Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Did you hear that alarm clock ringing?

Here's my .02 about the election.  YOU'RE FUCKED.  Now here's the kicker.  You'd be in the same boat if Romney had won. 

What's that?  How can that be?  Try to follow along, because I'm getting rather tired of trying to wake you the fuck up. 

An election in America is not two men fighting over who is going to be the best for the majority, but rather, two men trying to convince the majority that they are going to be the best for the majority while trying to hide how much the majority is going to get fucked over for the benefit of their campaign contributors. 

What happens when the same group of people are financing both of the major parties?  There is really no incentive for either party to hide from each other what they are working instead, they work toward meaningless bickering about non-troversies. 

Since I don't really know any "left-leaning liberals" (because most of my friends, even the ones who realize that mainstream republicans are scumbags) know that socialism and/or statism is a failed philosophy, the following questions are geared more toward those who consider themselves "conservatives"...

1) Has the "gay agenda" turned you or your children gay?
2) Has a war protest caused you or your loved ones to die in a foreign war?
3) Has a burning flag ever made it harder for you to feel like a "real" American?
4) Does a mandate to buy health insurance make it harder for you to afford your company health insurance?
5) Has hearing the drivel of Janeane Garafalo ever caused you to embrace socialism?
6) Have you ever felt threatened by (or, for that matter, ever seen in real life) a "Black Panther" that wasn't housed in a zoo?

If you can't honestly answer "yes" to any of these questions, don't you think it's time to STOP WORRYING ABOUT THE BULLSHIT THAT DOESN'T MATTER, AND WAKE THE FUCK UP?

Here are more important questions to ask yourself.
1) Does a hundred bucks buy as much food as it did ten years ago?
2) Has your state introduced any legislation that has actually legalized anything in the past ten years, that was previously illegal even though the "crime" had no nameable victim?
3) Can you redeem the dollar bills in your back pocket for any actual tangible gold or silver money?
4) Are your children able to remember any point in their lives where American troops weren't in a legit shooting war somewhere?
5) Do you feel comfortable knowing that even your little town of 18k people has a police department with a "tactical team" using military-grade weapons and other gear supplied by the federal government through grant programs?
6) Does it make you feel proud to be an American, knowing that we have indefinitely imprisoned, tortured, and even murdered our "enemies" without capturing them on a battlefield or even charging them with any specific crime?

Here's a hint.  If you can't answer "yes" to any of these questions, don't you think it's time to WAKE THE FUCK UP?

Monday, September 24, 2012

The quick and the dead...

Accuracy matters. Only hits count, and you can't miss fast enough to keep up. All the ammo stockpiles in the world, and the biggest baddest rifle money can buy, aren't going to help you if you can't put rounds on target. It's just that simple. In order to be effective against the threat, your rounds must actually impact the threat. If it's life or death, having a bullet whiz past the threat may make said threat shit himself and run away...or it may indicate to this person that you can't shoot your way out of a wet paper bag, which may embolden him further.

Everyone knows that proper shooting technique, breathing, appropriate rests, etc are important when shooting off a bench, from the prone position, or through the window ledge of a deer blind. Putting your sights on the target, checking that half-breath, and letting it fly is good when you've got the time to spare. That's great and all, but what happens when you simply don't have that kind of time? What happens when the situation dictates that you can't see the sights like what occurs in low-light situations, you don't have a chance to grab your $300 designer-frame glasses, or you've been awaked from a dead sleep and are still disoriented? What happens if you just happen to be walking to the deer blind with your decked-out rifle equipped with a high-powered scope, and happen to jump a deer? Or, worse, a wild pig and/or bobcat charging for you?

You learn to shoot without using your sights. Musicians, writers who type 80wpm, accountants who work the 10-key pad, and so forth and so on understand that it is far easier to train instinctual relationships than it is to learn how to direct individual muscles to react at a specific time.

When you have to focus on target, aim your rifle and line up sights, and then operate your trigger, you are going through four sets of movement. When all three are tied together, they add up to an incredible degree of accuracy for a person who is greatly experienced at operating the rifle from a standard "target range" situation and has mastered this skill.

Now think back to that secretary who can accurately transcribe a letter dictated by her boss. In order to do so, she must be concentrating on what she is hearing and not what she is seeing her fingers do. Much like the sights of a weapon on target, the typewriter represents three points of focus...the fingers, the keys, and the words being produced. The weapon in action (much like the typewriter) sees a rear sight, a front sight, and a target.

A skilled typist knows how to set his/her fingers and is able to type with his/her eyes closed. If you're reading this, you're likely near a keyboard and you'll notice tabs on the "f" and "j" keys. Likewise, a skilled operator knows how to hold his/her rifle. If you are able to take steps out of the equation due to muscle memory, you are able to speed things up a bit. Obviously, just as a skilled typist may look at his fingers and take his time while typing and double-check his work, having the time to do so will increase accuracy.

When time does not permit such a thing, having actual skill obtained by practice will allow a person to disregard a view of his keys and keep on typing like there's no tomorrow. With the appropriate amount of practice, the typist will be able to type with a great deal of accuracy and never once look at his fingers or keys.

The fingers represent the rear sight ring of your rifle, the keys represent the front post. If you can look at your target, and know instinctively where your rifle is in relation to the target, you can hit your target. Can you look at something 25yds away and point your finger at it, without having to square up and align your finger between your eye and the target?

If you can do it with your fingers, you can do it with a rifle. All it takes is practice.


Before going further, remember your obvious safety procedures here. Drop your magazine, clear the chamber, and visually inspect.

1) Assume proper cheek weld with the rifle.

2) Aim at the target.

3) Raise your head into its natural position, without moving the rifle.

4) Take note of this position, mentally. How does it feel? When you look at the target, where is the muzzle of the rifle in relation to the target?

5) Practice this on the "short range". Remember, this is intended to be used within 25yds. I recommend using a rimfire rifle, especially in the beginning, due solely to the cost savings while you get the technique down.

6) Practice some more with your "real" rifle.

But seriously, "muscle memory" requires practice. Repetition is how you develop muscle memory.


If you're able, and happen to be using an AR15-type rifle, I highly recommend a .22LR conversion kit. At current prices of anywhere between $5-10/box, shooting a "333" box of match-grade .22LR will pay for this kit with nothing more than simple ammo savings, while saving your body the toll of blast noise and recoil of full-power rounds. While the standard .223 round is not "that loud", it will take its toll upon the ears if shot repeatedly even with earplugs/muffs in place.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Oh Emm Gee! Voter Fraud is running rampant!

Well, it ain't in the great state of Texas. Here's why:

Even BEFORE our local republican asshats decided to turn this into some huge circus about how "voter fraud" was somehow some big huge mess and we needed to start forcing people to show ID at the polls, it was already next to impossible for a person to vote fraudulently in a manner that could be prevented by requiring a photo ID.

In Texas, one must submit EITHER a photo ID card issued by the state, or a valid voter registration card, showing that they were in fact registered to vote. Obviously, the ID card has the person's photo on it. The registration card does not.

However, in order to GET a voter registration card, you must provide one of the following:
TX driver license or ID card number
Social Security number
Individual Taxpayer ID number
A birth certificate
A utility bill, paycheck, or government check in your name with the correct address.
Any other form of ID proscribed by the Secretary of State

Of course, all of the information provided must prove that you are a legal resident in the state of Texas and are of legal voting age.

At this point, there is NO POSSIBLE WAY that a photo ID "at-the-polls" requirement will prevent an ineligible person to voting. If the state can't check voter registration rolls against a list of ineligible voters, an ineligible voter will remain on the voter registration roll...and all the ID in the world isn't going to help with this situation.

What do you need in order to get a photo ID card in Texas? Well, essentially, the same shit you have to show in order to get a voter registration card...official documents proving that you are who you say you are.

In conclusion, if you still think we actually need a "Voter Photo ID" law in Texas, you're a severely fucktarded individual who likely shouldn't be concerned with voting anyway.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Gotta love that War on (some) drugs...

Today, my lovely bride-to-be got pulled over by a Department of Public Safety trooper. I won't even get into his attitude and actions while he walked to her vehicle, or during the first half of their conversation.

Instead, I'll focus on the ridiculousness of WHY he pulled her over. She's driving an older Jeep XJ, a vehicle that had a damaged front end from the previous owner "pushing" another vehicle out of a ditch. Needless to say, the front bumper had been replaced. The front bumper has no place to mount a license plate, as it was never intended for these vehicles to have a front plate. In order to mount a plate to the front bumper of these vehicles, one is required to either purchase or fabricate a specialized bracket, or screw the plate directly to the bumper.

While Texas has always had a "two plate" law, the law stated that they simply had to be mounted on the front and rear of the vehicles. Obviously, this was intended so that a license plate could be seen from both the front and rear of the vehicle.

Several years ago, even after lower appellate courts had stated that simply displaying a license plate on the front of the vehicle was sufficient, a man in Texas was arrested for possession with intent and sentenced to 60 years in prison as a repeat offender. What does that have to do with license plates?

The pretext for the search that led to the cocaine being discovered was a frisk search, after being pulled over for not properly displaying a front license plate. It would, of course, be a valid stop...except that state law did not specify WHERE a license plate had to be, only that a vehicle must display one on the front of the vehicle and one on the rear that were visible. The defendant was driving a flashy metallic-blue Chevy Impala with racing stripes and "large wheels". Where the front license plate would typically be located, there was a chrome frame and chrome "blank plate". His state-issued license plate was displayed in the front window.

