Author Archives: Hognose

About Hognose

Former Special Forces 11B2S, later 18B, weapons man. (Also served in intelligence and operations jobs in SF).

When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have Bullhorns

Nope, not the kind that Snowflakes use to protest everyday life on today’s learning-free college campuses. More the kind that come attached to bulls.

Angry bulls. Bulls that you just stuck a little cocktail skewer into, and now are a mite peeved. And are looking to take out their rage on something human and dressed in red.

One is put in mind of all the old British jokes about the sexual orientation of Spanish Bullfighters. Only for the guy who received a near-foot-long bull horn enema, it was more like getting you-know-what without getting kissed.

Antonio Romero was horrifically gored during a bout with the furious beast in Mexico City on Monday.

The matador ended up with the bull’s horn some 11 inches up his rectum, causing “severe” injuries.

The stomach-churning clip shows Romero seemingly in control as he goads the animal with a red cloth, called a muleta. But something goes wrong as he tries to get the bull to pivot around him. The angry beast rears up, catching him on the arm and knocking him off balance.

As Romero stumbles back in an effort to avoid the bull’s deadly horns, the animal throws off the muleta and homes in on its helpless target. Now, with its tormentor in its sights, the bull takes its terrible revenge.

via Bull gores 11-inch horn up matador’s butt | New York Post.

Here’s the video, but as usual with a goring (“cornada” en español), the action is over in a few seconds. (Quick work by the assistant bullfighters — forget what they’re called — in distracting the beast).

 It was probably a bullfighter who first coined the smart-aleck comeback, “If it was up your [you-know-what] you’d know.” Well, now, Antonio Romero knows. He’s in hospital and will need more surgery than what the bull did to him.

It could really mess up his sex life.

For More Ships, Navy Needs… More Money

USS John F. Kennedy,CVN 79, starts to take shape. Almost two years construction up to this point.

What’s the difference between an admiral and a drunken sailor? Answer’s at the end.

Ships are big. And, to steal a word from the President’s Twitter stream, building more ships is going to cost us… “bigly.”

$80 to $150 billion bigly. And that’s the Navy number, before it’s inflated with cost overruns to make sure there is No Retired Admiral Left Behind, and because some future SecNav may want to add to or remove the Transgender Head on the Poop Deck.

The Navy, at least, is talking about building actual Navy ships, not the science fiction experiment that was the DDG-1000 class, or the two mission-weak, firepower-absent and capability-poor “social justice cruisers,” the LCS or Literal Comedy Ship.

The exact size of the future fleet doesn’t matter right now, but rather the Navy just needs to start boosting its investment in shipbuilding quickly – which means buying many more Virginia-class attack submarines, Arleigh Burke-class destroyers and Ford-class aircraft carriers in the next few years, [Vice CNO ADM Bill Moran] said.

“I’m not here to argue that 355 or 350 is the right number. I’m here to argue that we need to get on that trajectory as fast as we can. And as time goes on you start to figure out whether that number is still valid – 10 years from now, 20 years from now 355 may not be the number,” Moran said today at the annual McAleese/Credit Suisse “Defense Programs” event.
“Our number, give or take, to get to 355, or just to get started in the first seven years, is $150 billion. That’s a lot of money.”

A larger, more capable fleet is a good idea. Building instead of mothballing carriers, destroyers and attack/all-purpose subs is a complete and welcome reversal from what we’ve seen for the last dozen-plus years.

But is anybody confident that the Navy and its cozy little cabal of shipbuilders can manage a big-ticket project?

Well, ADM Moran starts off with, “give us the money and we’ll start to figure it out.” That’s not very reassuring.

Moran told USNI News following his remarks that dollar figure wasn’t exact but was based on the Navy’s best guess for how much it would cost to immediately begin a fleet buildup. A Navy official told USNI News later that one internal Navy estimate put the cost at about $80 billion over the seven years, whereas a Congressional Research Service estimate was closer to $150 billion.

OK, so now we’ve seen three independent estimates: 80, 150, and 155. That means that, based on government procurement history, building the ships will probably cost, not the average, $128 billion, but the sum of $385 billion.

“When you look at the number that started our 355 trajectory, to jump-start it – in order to jump-start it we think we need to build an additional 29 or 30 ships in the first seven years,” he said.

If it’s thirty ships, that’s an obscene $13 billion per hull. But he’s already waffled it down to 29, so it’s $13.3. But wait! Once Congress gets hold of it and demands fewer ships built in more Congressional Districts, maybe we’re looking at 20 or 25 ships. The Navy will certainly still spend every dime, so we’ll be sending our sailors to sea in new 1970s designs that average $15 to $19 Billion per ship.

