.

These sorts of tactics from the anti-Second crowd are unsurprising. Public appetite for gun control laws is at its lowest level in decades. People have woken up to the fact that strict gun control does not lead to a safer or more civil society. Many court cases continue to go against opponents of the Second Amendment, and now at least one court case has ruled that the Second Amendment is incorporated under the Fourteenth Amendment. Having failed in both courts of law and the court of public opinion, the anti-Second crowd is getting desperate. The next “logical” step is character assassination.

In America you can’t discriminate based on race, sex, or a host of other issues. However if you can be branded as a reactionary of some sort, the hypothesis is that it is okay to discriminate and persecute. A society truly based on respect for the rights and liberties of the individual will always be an ordered society. The overwhelming majority of what is termed “crime” stems from actions that come at the expense of the rights and liberties of an individual (be those property rights, or fundamental human rights). I don’t know what sort of society Saul Cornell envisions with his “ordered liberty” comment, but I know it isn’t the society based on real liberty as affirmed by our Constitution.

Until next time!!!

Monday, June 22, 2009

There is No SB-2099 on the Slate

There is an email running around that states, among other things:

“Senate Bill SB-2099 will require us to put on our 2009 1040 federal tax form all guns that you have or own. It may require fingerprints and a tax of $50 per gun. The bill was introduced on Feb. 24th and will become public knowledge 30 days after it is voted into law.. This is an amendment to the Internal Revenue Act of 1986.”

Lots of warning signs on this one – first bills in front of the U.S. Senate are preceded by an “S” not an “SB.” As the Conservative Libertarian Outpost indicates, no bill can be passed before it is “public knowledge”. Finally, there was an S-2099 proposing these actions, but was proposed in 2000 as a part of the 106th Congress. It went absolutely no where and hasn’t been resurrected.

While it is important to remain vigilant, don’t let a random email post turn you into Chicken Little. There are numerous real threats to our Second Amendment rights, but “SB-2099” isn’t one of them.

Until next time!!!

Hornady to Produce 7.62x39 / 5.45x39

I came across an article over at Tactical Gun Fan reporting that Hornady will soon begin to produce both 7.62x39 and 5.45x39 ammunition. Hornady’s new ammunition will use inexpensive berdan primed steel cases from Russia, but will fill them with modern powder and use a modern personal defense bullet, a 123-grain V-MAX. The use of modern powders will reduce muzzle flash and the improved bullets offer superior stopping power and accuracy.

I personally can’t wait to get my grubby hands on a box or few of these beauties to see how they perform in my stable of 7.62x39 and 5.45x39 rifles.

Until next time!!!

Second Amendment Rights, Do You Have Any?

Not according to two appellate courts, but a third asserts that you do. Why the controversy? Technically the U.S. Constitution as originally written only applies to laws enacted by the Federal Government, not state or local governments. However in the post-Civil War era, the Fourteenth Amendment was ratified. Among other clauses the 14th Amendment states:

“All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

This clause may be of great benefit to gun owners in the near future as the “citizenship clause” may be used to strike down many state and local firearms restrictions. A recent article in the Bar Associations jounal details the importance of the incorporation and citizenship clauses of the 14th Amendment and how the Second Amendment is a sort of odd amendment out at this point. The difference in legal precedent almost requires a Supreme Court hearing, but some are skeptical that the justices will hear the case.

I honestly hope that some of these cases will be heard by the Supreme Court and the Second Amendment is henceforth applied to the states the way the First Amendment is. The NRA is appealing the recent Chicago ruling to the Supreme Court, so that may be the lightning rod case. I’ll continue to follow developments as they come in.

Until next time!!!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Tantal Build Follow-up

Well, I just got back from range testing my Tantal build. I added a little lubricant to the moving parts, but I didn’t fiddle with the sights at all, they are the way they were when I received the decommissioned rifle as a parts kit. All I can say is WOW!!! I was using a mix of Wolf hollow point and Barnaul soft point 5.45mm ammunition. In comparative milk jug shooting at ranges of roughly 100 yards I was extremely accurate – on par with a friend’s AR-15. The rifle was comfortable to shoot and cycled cleanly with both a Polish polymer magazine and an East German Bakelite magazine.

I’ve found a source of a U.S. muzzle brake for the weapon, and I now have it on order. Once that comes in I’m planning on going back to the original Bakelite pistol grip that matches the rest of the furniture (well, as much as any furniture matches on a Tantal these days).

