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So, We Bid on Today’s Auction

At Rock Island Auctions (their online auctions require a second registration at

We might as well tell you what we bid on, although not how much. As you might expect, we bid on the AR-10 parts kit and the Walther from last night’s post, plus five more lots.

Screenshot 2015-03-28 09.12.41


We didn’t bid crazy large amounts, so odds are we won’t win a thing. Remember that there’s also a 17.5% buyer’s premium, meaning nearly a fifth more will get slapped onto whatever price gets hammered down for these items. Here’s what’s in those lots we bid on:

  • Lot 141 is an interesting .22 imitation of an AR-15 that was made in the 1960s and 70s. To get it we have to bid on the whole lot, which includes two “rubber ducks.” In the unlikely event we win, the “ducks” may find their way into a post (and then, perhaps, onto GunBroker. There’s actually a market for these things, albeit a limited one).
  • Lot 689 includes a lot of junk, but also some original AR-10 parts.
  • Lot 175 is three East Bloc pistols, two CZs and an East German, Ernst Thälmann Werke Makarov (Thälmann was apparently some kind of Communist Horst Wessel, and the commies renamed a looted arms factory for him) . We like CZs and these would plug East Euro collection holes. We doubt we’ll win because dealers can probably turn these arms into cash rapidly.
  • Lot 691. If we had these parts around we might build some FALs. Then, we might not. Note that (cue “Sesame Street”) one of these things is not like the other: the ringer is a G3 or CETME stock.
  • Lot 789. The previous-mentioned Walther Model 8. The condition seems only fair to us with a lot of untreated rust speckles on the slide. And you can occasionally find these in pawnshops, etc. cheap (less frequently, now that even a lazy shop owner can look things up on the internet). But they’re relatively uncommon.
  • Lot 10. A representative Brown Bess, we think an EIC model (the least desirable variant) but there’s not enough info in the post to be sure. They call the condition “fair” which may be a bit of a stretch. We bid low and don’t expect to win, but hey.
  • Lot 695. The previously-mentioned AR-10 parts kit. Looks like the Edgewater buffer is hosed, and the furniture is, as is usual for Portuguese guns, barely held together by crude repairs and/or falling off where the crude repairs aren’t holding up any more. Most of these have really crummy barrels too, so bidding on this is taking a risk. Still, we have one we could make receiver drawings off of, and occasionally an H&H (billet aluminum) or CKA (steel) receiver comes up on auction somewhere. Considering how few AR-10s were made by Artillerie Inrichtingen, a surprising number of these extremely historic firearms have survived in one mode or another. We want this, in part, to see if the BCG is a repark job!

So, did any of youse bid? On what?


1970s Rarity: .44 Auto Mag

Serial Number A00261, made in beautiful downtown Pasadena sometime around 1973, at a guess.

Auto Mag

This very early AutoMag is on the block at Here’s what the seller says:

AUTO-MAG, Original Pasadena model in 44 AMP caliber, all stainless with one mag. Serial number A 00261,this model is generally regard as having the most quality as all components were milled from Carpenter 455 steel stock. firearm probably has been fired but not recently due to rarity of ammo, 44 mag bullet in pictures are for size comparisons only . This firearms popularity rose from being in movies as the gun Clint Eastwood used as dirty Harry in ” Sudden Impact ” (1983)as well as Burt Reynolds in ” Malone ” in 1987.
6 1/2 ” with hard composite grips with no cracks or chips, stainless shows a few handling marks, good bore and one magazine. Must be sent to FFL,Money order preferred, shipping $ 30.00 USPS

via AUTO_MAG Original Pasadena , 44 AMP 44 AMP For Sale at – 13310225.

This is a rare example of early production; most Auto Mags were probably made in the el Monte facility in the 1980s, although there were perhaps a dozen attempts to restart production. Some details look a little beat up, of the “neglected” rather than the “abused” strain of “beat up”:

Despite the description of the parts as all milled, the cocking piece there is obviously a casting.

But the muzzle crown looks good:

Many more pictures at the auction listing. It’s not a like new piece, but would probably take to a light polish well.