Someone’s making out, and it’s not the nation’s ability to project sea power.

“When you do all that math, it’s a lot of money that we don’t have. But we were asked to deliver on that, so we’ve passed along what we think it would take. And obviously, any number you give in this environment is going to be sticker shock. So that’s why I say don’t take me literally, all it is is a math equation right now.”

Those 30 ships would mostly come from three ship classes in serial production today.

The Virginia-class submarine Minnesota (SSN-783) is “pressure hull complete,” signifying that all of the submarine’s hull sections have been joined to form a single, watertight unit. Newport News Shipbuilding photo.

“We definitely wanted to go after SSNs, DDGs and carriers, to get carriers from a five-year center to a four-year center and even looked at a three-year option. So the numbers I will give to you are reflective of those three priorities, because those are the big impacters in any competition at sea,” he told USNI News.

This is actually sensible. How about a stop-work order on the born-obsolete Literal Comedy Ship, before one of them gets into a sea fight with an Iranian Boston Whaler and loses, uh, bigly?

“Amphibs come later, but I’m talking about initial, what are we building that we can stamp out that are good. We know how to build Virginia-class, we know how to build DDGs.”

via Moran: Navy Needs Additional $150B to ‘Jump-Start’ Path to 355 Ships.

You just don’t know how to build them reasonably, do you?

You see, the difference between an admiral and a drunken sailor, is that the drunken sailor spends his own money. The admiral spends yours. 

Understanding CZ Test Targets

In accordance with longstanding European gunmaker custom, CZ ships a test target with its pistols. These seem ridiculously simple, but there are enough people asking about them in online forums that we thought we’d explain them. We usually have a few CZs with boxes and paperwork around the house…

Don’t get too excited, they’re not NIB old stock (well, most of them aren’t). (If you look real close to the right of the CZ-75 box, you can see a current CZ-UB box that almost exactly matches the black background. Adventures in photography). While we don’t have anything from the 70s or earlier represented here, we do have (oldest first):

  1. A CZ vzor 70 in 7.65 mm manufactured during the pistol’s production twilight, in 1980.
  2. A CZ-83 in 7.65 mm manufactured during the pistol’s production startup.
  3. A CZ-75 “Pre-B”, manufactured in 1987, prior to mass importation to the United States;
  4. A CZ-75 P-01, manufactured in 2015, which is typical of current CZ-UB production.

The first three pistols were manufactured during the Cold War era and the P-01 is contemporary. All four were probably scheduled for production with a view to exportation, although both the vz. 70 and the P-01 were also the standard pistols of the national police force, and when this CZ-83 was made, there was some thought that the Verejna Bezpečnost (police) would adopt it order to retain the 7.65 caliber.

It is our understanding that all targets are shot rapidly, from rest, at 25m, although only some targets are labeled with distance; and that Sellier & Bellot ball ammunition is customary.

We’ll now look at the targets in the same order. The targets are of three different types: the vz. 70 has a small polygonal aiming point inside a rectangular target area, the target used by the CZ-75 and -83 has a rectangular aiming point with the center of desired impact on its bottom edge and a circle centered on that point describing the desired impact area, and the P-01 target is a modern digital rendering of the firearm’s performance on an instrumented range.