He was carrying a substantial amount of cocaine on his person, and was a repeat offender. He was sentenced to 60 years. On appeal at the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (the highest level of criminal court in Texas, directly below the Supreme Court of the United States), the sentence was upheld. The court jumped through all manner of linguistic hoops and did lots of fancy manoeuvring in its opinion that the "spirit of the law" meant that the "front" of a vehicle meant the front-most portion of the other words, a mount on the bumper.

Interestingly, the only differentiation between "front" and "rear" at the time of the statute in question during that case was simply directional. There was no specific mount specified for either front or rear license plates, only that one had to be mounted on the front and one had to be mounted on the rear.

Federal regulations require (and have, for quite some time) that a bumper of any car sold in the USA extend beyond all other surfaces of the vehicle for a specific distance in both the front and the rear...which is one of the reasons why my antique 320i has a bumper sticking out so far that one might sit down and eat lunch off it. Most vehicles, with the exclusion of pickup trucks and Sport Utility Vehicles which are based on pickup truck chassies, have a rear license plate that is not on the rear bumper but rather mounted forward of the rear bumper.

Ironically, the Ford Crown Victoria driven by the state trooper who pulled my fiancée over this afternoon also had a rear license plate not mounted on the rear-most portion of his vehicle. Somehow, our Court of Criminal Appeals managed to ascertain that "front" meant "front-most portion of the vehicle", while "rear" meant "just somewhere you could see it from behind"...but hey, we gotta do what we can to keep them darkies from slangin' dope, right?

Now for the real kicker. After the decision of the TX Court of Criminal Appeals, the "elected representatives of the people" in that brain-trust we refer to as our state congress decided that the license plate law needed to be amended so that everyone mounted a front license plate on their vehicles. It's for the children. Or public safety. Or fighting illiteracy. Or whatever. These sub-geniuses forgot, however, to do one very important thing. They didn't attach a criminal penalty to it, which renders the law totally unenforceable!

Even though more than 80% of this nation's prisoners are in jail for crimes that have no legitimate nameable victim (in other words, they didn't rob, rape, kill, steal from, or otherwise harm another living soul), and the majority of police work involves nothing but generating revenue for our local, county, state, and federal governments, they can't even write a ticket that carries a fine with this one! The legislature didn't determine and proscribe a fine, which means that being pulled over for not having a front plate is completely pointless!

Unless, of course, the officer did it only as a pretext for going on a fishing expedition in hopes of finding something else in the vehicle. While you're letting that sink in, remember that my woman is not only a full-time student at a four-year university, but is also gainfully employed at a community college...and those car seats in the back seat of her SUV were there because she has two elementary-school-aged children. Ironically, she was on her way to pick them up when she was pulled over.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Sitting this one out...

If you know me, you know I love my guns. I've been observed carrying my rifles out to the vehicles by my neighbors so often that the guy at the local kwik-e-mart says I'm now known in the neighborhood as "That crazy old bastard with all the guns".

There's another little fact that you're probably already aware of. I'm one of those people who hates government in just about every form imaginable. So much so, in fact, that the last time I was booked into jail (yet another unlawful arrest resulting in dropped charges...hmmm, why do I hate government again?), the booking officer asked me if I was "one of those 'Republic of Texas' guys" because I didn't want to give the local PD my phone number.

More than I love my guns, and even more than I hate government, I really can't stand people who act like America is somehow different than every other empire in the history of mankind. By this, of course, I mean people who think that somehow government is going to draw a line somewhere and stop going further.

They will lie to you, they will steal from you, they will imprison you, and they will kill you. As it stands, there is nothing you can do about it.

Yesterday, this nation saw its last hope of "changing from within" flicker and die...and it happened on live TV, in front of anyone who bothered to pay attention. Sadly, I'd estimate the percentage of Americans who actually gave a flying fuck about this to be somewhere around 2-3% of the population.

People are pissed off, but what are they to do? As much as I'd love to be able to in a world of perfect justice, I make it a point to stay as far away from any "important" government officials when they travel to this state, so I don't get blamed for shooting someone in the event that it happens. Doing some ignorant shit like that would do nothing but start a total crackdown on everyone, and it would be incremental to the point that most of the population would never notice.

Here's my advice. STOP WORRYING ABOUT WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN. Stop looking for a savior in this world, unless you're standing in a gun shop or staring at a mirror. More importantly, stop giving a damn about what's going on. It's not like you weren't expecting it to happen. Accept it for what it is.

Take care of you and yours, and make it known that any forceful armed transgression against you and yours will be met with force...but if you are left alone, you will live in peace. Make it known that you accept the fact that even the local PD has tanks, machine guns, snipers, etc. Make it known that you accept the fact that meeting any government agency with force will most likely end with your death. Make it known that you won't take body shots. More importantly, make it known that you'll take no shots at all if they leave you alone.

Bullets, beans, band-aids, and a bible. You should be prepared, because the day will come when you'll need all of it. Everyone else can do their thing, talking all kinds of noise about how they're gearing up for some sort of revolution. Screw you guys, I'm staying home...

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Break out the fiddle...

Today, the raging fire that will eventually burn America to the ground has officially been sparked off. There were so many people who knew exactly what was going on, that it wasn't even funny. Sadly, in a nation of a few hundred million people, we represent a minority.

We are known by many names. "Moonbats", "Paulbots", "Tin-Foil Hatters", "Nutjobs", "America-haters", and the list goes on and on.

We're called these names by the sheep that simply couldn't wake up and smell the shitstorm that is brewing all around us. We're the ones who hated Bush's policies and Obama's policies equally. We're the ones who still opposed the wars in 2010, just as we did in 2004. We're the crazy guys who eat organic food, know that flouridated water is toxic, and know how to start a camp fire in hurricane-force winds. We're those "crazy" people who stockpiled bullets, beans, and band-aids.

They all laughed when we spoke of media blackouts across the country, regarding Dr. Ron Paul's huge following during the last election. During this election, some of them started noticing.

A huge grass-roots uprising took place in American politics over the past six months. Throughout each and every state primary, massive evidence of fraud and "vote count manipulation" was seen by anyone bothering to pay attention, yet somehow slipped through both the state and federal election officials who are supposed to be fighting this sort of thing.

Today, in Tampa, we saw several changes to official RNC rules that were specifically designed to ensure that Dr. Paul would lose to Mitt Romney. The RNC pushed through a change of the date historically known to be for the official nominating vote. The RNC sued to block several Paul delegates from being recognized by the RNC in accordance with its pre-established rules, taking away delegate plurality in several states. The RNC changed rules regarding a "guaranteed" speaking slot, requiring more plurality-state victories than would have been necessary, resulting in Dr. Paul being forced to either capitulate to a pre-vetted pro-Romney speech and endorsement or being denied a chance to speak at the convention. Paul, of course, would have none of it. While several of these rules were being voted on by the rules committee (in votes requiring a 75% majority of present committee members), a bus transporting pro-Paul committee members was re-routed for over 46 minutes in a loop around Tampa by RNC officials so they could not be present during the vote.

So, here's my take on it. Even if state and/or federal elections officials get involved to investigate the obvious fraud, it will more than likely be whitewashed into oblivion by the same people who perpetrated it in the first place. If these people can rig election laws in their favor (and for that matter, even the elections themselves) at a party primary or convention level, it should stand to reason that they can do it in a general election as well.

The fact of the matter remains, of course, that both Romney and Obama have been bought by the very same campaign contributors. They are both members of the party of the bankers, war profiteers, and the politically corrupt.

After the first few debates, I held little hope that Dr. Paul would ever secure a political victory. The prison industry, the military industry, the pharmaceutical/medical industry, the oil industry, and the financial industry simply wouldn't allow it. These five sectors of our government have combined with private corporations, and they are all in collusion.

Prison/LE lobbies (both private and public sector) spend a ridiculous amount of money ensuring that we are the most imprisoned nation on earth, incarcerating more people per-capita and in sheer numbers than any other nation on this planet. The military industry leads us to wars around the globe, slaughtering hundreds of thousands of people on both sides of the conflicts. The pharmaceutical industry keeps ups prisoners within our own bodies and minds, and the banking industry does nothing but sit back and look for new ways to skim its cut off the top when taxpayers end up footing the bill for all of the wonderful new ideas the other industries have to offer.

Romney and Obama share almost identical views on damned near every issue of importance, and refer to these ideas as "American values". Dr. Paul saw the situation for what it was and still is, and did his best to wake everyone up. In that respect, he's already won. It is not his presidency, but rather, his actions backing up his rhetoric, that got people to open their eyes. He said the things that would make a great many "sheeple" think he was totally unhinged...and yet, he had an impressive voting record spanning a few decades, that flew in the face of his detractors.

He's been called damned near every detractive name in the book, but the worst dirt anyone could dig up on him was the racist ramblings that someone else wrote in a newsletter that bore his name. What they hated about him, of course, was exactly that. They couldn't dig up any real dirt about him. He always took the high road in everything he did. He voted against things that went against his conscience, as an American, as a freedom-lover, and as a human being.

