Category Archives: Weapons Education

Setting Up and Using a Ransom Rest

How to separate the pistol’s potential from the pistolero’s: the Ransom Rest and a grip insert that fits the firearm.

There are several ways to test fire a handgun, whether for function, for accuracy, or for any kind of instrumented testing, like chronograph load development or strain-gage pressure measurement. In ascending order, these are: by hand, from an improvised rest such as a sandbag, or from a machine rest.

The best commercially available machine rest is the Ransom Rest and it has been for a long time. It is, as you might expect, premium priced, and it also takes quite a bit of installing and setting up.

Steve Sieberts has an excellent article on setting up a Ransom Rest, one we wish we’d had the first time we monkeyed with one back in 1980 or so, in the American Handgunner online.

The Ransom Rest has been around since 1969, and really is the gold standard for gun/ammo testing.

I was building a new Caspian 1911 .45 ACP last month and needed to test it, and obtained a new Ransom Rest and insert for the 1911 from the fine folks at Brownell’s. Getting the most from a Ransom Rest means building a mounting board for it, that way it can be secured to the shooting bench at your local range. Most ranges have shooting pedestals made from cinder block with a concrete top. This is a very sturdy basis for attaching the mounting board with the Ransom Rest attached.

Siebert’s setup with a target 1911. Even the trigger contact is mechanical on a Ransom.

Note his mention of “insert for the 1911.” The Ransom Rest grips handguns in a sort of vise, and for that it must have custom jaws to fit the particular gun, in Ransom terms “inserts.” (Current ones are blue). This can be a considerable expense of its own, with the inserts costing $60-70 each now; but the bigger problem is that they are only available for the most popular sidearms. Especially for the ones popular when the Ransom Rest was introduced, like the 1911 and the S&W K-Frame!

(And no, this is not just sniveling because they don’t make an insert for the CZ-75 — they do. Like all the non-1911 non-Smith inserts, it’s a month or two special order, so you need to plan your Ransom Resting well in advance).

As for the price of the unit itself, well, that’s why they call it Ransom. The Ransom Rest, Windage Base and one set of inserts will hit you about $750 at Brownells, today. (You can save about $100 off that at Champions Choice, but we’ve ever dealt with them. They also seem to offer a different selection of inserts than Brownells). But it takes the major source of inconsistency — us humans, or as Small Dog Mk II thinks of us, Trained Feeder Monkeys — out of test firing.

The sine qua non of good results with the Rest is the setup. It has always come with good instructions, which now have a visual supplement in Siebert’s article.

Remember, you’re trying to remove as much movement as possible, in order to make sure the pistol returns to the exact same spot for each shot. If the bench you’re attaching the mounting board is wobbly, you’re just wasting your time.

via Building And Using A Ransom RestAmerican Handgunner | American Handgunner.

We don’t know how old Sieberts’s article is; for all we know, it’s as old as the Ransom itself, but really, it’s timeless.

For most target shooters, the stock inserts will cover you. For the rest of us, the insert problem actually looks like a perfect place for 3D printing and possibly, small-shop injection molding.

The biggest beef we have with the Ransom is that we’re not sure where ours is. Would be a drag to replace it (although that would guarantee finding the old one).  The next biggest? That there isn’t a rifle version. We haven’t found anything nearly as good for long guns.

Parker Otto Ackley Hated his Christian Name

That’s why he went by P.O. all his life. Anybody claiming to be his friend and talking about, “Parker and I…” immediately made an ass of himself to Ackley’s real friends, who were many, and influential in the small world of American firearms.

This is just one of the fascinating details we’ve learned from P.O. Ackley: America’s Gunsmith by Fred Zeglin.

In a time when college graduates and even high school graduates were rare, Ackley was a magna cum laude graduate of Syracuse University (in New York, his native state). His degree was in Agriculture, and he was a member of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps.

Why did he become a gunsmith? “During the Depression, there was nothing else to do anyway.” His college studies had made him a remarkably good potato farmer, but his potatoes found no buyers.

In 1936, he bought the Roseburg, Oregon shop of Ross King, who had in turn bought the business from the widow of his former employer in Los Angeles, Ludwig Wundhammer, arguably the first great American sporterizer of military rifles. King moved back to LA and kept gunsmithing for some years.