  1. The vz.70 target is actually labeled vz.50. This makes perfect sense, as the two pistols have only cosmetic differences; most of the running changes in these small police pistols were made during the vz. 50 years. A late vz. 50 is more like a vz. 70 than it is like an early vz. 50. There are six shots on the target, one a flyer to the left. The legend at top reads: PISTOL 7.65 MODEL 50 and PISTOL NUMBER 652090. The legend on the bottom reads DATE: 29 Dec 1980; SHOOTER: Zemek (with two partial, illegible rubber stamps, one circular and one a signature), and OTK with a rubber stamp which may be the “kissing lips” we discuss below. We would welcome any insight to the meaning of the acronym OTK, but suspect it’s some type of inspector.
  2. The CZ-83 target is a CZ-75 target with the -75 legend scratched out with black ink, and a CZ-83 legend rubber-stamped in place. Whether a specific target was developed for the CZ-82/83 series is unknown; it’s possible, as this pistol has a four-digit serial number flagging it as first year production. The CZ-75 would have been the main export product of the Uhersky Brod plant when the -83 was introduced, and these targets would have been in daily use. On this target, the pre-printed CZ-75 lines (which you can read on the next target) are inked out, and a rubber stamp says Pistol čz model 83 caliber 7.65 mm. Below the inked-out CZ-75 lettering is Distance 25 m, and to the right is Pistol Number 002846. The legend on the bottom reads Date (blank) Shooter (stamp looks like JBICHR [?]), and OŘJ with a stamp we call the “kissing lips” but appears on magnification to be a blurred-out stamp that once had numbers or characters within it. It seems logical that OŘJ also refers to some inspector or inspection title, but again we do not know the Czech acronym.
  3. The target with the 1987-production CZ-75 (pre-B, which dates to 1992) is the same basic one used for the CZ-83 above, obviously without the CZ-83 adaptations. The legend inked out in the -83 target is seen to read PISTOL ČZ Model 75, Caliber 9 mm Parabellum, and the SHOOTER stamp at bottom center reads FICE[?]NC. The OŘJ stamp can be seen to be a circle with illegible characters inside (we liked it better when we thought it was kissing lips! From Moravia with love!). Seven shots appear to have hit this target, unlike the six of the two earlier ones. It is possible that this target is more “weathered” than the older CZ-83 target because the gun reached its end buyer in 1987, while the CZ-83 remained in one warehouse or another until 2017.
  4. The P-01 is a modern computerized target that depicts the fall of the shots graphically on an ordinary sheet of A4 computer paper, and contains a great deal more information than the old targets. There is no point in translating any of the Czech, as CZ-UB has helpfully done it for us. This target represents the impact of five shots by white circles. The blackened circle is the calculated center of the group.

That the new targets are labeled in English as well as Czech is a nod to CZ’s export focus these days; printing them on an ordinary A4 sheet of computer paper and generating them by computer saves time and money at a busy factory, yet gives buyers confidence that their firearm has been tested and worked. (Europeans still have to proof-test their firearms, but we suspect many American firearms leave factories without every cycling a live round).

The Cold War era targets are (sparsely) labeled in Czech only, and are printed on extremely coarse and flimsy Warsaw Pact era paper, which has, as you can see here, yellowed to one degree or other with age. They do have a certain character. If we didn’t want to keep these in the boxes the firearms came in, we might just frame them. How much of the dirt, oil etc. on these fairly dirty targets came from the range and how much from the intervening decades of handling is anyone’s guess.

All targets are serial numbered to the guns, usually with blue ballpoint ink, and have a space for the technician who fired the gun to stamp his name and the date. Both of these stamps are seldom present, but the serial number has always been.

One open question is whether targets like these were furnished with domestic police and military firearms. Our tentative hypothesis is that they were not; instead, the military (etc) acceptance stamp went on when the ordnance officer was satisfied, and there was no point in retaining a target beyond that. None of the CZs we have with Czech military or police acceptance marks came with targets, but all were used (most, well-used) when we acquired them.


We thought that we’d add this: if you’re lucky enough to have a date stamp on your CZ test target, the month will be abbreviated in Czech. Here is a table of the Czech months and the standard abbreviations for those months, which CZ used on its stamps.

Czech Months

English month Česky (Czech) ČZ Abbreviation
January leden led.
February únor ún.
March březen břez.
April duben dub.
May květen květ.
June červen červ.
July červenec červen.
August srpen srp.
September září zář.
October říjen říj.
November listopad list.
December prosinec pros.

Watch out for June and July!

OT: Animal Behavior and Highway Driving

Humans are not animals, at least not in our value system. But in terms of mechanisms both physical and behavioral, there’s certainly some commonalities. Behavioral scientists, whose field has picked up in respect what it’s lost in pizzazz since the days of B.F. Skinner, insist that many (some say all) human behaviors can be explained by reference to our animal, evolutionary past.

Jack Baruth, an automotive writer who specializes in stoking controversies, says that bozo driver behavior is actually explained by animal instincts that survive in the atavistic core of Homo sapiens. First, he reminds us all how little we like….

…the people who wander from lane to lane for no reason. The drivers who speed up to match you as you pass them on the freeway, not out of anger or machismo but simply because their subconscious herd-animal instincts tell them that it’s completely safe and comforting to be driving at 75mph next to another 4,000-pound unguided missile. Tailgaters. People who can’t merge at speed. I could go on, but I think you get the idea.

Yeah. Hell is other people, on the highway. And they usually have Massachusetts plates, but that’s a whole other rant. So where does the animal bit come in?