Above and beyond all else, he got a great many otherwise "average" Americans talking about a great many very important issues that no one else was willing to discuss. Strangely, this led a lot of his former supporters to the point of abandoning the political system altogether in favor of "anarchy", "voluntaryism", "agorism", or whatever other name you wanted to give it...but, for lack of a better description, it was an abandonment of government after seeing what it was.

I am one of these people. Back in high school, I was an anarchist of a "fuck you, don't tell me what to do!" type. A short time after that, I discovered Dr. Paul. Bear in mind, I'm 33 years old, so the internet wasn't something readily available to me at the time. I used it at school, and occasionally at home, but the internet of 1999 is nothing of what the internet of today happens to be. It took me a great while to discover the works of Thomas Paine, Lysander Spooner, and so many other great minds who wrote about the idea of freedom.

Today, I consider myself a firm believer in the non-aggression principle, because the idea of freedom cannot be boiled down any simpler than that...or, it can't be, from what I've seen in the past several years. I do my best to live by such a philosophy.

As such, the only reason I have bothered to vote in the past few elections have been to see Dr. Paul get re-elected to his office as congressman and to attempt to see him become president. I didn't do this for the reason of thinking that he had some great plan to make government start doing things "the right way". I voted for him, and supported him, because I knew some of his first actions would be dismantling a lot of government programs I disagree with.

Sadly, a lot of people see the action of government as the only "legitimate" way of getting things accomplished. Personally, I see simply ignoring the actions of government as a far more effective and legitimate method of doing things. Unfortunately, a lot of people will agree with me that a particular piece of legislation has no business being "on the books", let alone be responsible for the arrest and/or imprisonment of a person...but refuse to act upon this belief, because it is still considered "illegal". This would change, however, if they were to live in an era where a man in the executive office were to actively nullify or veto legislation disallowing the offensive acts of government. Essentially, it would be as if government were rotting itself from the inside out.

Unfortunately, as we have seen, the game is completely rigged to a degree many of us had never even come close to imagining. Most of us knew there were powerful people at work. We just had no clue they'd have the balls (or the ability) to do it right in front of everyone's noses.

Now here comes the dilemma for people like me. Do we give a write-in for Ron Paul? Do we shift our vote and throw it to Gary Johnson and the Libertarian Party? Do we sit on our asses and eat cheetos, drink beer, and watch South Park reruns?

When I was a kid, MTV told me to "rock the vote". Today, I mock the vote. A write-in for Dr. Paul is as pointless as a vote for Gary Johnson, Mickey Mouse, or Gary Coleman. I hate to sound like a "conspiracy theorist", but if the Powers That Be are going to blatantly and publicly rob a legitimate candidate of the nomination of his party, what's going to stop them from robbing an election from anyone else? Furthermore, if there are enough sheep in this country that are willing to NOT raise holy hell because they won't turn off the television long enough to see that something improper is going on, what's to stop them from legitimately voting for the scumbag who stole the nomination?

For this reason, I've given up all hope for America. I'll sit back quietly and watch it burn. Where's my fiddle?

Monday, August 20, 2012

We are all Brandon Raub today.

I think it's time to wake up, every single one of you.

Before I go any further, let's go over a few facts here, kinda like I usually do.

1) American citizens are unlike the citizens of every other nation on earth when it comes to many subjects. Amongst these subjects happens to be the "believability" of the official narrative of the 9/11 atrocity. Most American citizens believe 19 guys from Saudi Arabia were funded by a guy hiding in a cave, and even though they could barely fly Cessna single-engine planes, they were capable of aerobatic stunts that would make the ghost of Orvilles and Wilbur wet themselves. Most Americans believe this, the "cell phone calls" from the airplanes, "burning kerosene and office furniture melted the core structure", and all of the other explanations that defy both logic and physics. I put as much faith in it as I do the official story of the JFK hit.

2) I, much like just about every gun-owning and God-fearing American I've ever met, believes that this nation is long-overdue for a revolution. It is not that I hate America or its people, I hate what it has become. While our Constitution was a great idea, it was either defective since its birth and has allowed for the government we now face or was powerless to prevent it.

3) I, much like a great number of people I know, could very well be diagnosed with "Oppositional Defiant Disorder" or "Antisocial Personality Disorder".

To be diagnosed with ODD, one must be guilty of four of the following traits:
Actively refuses to comply with majority's requests or consensus supported rules
Performs deliberate actions to annoy others
  • Angry and resentful of others
  • Argues often
  • Blames others for his or her own mistakes
  • Has few or no friends or has lost friends
  • Is causing constant trouble at school
  • Spiteful or seeks revenge
  • Touchy or easily annoyed
Well, let's see here. I'm easily annoyed by idiots. I do not recognize "authority figures" whose authority rests within a tin badge and gun after passing a piss test, driving test, and basic memorization test. I like to argue, but let's be real about it...if I'm going to argue facts, it's because you have vocalized a strong opinion and I've done enough research on it to know that your opinion is based on bullshit, otherwise I'll just shut up and think you're an idiot. If I see someone acting like a jackass, I'll do my best to annoy this person, we refer to this as “trolling”. I finished the 6th, 8th, and 10th grade years in the “Guided Suspension Center”, while finishing my 7th and 9th grade years (while starting my 10th grade year) at an “alternative school” for my various screwups; I think that cements my qualification as one who is “causing constant trouble at school”. I have very few friends, and I like it that way...the friends I do have aren't total morons, and I don't live my life as if it were a popularity contest. Oh, and yeah...I've been known to hold a grudge or two.
Damn, I must be completely insane!

Now let's look at “Antisocial Personality Disorder”. In order to be diagnosed with APD, one must be guilty of 3 of the following traits:
  • Failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors as indicated by repeatedly performing acts that are grounds for arrest;
  • impulsiveness or failure to plan ahead;
  • irritability and aggressiveness, as indicated by repeated physical fights or assaults;
  • reckless disregard for safety of self or others;

Well, fuck me! I really must be crazy! I've looked a cop straight in the face on more than one occasion, “Go fuck yourself”...even though I know that the actions placing me in contact with said cop have neither been illegal, nor have they ever harmed another human being, and said cops were acting outside the boundaries of both the law and common decency. I do have a tendency to act on impulse, as evident by every trip I've ever made to Burger King. I've operated numerous power tools without appropriate PPE, I've stood within the 180 plane while others are firing rifles, and I've driven at speeds well beyond the posted speed limit...I do it dangerous! If you piss me off and refuse to leave me alone, I may in fact attempt to kick your ass.

4)Like just about every other person I know, I own more than one firearm. Since my youth, I have known how to properly operate a firearm, having personally learned marksmanship and gun safety at Church Camp and from my father and other older male figures in my younger years. So yeah, I know how to shoot. I've been hunting a time or two, I can shoot a moving animal, and I know how to take a “kill shot”.


So there you have it. I know how to kill a living creature. I am equipped to do so. I am, for all intent and purpose, considered to be suffering from a “mental disorder” according to the DSM-IV. Oh, and I have a very strong dislike of my government.

Here I am, DHS. Come for me. Come for us all. We are all Brandon Raub!

God produced, via the hands of man, two crosses to save my ass. One was carved of dogwood, and the other is stamped in brass. GETSUM!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

More drug war insanity...

In the wee hours of Thursday morning, a young man by the name of Bryan Bernhardt of Pearland TX was arrested at a gas station. He is currently being held on bonds totalling more than $80,000.00USD at the Brazoria County Jail.

He is charged with a "State Jail Felony" for possession of more than 1/4lb of marijuana but less than 5lbs of marijuana, a crime punishable by up to one year in a "State Jail" facility. He is also charged with possession of mushrooms and some prescription pills, which are felony charges.

Ironically, our state has decided a few years back, to introduce a level of crime not serious enough to send a person to prison...but serious enough to strip away damned near every bit of a person's civil liberties. They have named this level of offense a "State Jail Felony", and have named it by the level of cage they're going to put you in.

Now, let's look at why this man was arrested. According to the police, someone called 911 to say that someone was "driving recklessly". In other words, his manner of driving may have potentially harmed someone else...but didn't. That is, of course, if he was actually doing this in the first place.

Then, he was said to have allegedly "appeared intoxicated", which in most Public Intoxication arrests in Texas, is complete and utter bullshit. It's an excuse to arrest someone who may (or, in several cases, may not) be under the influence of an intoxicating substance when no other probable cause for arrest exists.

In order to be arrested for PI, one must A) be intoxicated on some form of drug not prescribed to him by a doctor, and B) must be considered a safety risk to himself or others. Simply being drunk in public on its own is not grounds for arrest in the state of Texas, per the laws of this state.

The real kicker, however, is what he was arrested for. Plants and pills. Pills are legal for anyone who gets a permission slip signed by a state-licensed dope dealer, and the plants are completely natural. Ironically, he was arrested at a gas station that sells one of the most dangerous drugs on the planet to anyone who has reached the age of 21...and I know this, because I have personally purchased alcoholic beverages from that very store.

Dafuq is going on in this country?

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Black Rifle Hunting in the modern era

As most "gun nuts", "firearm aficionados", "crazy mother****ers with huge arsenals" will already know, every modern "sporting" rifle used for hunting today is based on a design used for killing other human beings on the field of battle.