Until next time!!!

Shifty Powers Dies at 86

Anyone who has watched Band of Brothers or has read the various books about Easy Company of the 506 PIR will recognize the name Darrell “Shifty” Powers. Various news outlets are reporting that Powers has passed away at the age of 86 after a final battle with cancer. Powers was a true hero and gentleman with a quiet strength all too absent in our modern world. The world will miss him. My thoughts and prayers go out to the Powers family.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Tabuk Build Log – The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Cue the music! So I thought I’d post a little of the good, bad, and ugly on the status of the Tabuk build. Once I got the barrel together, I was waiting to install the scope rail, which required spot welding. I ended up picking up one of the ak-builder spot welder sets. The beast works very well! I made a few practice runs on some scrap I had lying around. Then I bit the bullet and actually welded the rail onto the receiver. I checked alignment and spacing with my calipers and had pre-fit the rail based on the fit of the top cover.

After getting the rail on, I went ahead and installed both the front and rear trunnions. This was one of the most challenging riveting jobs I’ve had to do as it involves a mix of countersunk and flat rivets on a bulged front trunnion. The bulged trunnion is sometimes hard to get the tools around properly, but with a little work I was able to get everything aligned.

As you can see from the pictures above, the rivets look great from both sides. I was particularly concerned about this build as it involves not two, but three of the long swell neck rivets. These had given me trouble in the past, but I’ve changed how I use my tools a little so I can see the progress of the rivet head formation better. The results speak from themselves.

Once the trunnions were in, the next step was to install the barrel, and we all know what happened then. The picture below shows the first pass of installing the barrel. After I removed it from the jig, I thought I hadn’t pushed in the barrel enough based on the fact that the bolt face stopped ¼” from the chamber. Turns out it was just hung up on the receiver where it had been tig welded, but not knowing that I put it back in the press. Big mistake.

At this point I have a new barrel on the way – I’ll have to get that barrel shortened and re-threaded. I also have a friend locally who may be able to help me straighten the existing barrel. In the interim I also discovered I’m missing a ferrule for the lower handguard. Tried to order one from Apex, but their lower handguards come sans ferrule. I’ve ordered one from an alternate source, and if it arrives with the ferrule I’m going to try and have some made up as I think there should be a market for some!

Watch this space!

Father’s Day Rose City Gun Show Report

This month the Portland Gun Show falls on Father’s Day weekend. Quite honestly this is the best show I’ve been to in quite some time. The selection of rifles of interest was excellent and pricing is once again returning to pre-election normal. All of the AR and AK vendors had stock, and Keith’s actually had several AR and AK variants on sale.

Ammunition was also reasonably plentiful in popular calibers. 7.62x39 was back down to $160 for 500 rounds. While that still doesn’t match the heyday, it’s better than the $210 and $220 a half case prices I was seeing just a couple of months ago.

This time around there was also a large display truck with Springfield, Leupold, and a few other representatives present. It was a nice set up and did a great job of showing the product across the board. There were also a couple of raffles I entered, but as always won’t win!

I came home with some new 5.45x39 magazines for AK-74 variants (see my Tantal discussion below), some 5.45x39 ammo, and a couple of 7.62x39 40-round magazines. I almost came home with a slightly sporterized M1941 Johnson rifle (see my “Top 10 Guns I’d Like to Own but Don’t” list below). Unfortunately I just didn’t have the cash available.

Saw a lot of people I knew at the show on both sides of the table, and had a generally amazing time overall.

Until next time!!!

Tantal Build Log

I needed a clearing of the palette if you will after the disaster that was the Tabuk barrel (more on that later), so I decided to try and put together a kit I had lying around – a Polish Tantal. The Tantal, or karabinek wz. 1988, is a select fire version of the AK-74. Unlike the AK-74, the fire mode is determined by a selector on the left side of the weapon. This selector has three settings: fully automatic fire (the “C”-marked position), semi-automatic fire (“P”) and 3-round burst fire mode (“S”). Like other AK variants, it has the standard bar safety on the right hand side of the receiver. Because of the unique fire control group, the trigger assembly and receiver are a bit different than normal AK-74 variants. I used the NoDak Spud Model NDS-2T receiver for my Tantal build because it is actually set up for the left hand selector. Unlike the Tabuk build, this is as close to a “shake and bake” job as I’ve ever done on an AK build. Everything just seemed to fall into place.