I’ve watched drivers unconsciously pace me all the way from 55mph to 85mph or more as long as I increase my speed one MPH at a time, or from 85mph to 55mph if I slow down by the same increment. They’re not trying to be annoying; they are just operating on the herd principle buried in their backbrains. But if I slam on the throttle and go from 60mph to 70mph at max acceleration, they won’t follow.

If you move over for a faster car that then slows down right ahead of you, try moving back in behind them. They will almost always slow down 5mph or so, because they are slightly nervous at seeing you appear in their mirror. Then you can return to your previous lane and pass them again, using sharp acceleration to put distance between you and them and break the herd behavior.

He has several suggestions for, actually, manipulating the unconscious, herd-brain instincts of the inattentive driver.

…All of these tactics, and many more that you’ll discover independently, have one thing in common. They are designed to break the herding instinct by making you more visible, or more worrisome, to the unconscious driver. They turn you from just a comforting, indistinct presence in their mirrors or windshield to an actual, noticeable automobile that might not be worth sticking so closely to.

Naturally, we’re going to tell you to Read The Whole Thing™. Sometimes we find Baruth and his towering ego, which is so centrally present in each column as to deserve co-writer credit, annoying. But in this column he named several things that we do to keep moving on the road, and it never occurred to us to use the template of herd-animal behavior as a way to understand the migrating Massholes driving three abreast at three miles under the speed limit, with twenty miles of cars backed up behind them.

We’ll never think of them the same way again. But we’ll probably continue cursing them. That’s our instinctive animal behavior.

When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have E-Cigarettes

An e-cigarette exploded and burst an entire bedroom into flames. Eight firefighters were sent to the two-storey semi-detached house in Oldbury, West Mids, after the e-cigarette exploded at around 1.40pm Nobody was injured in the blaze which charred the rooms wooden furniture and dangerously melted an extension cable. Pictures show the major fire damage in the front bedroom on the first floor caused by the e-cigarette

Hey, there’s another way that e-cigarettes can cure your addiction: by blowing you to bits.

Dramatic images show the devastating after effect of the blaze, which took place at around 1.40pm today.

Firefighters rushed to the scene in Oldbury, West Midlands, following reports of a first floor fire.

A double bed and wardrobes had caught alight after the device blew up in the two-storey semi-detached house.

Nobody was injured in the blaze which charred the room’s wooden furniture and dangerously melted an extension cable.

Oh, the humanity! A melted extension cable.

A West Midlands Fire Service spokesman said: ‘There was a fire in the first floor front bedroom of a semi-detached house caused by an exploding e-cigarette.

‘Two fire fighters wearing breathing apparatus used a hose reel to extinguish the fire.’

Nobody died this time, but apparently an e-cig can still bring the FOOM.

Last month, a man lost seven teeth and suffered serious facial injuries when an e-cigarette exploded in his mouth.

Andrew Hall from Idaho in the US, was inhaling from the device when the incident happened.

As well as losing several teeth, Hall was left with ‘chunks of plastic’ wedged into his face and second degree burns.

via Entire bedroom destroyed in fire after e-cigarette explodes | Metro News.

One wonders how many of these FOOMed unfortunates are the victims of using the devices within their specifications, and how many of them were trying to abuse them for the delivery of recreational pharmaceuticals.

Vintage Armored Cars (1912-80 or so)

There’s an interesting if disjointed (and sometime wrongly-captioned) photo essay on armored cars at this link:

[W]e take a look at the many different types of armoured cars that have appeared over the last one hundred years.

via Dark Roasted Blend: Impressive Vintage Armoured Cars.

The armored wheeled vehicles range from the First World War’s Bristols and Rolls-Royces, up through the Russian Civil War’s Austin-Putilov…

…and many peculiar armored reconnaissance and scout vehicles of the interwar years, World War II, and the Cold War. Heavy on Russian stuff. There’s even a shot of Stalin’s own ZIS armored limousine, which looks like a Packard for the simple reason that the financially strapped Packard firm sold the USSR a lot of the tooling.

The wartime German types, which survived at very low rates, are underrepresented, but a lot of the interwar and Spanish Civil War Soviet types are depicted, as is the wartime the BA-64, which always makes us think (1) for an armored car, that’s cute as kittens, and (2) what a horrible place to die! It had angled armor, like the contemporary German designs.

Most of these things had 12-15 mm of armor (half to three-quarters of an inch) and were barely proof against small arms and artillery wide misses. (Even against those minor battlefield threats, the pneumatic tires were vulnerable to an easy mobility kill).