While some choose to look at this as some sort of sinister ploy to gain acceptance of war machinery in the hearts and minds of us nasty civilians, I choose to look at it as reappropriating battlefield tools for humanitarian uses such as the hunting of food.

In case you don't know me personally, I am very much "anti-war". I know war happens, and it sucks...but to deny the technological advances regarding firearms simply because they were born of war is something I see as no different from denying the advances in modern medicine that also resulted from armed conflict. My point is, the shit works so there's no reason not to use it for our purposes.

Moving right along, I'd like to point out that two of the biggest names in "sporting purposes" firearms have introduced their own line of so-called "tactical" rifles. These are, of course, the Remington and Mossberg brands, who have entered their respective R15 and MMR rifles into the firearms marketplace. While Mossberg appears to be catering more to the small-agency/private-owner tactical market, Remington is catering directly to the hunting crowd by producing rifles with finishes done up in name-brand camo patterns the typical hunter is already familiar with. The R15 rifles also come from the factory with a five-round magazine necessary for hunting according to many states' hunting regulations.

While some may see this as a ploy to get "JoeBob the Militia Nutjob" to buy a new deer rifle, I see it as a natural progression into the era of modern technology. My grandfather, a veteran of WWII, had declared the M1 Garand to be the greatest battle rifle ever devised...while the krauts racking their bolts, he was able to get a round off and then start picking out another target. Today, the Ruger corporation markets the Mini-14 and Mini-30 line of rifles that are based on the action of the Garand and utilize a detachable 20rd magazine, and they are chambered in the Soviet 7.62x39mm and NATO 5.56x45mm rounds respectively. Not only are they widely used by police units and prison guard towers, they are the go-to guns for ranchers and a lot of hunters looking for a light-weight, rugged, and dependable rifle for field use.

Then, we have the AK47 rifle, known the world over as the go-to rifle of choice for terrorists, revolutionaries, and several dozen national armies. Why? Because it works. It works so well, in fact, that it's actually part of the graphic on the flags of three different nations. It is also made by Saiga in Russia as the region's most popular hunting rifle, and is exported to the US of A for the same purposes...while being offered in 7.62x39, 5.56x45, 7.62x51, 7.62x54, and even various shotgun calibers.

Nowadays, since the American public has discovered the modularity and customization potential of the AR15 rifle in the days after the failed "Assault Weapons Ban" of 1994-2004, it seems like everyone and their uncle is producing an AR15 rifle...and the American public is buying them like it's the coolest thing since Led Zeppelin.

While a great portion of purchased such rifles in anticipation of God-knows-what defense needs, a great many more have purchased them as plinkers, collectibles, and more importantly, bonafide hunting rifles.

There are several reasons for this (availability of cheap range ammo, low recoil, ergonomics, etc), one of the biggest reasons is the inherently awesome design. While the direct-impingement gas operating system does leave something to be desired, the rest of the rifle is simply fascinating when one thinks of how incredibly genius the design truly is.

As an integral part of its design, the top of the buttstock is in-line with the barrel, which reduces "muzzle flip" all on its own. Unlike any other "hunting" (or even "paramilitary") rifle I've ever seen, it has a built-in dust cover over the ejection port that will protect the bolt from debris and will open automatically when the rifle is either charged or fired. The original height of its iron sights allow its intended round (as well as the 7.62x51mm, aka ".308 Winchester", round used in the original AR10) to hold the ideal trajectory for a standard round in the ideal range for hunting...which is typically under 300yds.

Now we get into the other aspects of this rifle that originated within the military...namely, the M1913 rail. Commonly known as the "Picatinny Rail", so-named after the US Army Arsenal that first evaluated and tested it, it is as universally-accepted as the USB connection is within the world of computers. Many manufacturers offer rail systems that are proprietary to their brand or model of firearm...but when the aftermarket sees these weapons becoming popular amongst buyers, they don't change the mounting of their accessories. They offer adapter rails so that people can mount a Picatinny-compatible accessory.

The rail interface design allows any compatible accessory to be mounted to any compatible firearm. Long-gone are the days when a rifle needed a custom model-specific mount for a scope, a sling attachment, or any other accessory. Now, you take an Allen wrench or a screwdriver and you mount the accessory while drinking a cold one and watching a baseball game. Flashlights, bipods, laser sights, sling mounts, and even cup holders (yes, I shit you not, I've seen them) are available with a picatinny mount. It's a running joke in my family that you're nobody until you have a picatinny rail mounted on the wall of the head so you have a place to mount your toilet paper dispenser!

Then we get into the "pop the pins and swap" game. With an AR, the lower receiver is separate from the upper by means of two push pins...meaning one firearm can be capable of a multitude of roles. While a heavy long barrel is good for precision shots from a deer stand, a short carbine-length barrel is great for carrying on hog hunts and whatnot when you're walking through the woods.

While a barrelled upper receiver of decent quality may cost you the same as a decent-quality rifle of any other variety (between $400 and $600, typically), this setup has two distinct bonuses. First, you have familiarity with the system. The grip feels the same, the trigger pull is the same, the fire controls are the same, the rifle is slung the same, etc...because it quite literally is all the same. Second, the various upper receivers take up a lot less space in the cabinet, gun case, etc.

Suppose you're taking off to the sticks for a week, and there's the opportunity to go hunt some hogs and practice your accuracy with the deer rifle. You strap up your deer rifle, go hit the range, and get to work on your trigger control, breathing, etc for your accuracy. You're putting rounds downrange into a quarter and feeling good about it. You get up the next morning to go hunt some hogs, and then you strap a lightweight barrel onto your setup so you can walk through the back 40 and go pop some swine. That same rifle you practiced with all afternoon yesterday is now the rifle you're makin' bacon with today.

You want to practice on the range with both? Throw both uppers into the case, you've got room. You want to swap out scopes so you can decide what you're going to use during deer season? Throw both of 'em on the rail, zero 'em in good and tight, and they're both good for when you decide to throw 'em back on the rail. You want to go deer hunting with your rifle, and then put an M4 upper on it to keep the front yard clear of crackheads during a Rodney King riot? You're still good to go. Pop and swap, the end.

Versatility and purpose is the key. Make use of it, it's there for the taking...

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Those pesky assault rifles

Semi-automatic rifles able to accept detachable magazines and two or more of the following:
That's the definition of "Assault Rifle", as provided by the Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Act...otherwise known as the federal "Assault Weapons Ban" that expired in 2004.

Now, let's compare one of those evil black assault rifles to an antique deer rifle. You should be able to spot the difference...

In the top photograph, you will notice a few things about that rifle which make it a scary evil mass-murder machine. Let's start from one side to the other, shall we?

1) It has a threaded barrel with a "flash hider" installed. The purpose of a flash hider is to mitigate and dissipate the flash caused when a round's propellant charge explodes, so the shooter does not suffer from shock blindness in low-light situations. This is exceptionally useful for deer hunters, as it is well-known that the times surrounding daybreak and sunset are when white-tail deer are most active. It does not eliminate the flash, nor does it eliminate sound. See those little slits cut into the flash hider? Those slits redirect the exploding gasses, so as to have smaller multiple fireballs going in several directions instead of one giant fireball at the end of the muzzle.

Interestingly, the US government allowed the use of "muzzle brakes", which are sometimes identical to a flash hider except for one feature...the hole in the end of a muzzle brake is most often just slightly larger than the barrel bore, forcing more gasses outward in a direction perpendicular to the barrel as to create less felt recoil for the shooter. Muzzle brakes, of course, had to be either blind-pinned or welded onto a barrel prior to sale so people would have to use either a power drill or dremel tool to unthread them from their barrels.

2) The bayonet lug.
Notice that triangle-shapped thingiemajigger sticking off the top of the barrel? Well, that's not the bayonet lug, that's the front sight housing and gas block. The part on the bottom of it is the bayonet lug.

Bayonet lugs were not manufactured on civilian-issue rifles as a practical hunting or self-defense mechanism, they were put there because rifles with bayonet lugs have several interchangeable parts with their military-issue counterparts...the front sight base being one of them. It was left on because it would cost a metric shitload of money to remake a casting mold, and even more money to take a grinder to existing sight bases...but that's what happened during the ban years.

3) The magazine.
A standard 30-round magazine is included with most AR15 rifles, for the same reason as the front sight base. It costs money to redesign something. The average civilian AR15 owner enjoys the 30rd magazines for two very distinct reasons, and neither have anything to do with mass murder.

For starters, they're cheaper. A high-quality name-brand modern polymer 30rd magazine can be had for as little as $12. A bargain-basement brand aluminum 30rd mag can be had for as little as $7. Used military-surplus magazines that do not change the functionality of a semi-automatic rifle under any circumstances can be had for under $5. On the other hand, a decent 5 or 10 round magazine can cost more than $30. These magazines, in addition to the higher price, must also contain some from of "block" base, in order to allow their removal from the rifle because five double-stacked .223 rounds stand shorter than the height of the AR15's mag well.

Now, here's the other reason. When you're spending your time loading a magazine, that's time you aren't spending shooting a rifle. It takes an experienced person two seconds to dump an empty magazine from an AR and reload a readied magazine...if he's under pressure. In other words, it takes more time to reacquire a target after shooting than it takes to reload.