I started with a full Tantal kit. This particular one had the “Oval 11” code and a 1990 manufacturing date. All of the parts are stamped matching, though the finish was quite worn in spots. The chrome lined barrel, however, seems to be in excellent shape. The receiver parts had been removed, but the remains of the rivets were still in all of the trunnions. I started with the front trunnion by removing the barrel, then drilling and tapping out the rivets. The rear trunnion is of the two long rivet type, but both drilled out fairly easily. Removing the trigger guard rivets was a little bit of a pain, but they came out cleanly leaving me with a very serviceable trigger guard, magazine catch, and safety stop.

The NoDak Tantal receiver is pre drilled for all of the rivets on the trunnions and trigger guard. Pre-drilled receivers save me a lot of time, and I prefer them whenever possible. The only drawback is that sometimes the magazine fit is tight and requires grinding afterward. When I test fit the front trunnion into the receiver, I was pleased to see that it lined up perfectly. As all six of the front trunnion rivets were countersunk for swell neck rivets, I indented the receiver with my AK-builder tools before placing those rivets. After riveting the front trunnion I went ahead and reinstalled the barrel and broke for the evening.

The next day I picked up where I left off and installed the rear trunnion and folding stock. I’d drilled these out as a group and simply left the stock attached to the trunnion. Both long rivets were countersunk on this trunnion as well, so I indented the receiver. I initially had some fit problems with the receiver edge and the trunnion, but a little grinding on the receiver allowed everything to seat perfectly. It is important to install the rear trunnion and stock assembly before attaching the trigger guard as the small rear rivet attaches to the stock assembly as well. To get my requisite number of U.S. parts, I had to replace the gas piston as well. The Tantal gas piston is custom. You can’t use a normal AK-74 or AK-47 piston!

Next came honestly the most technically challenging part of the assembly – installing the trigger group. The NoDak receiver comes with instructions on how to install the trigger group. This involves disassembling the burst mechanism so you can use it as a retaining plate and removing some of the guts from the selector (as it’s going to end up being cosmetic anyway because you can shoot the rifle any way you want as long as it’s semi-automatic). You also have to notch the trigger as the hammer spring does not also operate the trigger on the Tantal. Instead it has a separate trigger spring (which, confidentially is a real pain in the butt to install if you haven’t done it several times!). Once you get the trigger group installed, all that remains is adding the bolt and carrier assembly, spring, and top cover.

Apart from fiddling with the trigger group for a while, this build went together like a charm. All of the rivets came out perfectly. Magazines fit easily but snugly into the magazine well with no binding or extra force required. The whole build from “as received kit” to “final product” took me about 5.5 hours. The whole rifle will need to be refinished, but that can come later. All in all I’m extremely happy with the result!

Until next time!!!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Tabuk Build Log – Disaster!

Will post pix of the “good stuff” later, but I encountered a major disaster on the Tabuk build. I accidentally bent the barrel. Was being careful about the placement of the barrel – ran into what I thought was a headspace issue (wouldn’t close on the “go gauge), so I pushed in the barrel a bit more. Unfortunately I’d mis-diagnosed the problem and ended up pushing the barrel all the way in, and then a little more. The entire thing popped right out of the press after the barrel had bent to release the pressure.

So now I have a multi-week delay in the project while I wait for a new barrel (hopefully I can find one). Once that arrives I still have to take it back over to Tornado technologies to have the length corrected and the barrel rethreaded. In the meantime I get to disassemble the barrel assembly and pray I don’t screw up any MORE parts.

Here’s where I’d normally say “until next time,” but in this case I’ll just say – “UGH!”

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Top 10 Guns I’d Love to Own, but Don’t

I’m sure that every true collector out there (be it stamps, coins, plates, or firearms) has a “bucket list” of pieces they’d like to have in their collection but don’t, for one reason or another. I’m no exception. Most of the firearms I consider to be “missing” from my collection aren’t there for one of two main reasons. The first is I just haven’t found a nice example. The second (and all too common) reason is cost. Historical firearms aren’t generally getting any cheaper, and finding nice examples at a price that won’t put your bank account in a world of hurt is getting very difficult.

So here’s my “Top 10” list (in no particular order) – I’ve left out a lot of the “holy grails” out (you won’t find an S. Mfg. Co. M1911A1 on the list, though I wouldn’t turn one down if someone sent me one!), but I’ve kept a few higher end ones in just for fun. The list has a fair volume of C&R on it, but there are a few modern ones in there as well!

