Monday, July 27, 2009

July Rose City Gun Show Report

Wow what a show! One of the local Military Vehicle clubs was at attendance, so the in addition to the normal firearm vendors, there was a healthy collection of military vehicles as well – including a Stuart light tank right as you walked in the door. Toward the back were other vehicles as well, including Jeeps from three wars and one of my favorites, the mechanical mule.

The big news – ammunition prices are once again entering the realm of reason. A half case of Wolf 7.62x39 FMJ was down to $120-ish which is rapidly approaching pre-panic levels. All of the overpriced so-called “assault rifle” vendors were conspicuously absent, and prices from the stalwarts were also beginning to approach some sense of normalcy.

Lots of great C&R rifles to look at while I was there. Didn’t pick up any this time because most would have been duplicates of others in my collection. I did see a couple of very nice vet pick-up K98k’s, but didn’t have the cash for them. The military surplus guys had some M60 racks for as little as $60, should have picked one up as I actually had the truck with me.

Overall it was a great show – I’m actually hoping to have a table at the October show in conjunction with a friend and move some of my leftovers from various projects and rotate the collection.

Until next time!!!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

National Concealed Carry Reciprocity Narrowly Fails

When I saw the vote on the Thune Amendment was 58 to 39, I was initially very encouraged, well, for the three seconds until I realized it was a procedural vote requiring 60 affirmative votes to pass and thus the measure had narrowly failed. The Brady Campaign is already crowing about a great victory, and the tone in the press is clearly more sympathetic to the anti-Second Amendment crowd as well, but I read the numbers differently. Once again, a firearms bill in the Senate has broad bipartisan support with 20 Democrats voting in favor and 35 voting against. Sadly, the measure would have passed if there hadn’t been two Republican defections (Richard Lugar of Indiana and George Voinovich of Ohio).

I don’t think this is the last time we’ll see this issue brought up, and given the broad bi-partisan support I believe it might hold up to a straight vote next time around.

Here’s the overall vote count:

Vote Counts:
YEAs 58
NAYs 39
Not Voting 3

Alphabetical by Senator Name

Akaka (D-HI), Nay
Alexander (R-TN), Yea
Barrasso (R-WY), Yea
Baucus (D-MT), Yea
Bayh (D-IN), Yea
Begich (D-AK), Yea
Bennet (D-CO), Yea
Bennett (R-UT), Yea
Bingaman (D-NM), Nay
Bond (R-MO), Yea
Boxer (D-CA), Nay
Brown (D-OH), Nay
Brownback (R-KS), Yea
Bunning (R-KY), Yea
Burr (R-NC), Yea
Burris (D-IL), Nay
Byrd (D-WV), Not Voting
Cantwell (D-WA), Nay
Cardin (D-MD), Nay
Carper (D-DE), Nay
Casey (D-PA), Yea
Chambliss (R-GA), Yea
Coburn (R-OK), Yea
Cochran (R-MS), Yea
Collins (R-ME), Yea
Conrad (D-ND), Yea
Corker (R-TN), Yea
Cornyn (R-TX), Yea
Crapo (R-ID), Yea
DeMint (R-SC), Yea
Dodd (D-CT), Nay
Dorgan (D-ND), Yea
Durbin (D-IL), Nay
Ensign (R-NV), Yea
Enzi (R-WY), Yea
Feingold (D-WI), Yea
Feinstein (D-CA), Nay
Franken (D-MN), Nay
Gillibrand (D-NY), Nay
Graham (R-SC), Yea
Grassley (R-IA), Yea
Gregg (R-NH), Yea
Hagan (D-NC), Yea
Harkin (D-IA), Nay
Hatch (R-UT), Yea
Hutchison (R-TX), Yea
Inhofe (R-OK), Yea
Inouye (D-HI), Nay
Isakson (R-GA), Yea
Johanns (R-NE), Yea
Johnson (D-SD), Yea
Kaufman (D-DE), Nay
Kennedy (D-MA), Not Voting
Kerry (D-MA), Nay
Klobuchar (D-MN), Nay
Kohl (D-WI), Nay
Kyl (R-AZ), Yea
Landrieu (D-LA), Yea
Lautenberg (D-NJ), Nay
Leahy (D-VT), Nay
Levin (D-MI), Nay
Lieberman (ID-CT), Nay
Lincoln (D-AR), Yea
Lugar (R-IN), Nay
Martinez (R-FL), Yea
McCain (R-AZ), Yea
McCaskill (D-MO), Nay
McConnell (R-KY), Yea
Menendez (D-NJ), Nay
Merkley (D-OR), Nay
Mikulski (D-MD), Not Voting
Murkowski (R-AK), Yea
Murray (D-WA), Nay
Nelson (D-FL), Nay
Nelson (D-NE), Yea
Pryor (D-AR), Yea
Reed (D-RI), Nay
Reid (D-NV), Yea
Risch (R-ID), Yea
Roberts (R-KS), Yea
Rockefeller (D-WV), Nay
Sanders (I-VT), Nay
Schumer (D-NY), Nay
Sessions (R-AL), Yea
Shaheen (D-NH), Nay
Shelby (R-AL), Yea
Snowe (R-ME), Yea
Specter (D-PA), Nay
Stabenow (D-MI), Nay
Tester (D-MT), Yea
Thune (R-SD), Yea
Udall (D-CO), Yea
Udall (D-NM), Yea
Vitter (R-LA), Yea
Voinovich (R-OH), Nay
Warner (D-VA), Yea
Webb (D-VA), Yea
Whitehouse (D-RI), Nay
Wicker (R-MS), Yea
Wyden (D-OR), Nay