Given the fact that the average five or ten round magazine is roughly the same size as a 20rd mag and only slightly smaller than a 30rd mag, it would make sense to carry six boxes of ammo in four magazines instead of carrying them in 24 magazines. If one chose to only carry four magazines, he would load four times when he left the house...and then he'd have to stop and reload another 20 times while at the range, for those other hundred rounds. Considering that 120 rounds of ammo (six 20rd boxes) can cost as little as $30, it isn't exactly out of the ordinary for a man to shoot that much or more in a given trip to the range.

4) The pistol grip.

Yes, the AR15 uses a "pistol grip" that is separated from the stock. The reason for this is basic ergonomics. Every major new rifle design since the Thompson Carbine (the "Tommy Gun" made famous during prohibition, and purchasable via mail-order back then) has had a pistol grip stock, with the exception of the US M1 and M1 carbines, the US M14 rifle, and the Soviet SKS....and these rifles did not use multiple pieces of furniture.

The reasoning behind using one solid piece of wood for a "traditional" stock is that any furniture (the wood or plastic hand grips and buttstock) had to be mounted somewhere. Most early rifle designs used a single mounting point to mate the wood to the barrelled receiver, because it was far cheaper to find a long chunk of wood than it was to machine several holes into a firearm and tap threads into them. When these rifles were designed, most machining was done on manual machines ran by actual people, and tolerances were critical. Out-of-tolerance cuts rendered the entire weapon useless. It was far cheaper to employ a $2/hour wood carver than it was to employ a $7/hour machinist.

The pistol grip does not facilitate "shooting from the hip" better than a curved traditional stock, due to human physiology. To demonstrate, hold your right arm outward to your right side and parallel to the ground. With your arm extended, bend your arm at the elbow so that your forearm is parallel to the ground but pointing forward. Notice the angle of your fist. Now drop your arm and place your fist on your hip. You will notice that a traditional stock is, in fact, much more ergonomic when shooting from the hip.

Interestingly, that's not why they made the curvature of an old-school stock in the shape most commonly used. In the early days of firearms, you'll notice that the stocks were almost entirely straight pieces of wood. The reasoning for this is that it was much easier to slightly carve into a solid tree limb than it was to intricately carve grips into stocks. Over the years, woodcarving and lumber harvesting techniques became more advanced, but the technology necessary to machine metals with precision still wasn't exactly available at Sears.

Today, most precision rifles have a much more "vertical" handgrip than a traditional rifle stock does, for the reason that a more comfortable rifle is a more accurate rifle...and aftermarket single-piece stocks with a more drastic handgrip curve are now available for older rifles.

5) The collapsible buttstock.

The AR15 shown above has a 6-position collapsible buttstock. From its most extended to its most collapsed positions, roughly five inches of difference are covered.

While the buttstock does in fact shorten the overall length of the rifle, it was not designed (nor is it intended) for use as an aid to conceal the rifle under clothing. The AR15/M16 Carbine's shortened barrel was designed to allow for varying choices of gear amongst special operations troops during the Vietnam War. Varying levels of body armor, rucksack shoulder straps, etc dictated that the LOP ("length of pull", or distance between the shooter's grip hand and location of the buttstock's end) should be adjustable to accommodate for both these differences and the differences in the length of the shooter's arm.

Amongst modern man, it is not uncommon to find a human being that is between the height of 5'6" and 6'6". Likewise, these same men can also be found in our military. As shown by Davinci's famous drawing depicting the proportions of the human body, the span of a man's outstretched arms is approximately equal to that man's height. Considering that an individual arm consists of roughly 35-40% of that armspan length, you're talking about a difference of several inches in arm length between a man who is 5'6" and a man who is 6'6".

When there exists such drastic differences in proper LOP, it would make sense to say that a single standard-size stock is not appropriate for every shooter. Considering that it was developed for men who were already hiding from the enemy, it would be just silly to suggest that the adjustable stock was developed for "concealment", considering that a standard legal-length AR15 is over 30" long with the stock fully retracted.

Ironically, under the AWB, it was legal to produce and sell an AR15 with a "look-alike" adjustable stock that was fixed in a single position...even if that position was in the fully-retracted state. Due to the ban on flash hiders, the barrel length that was 16" + an inch or two for the flash hider became a straight 16". Couple that with the fixed short stock, and you have a rifle that was a full 6" shorter than the one used by the Aurora theater gunman per the media photographs captured via helicopter over the crime scene.


While we would all feel a lot more warm and fuzzy about the situation if placing a ban on so-called "assault rifles" actually had the potential to make any real changes, the fact remains that it accomplished nothing.

Proponents of the AWB like to point out that it quite literally cut the number of violent crimes committed with "assault weapons" in half, they will often fail to mention the fact that previous to the ban, only 2% of all violent crimes were actually committed by people with so-called "assault weapons"...and even further, the majority of these crimes didn't include a single round being fired.

On any given day, these United States averages over FORTY human lives being ended by an unjustifiable homicide. In my 33 and a half years on this earth, I have been fortunate enough to only have personally known three people who have died as a result of homicide. One was a classmate stabbed to death at a party, one was a former classmate suffocated by arresting officers while high on drugs, and the other was my former orthodontist who was ran over repeatedly by his jealous wife's Mercedes.

In the past year, there have been two murders that have occurred within half a mile of my home in the sleepy little town of Angleton TX. One was a stabbing, and the other was a shooting. Because only six rounds were fired during the shooting, and the other incident involved a knife, neither incident would have been prevented by an Assault Weapons Ban...even if it were to actually prevent people from getting the millions of such weapons and high-capacity magazines off the streets.

People like to talk about banning guns, but they fail to realize that there is one firearm for every sixth man, woman, and child in these united states. That's over 51 million firearms...and that's just an estimation. If even only 20% of these were so-called "assault weapons", that's more than ten million in a population of 311 million...or, roughly one for every 30 people. How many people live on your block?


Now, let's get back to the pictures. That deer rifle you see in the other picture? That's a semi-automatic Browning BAR hunting rifle chambered in .243 caliber. It uses a larger and much more powerful round than my AR15. While the rifle pictured is not mine, it is identical to the one I carried on my first deer hunt.

It is a semi-automatic rifle, capable of spitting out every round in its magazine as fast as I can pull the trigger. While mine is equipped with a scope, you may notice that the rifle comes from the factory with flip-down iron sights for use at close ranges without the scope.

One thing it is not equipped with, interestingly, is any type of new high-tech design. It was manufactured by the Browning Arms Corporation, a company set up in Utah during the 1920s to market the civilian-oriented designs of one John Moses Browning. In case you've never heard of the man, he's the guy who designed the "Browning Machine Gun" (aka the M2, or "Ma Deuce", still in use today by our military). He designed the M1911 pistol, designed prior to 1911 but adopted by our military during that year, and also still in use a hundred years later when the 9mm Beretta M9 won't get the job done. He designed the M1918 BAR (the one Tom Hanks asked the Italian-American guy about in the invasion scene of Saving Private Ryan..."Bottom of the ocean, sir. Bitch tried to drown me!").

J.M. Browning designed so many firearms that just about every war between 1900 and 1950 used his rifles on one side or the other...or both. He was born in 1855 and died before the start of this nation's "great depression". Aside from a very limited few advanced-technology designs, every firearm on this planet being made today is a modification of something that J.M. Browning designed a hundred years ago.

Even the AR15 shown in the photograph was designed by Eugene Stoner in the 1950s. Keep in mind, this was before automobiles had fuel injection. Radios didn't have an "FM" band. A great many American homes didn't have refrigerators, let alone a television set.

Like all other hunting rifles, handguns used for self-defense, etc, the AR15 semi-automatic rifle was based on a weapon designed for war. Your great-grandpa's old bolt-action deer rifle was likely based on the Mauser design, as most bolt-action rifles are to some degree...and it was the Mauser rifle that my own grandfather faced in WWII, as the Mauser was the standard infantry rifle carried by Nazi soldiers.

It's often been used as an argument against certain types of firearms, that the 2nd Amendment only applies to the types of firearms in use at the time...which were single-shot muskets that had to be hand-loaded with powder and ball. The thing is, at the time, those were the state-of-the-art military rifles of the day. Every man who had any interest in survival owned one, and it wasn't uncommon for him to own a pistol as well.

One may remember the Mel Gibson movie "the Patriot"...during the scene where he frees his condemned first-born son, he didn't use a high-capacity magazine. He instead used several pre-loaded rifles. Concept is the same, technology allowed for greater speed in a smaller package.

So yes, for the same reasons that the AR15 is an "assault rifle", so is your old bolt-action. Likewise, so is the reason for owning an AR15. Our God-given rights were never about shooting ducks or a paper bullseye, they included the right to personal defense for a reason. When our forefathers outlined this right within the constitution, there was never a thought to "sporting purposes".

A rifle, while it may be used for sporting purposes, was originally designed to kill another human being. I won't attempt to defraud you by pretending some sort of façade regarding the intent of its design. A weapon designed to kill a 180lb man efficiently will also kill a 180lb deer efficiently. Every "sporting rifle", bow, crossbow, etc that is currently used to hunt game animals is utilizing a design that was originally intended to kill a human being.