Ackley bought the shop sight unseen, sold the family farm, and drove to Roseburg to meet King — whose work he respected greatly — and see his new shop. He paid King $1,000 down and $1,000 over time, on a handshake. But he didn’t know barrel making, so he accepted the offer of a friend to teach him. Leaving the family in Roseburg, he spent most of 1936-37 in Cincinnati learning the trade from Fritz, last name unknown, an employee of the friend, Ben Hawkins.

Ackley built much of his own tooling. He could afford only one gun-drill, so his early barrels were all bored .22 and reamed to final size with reamers he made himself. His own rifling machine was one of the earliest button-rifling mechanisms — he claimed to have co-invented the process, although he never filed a patent on it — and an entire chapter of the book is Ackley’s own detailed technical description of this tool. Ackley wrote it for a book that was never published, and the rifling-tool chapter may be the only surviving fragment.

In that chapter, as in many other places in the book, Ackley’s wit shines through.

“P.O. said that Elmer Keith was the biggest bullshit artist in the United States, but if he said he hit something with a .44 Magnum at 1000 yards, you better believe it, ’cause he could shoot.”

“The best way to get an answer to the problem is to ask someone who has never made a barrel. They can always tell you.”

Ackley’s foundation of the school of gunsmithing at the Trinidad State Junior College in Colorado was a surprising story. Ackley left the Ogden, Utah arsenal during the war — some say, after a falling out with co-worker Elmer Keith, the story of which Zeglin was not able to establish, and unconfirmed stories about which Zeglin was unwilling to publish. He ultimately wound up in Trinidad, and, after the war, was buried in a mountain of correspondence from GIs seeking gunsmithing training under their GI Bill benefits. The college, meanwhile, was getting similar letters — thousands of them.

The gunsmithing school was a success from the start, and early students remember an unusual instructional technique: Ackley would disassemble a gun and reassemble it where students could not see it, talking them through the process. Then, in the lab, they’d have to do it themselves, forcing them to learn by doing, not monkey-see-monkey-do.

Lee Womack, one of his former students, wrote:

In spite of his 16-hour days, he was always available…. He gave freely of any information he might have. He used to say that anybody in the gun business who thought he had a trade secret was just kidding himself.

This year will be the 70th anniversary of the program, a living memorial to an interesting American craftsman.

We’ll close with a few more Ackley quotes. On bullpup actions:

My opinion of the Bull-pup idea in general would not be very complimentary, and like the man once said, “If you can’t say anything good about it, then don’t say anything at all.” Therefore, I am silent as HELL on this subject.

On relative and absolute strengths of rifle actions, something which he experimented on extensively:

[A]ny action can be blown up if you try hard enough.

On the strength of the Italian Carcano, proven in his blow-up tests:

In spite of the fact that the locking lugs looked as though you could knock them off with a tack hammer, we were unable to damage any one of the four bolts appreciably. When the actions finally let go the receiver ring flew off, but this didn’t come until we had reached loads whitch had previously blown up P-17 Enfields. I wish to point out. however, that none of this should be used to conclude that the rifle could ever be made into a desirable hunting arm because that is a fairly good definition of the word impossibility.

As you might imagine, we’re loving the book.

Further Improved Gluty AP-9 3D-Printed Pistol

Back in July, most of the bugs were worked out of the Shuty MP-1 by its designer, Derwood. With some help from Warfairy, who customized a lower design for the project, Derwood had redone the upper, improving the ejector in the 9mm pistol that uses Glock magazines and barrels. Here’s the July video, again.

But it’s not in Derwood to rest on his laurels, so there’s a new version, which he’s calling the AP-9. No files yet (if you follow the link in the video above to YouTube, the links to the old files still lead to working files).

It appears that he made changes in the recoil system, primarily, and the stone-simple ambidextrous magazine release system has been reprinted in a lighter-colored material, possibly nylon. Presumably, this new version retains the improvements noted in last summer’s firearm, but adds further improvements.