If your Senators voted in favor of the Amendment, please thank them and ask them to re-introduce the Amendment or legislation at the soonest possible opportunity. If your Senators voted against the measure, let them know that it will factor greatly in your votes next cycle!

Until next time!!!

Jeff Merkley = No Clue on Firearms

Because of several recent Second Amendment and Firearms related issues that have been appearing before the United States Senate (Sotomayor hearing, concealed carry reciprocity, etc.) I’ve pretty much had my Senators on speed dial, or in this case speed email. I recently got a form letter back from Freshman Senator Jeff Merkley, who was narrowly elected over incumbent Gordon Smith. Ironically, Constitution Party candidate David Brownlow seems to have played spoiler in this case as his tally was far more than the difference between Merkley and Smith. Chalk yet another election fiasco up to our broken election law. I however, digress. Suffice it to say that if Obama wasn’t at the top of the ticket, Merkley wouldn’t be in the Senate today, nor should he be if his most recent missive is representative of his policies and his grasp on law and policy in his home state.

Here’s the text of his form letter:

“Thank you for contacting me to express your views on gun control legislation. It is an honor to serve as your Senator, and I appreciate hearing your views on this important issue.

“I understand that many Oregonians cherish their second amendment rights, and I support the ability of law abiding gun owners to own and use firearms. At the same time, however, I believe that we must protect our children and ensure that deadly weapons do not fall into the hands of criminals. For this reason, I support common sense measures that help keep our communities safe including mandatory background checks and closing the gun show loophole that permits unlicensed private vendors to sell privately-owned guns at gun shows without background checks.

“I will continue to stand for sportsmen and law abiding citizens, and protect their constitutional right to bear arms.

“Thank you, again, for sharing your thoughts with me, and please continue to keep me informed about issues that concern you.”

Note his focus on the so-called “gun show loophole.” There’s one big problem here. Merkley allegedly represents the state of Oregon. Oregon has no “gun show loophole.” If you want to buy a firearm at any show in the state, you must either have an FFL (or C&R) or pass the background check.

Given his lack of grasp of Oregon Law (bear in mind he was a State Representative for several terms as well as Speaker of the Oregon House), how the heck can this individual consider himself qualified to be a U.S. Senator??? I have a better grasp on firearm law than he does, and I know he’s getting paid a lot more than I am!

Instead of actually demonstrating an understanding of the issue, Merkley has just spouted partisan rhetoric from his favorite anti-Second Amendment groups and passed it off as a policy stance. Quite frankly Oregon deserves more professionalism and competency from its Senator, and I sincerely hope that Merkley is a “one and out.”

Until next time!!!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

2009 Surplus Firearms on Shelves Now

Another great special issue from Guns & Ammo just hit the shelves (though I’m still ticked I don’t get the special issues with my subscription!). This one is for all of you military surplus nuts out there. Anyone who reads my blog regularly will know I’m a huge C&R rifle nut, so when I saw this issue sitting on the shelf I had to pick it up.

On the cover is the Gibbs copy of the 1903A4 sniper rifle. A lot of people have mixed feelings about reproductions, but honestly this looks like a fairly good one. Gibbs is using original Remington World War II actions and bolts with a host of reproduction parts. They have, however, changed some small details and proofs so people can’t simply pass one of these off as the real thing. At a retail price of just under $1000 (including sling, dust sleeve, and a reprint of the manual) far more people should be able to afford one of these than the real thing – currently running at $4000 and above.