1. A Good Vet Bringback K98k – I’ve got a couple of Soviet Capture rifles, but I’d still love to get something original one of these days. I saw a nice one for $500 at a gun show a couple of years ago – passed on it – have kicked myself ever since!

2. Japanese Type 97 Sniper rifle – I have a huge collection of Arisakas, but no snipers in the mix anywhere.

3. Luger – original – excellent condition. The luger is my second favorite sidearm out there. As with the K98k, I’ve got a Soviet capture re-blue, and it’s a great little shooter, but I’d still love something closer to original.

4. M1911A1 – World War II U.S. GI. The M1911A1 is my favorite sidearm – period. Ergonomically ideal for me, fires .45 ACP, and has a ton of history to boot. I’ve got a modern Springfield G.I. model that I absolutely love, but I really want to get “the real thing” so to speak.

5. 50 Cal Target Rifle – Probably a Barrett or Armalite. Nothing says fun like long range target shooting. Nothing says even more fun than extreme range target shooting. When you absolutely, positively have to keep the world safe from paper targets more than 2000 yards away!

6. Japanese Type 99 Light Machine Gun – Not only is it Class III, but it’s Class III you have to reload for! I know a gun dealer down in Salem with one. As I mentioned before, I have a huge Arisaka collection, and this would really round it out nicely.

7. M1 Garand – World War II correct grade. The M1 Garand is probably my all-time favorite rifle. I currently own two – one modern production Springfield and one Korean War vintage Springfield from CMP. I would really like the World War II version for the collection (anyone sense a recurring theme?).

8. M1941 Johnson Rifle – Unsuccessful competitor to the M1 Garand. Used by U.S. Marines early in the Pacific war. Spendy, but cool!

9. 1874 Sharps Buffalo Rifle – If you’ve seen Quigley Down Under, you’ve seen this rifle. Absolutely gorgeous! I’d be more than happy with a modern reproduction in .45-70 (though .45-110 would be more entertaining).

10. Revolutionary War Rifle / Musket – Still undecided on which at this point. A replica would be fine as well. Seems like any real American historical firearms enthusiast should have one in his collection, and would be interesting to shoot as well!

So that’s my list. Feel free to comment or submit your lists in the comments section.

Until next time!!!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Parade Poll Backfires

Parade Magazine recently published a short article entitled “Despite Recent Violence, Gun Laws Are Softening.” It’s a typical push-piece with one quote from the NRA to provide the illusion of balance. The other 90% of the article is bemoaning the fact that gun laws are becoming less restrictive. Included with the article is one of those “unscientific polls.” I’m certain that Parade thought the people reading this story would hit the “correct” response more often than not, but something tells me this poll backfired on them. The question:

“Should states loosen restrictions on guns?”

When I voted, it was 94% “Yes”. Wow. Something tells me that wasn’t the answer the article of the piece wanted to hear after spending four out of five paragraphs telling us how bad things are in the U.S. because of our “lax” firearm laws.

Thanks to everyone who upended this one!

Until next time!!!

Thought Control Continues on University Campuses

The fact that the majority of Universities in the United States are hostile to our Second Amendment rights is becoming ever clearer as time goes by. The Las Vegas Review Journal is reporting in one of the most recent incidents a student wanting to for a gun-rights group at Pittsburgh’s Community College of Allegheny County has been threatened with disciplinary action. According to the article:

“Student Christine Brashier says administrators banned her informational pamphlets, ordered her to destroy all copies of them and told her that further "academic misconduct" would not be tolerated.”

Ms. Brashier was subjected to an interrogation session with the deans asking about her possession of a firearm (on and off campus). They also claimed the pamphlet was “solicitation” and therefore a violation of campus policy. What ever happened to Universities being a source of the free flow of ideas? Apparently it only holds if you hold the RIGHT ideas.

This is yet another case of political correctness and a totalitarian agenda run amok. Students at America’s Universities need to be learning about their rights as individuals as affirmed by our Constitution. Instead their rights under the First Amendment and Second Amendment are brutally curtailed by administrators forcing an extremist interpretation of political correctness on their students.

Quite frankly I’d like to see any and all public funding for universities denying their students their basic rights under the Constitution cut off. It is only then that they might wake up and start listening.