The upper receiver is changed relatively little, externally, but is definitely a new print. Left side view:

The biggest change seems to be the replacement of the original recoil spring with an AR-like buffer and large diameter spring. This required an end-cap and buffer tube assembly (which could conceivably be a single print, or perhaps is a simple end cap threaded for a buffer tube) which is new to this variation.

Meanwhile, career bureaucrats and political-appointee holdovers at the Departments of State and Justice and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives seem to have doubled down on their commitment to stop the signal. Lotsa luck with that.

What’s Happening in SF Arms Today

There are a number of things going on right now, some of which may be trends.

More and Heavier Weapons

When we joined SF, while there was plenty of access to weapons that were heavier/more specialized / foreign, what an ODA carried was 12 M16A1 rifles (if we were fortunate enough to have 12 guys and zero empty slots, which happened… let’s just say, rarely). Soon, they gave us two M203s so we didn’t have to keep bumming M79s that Big Green wanted to get rid of.

Since then, the trend has been to push more and heavier weapons down to team level, giving the team increasing mission-driven options.

Background

By the start of Afghanistan, we had SOPMOD I M4A1s, two of them w/203s per ODA, 7.62mm (M24) and 12.7mm (M82A1) sniper rifles, and had just gotten M249 SAWs. We borrowed everything else or bought it out of theater-specific money: AT weapons, a full suite of suppressors, etc. (Suppressors were part of SOPMOD I but ours got stuck in the pipeline and we got 2/team after deployment).

We had claymores and toe-poppers, and in 2003 had to turn them in because some drone in the foreign service had made an unwise promise to the ghost of the least consequential Briton in history, with the possible exception of Boy George, to wit, Princess Diana.

Demolitions have become more urban-centric lately. Your average SF demo man can rig a door to blow in two seconds flat, but send him into a forest to blow down trees for an abatis, and you’ll see him sneaking peeks at reference material.

With the evolution of the war, the weapons evolved rapidly with many more versions of precision rifle appearing, the Mk17 SCAR with several barrel lengths, and variants on the M4 / Mk18. We finally got M240s, M2HBs and Mk 19s of our own, rather than borrowed from Big Green. And bigger weapons yet began to ride our vehicles, notably M134 Miniguns and some SOF-specific weapons.

Where We Are Now

The basic weapon remains the M4A1 with several different uppers available.

Changes since Your Humble Blogger retired include free-floated rails systems, much better general issue 5.56 ammunition negating the need for Mk 262 77-grain, HK grenade launchers partly replacing the Mk 19 (the HK’s a much better weapon), and Mk 44 (currently Mod 3) replacing earlier iterations of Miniguns.

Pistols are a special purchase of the Glock 19, Gen 3, with the MOS slide and the Docter optic as previously used atop some SOF ACOGS. Not all teams in all groups mount the optic, but if the loggies have done their job, they have them available.

For what it’s worth, the Dillon-made Miniguns are preferred over the original GE ones because they’re easier to handle — which is relative; it’s a very difficult and intensive weapon to maintain. “The way that GE attaches the backplate, it feels like it’s trying to rotate in your hands” said one guy who attended a maintenance school which was “nowhere near enough time” on the miniguns. The M134 nomenclature is still used, but only when the gun is mounted for aerial use (for instance, as a helo door gun). This is operator-level maintenance disassembly of a Mk 44, NSN 1005-01-576-3284:

Haven’t seen that many parts since BAR days! Note the armorer’s breakfast of champions: Starbucks, Krispy Kremes, Gatling Gun.

Contrary to normal Hollywood practice, the Mk44 is not an individual weapon for a muscle-bound refugee from WWE, but a vehicular weapon. If it has an Achilles’s Heel, it’s the electrical system. The Navy specified paper fuses, and it’s not easily to tell when a fuse is blown… the first thing an SF armorer or 18B needs to do is replace the fuses with similar value ones from the vehicle maintenance shop. Because it’s a 24v system, it adapts readily to military vehicular or aircraft electrical systems, but is harder to install in nonstandard vehicles. (It can be, and has been, done, but it’s a pain in the neck). The weapon system, complete, draws 2,500 watts of power.