An example of the kinds of subtle errors in the photo essay is its description of this early postwar Czech armored car, the Škoda PA-II “Želva”:

The post says this of it:

We’ll start with perhaps the most interesting – a streamlined armored car: “Built by Skoda in 1923 and armed with 4 Maxim MGs, this Zelva served with the Czechoslovak police, and weighed more than 7 tons”:

Actually they missed its most interesting feature, one which fascinated the Germans: it had two driver’s stations and was equally at home going either way. They also called the MGs wrong, in our humble opinion. The image on the left seems to show the characteristic long flash hider and short water jacket of the Austrian-designed Schwarzlose, a mechanically unique gun that was used by the Czechoslovak Republic for some years after independence (they even developed improvments over the wartime gun). And indeed, a better reference on the Želva online spills important details: only 12 were made, the armor peaked at under a quarter-inch, and the Czechoslovak Army rejected them… and, oh yeah, the armament was 4 each, 7.92 mm Schwarzlose vz. 07/24 machine guns. The Germans took them over and used them as radio vehicles during the war. None are believed to survive.

More on the Czech/German AT Rifle

Our recent auction post reminds us that (1) we have to come up with some better way of flagging more interesting auctions and (2), and more to the point of this post, that there’s a lot of interest and misconceptions about the Czech-German AT rifle featured at one upcoming auction.

First, this 2015 post here has some background on rifle-caliber-yuuuge-case AT rifles, like the German and Polish variants, and their rounds. (This archived external page also covers the round). The Germans chambered this rifle in their standard wartime 7.92 x 94 mm P318 round, which was used in the standard German PzB 38 and 39 AT rifles. The round was capable of 4,000-plus fps from a long barrel and the most common ammo was a tungsten-cored kinetic penetrator. P.O. Ackley, eat your heart out. Barrel life was pretty short, but if you’re going to shoot a rifle at tanks, it’s not the life of the barrel that should be worrying you.

(The Russian site that cartridge picture is from appears to be down now, unfortunately).

Those rifles operated by a dropping block, like an artillery piece (or early breechloader), and their principal mechanical difference was that the PzB 39 was manually operated, replacing the “semi-automatic” (in artillery terms) automatic opening and ejecting of the PzB 38.

The Czech rifle used completely different principles, and as proposed for Czech service a different cartridge.

In fact, the Czechoslovak Army experimented with a variety of anti-tank rifles in the 1930s, as part of a campaign to improve AT defenses overall. Many Czechoslovak officers put their faith in conventional anti-tank artillery, but others pursued the AT rifle. Many versions were tested including Josef Koucky’s’ ZK 382, a bullpup repeater which fired a unique 7.92 x 145 mm round, further ZK single-shots ZK 395 (12 mm x ?) and ZK 405 (7.92 x ?), the ZK406 repeater and 407 self-loader the “Brno W,” the Janeček  9/7 and 15/11 mm Gerlach-principle squeeze bore, and several 15mm designs, including vz. 41 single shots, and a bolt-action magazine repeater which was supplied to Italy (in only 15 units) and possibly Croatia. The 15mm guns used an AP version of the 15 x 104 mm round used in the Czechoslovak vz. 60 heavy MG, produced primarily by the British under ZB license as the 15mm BESA. The Czech engineers then reworked into the vz 41 in 7.92 x 94 for the occupiers, specifically, for the SS.

During all this experimentation, Czechoslovakia was dismembered and its Czech provinces occupied. The best was the enemy of the good; nearly a decade of experimentation in AT rifles wound up yielding absolutely nothing for the Czechoslovak Army. (It was a moot point, perhaps, as despite its strengths in tanks and artillery, there was no resistance to the Nazi occupation.

Most of the elite of the Czech arms design industry worked on these rifles at one time or another. Vacláv and Emanuel Holek worked with Koucky at Zbrojovka Brno; Jiri Kyncl worked with Janeček.

By the time the SS received their rifles, they were already hopelessly outclassed by improved armor, and among Speer’s actions in his attempt to rationalize the chaos of the German and occupied territories’ arms industry was to discontinue production of the 7.92 x 94 Type 318 ammunition.

The M.PzB.SS.41 was supplied in a wooden transfer and storage crate containing the rifle, two spare barrels, and four magazine boxes containing five magazines each. There were some variations in minor features (bipod, muzzle brake) during production. Of some variants, only photographs or documents survive. We have found no reports of combat effectiveness.

All of these AT rifles are rare today, the German guns existing in single-digit quantities (the mass-produced PzB 39s were recalled during the war and converted to grenade launchers, the GrB 39).