Several things killed the AutoMag, the first being that it was even more unwieldy and fiddly than the Smith Model 29, the second that it was far more expensive than the equivalent-capability Smith, and the last being that it used oddball ammunition that was only intermittently available. (You could, and most AutoMag shooters did, make it from .308, .30-06 or any early-20th-Century Mauser caliber rifle brass, like the 7×57 or 7.92). But the biggest limitation on a weapon like this is what we call the general problem of superlatives in weaponry.

It’s a theory we’ve been thinking about that deserves a post of its own, but we’ll start it off here:

The General Problem of Superlatives in Weaponry

Generally, the weight and size of weapons are distributed around certain imaginary centerpoints of size and of weight.. Rifles stick close to 10 pounds loaded, indeed, infantry arms do, all the way back to the Roman pilum or Macedonian sarissa. Service pistols are two to three pounds and have four to six inch barrels, whether they’re Colt 1851s, 1911s, or tomorrow’s Next Great Thing. (Smaller pistols are made for undercover use, but only so small: Compare the size and weight of the Remington 1878 .41 RF derringer, the Model 36 Chief’s Special, the Walther PPK, or today’s, say, Smith & Wesson Shield or the new Glock 43).

Yet pistols and rifles have been made much larger, and much smaller, in pursuit of superlatives. The thing is, having the biggest pistol — which the AutoMag was, when it was new — is not an unalloyed good. It’s great for Hollywood (it’s big, shiny and has attractive lines, like a lot of the impractical things, and people, in show biz). But the whole idea of a pistol is to be a handy weapon.

We’ve been thinking about this since reading the book on animal armament. Extreme weapons, whether they’re an AutoMag, a Liliput, an 18″-gun naval monitor, or the long canines of Smilodon (“saber-toothed tiger”), tend to be self-limiting for all the same reasons that a “normal” size, caliber, recoil, weight envelope of such weapons has evolved.

Developed by a rotating roster of California entrepreneurs, most of whom lost their shirts on the project, the AutoMag was an evolutionary extreme — like Smilodon, again. It came in .44 and .357 versions, both made from rifle cases, the .357 necked down. The design objective for the cartridges was to match the performance of the Model 29 in an autoloading pistol.

44ampand44magUnlike the later Desert Eagle, no attempt was made to cycle the rimmed .44 S&W Mag. round in the auto pistol. Instead, a rimless version of the cartridge was designed. The casing was a little longer, but the overall length of both cartridges was the same, meaning that the same bullet (.429″) would be seated a little more deeply in the casing. The image at right shows a .44 AMP (l). next to a .44 Magnum.

The most famous name associated with the AutoMag (apart from Clint Eastwood, who directed himself wasting corrupt cops with it as “Dirty” Harry Callahan in Magnum Force), was probably California pistolero Lee Jurras, a household name in the gun culture at the time. Probably half the Automags we’ve seen have had Jurras carved exotic-wood grips.

The AutoMag has a great trigger, and great sights (for a stainless gun; you need to soot them or something) and is a blast to shoot, and very interesting internally. The rotating bolt is lifted right out of Johnson/Stoner rifle practice, but the gun works by short recoil, the barrel and bolt housing group recoiling a bit. Takedown is with a lever à la Luger or Nambu — very easy. It is a single-action auto pistol with a right-handers’ only safety (sorry, Ian). Despite its size, the single-stack grip works for most hands — it’s easier to reach the controls than on a Beretta M9.

The barrels interchange, and that’s all required to change calibers from .44 AMP to .357 AMP or one of several wildcats developed for the gun.

The early models were reportedly more dodgy in function that later AutoMags — it’s not a GI 1911 or Glock, that’s for sure, but it’s reliable enough for the sort of non-critical tasks it gets (fun shooting and some hunting). It is difficult to scope compared to a .44 Mag revolver and shares that handgun’s problem of eating all but the sturdiest scopes; in fact, it might be worse, due to the cycling of the barrel and bolt housing group.

In some ways the AutoMag was a solution seeking a problem. It wasn’t the best for hunting, it was impractical for self-defense (unless you had the size and dress code of that other 70s product, Darth Vader), it wasn’t a target shooting gun. What it was, was a very photogenic but expensive plinker. It was a Ferrari, a BD-5J, a Donzi racing boat; if you were a teenager you were consumed with lust for it, and if you were an adult, and the lesson of your last Ferrari tuneup bill hadn’t chastened you, you bought it.