After juice problems, the next most common reason for a Mk 44 going silent is ammunition exhaustion. It burns a lot of rounds at a rate of about 3,000 / min cyclic. (The rate is selectable but that’s the standards). It’s often installed in a Mk49 CROWS, which is relatively trouble-free compared to the gun itself, but can also be fired by a double spade grip on the backplate, and that’s one of the more common ways for SF to use it. Found on YouTube, SF at the range:

Basic load is a multiple of 3,000 round ready canisters. (The Vietnam-era 1,000 round cans seem to be obsolete). The cans need to be changed before you shoot up the last rounds in the approximately 14-foot long (~4m) flexible feed chute, or reload will be a slow and exacting experience, and if you are under fire your teammates will call you hurtful names.

Even as the SCAR has fallen out of a favored position as the doorkicker-gun-par-excellence, there’s word that Big Green is buying a quantity of them, and they are being relabeled the CAR because the S in SOF Combat Assault Rifle no longer applies.

SF and all ARSOF loves it when Big Green buys something that we pioneered, because it means we can get more with regular Title 10 appropriated funds and not use our MFP 11 SOF money for that. Sure, it’s all the same tax blood coming from the same taxpayer turnips, but the finite pool of SOF money has to buy everything from TF 160’s next space age flying thing to improved foreign-language training classes. As you can imagine, the fly guys and the language instructors (not to mention futuristic communications and ISR-device users) get bent out of shape when we “misuse” what they know is “their” money merely for stuff to kill the enemy with, which they point out that we can do perfectly well with two sticks of wood and 18″ of twine. So when we get guns that are shared with the big Army, it’s better for everybody: we think it often gets them better guns (they sure liked lightweight 7.62mm machine guns), and we know it gives us more cash to spend on our other priorities that are less in-demand among the general purpose forces (who have their own track record of killing the enemy, after all).

Where We’re Going

That’s anybody’s guess. Wider issue of the .300 BLK upper has been a matter of controversy inside SF — some are strong for it, some oppose it. The guys that have it have been dealing deadly execution with it. But SOCOM has reportedly solicited offers for 25 thousand .300 BLK PDW/CQC kits: with a side-folding stock and a 10-inch .300 BLK upper.

There’s no real interest in piston uppers or 416s. Fanboy stuff for the civilian tacticool community, really. Nobody’s shown us a data-driven test that documents any significant improvement. (Remember, the 416 was bought by SOF ~15-20 years ago to solve a short barrel reliability problem that’s now well-licked in DI weapons).

Magazines are prosaic but they’ve come many miles. We’ve gone from having only a couple of decent magazine choices to a great quantity of types of solid, reliable, consistent-feeding magazines. The days that you had to run steel HK mags because the issue mags sucked so bad are long behind us; even the issue mags don’t suck. The HKs are still good, but why pay the dollar and weight premium? Magpuls are good, too — the Marines are standardizing on them — and they’re not the only good polymer option.

There’s also no real interest in a reversion to 7.62 in any of the current platforms as a standard, baseline weapon. Afghanistan and Iraq/Syria are a bit unusual in offering lots of long-range engagements. Unless their predeployment training dropped the ball (which some units have managed to do), our riflemen across the board are far more lethal than the enemy anywhere inside the 800m envelope. The enemy still deploys (apart from MGs and snipers) weapons that are outranged by our rifles, mostly 7.62 x 39 weapons with short-radius open sights; the AK platform fails to exploit the accuracy potential of its cartridges.

With the war continuing, we may not see major fielding but we’re going to see lots of improved developments. We are currently in a place where some of the last decade’s developments need to be digested and promulgated. We’re not sure where the soldier of 2117 will be fighting, but the odds are pretty good he will be fighting with a weapon that launches metallic projectiles from the shoulder and weighs about 6 to 10 pounds. As has been the case since about 1617.

Wednesday Weapons Website[s] of the Week: Maple Leaf Up

There are actually not one but three Maple Leaf Up sites: one died with its owner, but still contains valuable information; one is a thriving forum spun off from that first website; and another is a profit-making venture independent of the others.

The name was a natural for Canadian Military History. Before the Maple Leaf was the Canadian Flag, the Maple Leaf Route was how units, men, and supplies got to and from the Canadian forces at the front in Northwest Europe. Because the Canucks might be fighting in any cardinal direction at any given time, the road to the front was marked with the sign, Maple Leaf Up, and the road back to the rear, the depots, England, and Canada with Maple Leaf Down.