  • Dolínek et al. Czech Firearms and Ammunition: History and Present. Prague: Radix, 1995.
  • Hoffschmidt, E.J. Know Your Anti-Tank Rifles.  Stamford, CT: Blacksmith Publishing, 1977. (A .pdf of the chapter of this out-of-print book on this rifle is attached: MPZB41 comp.pdf)
  • Šada, Dr. Col. Miroslav. Československé Ruční Palné Zbrane a Kulomety. Prague: Naše Vojsko, 2004. (pp. 139-142, 197-198).


Well, this is embarrassing. Never hit “schedule” or “publish” on this one. -Nose

Wednesday Weapons Website off the Week: CounterJihad

We have found good information and argumentation on the site and its related YouTube channel. It had gone radio-silent after the election, and may be an Israeli-sponsored propaganda effort aimed at the election; despite that, it was generally right about the problems the USA has been having identifying with and targeting an enemy that has no comparable difficulty targeting us. 

If it takes a gang of lobbyists whose paychecks ultimately get accounted in shekels to wake up America, about all we can say about that its, “Thanks, Israel.”

Of course, it could be part of the legendary Russian Scheme to Elect Trump. Russia, too, has problems with jihad and is amenable to making common cause with us, within limits. (The US, you will recall, sponsored an MB takeover of Egypt, and armed MB and Al-Q related terrorist groups in Libya and Syria, after exposing the secular/liberal opposition to Qaddafi and Assad to extermination by both sides).

So is it Jerusalem? The Kremlin? Huh. Maybe it’s just a bunch of patriotic Americans. Because on the issue of the global jihad, the policy that is best for Israel or Russia — to crush it utterly — is the policy that is best for the United States. Not to mention the UK, where The Religion Of Peace™ just perpetrated its only real sacrament, murder, again this week.

From our point of view, it’s very hard to quibble with their election-time Five Point Plan, only some parts of which are being executed already (despite resistance from extremists’ friends in the Deep State, the DC nonprofit/media nexus and among the post-American legal and judiciary element). Explained in a video, complete with portentous-toned narrator:

While the website hasn’t been touched since the election (cheapskate Israelis?), the YouTube channel showed a sign of life this month, posting a new video for the first time in six months. So keep an eye on Counter Jihad. Whoever is behind it, their message is one more Americans (and other Westerners) need to see.

Shop Soulcraft

Bear with us as we talk about two disparate things — screwing up and hand tools. They both go tool in hand, er, hand in hand. And it all started in the workshop today.

We have the center section of the airplane starting to come together on a temporary table (horses and MDF) down in the gunsmiting lab. (Yes, before anyone asks: when it’s complete, it will fit out at least one of the three exits. We measured).

Ah, “measured.” What a fine and noble word that is. And what grief befalls the workman who neglects to do just that. And thereby hangs a tale. (Does a tale hang by its tail? Only its tailor knows for sure).

Over the last few nights we prepared to install the baggage compartment floors, structural parts that are fastened to a built-up section of the main spar carry-through by approximately three dozen solid rivets. After a scan of the plans, most of the rivets were emplaced as AN470AD4-8s, and four outboard rivets that went through an additional .040″ or so were emplaced as AD4-9s. These rivets are identical rivets except for the length.

There is a code to AN rivets, which is inscrutable to the uninitiated but becomes second nature after the 3,712th one you’ve driven (or maybe it’s the 882nd one you’ve drilled out because you drove it wrong). These two sizes break out as follows:

Item AN 470 AD 4 8
Meaning Army-Navy standard Standard round head rivet shank dia. 4/32″ shank length 8/16″
Item AN 470 AD 4 9
Meaning Army-Navy standard Standard round head rivet shank dia. 4/32″ shank length 9/16″

Before our European and Antipodean friends begin grumbling about the superiority of the French Revolution’s system of weights and measures (if they were going to keep something of Robespierre’s, why not the guillotine? But we digress).

The rivets were difficult to drive because the sheet metal floorboards themselves limited tool access. We drove them using teamwork and great care, worried about putting a “smile” on a rivet head and having to drill a rivet out.

Today, as we contemplated a neatly driven row of AN rivets, the Blogbrother revisited the plans page and came up with an unwelcome insight:

“Hey, I think we put in the wrong rivets.”

“Nonsense. Dash-8s, and 9s for the two outboard rivets on each side where they go through the upright, too.”

“That’s not what the plans say. Dash-9s and 10s.”