Until next time!!!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Ammunition Shortage or “Gun Owners are Neandrathals”

The Oregonian has published an article about the ammunition shortages people are seeing in the marketplace. For most of us the article is coming a few months late and isn’t really “news.” Any gun owner is aware of the acute shortages in ammunition at this point. The real meat here is in the comments. It seems as if any gun story in The Oregonian draws out the leftist moonbats from all directions.

Many of the comments simply accused gun owners of being racist Neanderthals. Others quoted chapter and verse out of the Brady Campaign’s library of deceptive statistics, so I posted the following comment:

“I am amazed that in a supposedly educated city there is so much misinformation and propaganda out there. Many of the comments I’ve seen in relation to this article underscore why so many individuals who value their Second Amendment rights are in panic mode at this point. They are being labeled “racists,” “bigots,” “rednecks,” and worse in a blatant attempt to dehumanize them. The far left likes to talk about tolerance and multi-culturalism, but when it comes to gun owners obviously they make an exception.

“Some background: I’m a social libertarian. I have a large gun collection – most of which are World War II vintage collectables, but I also build my own semi-auto AK’s following U.S. law and guidelines as set forth by the BATFE. Guns don’t spontaneously kill anyone. A gun is a tool – nothing more. For it to become capable of killing anything there must be human intervention.

“Obama has so far shown himself to be unfriendly to the Second Amendment, and people are nervous. His Vice President was instrumental in passing the 1994 so-called “assault weapon ban” (which, by the way, has absolutely nothing to do with real assault weapons – it only covered semi-automatics – not fully automatics which were already heavily regulated!). He pushed for a new “assault weapon ban” using false statistics regarding Mexican firearm crime. He has nominated an individual to the Supreme Court with an exceptionally poor record on Second Amendment cases. Bottom line is the apprehension is based on his record and subsequent actions. It has nothing to do with the color of his skin – no matter what Janeane Garofalo or any other comedian trying to pass themselves off as a political activist or journalist tells you.”

There are, however a lot of other interesting misconceptions out there:

One individual pointed out that there are significant barriers to manufacturing and selling ammunition. One user doubted that. The original poster was, however, correct. Ammunition consists of primer, powder, case, and bullet. While the case materials and bullet materials (including lead) are still reasonably available – at least for the time being. The powder and primers are both explosives and their manufacture is STRICTLY regulated. Shipping primers also requires hazmat permits.

Other posters are crying “Republican conspiracy” and the litany of partisan B.S. The article itself points out that the Second Amendment has become a less partisan issue as of late, and there is anecdotal evidence to back that up. However reading the comments on this blog, there is clearly a long way to go. I urge everyone to go sign up and post comments correcting the misconceptions of many of The Oregonians readers. It’s clear that the press isn’t going to pass along the facts, so it’s up to us!

Until next time!!!

D-Day Feature in American Rifleman

D-Day – June 6, 1944 – the largest amphibious invasion in history. Movies, books, and magazines have all tried to convey the individual stories of courage and heroism, and yet many stories remain untold. Many will never be told. With the 65th anniversary of D-Day only a few days away, American Rifleman has devoted an article in its June 2009 issue to “The Men & Guns of D-Day.” The article is primarily focused on the American paratroopers and the amphibious forces that landed at Omaha and Utah beaches, though there are a few other stories as well.

Included is the story of Privates John Steele, Ken Russell and Sergeant John Ray who had the misfortune to land in the square in Ste. Mere-Eglise. Both privates famously landed on the cathedral whereas Sgt. Ray landed in the square. A German shot Ray upon landed and turned his attention to Steele and Russell presuming Ray was dead. Ray’s last act was to draw his M1911A1 pistol and kill the German to prevent him from killing the helpless Steele and Russell.

There’s also the story of Sgt. Leonard “Bud” Lomell who fought with the Rangers at Pointe du Hoc. Their mission was to knock out the colossal 15.5cm K418(f) guns that could wreak havoc on the invasion forces. As it turned out, the guns had been removed weeks before because of aerial bombardment, and these deadly pieces of artillery never fired a shot on D-day.

The amphibious forces faced several bunkers and casemates called Wiederstandsnesten by the Germans. These could be armed with anything from machine guns to heavy artillery and infantry. Franz Gockel, one of the Germans manning Wiederstandsnest 62, was interestingly not armed with a German manufactured MG34 or MG42. Instead he was using a captured Polish CKM Wz.30, which was based on the Browning M1917.