All three attempt to tell the story of the all-but-forgotten armed forces of the Dominion of Canada in the Second World War. Our favorite is actually the moribund, old, original website, MapleLeafUp.net. Unfortunately, the original founder Geoff Winnington-Bell, passed away years ago, and the promise of the site was never entirely fulfilled.

1. Our Favorite: MapleLeafUp.net

Here is Winnington-Bell, describing his site and plans.

MAPLE LEAF UP is a private Canadian non-profit organization dedicated to perpetuating the memory of the all-volunteer Canadian Army Overseas in World War II.

We represent that generation of young Canadians who voluntarily risked their lives in Overseas Service in this tumultuous war, now all but forgotten. Many served, although not nearly enough; and too many paid the ultimate price for their honour. In doing so, however, their courage forever cast Canada as a nation willing to endure any hardship to ensure that the cancer of fascism shall not plague this fragile world of ours.

We remember these men, by the things they did and by the tools they employed to win their remarkable record. Through our efforts in preserving the vehicles, weapons and equipment of this historic era, we endeavour to perpetuate the memory of this trying time and of these magnificent men, who volunteered to serve their country at a cost inconceivable to Canadians facing the dawn of the twenty-first century.

Canada’s contribution was out of all proportion to the scanty population of the country at the time, and deserves to be memorialized. To put things in perspective, on D-Day the US covered two beaches, the UK two, and Canada one. By war’s end, there were whole divisions of Canadians in Northern Europe (and another in Italy), never mind the Canadians at sea or in the RCAF or RAF (there were even some Canadians who fought in the US forces. There always are). At the outbreak of the war in 1939, though, the Canadian population was just under 11.3 million, less than 10% of the American, and less than 25% of the British. Canada’s GDP imbalance with its allies was even stronger.

The Canadian standing army in 1939, the Permanent Force, was 5,000 officers and other ranks… practically a rounding error of the strength of her European enemies, and yet, she still managed to send a very significant force to fight in Europe. How Canada got from 5,000 men equipped with Great War hand-me-down weapons to fielding mighty forces on land, sea and air within five years is a story for the ages. Here’s the overview from the site:

Frantic calls went out across the country to the units of the Active Militia to begin mobilizing for the coming conflict; and to industry at large to gear up for war production.

Many still hungry from the lean years of the recent depression, men from all walks of life all across the country dropped what they were doing and flocked into the headquarters of their local regiments to volunteer their services to king and country. Some showed up to parade dressed in the moth-eaten uniforms their uncles or fathers had worn in 1918; others with nothing but what they had on their backs.

In the beginning, there were no uniforms, boots, kit or weapons for them, save a few well-worn leftovers from WW1. It did not matter. The men came anyway, possessed of the same spirit which had carved this country out of an unforgiving wilderness only a few generations before. From the city and the farm, from the small town, the mine and the vast wasteland of the Canadian Shield, they brought with them a unique, quiet determination to finish the job their fathers had begun only a few years before. Their Monarch and their Nation had asked them to help; they set aside the tools with which they had carved a life and a living out of a harsh world, and prepared to face an uncertain future whose only acceptable object was… Victory.

At the same time, our industry was setting up for wartime production, on an unprecedented scale. Vehicles, tanks, ships, aircraft, small arms and more poured off the assembly lines after a short, hectic tooling-up. While much of what was produced was adapted from British designs, all had a uniquely-Canadian stamp to it which denoted quality and reliability. Many examples survive today, and it’s because of this we’re able to bring you this web site, such as it is.

And our soldiers marched on, first to England in 1939, and hence to hitherto unknown environs such as Dieppe, Sicily, Italy and Normandy. It is not generally well known that until April 1945, a scant few weeks before the end of the war in Europe, the First Canadian Army was comprised entirely of volunteer troops. Canadian formations in both Italy and Northwest Europe consistently fought well-understrength through the balance of their wars, while hundreds of thousands of healthy, uniformed troops languished at home at the behest of a government lacking the will to impose overseas conscription. This, too, was as uniquely Canadian as was the tenacity and endurance of our fighting men themselves: the volunteers of the Canadian Army Overseas.