If you were a canny gun store owner, you put one in your case just for the traffic it brought in to buy Ruger Mk IIs or a box of shotshells. It’s not like it would sell quickly, but people would come just to see it, and then they’d buy what they really needed — the same role that Corvette had been playing in Chevrolet showrooms for about 30 years at the time.

Like Smilodon, the .44 AutoMag today is extinct as a product, and in both cases the cause is the same: they were maladapted for the environment of evolutionary competition. But if you’re the sort of person who would stake a Smilodon in your yard and toss it a daily goat to stay on its good side, the AutoMag just might be for you.

Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week: Strategika

strategikaStrategika is a new-ish policy magazine published by the center-right Hoover Institution on, well, strategy.

Now, writers on strategy come in many varieties, most of whom do not impress. There are the board-gaming nerds (Strategy Page); the born-on-third-base journalists who assume the Airport Marriott bar is the country (Foreign Policy, and anything where Tom Ricks appears); and the pointy-headed academics, veterans to a man of Operation Ivory Tower: The Battle for Tenure. None of them has any material hands-on where the foreign-policy theory meets the real-world practice.

There’s some of that in Strategika and at Hoover, too, of course; it’s a branch of Stanford, which is as firmly fixed within the borders of Ivorytowerstan as any place on Earth. But it is populated by a who’s who of right-leaning academics and pundits, including (unlike its center-left competitors at, say Brookings) many experienced military men. For example, in the 18th March issue, an interesting mix including: Max Boot, Angelo Codevilla, Paul Gregory, Victor Hanson, Fred Kagan, Pete Mansoor, Jim Mattis, and Ralph Peters, address the practical question:

What additional future steps should the United States and Europe take, if any at all, to counter Russian ambitions?

via Strategika | Hoover Institution.

Each of those men writes an essay of considerable size and weight on the subject.

It is a timely report. Foreign Policy writes of Ukrainian Ambassador Olexander Motsyk begging for weapons in the USA (so far, he’s getting blown off). And in the Washinton Post’s Volokh Conspiracy law blog, Ilya Somin aggregates recent reports from the Crimea. The re-ethnic-cleansing of the Crimean Tatars, a renewal of a brutal and inhumane policy pioneered by Vlafimir Vladimorovich’s role model, Josef Vissarionovich, is grim news. Amnesty International and the Russian Presidential Council on Civil Society & Human Rights(!) have also reported on the human rights lapses in Russian-occupied Crimea. (The report mentioned in the Amnesty press release is here).


Now, as long as we have President Chamberlain on the case, none of these prescriptions will be taken. They do have potential, in that they will be read by foreign policy thinkers, who may or may not influence policy after the 2016 elections, but until then, Vladimir Vladimirovich and his little green men have a free hand.

Last Century’s Navy

For years, this short segment of a longer film was unidentified. But painstaking scholarship identified the subject matter as the Woodrow Wilson era US Navy, thanks to a keen eye for weapons: the E-2  class submarine went out in 1915, and the 14-inch shell for American’s dreadnought main armament came in in 1915. Ergo, 1915. And the discoverer, Buckey Grimm, labeled the short segment as part of a lost 1915 documentary on the Navy.  In it, along with the subs that the show begins with and some frightening antics with the 14″ shells, you get to see a bunch of sailors splicing ropes and making fenders. This guy is splicing rope with a marlinspike.

You also see some physical training of sailors and Marines, and some good scenes of the battleship Wyoming’s boat crew — apparently open-boat races were a thing. They’re shown in the boats, and also aboard ship, training with pulleys and weights in something that looks like a near cousin of the modern Concept 2 rowing machine. Unfortunately, there’s not much about Wyoming herself in the surviving segment, which is a pity — when she was laid down, she was a world leader in armament and propulsion, and she survived into World War II, albeit as a training ship, only being scrapped after the war.

Everyone in the film, of course, is long gone today, as is most of the movie — there were once three reels of it, and now these eleven minutes are all. You’ll have to go to the link to see it.