There are some real oddities this time around, including the Belgilan Albini-Bradendlin and the Bira gun. I’m more focused on World War II, so I knew very little about these two firearms. The Bira gun was a huge 1000 pound mechanical machine gun. Looks fun.

Next is an article on one of my favorites, the Japanese Type 38. Unlike many articles on Japanese firearms, this one gives the rifle a fair shake. Complaints were made about the stiffness of the bolt and the length of the rifle. They did, however, praise its accuracy.

One of the more interesting weapons in the article is the Spanish Destroyer Carbine. The underlying idea behind the destroyer was to give police a weapon with better range and accuracy than a sidearm. The destroyer is a bolt action rifle that uses 9mm largo pistol cartridges in a six round magazine.

There’s a great extended article called “Life in the Trenches.” It goes through the various trench systems used in World War I as well as the weaponry used during the long stalemate. World War I was horrific on many levels, and this article doesn’t pull any punches.

There’s lots more in the issue as well including the Italian Vetterli rilfes and a unique Italian submachine gun. France’s first semi-automatic rifle is detailed along with a host of other firearms. I highly recommend anyone with even a remote interest in historical military firearms pick this one up!

Until next time!!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Guns & Ammo: Book of the AR-15

File under, “how’d I miss this one???” Guns & Ammo magazine has recently released their “Book of the AR-15.” Much like their earlier AK special issue, this volume serves as a one stop shop for a lot of great information on the AR-15 platform. Unlike the previous issue on the AK, however, this one doesn’t focus as much on the history of the platform as much as it focuses on the present. There are several practical articles for individuals purchasing their first AR-15, as well as many detailing training, ammunition, optics, and hand loading. There are several articles focused on specific AR models from Daniel Defense, Stag, and others. Some of the specific focus articles read a little more like glorified ads and less like reviews, but I suppose you have to pay the bills somehow. Overall it’s got some fairly decent information in there and is a keeper. According to the UPC code the issue will be displayed until August 25, 2009. Get yours soon!

August 2009 American Rifleman Review

The August Edition of American Rifleman just arrived in my mailbox. Not quite as much milsurp action this time around, but there are a lot of really decent articles in there. There’s a really good call to action on page 16 talking about the importance of standing up for our Second Amendment rights, and that the pace of firearms related legislation is accelerating. Several key court cases are also highlighted in the article.

For you reloaders, there’s an article on .300 Winchester Magnum. I don’t currently own a rifle that shoots this cartridge, but I have shot it in the past. It’s a real beast, but for long range accuracy, it’s an amazing round.

There’s an article on taking down gangsters like John Dillinger, and the firearms used by both sides. Wish I could afford a real live Thompson. One of these days I may have to pick up one of the semi-auto clones as I don’t think I’m going to have the cash to get a transferrable one any time soon.

One fairly practical article is a general piece on the impact of temperature on ammunition. The only thing annoying about the article is that they change the orientation to include a cutsie thermometer graphic on the side.

Probably the most timely article is one about the three Navy SEALs who took down the pirates who had captured Captain Richard Phillips. I’m glad we finally had the courage to take on these high-seas thugs and send a strong message. The SEALs were true heroes in this case meeting a serious threat with direct and surgical application of force.

Lots more in this issue, but it is really more focused to the hunting side of the aisle. I’m into hunting, but I generally hunt with military surplus rifles or an AR (-10 or -15). One of these days I’m going to have to learn more about the vintage game rifles, as the history has to be fascinating.

Until next time!!!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Sotomayor Unfit for Supreme Court!

Gun Owners of America has released an alert urging everyone to contact their Senator to block the confirmation of Sotomayor for the Supreme Court. During questioning today, her extreme anti-Second Amendment views became quite obvious. Furthermore her tenuous grasp of relevant court cases and cherry picking of irrelevant citations shows that she either does not have a strong grasp of Constitutional law, or simply ignores precedent to mold law to her liking. Either one of these traits make her unacceptable to serve as a justice on the Supreme Court of the United States.

Some “highlights” of her testimony from the GOA alert:

“In defending her decision that the states could enact any form of gun control they wished -- with absolutely no regard to the Second Amendment -- Judge Sonya Sotomayor has developed a new love for Nineteenth Century court opinions.

“Demonstrating that she was programmed in her responses, Sotomayor defended one of her earlier legal opinions by citing "footnote 23" of Justice Antonin Scalia's opinion in the DC v. Heller case last year.