There is a Canadian spin to it, of course. The voluntary nature of Canadian service pre-1945 has less to do with Canadian public-spiritedness, and more to do with Canadian multiculturalism. Francophone Canadians were not interested in fighting for Great Britain, as they saw it, in either World War. And as far as fighting for France was concerned, they were as likely to sympathize with Pétain, the collaborator, as De Gaulle, the resister.

While many French Canadians rallied to the Red Ensign (Canada’s pre-’67 flag) and fought voluntarily for Canada, it wasn’t the perfectly-proportionally-represented minority depicted in modern Canadian war films. Canadian politicians and soldiers had to lead their French-speaking fellow citizens to war, they couldn’t order them.

Two things Maple Leaf Up does cover that are little credited elsewhere: Canadian war production and Canadian-specific vehicles.

But the site deserves to be read, as a look at the many great (and often unknown, especially to Yanks and Brits) contributions that Canadian soldiers, sailors, scientists and industrialists made to victory.

2: Interactive: MLU Forums

The Forums of the original site thrive today with Canadian and worldwide interest in history, arms, and equipment. Dedicated restorers (mostly Canadians, but there are Britons, Yanks and Australians involved, too) of Canadian military vehicles and artillery abound. Indeed, there’s some great antitank guns and other artillery represented here.  Here’s a 17 Pounder chassis (no tube; he has has a dummy built for display) that was recovered for restoration by Rob Fast in Western Canada in 2011. The 17 Pounder (which was about 3″ or 77 mm caliber) was the best antitank gun fielded by the Allies during the war. It was usually used with a full-caliber solid shot, but HE rounds and subcaliber APDS/T were also available.

There’s even one Australian, Tony Baker, who says he uses a 1942 Ford Canada CMP artillery tractor as his daily driver.

3: Plenty of Content: MapleLeafUp.ca

MapleLeaf Up .ca calls itself “The Canadian Military History Web Magazine.” The best thing about this site is that it has a goodly number of war stories by Canadian WWII vets.

We were surprised by how interesting the story of the Canadian memorial atop Vimy Ridge was.

It took designer and sculptor Walter Allward 15 years from commission to consecration — using stone from Diocletian’s Palace. He always said the idea came to him in a dream.

The Canadian gains at Vimy were one of the rare accomplishments of the Battle of Arras, a typically unimaginative attempt to exchange soldiers’ lives for yardage of wasteland.

And here all these years, we thought Maple Leafs were just flags and the Toronto hockey team.

Taken together, these sites remind one of the days before the media-hound Trudeau clan, when Canada was a world power in the physical world, and not just the hockey rink and in NGO circles. It’s a reminder that for every 1%er Canadian one meets in a smug NGO expat enclave, Helping The Little Brown People by living like Cecil Rhodes with lots of ill-treated servants, there’s the 99% heritage of lumberjacks, voyageurs, and the sixty-eight survivors of the Newfoundland Regiment at the Somme (Reminder: we’ve got to write about them one of these days), even though the Newfies were technically not yet Canadians at that time — theirs was a separate Dominion, coequal with Canada and Australia, until later.

 

Broken Arrow Update: “Clear cut” Self-Defense, No Charges for Defender

Zach Peters used this AR15A2 or clone rifle to defend himself, his father and their home from three armed home invaders, in the unincorporated outskirts of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma (a Tulsa suburb), on 27 March.

(Previous WeaponsMan coverage: They Brought Brass Knuckles, Knife to a Gun Fight (28 Mar 17); Broken Arrow OK Follow-up: Home Invasion as “Bad Decision.” (31 Mar 17).)

After an investigation, county police and prosecutors have termed it a good shoot, and announced that Peters will face no charges. The robbers’ accomplice, Elizabeth “Liz” Rodriguez, will still face a half-dozen charges including three counts of felony murder for the foreseeable deaths of her partners in their mutual criminal enterprise.

The Wagoner County Sheriff’s Office and the District Attorney’s Office held a joint press conference on Monday and updated the press about the investigation and pending charges stemming from the deadly home invasion that happened in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma last week that left three teenage suspects dead and one in custody.