We are indebted to independent scholar Charles “Buckey” Grimm for identifying this 11-minute piece of the celebrated “lost” three-reel documentary U.S. Navy of 1915, produced by the Lyman H. Howe Company. (The piece had formerly been known only as “U.S. Navy Fragment.”) The film was made with the full support of the Secretary of the Navy, Josephus Daniels, who believed in the power of motion pictures to convince isolationists of the importance of building a strong American navy. A former newspaperman who knew the value of publicity, Daniels allowed Howe’s camera crew remarkable shipboard access. The results show sailors as they go about their day—doing repairs, cleaning the deck, exercising, as well as demonstrating naval might. The film drew praise as capturing “the pulse-beat of the complex life that throbs through our dreadnoughts from reveille to ‘taps.’”

The film, of course, is silent; a dozen years would pass before the Jazz Singer signaled the coming unemployment of theater organists.

We don’t know how to re-embed this film, so instead we’ll send you to see it at the National Film Preservation Foundation. Weapons guys will be particularly pleased to watch gun drills on the 14″ naval gun. Apparently one guy stood right behind it — the Navy had big guns, but not recoiling carriages, yet.

It’s not only the only surviving film from US Navy of 1915, it’s also the only scrap of the life’s work of Lyman Howe known to remain.

There was an even earlier set of Navy shorts, which are believed to be completely lost. Films of that era were stored on extremely volatile stock, and promotional films such as these were not considered to have any value at all once they were no longer up to date.

Soporific Sunday

First day home, although taking the early flight yesterday was supposed to get us into Never Washed International in the People’s Republic before 9 Ack Emma, as the British Expeditionary Force used to say, and home by 10:30 or so via bus (these are nice commuter buses, not graffiti-spackled and miserable city-run, or convict-and-addict-packed Greyhound buses). Of course, that was before JetBlue managed to JetBlew up their computer system. Those of us who’d printed our boarding passes at home were all set, but the vast majority of the full-plane of travelers expected to get theirs at the airport. Zug.

When they finally got the thing going, the whole schedule was so ate up that the snowstorm we landed in in Boston was no big deal. Looking out the plane window, it was an arctic wasteland of blowing snow, blind-driving ground support vehicles and shivering ramp personnel. This place doesn’t need us, we thought, it needs Sir Ernest Shackleton. But Shackleton’s dead. Lafayette Street1, we are here.

We had rather hoped we would have come home to spring. It’s nearly Easter, for crying out loud. But now, we’re fearing that if Jesus comes out of the tomb and sees His shadow, it’s six more more weeks of winter. We have no idea what shape the Manor’s grounds are in (although bad is a pretty good guess) as they’re still covered by up to five feet of white, crystalline Global Warming. Al Gore has a lot to answer for.

Today is bright, sunny, and, as we have been told by those who remained that it has been all month, bitterly cold.


  1. A running joke. Every city and town in New England has a Lafayette Street (or Road or Avenue), usually a main drag down which the former Marquis’s post-revolution tour proceeded. The New Hampshire stretch of neon-lit US Highway 1 is known locally as Lafayette Road, and without it you can’t get there from here.

Friday Tour d’Horizon

We’ll be back in our own digs and on our usual orderly schedule soon enough. In the meantime, here are some things that deserved coverage this week and didn’t get it.

Yeah, we’re clearing the tabs.


Spectres with Frickin’ Laser Beams

AFSOC sees cannons on their way out:

The technology is almost ready to be outfitted in the service’s special operations fleet. Later, upgraded versions of the new AC-130J Ghostrider could be outfitted with directed energy weapons for precision targeting.

The service is testing its first AC-130J, and is building its next model with a new 105mm gun. The later versions, possibly in the 2020s, could remove the 105mm gun and replace it with a laser.

The service is not requesting money to begin the process of adding the laser to the AC-130J, but AFSOC commander Lt. Gen. Bradley Heithold said he is hoping for more research and development funding to “flesh out the concept.”

The laser would be added to a gunship already packed with weaponry. The new version of the AC-130 will also have, in addition to the 105mm gun, a 30mm cannon, Hellfire missiles, Griffin missiles and small diameter bombs.

Beam my enemies down, Scotty.