Let us not forget, there have been several sitting US presidents assassinated with firearms in these United States...but not a single one of them was killed with what would have been banned by the "Assault Weapons" law. Hinckley used a revolver. Oswald used a bolt-action rifle. I don't know what the others used, but they happened so long ago that the technology isn't even relevant to the discussion.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Aurora, dissected

As you're likely aware by now, I'm a "gun nut", and I've never been all that ashamed of it. Sadly, I can't say I was shocked by what was going on in Aurora the other night...other than, of course, the fact that this guy was able to get off enough rounds to kill twelve people and injure 50 more, before he stopped shooting.

The problem with this is not a lack of gun control, a lack of cops out on the beat, CIA brainwashing, or anything else of the sort. Innocent people have died, and my heart goes out to their families, but there's no need use conjecture about what the root cause was. He could have very easily perpetrated this crime (and potentially killed far more people) without the use of firearms. It is what it is, it happened, and today I'm just looking at the known facts...

1) The guy was wearing a gas mask, and deployed smoke bombs of some sort. The smoke, in and of itself, is enough to keep someone away. Even if they weren't actual military issue, paintballers have been able to purchase similar gear for "simulation games" for years. Prior to this, two bucks at the fireworks stand will get you enough smoke bombs to do the trick. In an enclosed space, you get as far away from the smoke as possible, because without that gas mask you won't be able to breathe.

A full-face gas mask, often used by automotive painters, will stop the inhalation of smoke and can be had for relatively small change. $20 can get you a decent military-surplus model with brand-new filters. You can purchase them online, or even down at your local Sherwin-Williams store.

2) Even if he was using "high-capacity magazines" in his rifle and handgun, he could have very easily have used only his shotgun and accomplished the same results. Every cinema-chain theater I've ever been to has had only two doors. One main door people use to enter and exit the theater to and from the lobby, and one emergency exit near the screen. If the shooter were to deploy smoke near the exit door and start shooting at the the main door, you've got a bottleneck of huge targets. As fast as people may be climbing over each other to get out, it's a crowded theater and there's only so many people who can fit through that door. "Fish in a barrel" comes to mind.

An experienced shooter with a tad bit of practice can swap a magazine in less time than it would take to get off ten rounds, especially if there is smoke keeping people away from him. Anyone who's watched footage from the "Bank of America" robbery in California knows how little time it takes to swap a mag, and it takes less time when you've got them in a ready state strapped to your chest. When there's no one shooting back at you, I'm assuming there'd be even less stress involved.

3) I've never been to a movie theater where there wasn't AT LEAST one cop on the premises, typically standing right past the ticket-taker who directs you to the particular theater your movie is playing in.

The state of Colorado, in general, loves its guns and provides "Shall Issue" concealed carry permits. Unfortunately, as a matter of city ordinance, private citizens are not allowed to carry any type of firearm (rifle, shotgun, or handgun) in public, regardless of whether the state has granted them a license. As a result of this, the only people with a firearm at the scene of the crime were the shooter and potentially one or two police officers providing crowd control at the theater.

I am hesitant to use the phrase "providing security" at the theater, as obviously there were about five dozen people wounded and/or killed there. This is not the fault of the officer, or the police department not hiring enough officers, or anything of the sort.

I am not familiar enough with the Aurora PD's internal policies dealing with "Active Shooter Scenarios", but it would make sense that one man not rush into an enclosed space while armed with nothing but a handgun after hearing a few dozen rounds being fired. Even if he wanted to, it's highly unlikely that he'd have even been able to, given the massive amount of people rushing out of the theater at the time.

Remember, there's only two doors. One leads outside the theater, the other leads to the lobby. The emergency exit door leads outside, meaning the officer would have to leave the theater and then hope the exit door hadn't been closed by the time he got there. The main door has a packed theater's worth of people trying to get out of it.

It would be more prudent to get backup and deal with the situation properly, than to interject yourself into a wall of bullets. The dead help no one. This statement isn't "pro-cop" or "anti-cop", this is common sense. It is not an act of cowardice, to not rush into the theater..."cowardice" would have been hauling ass out the front door with the rest of the movie theaters. If the officer runs in and gets shot, he can't say anything to dispatch.

The only anti-government statement I will make here is that the City of Aurora shares partial responsibility in this tragedy for refusing to allow its citizens the right of self-defense.

4) While the CIA has engaged in "mind control" experiments such as Operation MK ULTRA, I find it highly unlikely that this incident was the result of some sort of sinister government plot.

I will mention the fact that the shooter is known to have taken psychoactive prescription medications. Notably, so did the Giffords shooter, as well as the Columbine shooters. I'm not gonna come right out and say that prescription medications will turn you into a sociopathic murderer, or that they are even remotely the cause of the situation at hand.

I will, however, say that it's typically a bad idea to go messing around with the brain chemistry with chemicals specifically designed to alter the way we think or feel. It has long-since been known by our government, the pharmaceutical industry, and the medical establishment, that many antidepressants and other psychoactive drugs have very negative consequences and may increase ones' desire to commit suicide or commit other acts that would be looked upon as extremely "abnormal" for the rest of society. A person's brain chemistry is already screwed up when he gets on these type of drugs, and they seem to make matters worse.

Then again, there is always the chance that this guy was straight-up batshit crazy and just decided to kill a bunch of people because it sounded like a good idea at the time.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Lead for breakfast?

For the past two nights, I've covered how to zero your rifle, as well as proper shot placement. Tonight, I'll cover a subject that is every bit as important and often overlooked even by experienced hunters.

I'm talking, of course, about ammunition selection. Remember when we discussed ammo types during the lesson about ballistics tables and zeroing your rifle? Well, the type and weight of ammunition a person should select is dependent upon three things...and must, as we learned earlier, be determined prior to zeroing the rifle properly.

By this point, you likely know that the term "rifle" comes from the grooves cut into your barrel that cause the projectile to spin as it flies downrange. This spinning acts as sort of a "gyroscope" effect, stabilizing the bullet more than a smooth-bore musket would. This is one of the reasons why those who hunt with shotgun slugs will often swap out a smooth-bore barrel for a slug-specific rifled barrel.

The "twist rate" of a barrel refers to the length a spiralled rifling groove must travel down the barrel before it makes a 360 degree twist. A 1:10 twist rate will provide one revolution of twist in ten inches of barrel. A 1:7 twist rate is said to be "faster", as it provides one revolution in only seven inches, while a 1:12 twist is said to be "slower" for the same reason.

Certain twist rates are appropriate for specific bullet weights. For instance, take a .223 rifle. "Varmint" rounds, used for killing small game and nuisance animals such as gophers, are typically found in the 40-45gr range, and used with slower twist rates. The standard military-issue infantry round (albeit in a 5.56 chambering, it's essentially the same cartridge for purposes of this discussion) is a 62gr round and is used with a 1:7 twist barrel.

While the 40gr round can be used with a 1:7 barrel, and the 62gr round can be used with a 1:12 barrel, the faster twist of the 1:7 has actually been shown to cause some light-weight rounds to disintegrate mid-flight due to centrifugal force. On the other side of the equation, a slower twist rate such as 1:12 will cause the heavier round to destabilize in mid-flight, and will cause the round to actually tumble end over end resulting in what is known as a "keyhole" (impacting on its side, rather than tip, causing an elongated entry).

Even if your round does not fly apart or start tumbling, an improper twist rate for a given bullet weight will cause issues with accuracy.

For the purposes of this discussion, let's take my HK91 and compare it to my Springfield M1A Super Match. Both are civilian-legal semi-auto variants of their respective select-fire military counterparts, and both are chambered in .308 Winchester/7.62x51 NATO (there are slight differences in case wall, but largely irrelevant with either rifle, as both are civilian models).

The German has a 1:11 twist rate just like its' military brethren, intended for use with the standardized 7.62x51 NATO 147gr FMJ ammunition. The Springfield, on the other hand, has a "match" barrel with a 1:10 twist designed for 168gr rounds. Using either round in either rifle is acceptable from a safety standpoint, and both will provide decent accuracy.

With the proper ammo, however, shooting the HK off a bench will put three rounds into a quarter at 100yds. The Springfield will put them into the same hole. Needless to say, proper bullet weight is everything, and you need to know your twist rate before you can determine your proper bullet weight. After you determine your proper bullet weight, you can then move on to step 2.

After determining proper bullet weight, you must next look at the actual design of the bullet. With the exception of an extremely small selection of purpose-built rounds for the military, bullet types are typically relegated to Full Metal Jacket ("FMJ"), Jacketed Hollowpoint ("JHP"), Pointed Soft Point ("PSP"), and Ballistic Tip ("BT").

FMJ rounds will provide the greatest degree of penetration, but the least degree of bullet expansion/deformation. JPH rounds provide less penetration than the FMJ round, but more expansion than FMJ and more accuracy than PSP. PSP rounds offer a greater degree of expansion, but sacrifice accuracy and velocity due to the oft-blunted soft tip that is typically deformed prior to even being taken out of the box.

Ballistic-tip rounds, such as the Hornady A-Max and Winchester Ballistic Silvertip, are boutique hunting rounds that use a hollowpoint bullet whose tip has been filled with a pointed section of ballistic nylon or other plastic. While the plastic tip does not necessarily aid in expansion of the bullet, it does aid in aerodynamics, which provides greater accuracy and velocity than a same-weight JHP. The biggest downside to the ballistic tip round, of course, is that it typically costs $30-50/box of 20 rounds.