“But, when pressed by questioner Orrin Hatch yesterday, Sotomayor could not recite the contents of that footnote or the holdings of the cases which it cited. As it turns out, the footnote on which Sotomayor claims to rely, cited -- without approval -- two Nineteenth Century cases which rejected the notion that the Second Amendment was 'incorporated' to apply to the states.

“But those were also the days when the Supreme Court held that the rights protected in the First Amendment did not apply to the states. Apparently, Sotomayor wants to base her anti-gun philosophy on antiquated decisions from an era when the U.S. Supreme Court was spitting out racist decisions.”

Sotomayer is completely out of step with America on this issue. Recent polls show that 75% of Americans understand that the Second Amendment protects an individual right. Sotomayer clearly doesn’t believe that. Nor does she agree with 33 of the 50 state Attorney Generals that believe that the 2nd Amendment should be incorporated under the 14th Amendment.

Using these antiquated precedents to deny the rights of American citizens represent a return to the absolute darkest days of American history – when racial equality did not exist and courts upheld racist laws across the board. As time marched forward, more enlightened minds prevailed and many of these racist decisions were struck down. Unfortunately it seems there is a whole new generation of politicos in our country who would use equally discriminatory and reactionary thinking to deny Americans their rights. This sort of backward thinking must not be represented in our Supreme Court.

Please contact your Senators and urge them to vote NO on the confirmation of Sotomayer for the Supreme Court. She represents an exceptionally dangerous discriminatory wing of leftist politics. America is better off with individuals like that not ruling on our individual rights!

Until next time!!!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

State Attorney Generals Support Incorporation of Second Amendment

The NRA-ILA website has a copy of an amicus brief signed by 32 state attorney generals, with California submitting a similar brief, urging the Supreme Court to rule that the Second Amendment is incorporated under the Fourteenth Amendment in the matter of NRA v. Chicago. The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that it was bound by legal precedent to uphold Chicago’s draconian firearm bans – bans that coincidentally have done nothing but increase the already astronomical crime rate there. While the Seventh Circuit indicated it could not rule, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in Nordyke v. King that the Second Amendment did indeed apply to the states. As the Nordyke v. King decision predates the NRA v. Chicago decision, the Seventh Court’s ruling is questionable.

The fact that so many state attorney generals (33 of the 50) support incorporation of the Second Amendment is extremely encouraging, but the issue is now in the hands of the Supreme Court. The fact that we currently have contradictory precedents set by the Appellate Courts indicates to me that we need a ruling from a higher court to ensure consistency of law. If the Supreme Court rules in favor of incorporation (I’d expect a 5-4 decision in favor of incorporation with both the current and proposed make-up of the Supreme Court), then all outright bans of non-Class III firearms would come into question. It would represent perhaps an even greater victory for supporters of the Second Amendment than the original Heller decision.

Here is the list of the Attorney Generals that have signed either the combined brief or their own brief in support of incorporation:

Attorney General of California

Attorney General of Georgia

Attorney General of Alabama

Attorney General of Alaska

Attorney General of Arkansas

Attorney General of Colorado

Attorney General of Florida

Attorney General of Idaho

Attorney General of Indiana

Attorney General of Kansas

Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Kentucky

Attorney General of Louisiana

Attorney General of Maine

Attorney General of Michigan

Attorney General of Minnesota

Attorney General of Mississippi

Attorney General of Missouri

Attorney General of Montana

Attorney General of Nebraska

Attorney General of New Hampshire

Attorney General of New Mexico

Attorney General of North Carolina

Attorney General of North Dakota

Attorney General of Ohio

Attorney General of Oklahoma

Attorney General of Pennsylvania

Attorney General of South Carolina

Attorney General of South Dakota

Attorney General of Utah

Attorney General of Virginia

Attorney General of Washington

Attorney General of West Virginia

Attorney General of Wyoming

If your Attorney General is on that list, please write them a note of thanks! If your attorney general isn’t, find a way to find out why not. As an Oregonian, I’m extremely disappointed that my state’s Attorney General isn’t on the list, given that Oregon is far more Second Amendment friendly than either the states of Washington or California, yet both of those states’ Attorney General do indeed appear on the list.

This is a vitally important court case for all of our rights. If you haven’t already, please make sure you continue to support the NRA who is taking this vitally important suit forward.