Sometimes a Gun is Almost Too Beautiful

Some women are like that, too. This gun is a restoration of a Pieper (Liege) double-barrel. It’s available for about $2,500 on GunBroker.

pieper double


That’s so nice we ought to show another picture, no?

pieper double 2

Still available on GunBroker at press time.

Unconventional Warfare

MARSOC Story Update MIA

We ran a story on Military Times’s (Gannett’s) half-hearted rowback of a false story impugning the character of the officers and men of MARSOC in 2009. They were to have published Part III on 18 Mar 15, but it was very late to hit the site (circa the wee hours of this morning?). Part III is now available, it tells the story of the actual fight the Marines had along Route 1, plus hints at some of the problems MARSOC had with fitting in to the CJSOTF mission, which are perceived very differently by the Marines and the Army officers their unit reported to. You would think the Marines were past the days of being run on a shoestring, but the tale of F Company’s training, preparation and logistical support show the service is still a bust-out.

(Update: we just saw that we never ran our story, which was also supposed to go up on the 18th. So that’s why there aren’t any comments on it! It will go live at 1800 today. ¡Muchas apologiesus! -Ed.)

Prince Harry Hangs Up his Helmet

Two-tour Afghan vet Captain Harry Wales — Prince Harry to the royals-obsessed tabloids and social climbers everywhere — is leaving the British Army after an exchange tour with the Australian forces. No, he’s not joining the egalitarian, classless Aussies: he’s going to spend more time on family and on Prince Stuff, whatever that is. It’s the Army’s loss, apparently; he’s a decent Apache gunner, pilot and commander. We expect the cousins will muddle through this. They usually do..

It isn’t just American troops any more: JAGs claim some Polish scalps

Coat_of_arms_of_Poland-officialA half-dozen Polish NCOs and a junior officer, previously acquitted, are convicted and sentenced. (The Polish military justice system does not provide double-jeopardy protection.

The five-judge panel on Thursday found the four, ranking from lieutenant junior grade to sergeant, guilty of being lax about their orders when they aimed mortar and machine-gun fire on the village of Nangar Khel, while serving on a NATO-led mission in Afghanistan. They were given suspended prison terms of between two years and six months.

Welcome to NATO, guys. That’s just the way we roll.




“Access to the fleshpots had made him the slave of his mistress.”

Bet that post headline grabbed you, didn’t it? Not the typical WeaponsMan fare there.

“Law of Self Defense” here, actual name Andrew Branca.  I’m an attorney who specializes in self-defense law, and I’ve been kindly offered an opportunity to provide some content for your Monday morning reading pleasure.

I know what you’re thinking–legal stuff? Boring!  And mostly you’d be right, most legal stuff is dryer than Hillary’s Clinton’s, uh, psoriasis.  At least in the self-defense area I enjoy the benefit that almost ever case involves at least one person eagerly engaged in doing stupid stuff, with stupid people, in stupid places–believe it or not, every state has plenty of its own version of Florida Man.

Just this past week, however, I came across a purported self-defense case from the 1940s that, no kidding, would have made an outstanding screenplay for an early 20th century film noir in the mold of The Maltese Falcon, The Big Sleep, and hundreds of other films of the era.  This case had everything–a beautiful but duplicitous femme fatale with murder in her heart, a wealthy older man as the target of her not-so-tender affections, and the foolish young man seduced by her, uh, feminine wiles to act as the tool of her deadly ambitions.

Continue reading

White Dopes on Dope? Nope.

devingesellIf you study enough crimes, you will soon stumble upon the essential chicken-or-egg primacy problem of criminology: are criminals stupid because they’re drug users, or are they drug users because they’re stupid? If the dopes-on-dope amplifier effect is allowed to run in unconstrained feedback for a few generations, what happens?


Meet Devin Gesell, whose coming stint in prison is more likely to leave some village short one idiot, than it is to leave a named chair in Orbital Mechanics vacant.

Devin, and the two juvies who were his deputy dopes, were high on the hope that they’d groped someone’s dope. But, as we’ll see, what they had wasn’t dope at all, and they were dopes indeed ever to think it was.

Details of the November 22 burglary of the residence in St. Peters are contained in a probable cause statement that was drafted in connection with the filing last week of multiple felony charges against Devin Gesell, 17. Gesell’s two accomplices, ages 15 and 16, are being tried as juveniles.