“Uh. Intercourse.”

So now we didn’t have to drill out one mashed “smiley.” Nope, we had to drill out all 36 or so rivets. Every single one is 1/16″ too short. And the part they’re embedded in is a structural part: there’s no margin for error.

We set to drilling. Which brings us to hand tools.

Our grandfather often drilled a hole with a traditional hand drill, a bit and brace, or a small thing we called a “hand drill” but have since learned is actually properly named a “pin vise.” Today, most workshops don’t have any drill but an electric drill, and usually it’s an enormous cordless monstrosity with a gigantic battery hanging off it.

Now, it’s possible to drill these rivets out with a power drill and a long (12″) bit. But this is where the voice of Gamuck speaks to us and sends us to the hand tools. For $50 you can get a collection of pin vises in various sizes, and they have a bunch of uses. (For instance, that #60 drill that the chuck of Monster Drill won’t hold? Chuck it in a small pin vise, and then chuck the pin vise in Monster Drill. If all the chucks are concentric — not always guaranteed if you buy cheap, or even if you don’t, we’ve seen Starrett pin vises that were nonconcentric or out of round — it’ll work just fine).

You should have one or two big pin vises and a set of small ones. (If you like to keep a lot of bits handy, you can use double-ended small ones, but label the GD bits). What we’ve got in the shop is just that: a large heavy pin vise (about the size of a screwdriver handle) made by General Tool, the generic name for Chinese stuff in Ace Hardware or Harbor Fright); one about the same size but very light due to a hollow handle (for storing common bits), from the Israeli firm Shaviv, one small one with a cap with a bearing, made in India, and a set of generic small pin vises with solid handles, also made in India (these are the ones ideal for chucking into the Drill Monster).

Along with these, you’d be surprised with how much metalwork you can do with a set of files and one of stones, and a hacksaw and assortment of blades. With hand tools you can feel the metal directly. Yes, you lose speed compared to power tools. But what you gain is control.

Consider our problem, a row of rivets that had to be drilled out because the shanks were all 1/16″ too short before being squeezed, but where a power drill with normal jobber-length bits would not have access. There were three ways to do this that came immediately to mind:

Name Pro Con
1: Power Tool Solution Drill Monster with 12″aviation-length bit Fastest solution High probability of enlarging or misshaping hole
2: Hand Tool Solution Drill bit in pin vise Great control at all times, low probability of overdoing it Slow as molasses
3: Hybrid solution Mark, hand drill to start hole, finish with power drill Best balance of rapid completion and no damage Slow, fiddly, lots of “paradigm shifts” for guys doing it.

Needless to say, we went with option #3. AN rivets have a tiny dimple at the center of the head, just to assist if you should have to drill the rivet out. We expanded this dimple with a center punch (another must-have tool, and one you can safely buy cheap). Five or six hits with the spring-loaded center punch made the dimple an even more prominent divot. Then, turning a #35 bit in the large, heavy pin vise, taking great care to make a good, centered cut, we cut enough of a hole in the rivet head that a carefully used aviation-length (12″) #35 drill bit in the Drill Monster would weaken the rivet enough for removal.

It’s going exactly according to plan. No parts damage, and so far all the rivets we’ve addressed are drilled through and removed, and we should finish the removal tomorrow.

And of the fact we once rived two skins on wrong, no more evidence will exist soon, except for this moldering blog post.

But no matter what you’re building, check out a variety of pin vises. They’re simple, cheap tools that are lifesavers when the hole is important enough that you want to feel it being cut.

When Guns are Outlawed… There’s an App For That!

Ah, the gig economy. You can be individual entrepreneurs, arbitraging firearms between South Carolina (where they’re mostly legal) and NYFC (where they’re mostly outlawed), and delivering them via Uber to customers.

But one thing that predates the gig economy: when you’re selling illegal stuff, one of your customers just might be an undercover cop.

And another thing that was here before the gig economy and will continue long after: the government doesn’t care how it spends its money or whether it’s achieving its ostensible ends. While a few gun sales would have been enough to bust these guys, the cop kept buying and buying and buying, ultimately paying them over $100,000 for over 100 guns. The profits they made from running guns to the NYPD were, in part, plowed back into running more guns to more criminals in New York, so NYPD was in effect financing criminals’ ability to gun up in their own five boroughs.


Who do they think they are, the ATF? Nobody’s supposed to do gunwalking, but if you have to pick an all time champion gunwalker, it’s hard to compete with ATF. They’ve set the all-time record. We hope.