Until next time!!!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

RPK Build Part 1

While I’m waiting for parts for my Tabuk project, I decided to start some of the prep work on an RPK kit. I’ve been searching far and wide for a decent kit – decent in this case meaning something that has a barrel, with real rifling, that I don’t have to worry about the cartridge sliding through when I perform a bullet test. I finally found the perfect kit, but there was one catch. The kit itself had a bad barrel, and by bad barrel I mean that it once might have had rifling, and was probably closer to firing an 8mm round than 7.62x39. Fortunately the kit came with a spare barrel – so I set about the process of removing the parts from the bad barrel and putting them on the good one. Simple, right? Yeah. . . not so much. . .

I start with the kit front half as shown above. It was a simple matter to remove and disassemble the gas tube and lower stock assembly. The picture below shows why all of this was necessary. I wasn’t kidding about the fact that this barrel was probably closer to 8mm at this point!!!

As I’d done some disassembly on other barrels, I didn’t think this one would be much of a problem. The front sight tore down in minutes, but the gas port gave me a devil of a time. I ended up drilling out one of the pins because it simply would not move. Then actually getting enough purchase on the gas port itself was a challenge in of itself. I ended up having to use one of my precision vises just to get purchase on it so I could remove it from the barrel. The rear sight block was a snap by comparison. Once that was off I had a lovely collection of RPK parts (shown below).

At this point, I started putting the pieces onto the new barrel. The new barrel wasn’t a virgin barrel, so it already had alignment marks. I’m unsure why this particular barrel was ever stripped. Two views below show that it passes the bullet test with flying colors. The bore is mirror bright with very strong lands and grooves. I expect this rifle to shoot well once it’s together.

First I reinstalled the rear sight block, then the handguard retainer, and next the gas block as shown in the sequence below. I since installed the front sight, but don’t have pictures yet.

The one snag I’ve run into is that the pins for the gas block and front sight are much finer than on a standard AK. As such, I’ve only gotten one reinstalled at this point. I had to drill out one to simply get the gas block removed, and one other simply wouldn’t feed. I don’t have the appropriate size of drill bit to help clear out the holes, so this project is on hold pending getting the bit and a few new pins.

I also still need to order a receiver for this build a couple of compliance parts. I haven’t decided whether or not I’m sticking with the existing furniture or replacing it with an Ironwood set. The furniture is very nice, but an Ironwood set would also help with my U.S. parts count. I have a spare RPK style rear trunnion as well, which should make the build a bit easier. I still have to demill the kit itself, and there are a LOT of rivets on a Yugo!

Until next time!!!

New Firearms Poll Released

Newsmax is reporting the results of a recent Rasmussen survey on firearms. Interestingly enough, America doesn’t believe the Obama administration’s pledge not to enact additional gun control measures. The Rasmussen survey mirrors the trends we’ve seen for the last couple of years on firearms – with support for gun control waning and more people realizing that the Second Amendment enumerates and affirms an individual right. Some of the results are quite interesting:

“Fifty-seven percent of Americans say gun sales are up in the United States not because of the fear of crime but because of wariness over increased government restriction on gun ownership, according to a new Rasmussen survey.

“The latest poll revealed that 43 percent of Americans said it was very likely that the Obama Administration will try to implement stricter gun control laws – even though 47 percent saw no need for such laws. Another 28 percent responded that the administration was “somewhat likely” to seek tougher gun control.

“In a similar Rasmussen poll conducted in May, 43 percent of Americans said the United States needed more gun control laws, while 47 percent disagreed.”

It’s heartening to see that America is waking up to the real danger presented by the Obama administration’s stealth attack on our firearm rights. Another finding was also quite encouraging:
“Only 20 percent of U.S. voters think restricting U.S. gun sales will reduce drug-related violence in Mexico, and 70 percent disagree and oppose such restrictions.”

Virtually every media outlet and newspaper in the country was touting the “big lie” numbers associated with the drug wars in Mexico and calling for increased gun control. Very few outlets had the courage to expose those numbers for the sham that they were. These numbers show that the American public wasn’t fooled – even with the focused propaganda campaign. Hopefully we will begin to question other claims of the administration in an equally vigorous manner.

Another encouraging finding was that 75% of Americans recognize that the Second Amendment “guarantees the right of an average citizen to own a gun.” The “collective right” interpretation of the Second Amendment may finally be well and truly dead. The interpretation was a result of extremist mental gymnastics and had absolutely no basis in the manifest tenor of the Constitution. Long term the fact that people are recognizing they have a right, and it is under attack, will help keep draconian gun control measures at bay.

There are other interesting tidbits in the survey, such as tying increases in crime to the economic downturn. In summary, the majority of Americans are making very accurate interpretations of firearm related laws and crime trends. I haven’t seen this many positive indicators in a poll in quite some time. Hopefully the trend will continue!

Until next time!!!