According to investigators, Gesell (pictured above) confessed to the burglary, saying he served as lookout while the other minors broke into the residence and took $825 in cash and items the homeowner valued at more than $2000.

If you Read The Whole Thing™ at The Smoking Gun you will get a link to the probable cause statement. But the thieves took, along with cash, prescription drugs, portable electronics and a stash of grey powder in several boxes. Devin and his merry men identified the stuff as cocaine.

True, cocaine is white, and this stuff was grey. Maybe they thought it was old cocaine. And true, cocaine is a very fine powder, and this was rough and granular. Maybe they thought it was just FFG and not the FFFFG they were used to. But then when they tried it, it tasted pretty bad and didn’t get them high, so the disappointed doper dopes dumped it out the window of their getaway car.


Now, who would like to be the cop who had to tell the burglary victim, “First, the good news — we got your iPad back. Now, for the bad news: about the cremains of your father and the two dogs…”?

Vintage Skeet in WV

Vintage SkeetThis event happened last year, but we just heard about it (Baby Duck World, right? “It’s new to us”) and we were totally tickled by a news story about it, which has more facts and images.

We’re not all that into sporting shotguns, but an event like this might just do it.

The men, members of the West Virginia Clays skeet club, called the one-day event a “vintage skeet shoot.” Instead of modern over-and-under or semi-automatic shotguns, participants had to use double-barreled side-by-sides or pump guns. The attire was optional, but most of the men chose to wear traditional British-style shooting garb.

“The idea popped up a couple of months ago,” said Arlie Hubbard, one of the contestants. “It started off as a shoot for side-by-sides and pump guns, but it evolved over time into what we ended up doing. Along the way, someone suggested we wear British shooting attire. We thought that was a great idea.”

According to the Gentleman’s Gazette, “proper” shooting attire consists of a Tattersall shirt, a necktie, tweed or woolen pants that extend no more than 2 inches below the knee, tall woolen socks with tasseled garters, a tweed or woolen waistcoat or vest, and a flat woolen cap.

via The Charleston Gazette | Skeet club’s ‘vintage’ competition revisits shotgunning’s fancy-pants traditions.

Despite their good-natured occasional embrace of old sartorial traditions, West Virginia Clays is hardly a 19th-Century club: it opened in the summer of 2011, has two skeet and one skeet/trap fields, and conducts a couple of National Skeet Shooting Association registered shoots a year. In addition to the competitive shoots, they also have other themed club shoots — just for fun.

Here’s what the guy in the photo is rockin':

The oldest, and arguably the most intriguing, belonged to Bob Kosky.

“It’s a 12-gauge, black-powder Remington Model 1889 hammer gun,” Kosky said, showing off the shotgun’s Damascus steel barrels and elaborately figured hammers. “This one was manufactured in 1892, which makes it 122 years old.”

The gun made it easy to tell when it was Kosky’s turn to shoot. Every blast from the venerable firearm sent a plume of black-powder smoke rocketing downrange.

Kosky’s wasn’t the only venerable gun that reporter/photographer John McCoy writes about, so go Read The Whole Thing™.

Now, where did we leave those plus fours?

When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws Will… FOOM!

FOOM!First, they celebrated the New Year by blowing the whole apartment up, to the point where that whole end of the building had to be condemned until the roof and walls could be engineered back into proximity of one another.

Then, their troubles began.

Two men whose hash oil manufacturing operation exploded on New Year’s Day 2014, were sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to federal prison terms, announced Acting United States Attorney Annette L. Hayes. ROBBY WAYNE MEISER, 46, was sentenced to 30 months in prison and three years of supervised release, and BRUCE W. MARK, 62, was sentenced to 18 months in prison and three years of supervised release. The men were ordered to pay over $97,000 in restitution for damage to the apartment building. U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour imposed the sentences.