The biggest determining factor for you and your rifle is "how much is enough"?

Are you a hunter who feels most comfortable taking torso shots? Do you use a large-caliber rifle? Are you an experienced marksman and hunter that feels comfortable knowing that you can put a round up a flea's ass at 500yds?

John Taylor, experienced African safari hunter, developed what is known as the "Taylor KO" index. It calculates bullet weight, bullet diameter, and velocity to provide a "Knock Out Factor". A .454 Casull (for a long time, the largest standard-production handgun caliber available) gets a KO of 30, while a .22LR round gets a KO of 1. By comparison, the 5.56mm NATO 62gr round used by the M16/M4 rifles of our military get a KO of 5, while the 7.62mm NATO 147gr round gets a KO of 19.

The higher KO factor of your round, the less reliant you are upon expansion. Expansion, of course, is what creates a larger channel of wound or bodily destruction. The higher your KO factor, the more hydrostatic shock you will produce. Hydrostatic shock is caused by sudden blunt force trauma upon liquid-filled tissues found within a mammalian body. Essentially, it's the impact shoving your blood and other bodily fluids elsewhere at such a high rate of speed that the movement of fluid in and of itself causes damage. "The bigger the thump, the bigger the pump".

A light-weight .223 PSP round may expand to the same diameter as a .308 FMJ round, thus creating essentially the same wound channel. Now let's look at the difference. A baseball weighs about five ounces. Imagine Nolan Ryan just hit you in the chest with a 5oz lead fishing weight...weighs about the same as a baseball. Now imagine that you got hit in the chest with a 15oz steel hammer, roughly the same diameter, at the same speed. Harder material, and a lot heavier. The fishing weight is going to knock you down. The hammer is going to knock you out of your boots.

Is bigger better? Not necessarily. If the round is so big that it's overkill, there's no point in's going to be big, expensive, and good for nothing more than showing everyone that you're compensating for your small penis. On the other end, the .223 round is so small and light that many states have outlawed its use, forgetting the fact that the same round used to hunt 170lb deer is also used all over the world to kill 170lb men.

My first deer kill was with a 55gr .223 Winchester Ballistic Silvertip, shot placement put the animal out of its misery before the muzzle blast faded. I had good shot placement, and all went well.

If you look closely, you can see the entry wound a few inches below the ear. The deer had its head down while feeding, and was shot from 80yds. While the round disintegrated upon impact, fragments did exit the top of the head, slightly visible in the photo. Good shot placement and a lot of luck killed that deer. I still prefer headshots on the grounds that they don't spoil meat, but my next kill will be with a heavier round. As my uncle says, "I've tried everything...but I just can't make those horns taste good!". A heavier round will do a better job of covering my ass in case the deer flinches, I jerk my shot, or anything else that puts me slightly off-target. If it happens to blow off one of its horns, I'm not that concerned! For the "trophy hunter", using a heavier round against the vital organs has its obvious benefits.

What round is best for you? Well, that's something you're gonna have to figure out for yourself. Every rifle is different, even rifles that are made to the same exact specs. You'll have to experiment. That's why we do this in the off-season. We figure out what works best, and we use it.

A good start to this is to determine the twist rate on your rifle, and then make use of the interwebz to find professional recommendations as to what weights are best for it. Look for online reviews of your rifle by well-known gun magazines.

Once you've figured out what weight works best for your rifle, figure out what round works for you, through trial and error. In this day and age, modern manufacturing techniques should allow for 2moa accuracy using any off-the-rack rifle when used with appropriate ammo. That's 2" grouping at 100yds. When properly zeroed, that's within 1" of your target in any direction. Experiment with different types, different brands, etc.

One of my biggest recommendations is that you should not equate price with accuracy when it comes to ammo. Obviously, with a firearm, a $1,000 rifle is going to typically shoot better than a $200 rifle. The same cannot be said with ammo.

To give an idea of what's happening here, let's look at the target above. It was posted at a standard 100yd range. The green dots were fired at "center mass", using 55gr PSP. As you see, there's a pattern of several inches. Those are standard name-brand "hunting" rounds. The blue dots are USA-made Federal 55gr FMJ rounds, and they span a pattern of a little over one inch. The red dots are the cheapest brass-case Monarch-brand ammo my local Academy had to offer, manufactured in Serbia by the Prvi-Partisan.

As you can see, a particular brand of ammo plays as much of a part in your selection as the type.

Practice and experiment, and remember what your Little League coaches taught you. You're gonna play how you practice!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Learn anatomy, kill efficiently, hunt ethically.

In yesterday's post, we discussed how to properly sight in your rifle in preparation for deer season. Tonight, we learn how to put that round to work.

Shot placement is critical. Step into the WayBackWhen machine for a moment, and think back to the children of the Great Depression who lived "in the sticks". I am lucky enough to have many relatives who lived it, including an uncle who remembers being able to go into town and buy a single shotgun shell because most people were too poor to buy the whole box.

That was back in a time when every round fired potentially meant the difference between eating dinner, or hoping you got another shot at it tomorrow. Now that hunting has become more of a hobby than a necessity, the art of shot placement has been lost on folks who think a 7 Mag instantly turns a person into the Great White Hunter.

The amount of deer killed with a cleanly-fired .22LR is just about the same as deer who have been wounded and lost in the woods due to a poorly-placed shot from a .300WM in the hands of an overzealous dentist-turned-wanna-be-hunter.

On the interwebz you'll find all manner of armchair killers whose knowledge of hunting comes from a combination of Call of Duty and the sporting goods section of Walmart, and they all have their opinions about the "proper" rifle to use, the proper type of ammo, the proper place to aim, etc.

Of course, it's all bullshit. Within 300yds, there isn't a centerfire rifle on the market today that won't drop a deer dead in its tracks with proper shot placement.

There are three general "kill zones" on any animal...head, neck, and chest. They aren't supernatural, it's just basic mammalian anatomy. There is not a game mammal hunted in America today that does not have a brain, spinal column, heart, or lungs.

1) Head.
Don't get it twisted, you're not trying to take out the brain. Even if the brain is severely damaged, an animal still has the ability to not only live but also run like hell. Also, if you're aiming for the center of the head when facing an animal broadside as pictured in the diagram above, you're likely going to do nothing more than blow the deer's jaw off and watch it run back into the woods where it ends up bleeding to death two hours later in a spot you'll never find.

The headshot has the benefit of providing an instant kill when performed properly, but has the downside of being the smallest target area. The reason for this is the actual portion of the head you're shooting at. You're trying to destroy the base of the brain, where it meets the spinal column. If done properly, you will quite literally separate the mind from the body without spoiling any meat.

The brainstem is what connects the brain to the rest of the body, and tells the heart, lungs, muscles, etc what to do. Shutting down the heart instantly halts the flow of fresh oxygen to the brain, which kills the brain in a matter of seconds. In reality, it's no different than literally severing the head.

In the diagram, you'll see where the spine meets the skull. Just above that union is where the brainstem is located. No matter what direction the deer is facing, aim for the brainstem. Any centerfire round, within typical hunting distances, will slam into the head with enough force to drive the bullet into its target. If you are facing the deer head-on, as opposed to a broadside position shown, be conscious of where the neck meets the head. For instance, if shooting at this deer from a tree stand at a 45 degree angle while head-on, you would go in through the top of the head between the antlers. If facing the deer while on the ground, you would aim between the eyes. In a similar position, with the deer looking straight at you, you would aim directly for his nose.

2) The neck.
Much like the brain stem, the spinal cord housed inside the spinal column is an integral part of the nervous system that will shut down vital organs. Ever hear of someone being killed instantly because his neck was broken? This is why.

The two major benefits of the neck shot are being able to preserve the skull if one wants to mount the head & antlers, as well as preservation of meat. If you're able to get a broadside shot, find the center of the neck and put a round into it. Even if you don't actually impact the spinal cord with your round, you will more than likely destroy enough of the spinal column that the shattering of bone will sever enough of the cord for you.

3) The pump station.
Imagine that the deer is a car. The head is your ignition switch, the neck is the wiring, the lungs are your intake manifold, and your heart is the carb. If you turn the key off or sever the wiring, you're going to kill the engine. If you crack the manifold or smash the carb, the engine is still gonna's just gonna take a bit longer, depending on how bad you smash it.

We all remember Arnold in Predator..."If it bleeds, we can kill it." An animal requires oxygen as its most basic need, cut off oxygen and it begins to die. Oxygen is, of course, carried in the blood. If you destroy the link between the brain and the heart, the heart stops being told to function and stops pumping blood. If you wound the heart, the heart's ability to pump blood to the brain is inversely proportional to the severity of the wound.

The downside of the heart shot from the broadside position is that you will likely screw up some meat on the shoulder. As shown in the diagram, the heart is located behind and below where the deer's front leg meets the spinal column. Aiming through the front leg will result in a more severe wound, with more severe meat spoilage. Aiming behind the leg will wound the lungs and save the meat, but will be a less severe wound. Either way, it's highly unlikely that the shot will result in an instant kill or completely immobilized deer, and you will likely be tracking the deer after the shot.