Overall it’s a great article, though the title is a bit misleading. The article is really about the men of D-day, and mentions what guns they used. I have absolutely no issue with taking that approach to the article because of the legendary heroics and sacrifices made by so many on that fateful day. We as a nation must never forget what made us so great in those fateful years, and we should also never forget the price we paid when tyranny ran unchecked.

Until next time!!!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Tabuk Build Log – The Barrel

As promised, the next installment of the Tabuk build log involves actually building the rifle. It’s been a long road to collect all of the parts for this build, and I still have a few on the way (front plunge pin / detent and spring, rear sight block pin, butt pad and screws), but I’m far enough along that I can actually start working on the sub-assemblies for the rifle. The most challenging part of this build will most likely be setting up the semi-virgin barrel, so that’s where I decided to start.

Having never worked with a virgin or semi-virgin barrel (all of my previous kits had the barrel set up – just pop the pin out, remove the barrel assembly as a unit, and drop it back in when the trunnion was installed), I did a lot of reading on how others have set up their barrels. There’s a good post by Rahatlakhoom over on Gunco on installing a new barrel on an M70 kit. As the Tabuk is based on the M70, that’s the route I decided to go to help guide the work on this project. Not all of the steps were needed or could be followed exactly as I didn’t have an existing barrel to work from. However, as it turns out, the Green Mountain barrel already had some of my work done for me.

The first step is setting up and aligning the rear sight block. The extractor notch is already cut on the Green Mountain barrels as is the chamber, so there’s no fiddling around with that. Using the extractor notch as I guide, I aligned the front sight block per the instructions using a blue sharpie to create alignment marks. The question was how far back to put the block, with the instructions indicating that most sit roughly 1.880" from the chamber end of the barrel. Green Mountain has already cut a step in the barrel exactly at 1.880" so getting that part on was a breeze. It also turns out that they have steps pre-cut for the lower hand guard retainer and gas block as well (you’re on your own with the front sight!).

Once I got the rear sight block on, then the next major install was the gas block – which I got aligned perfectly and installed (see picture below).

Only problem is I was a complete dork and forgot something . . . the lower handguard retainer (I almost had to do this twice more as I remembered the sling loop at the last minute as well!). I just ended up using my AK-builder jigs to help me with this. The brass nut set up for the chamber works great to serve as a buffer between the ram of the press and the chamber end of the barrel – especially since you aren’t using anywhere near the full 12 ton capability of the press.

Once I got the gas block close, I tested it with the gas tube, everything lined up and fit perfectly! It was then on to the front sight (okay – being honest – for the second time!). The M70 front sight is a fairly loose fit on the barrel – it will stay, but only barely. The pins will help.

Once I got everything set up and aligned, I drilled out the pin holes for the retaining pins per the instructions above. Even though I had to go through some extra material from the virgin rear sight block and gas block, the cutting proceeded fairly easily with a little cutting oil. As mentioned in most virgin barrel builds, DON’T FORCE IT! You’ll just bind up your bit and then have to pray it comes out without snapping off. Of course, at this point I realized I didn’t have a rear sight block pin. I did, however, have ample pins for the front sight and the gas block. They did take a little sanding to fit easily because I didn’t have decimal drills to use, but the end result is very snug. I also haven’t put in the front pin on the front sight because I’m still working on the front sight plunge pin (detent) and spring. I pulled one off of an AMD-65, but the spring is too short. I have a longer spring, but it’s almost too long. I’ve therefore ordered a new one (along with the rear sight block pin) from AA-OK. Hopefully they’ll have them in stock and can get them out to me soon.

The only other part I had been missing was the butt pad, but I’ve found one of those online as well and hope to get it in the mail soon. Now I just need to find someone with a spot welder so I can get the scope rail attached to the receiver. Looking ahead, I’ve test fit several of the other parts to the receiver, and so far the fit looks good. The next major challenge will be headspacing the rifle so I can set the barrel properly. I’ve got a nice match grade trigger group to drop in the rifle once I get to that point.

So far the project seems to be going fairly well. I still need to cut the gas port hole, but I’ll do that after I get the rear sight block pinned. The finish on the stock is just about ready to go as well – and I just can’t say enough good things about the Ironwood Designs stock. The quality is absolutely first rate.

Until next time!!!