If you’ve led a sheltered life, like us (at least, drug-wise), you might not know what hash oil is. Turns out it’s not the grease left in the pan after trying to recreate the Army breakfast staple. Instead, it’s concentrated from marijuana by blasting the dope with the butane. Apparently it’s especially widespread in places that have de facto or de jure legalized pot, as stoners bored with the over-the-counter stuff drive demand for a bigger buzz. (Or, in honest medical terms, how addicts with a high tolerance overcome that tolerance with stronger concentrations of drug). Here’s one doper’s description of it:

He was describing Butane Hash Oil, or BHO, a marijuana extract that is pretty much pure THC. People have been making marijuana extracts for millennia, pounding, churning, and milling green plant matter to separate its natural resins, yielding a more concentrated product. For ages, we called this stuff hash, but a new method of extraction came about that was so much more effective that the product itself looked different, had a different texture, and most importantly, got you waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay fucking higher.

Simply put, BHO is made by blasting marijuana with butane, a solvent that takes all the THC with it and nothing else. Evaporating away the butane leaves only the resin, a viscous, amber-colored, waxy substance. BHO is vaporized, either in a pan or using a dabbing pipe, which is where the phrase “Dabbing Errl” comes from—you blowtorch the titanium bowl piece until it’s red hot, then you use a pointy tool to press the oil onto the metal and it bursts into a vapor cloud that you inhale rapidly.

The most notable thing about the high from BHO is that it makes you feel the way you did when you smoked the first time. It’s a high that envelopes you and renders you pretty much useless, but the bliss that comes with it is unmatched. After that first hit, I was obsessed and took to the internet to explore this wonder substance further.

No word on whether these guys thought they got enough bang for their buzz. They definitely got some bars for their bang, 1½ to 2½ years of being behind them. The above-mentioned doper even noted, through his cannabis haze, that this was, like, hazardous ‘n’ s’it:

I soon discovered that the thorny side of BHO arose from the process of making it, a precarious procedure that can literally blow up in your face. Over the past couple of years, there have been an increasing number of instances of people fucking up the BHO-extraction process and severely injuring and even killing themselves. Naturally, this made me want to see the process in person.

Video at the link. Good judgment comes from experience. Experience comes from… well, let’s just say that the guy who wrote that, like the two worthies whose FOOM got this whole post going, is still in the “gathering experience” stage of life. Possibly permanently.

As you might expect for a bunch of dope-dealing dopes, the entrepreneurs making this stuff with Bernz-o-Matic torches aren’t especially safety conscious, and this case is one of four hash oil FOOMs currently being prosecuted, one of which involved a young woman’s horrible, lingering death from burns. (Those guys are pending sentencing). They also have one case where they grabbed the torch guys before the evidence went up in FOOM. ATF again:

According to records filed in the case, on January 1, 2014, Kirkland Fire Department units responded to reports of an explosion and fire at the Inglenook Apartments on 142nd Street in Kirkland. Both defendants suffered burns in the explosion. Butane gas used in the manufacturing of hash oil exploded and blew out windows on the structure, expelling debris some 25 feet away. The north wall of the apartment was displaced outward approximately 6 – 8 inches by the blast, and the roof was disconnected from that wall. On the inside, large gaps were seen between the ceiling and interior walls, and one interior wall had been moved about 10 inches. The sliding glass doors and frame were blown outward, away from the structure. The fire department condemned parts of the building due to structural concerns. Officers found thirteen empty 8 ounce butane cans, and a box of twenty-four full 8 ounce cans in the apartment, together with a marijuana grow and other implements used to make hash oil.

So, when these guys got out of the hospital, they knew the Feds were looking at them, and they cooled it, right? As if. White dopes on dope, as the song goes:

When the men were arrested in July 2014, investigators found a second marijuana grow at the home they occupied in the Green Lake neighborhood of Seattle, as well as a small amount of butane used in hash oil manufacturing. In November 2014 the men pleaded guilty to Endangering Human Life While Manufacturing Controlled Substances.

via Former Kirkland Residents Sentenced to Prison for Hash Oil Explosion | ATF.

One of the AUSAs who prosecuted these scrotes is named Vince Lombardi. Coincidence, or relative of the famous coach? (The other one, Todd Greenberg, is probably related to more lawyers than coaches, but in America, who knows?)

In any event, ATF criminal investigators are looking to make more of these cases, ideally before the FOOM brings it to them as an arson case — especially as a fatal arson case.