Anyway, on to these low-rent Merchants of Death, NYC streetcrime variety:

Shavar Stuckey, one of the gunrunners.

Shavar Stuckey, 31, and Levon Jackson, 30, who are half-brothers, are both facing a 203-count indictment that includes charges of fourth-degree conspiracy and first, second and third-degree criminal weapons sales, according to the Manhattan District Attorney’s office.

Is anybody ever more than a half-sibling, in the ghetto? Asking for a friend.

It’s just amazing that these guys’ various baby-daddies didn’t bring ’em up right, isn’t it?

Devon Heatley, 32, and South Carolina residents Troy Allen, 32, Shakial Shephard, 22, and Liq’uel Robinson, 19, are also facing multiple charges for allegedly supplying the firearms for Stuckey and Jackson to sell, said the DA’s office.

The South Carolina men and Heatley would purchase the guns from firearms retailers in the South then bring them to New York City by buses they would take to Chinatown, according to the indictment Stuckey and Jackson would then bring them up to Harlem and the Bronx in cabs and Ubers.

B-b-b-but, Uber bans guns. An Uber vehicle is a gun-free-zone. Unpossible!

Then again, come to think of it, NYFC is a gun-free-zone, but no one seems to have told the guns, especially the ones that are leaping into diverse young hands and urging them to acts of mayhem.

“The South Carolina residents would allegedly transport the guns to Stuckey and Jackson usually via the Chinatown bus lines and in doing so endangering the passengers, the drivers and the residents in Chinatown alike,” said Manhattan district attorney Cyrus Vance. “After they arrived in Lower Manhattan, it’s alleged they would hail an Uber or take a subway uptown to Stuckey and Jackson.”

LeVon Jackson, the other master-mini-mind

A backpack or briefcase full of guns is actually as inert as a bag of hammers, unless a human opens it up and actuates the firearm. So who’s endangered… and who’s grandstanding? Wait… Cyrus Vance… where have we seen that name before? Why, this CV’s dad was the Cyrus Vance who led the Carter Administration to foreign policy victories like the Iranian Islamic Revolution, and the narco-state of Panama. And the incompetent Secretary of State’s dad was the Cyrus Vance who was one of Roosevelt’s (F.D.’s) New Deal technocrats.

Between December of 2015 and March of this year, the pair sold the undercover officer 105 guns – including 75 semi-automatic pistols, 21 revolvers, 5 assault rifles, and 4 shotguns. Most of these sales took place in the detective’s car. The officer paid between $800 and $2,000 for each gun.

“I don’t know what you can say except its incredible that you can find these,” Vance said.

Actually, in the free world they’re common as the above-mentioned hammers. It’s incredible that one could be a law-enforcement official and not know that, but then again, we’re talking about a guy bred to socialism for at least three generations, and whose genes descend from the sort of intellect that thought the US’s best policy move was to encourage Khomeini to take over Iran. It’s a wonder he can use the restroom without a respite care worker.

But hey, all the guns came from gun stores out of state, right?

Of the 105 guns, 20 were reported stolen, Vance said.

via Brothers used Chinatown buses, Uber to smuggle illegal guns | New York Post.

No kidding. From whom? That’s not clear. Bet more than one is an NYPD heater.

Incidentally, what state provides the most guns traced by ATF in New York? (.pdf)  If you guessed SC, or FL, or TX, go soak your head. The right answer is New York, for the last data available (2015), 1,350 of 4,863 total traces (27.8%). South Carolina? 266 (5.5%)

New York State crime is almost entirely urban, and mostly New York City crime. 3,621 of those traces were initiated in New York City. Three-quarters. (Okay, only 74.5%, we rounded up).

While the national average time-to-crime (really, time-to-recovery) of traced firearms was 10.48 years, New York’s was 3 1/2 years higher, 14.11 years. Straw-purchased firearms like the ones discussed in the article would have been traced much less than one year after leaving the retailer.

New York State is 100% effective in hassling peaceable gun owners, but all its gun control laws produce nil effect on local crime. This is predictable by the laws of economics, specifically, how market equilibrium results from natural responses to changes in supply and demand as signaled by price.

A shortage of any good produces rising prices, which stimulates importation, manufacture (including diversion or clandestine manufacture, if legal manufacture for the market is closed off), and substitution, until the market’s equilibrium is restored at the point where the demand curve (which goes down or is “negatively sloped” on a quantity/price graph) intersects the supply curve (which goes up or is “positively sloped” with the graph). In other words, all demands are ultimately met.