One other thing I would like to add here is proper post-shot behavior.

Use the "cigarette rule". After the shot, don't immediately go after the deer. Wait a few minutes, about the time it takes to have a smoke. The purpose of this is to not spook the deer any more than necessary. Even though the deer may have dropped in its tracks, there exists a strong possibility that it is still very much alive. Waiting gives the deer a chance to die in peace, slowly bleeding out where or near where it was shot, while minimizing the distance you'll have to track it.

When you get to the deer, you'll likely notice that it's not quite completely dead. It is probably mortally wounded and will die on its own if allowed to, but it's just been shot and is suffering. This is where you slit its throat. Don't shoot it again. It's messy, and excessive shooting scares away animals that someone else may otherwise get a chance to shoot. There's no need to be cruel to the animal, you're just cutting off its' blood supply so it dies a bit quicker. Use a sharp knife, and do it quickly.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Getting prepared for hunting season...

If you're anything like me, you've learned the basics of firearm safety, maintenance, and proper shooting position. If you haven't learned these things, GO LEARN THEM before bothering to do anything else related to your hunting rifle. Deer season is months away, you have plenty of time to learn.

This posting is for the person who has experience shooting his rifle, but may not quite understand the science behind getting the rifle properly zeroed or "sighted in". While there are numerous variables behind it, the process is fairly simple once you understand the basic theory. Now that we have the interwebz at our fingers, it's even simpler than ever.

The use of a ballistic calculator is one of the greatest tools to use for the purposes of determining what range you should zero your rifle at. For demonstration purposes, I will use the HK91 as an example to show the variables you will need to plug in. I know most hunters are "traditionalists" and use bolt-action rifles with the standard-curve stock, but the fundamentals here are the same and I just like using my enough about that. Here's the picture.

Now for the variables...

1) First and foremost, you're going to need to know what kind of ammunition you are using. Ammunition will have a specific bullet weight and type, plus a specific nominal muzzle velocity. This is typically marked on the ammunition box, but can easily be found online when looking for different types of ammunition to compare.

2) Sight height is another necessary piece of information. See those two red lines in the picture? The top line represents the centerline of the scope, while the bottom line represents the centerline of the barrel's bore. Scope and bore, under 99.44% of circumstances, will be parallel to each other. The exception to this is when using a long-range setup with a very heavy projectile, such as a .50BMG...needless to say, you're not likely to encounter this when hunting white tail or elk.

3) Maximum range is also important. First, discover the maximum distance of any shot you are likely to take on your individual hunting grounds. For example, in the Piney Woods of East Texas, tree coverage makes it next to impossible for most people to take a shot farther than 80-90yds. In the deserts of West Texas, an open line of sight for up to a mile or more is not necessarily uncommon. You need to determine not only the maximum range allowable by your environment, but also the maximum range allowable by your equipment and individual marksmanship skills. Determine the maximum length of shot you're likely to take, and then add an extra hundred yards just to get an idea of what the bullet is going to do.

4) Other variables that will be plugged in are atmospheric conditions. Altitude, barometric pressure, temperature, etc. affect the path of the bullet. Thankfully, at the relatively short ranges most hunters are shooting, these variables aren't nearly as important as the others. Guestimations of what the weather will be like during hunting season should be good enough here.

Now comes the mathematical portion of the lesson. The rings and mount used to affix the scope to my HK rifle place the sight height at exactly 3" over the bore of my barrel. I use the standard 7.62x51 NATO 147gr FMJ ammunition the rifle was designed for (it's cheaper than boutique hunting rounds, and did I mention it's CHEAP!?). I plugged in my weather and altitude variables.

For a given ammunition type, rifle, and atmospheric condition, the trajectory arc of the bullet will remain constant. The goal is to determine A) what the trajectory arc is, and B) where your scope's line of sight will intersect with the trajectory. In the diagram above, the bullet's trajectory is the black arc, and the scope's line of sight is the green line.

Theoretically, it is possible to have the line of sight intersecting the trajectory arc at any distance between the muzzle and the maximum range of the ammunition. The tricky part is to determine where it is most usable. In the diagram above, notice how the line of sight intersects the trajectory arc twice...the bullet passes line of sight in one direction, arcs downward, and then passes line of sight in the opposite direction.

The goal is to determine the flattest arc possible within your maximum usable range, by zeroing your rifle at a distance that will provide the least variation in point-of-aim/point-of-impact. The reasoning behind this would be the ability to know that no matter what distance within your given hunting area the game may be, you can aim for the vitals and still hit your target within a few inches without having to do any type of guesstimated field corrections in your head. It's a lot easier to remember to breathe and shoot properly, when you're not having to simultaneously do math on the fly. Do your math in the off-season, and you don't have to do it in the deer stand!

Using the rifle and ammuntion I described above, I have determined that a 60yd zero will result in a bullet trajectory that is within 1.6" of my point of aim, from 45 to 250yds. In other words, so long as the wind doesn't get stupid and my aim is good, I can hit a baseball at that distance if I am for the center of it.

Changing any of the three main variables I've listed will have dramatic consequences on point of impact (POI). For instance, changing the zero distance from 60 to 70 yards will drop the POI almost an inch at 250 yards. Using the same zero distance of 60yds, ammo, and a rifle such as a bolt-action (or semi-auto with the barrel over the gas tube and/or cocking tube, such as the Browning BAR, M1A, FN/FAL, etc) that drops the sight height to 2" will drop the POI down several more inches.

This is why it is absolutely important to know your rifle, your ammunition, and how far you anticipate being able to take a shot.

After you've figured out the variables on your particular setup, and determined what your optimum zero range is, you need to field-test. Unless you happen to own (or know someone who does own) several acres of land outside of city limits where it's legal to shoot, you'll likely be going to an actual shooting range to shoot during the off-season. One of the easiest and least-expensive methods I've found is using a laser bore-sight prior to going to the range.

They are available in two different types, one mounts inside the muzzle and one mounts inside the chamber. While the chamber bore sight has the advantage of being more accurate, it is limited by the fact that it is only useful for the specific round and the child-rounds derived from it. For instance, a .308 chamber sight will work for .308/7.62 NATO, as well as the .270, .243, and all other "necked down" rounds using the .308 as its base. A muzzle-mount bore sight, on the other hand, is typically universal and comes with caliber-specific arbors to fit a variety of different calibers. Universal muzzle-mounts can be purchased at Walmart and other big-box retailers, while chamber-mounts can be purchased at gun stores, Academy, and other sporting-goods stores. I personally recommend the NC*Star brand, because they are inexpensive and they work. Here is an example of the .308 chamber sight.

Start by using a known range. For example, let's use a 20yd range set up in the back yard. Using your ballistics table for your particular rifle setup and zero distance, determine where your POI should be at 20yds. Using my HK91/Winchester White Box ammo/3" sight height/60yd zero, my POI will be at 1.8" over my point of aim.

After marking the bullseye of the target (I recommend using a standard paper plate and a Sharpie marker), I need to also measure a point 1.8" above the center of the bullseye. My laser dot should be dead center of the bullseye, while the crosshairs of my scope should be dead center in the dot I've made above the bullseye.

Now that you've adjusted your scope with the boresight, you need to do some *actual* field testing, just to ensure that you're where you need to be. The back-yard boresighting is just enough to get you "close enough". Going back to my ballistics table, I see that my POI at 100yds is 1.2" below my point of aim. To test your sights, you can either aim for bull and measure the distance of your impacts, or aim above bull and see if they hit bull.

When accuracy testing on the range, I recommend repetition. People speak of firing 3-shot groups, but experience shows me that five-shot groups are where it's at. Shoot at 100yds, giving you the benefits of both extended-range over your backyard bore sighting and the ease of knowing that 100yds isn't an extremely long shot. Between shots, mark off two minutes, allowing for a small amount of "cooling off" for both you and your barrel. Make sure you use a bench rest, bipod, sandbags, or whatever else you feel comfortable with, to ensure that your shots are not influenced by anything other than the rifle and ammo.

After each five-round group, take the opportunity to see where your POI is. Look for the center of your group*. If your grouping isn't where your ballistic table says it should be, now would be the time to correct your scope and try again. It's generally good to wait 15-20min between strings, to allow proper cooling of your barrel.

Another thing to remember is that if you are going to be hunting during the winter and range-testing during the summer months, run two for each temperature. Run your cold-weather table to determine where your zero point should be, and run your warm-weather table to give you proper POI measurements. Remember high-school math? For a given equation, the constants remain the same, the solution is determined by the variables.

Online ballistic calculators are available from a variety of sources. One of the best available is the Winchester Online Ballistic Calculator, as it provides a graphic output of the bullet's trajectory in addition to the ballistics tables. Unfortunately, it has two drawbacks. First, it will only calculate Winchester ammunition. Second, it runs on Microsoft Silverlight, and users of Ubuntu and other Linux-based operating systems are not supported.

For those of us who do not run a Windows machine, or who want the ability to plug more intricate variables into the calculator, there is the JBM Ballistics trajectory calculator.

Good luck, and good hunting.

*If your five-shot groups are patterning more than 2" at 100yds, there is a serious problem. Either you are using a defective rifle, you are using defective ammunition, or you are a defective shooter. If it ain't the ammo or the gun, disregard this and start putting in more range time...