“We support of our citizens… the right to bear arms, and to defend their homes in this county. And in this such case, we feel strongly that that’s what took place here.” Sheriff Elliot said.

The shooting left three young men dead. The men had broken into a home outside of Tulsa on Monday March 27. They first burglarized the home on that morning, and then returned to the home a second time. The second break in ended when they woke up the homeowner, 23-year-old son, Zach Peters.

This is a new version of the story of the crime, but it was the story that Sheriff Chris Elliot told at the press conference, based on his department’s information. Rodriguez has said that they loaded up loot from the garage after breaking in there, and then the men went around to break in the sliding patio door in back.

Rodriguez believed that there were expensive items in the house, according to a witness Elliot chose not to name “because of an ongoing investigation.”

The intruders have been identified as Maxwell Cook, 19, Jacob Redfern, 17, and Jaykob Woodriff, 16. The intruders were wearing masks, and one was armed with a knife and another was carrying brass knuckles.

These names have been spelled several different ways. Two of them were shot dead in the kitchen, and one was shot there and one, believed to be Jacob Redfern or Redfearn,  collapsed on his accomplice’s getaway car and died.

 

 

 

 

Four minutes after Zachary Peters’s 911 call, the Wagoner County SD was on the scene; Broken Arrow city police responded at the same time and assisted. The three criminals were beyond medical intervention.

“It is the opinion of this office that Zachary Peters acted justifiably and in accordance with his rights as an Oklahoma citizen when he used deadly force to defend his home from the … burglary perpetrated by (the three decedents), and allegedly by Elizabeth Rodriguez,” First DA Jack Thorpe said. Thorpe also expressed the condolences of the DA’s office and law enforcement to the families of the dead, stressing that his sympathy was for the criminals’ families, not the late unlamenteds themselves.

We note that one of our readers, an attorney, reviewed OK’s felony murder jury instructions and thinks that these murder charges might not stick. It may be that Thorpe and Elliot are overcharging Rodriguez a bit. If so, they’re sending a message to the Tulsa criminal community.

Rodriguez has also admitted that the four had robbed many other homes — and expressed anger that Peters dared to be home, and was such a bum as to shoot her friends rather, apparently, than letting them beat or kill him. 

Not how the world works, kid.

“I won’t take responsibility for the murders, I won’t. I feel guilty, but I don’t feel responsible,” Rodriguez said in an interview with ABC’s “World News Tonight with David Muir.”

This appears to have been a local TV interview that was then “nationalized” by dubbing Muir’s studio questions over the no-name local reporter’s on the scene.

“I know what we did was stupid and wrong,” she said. “I don’t blame him… I understand why he did what he did. I mean, I do to an extent.”

Police say that Rodriguez planned the burglary, drove the three men to the house, and waited outside to drive them away. Rodriguez is believed to have made deliveries to the house, and knew the homeowner by name.

Deliveries of what, they don’t say.

District Attorney Jack Thorpe intends to see that Rodriguez does take responsibility for the deaths of the three men. And his office will not press charges against Zach Peters. When asked if that decision not to prosecute Peters was difficult, he said no. He described it as clear cut.

via Police Announce Fate Of Homeowner’s Son Who Killed 3 Home Invaders With AR-15 | Tribunist.

The press, who appear to sympathize entirely with the late unlamented Wealth Redistribution Technicians, don’t seem to grasp that an OK county is not going to back the criminals and charge the victims like a New York City DA would.

Andrew Branca would advise a potential self defender to “know the law so you’re hard to convict.” As Andrew explains it, the law comprises the black-letter statutes, but also court decisions and model jury instructions; over time, these always introduce subtle changes, and sometimes gross ones: they can even twist the law as practiced to the polar opposite of what the plain wording of the law says. We would add to his three legs of the pedestal that holds up the Scales of Justice for a home or self defender a fourth: the political. The political climate of a jurisdiction (NYC versus exurban Tulsa), and even the political ambitions of a given prosecutor (does the name Angela Corey ring any bells?) can give an extralegal twist to a legal proceeding.

Andrew, a lawyer who, in our opinion, loves the orderly and just administration of the law, may not incline to recognize these randomizing factors (after all, they take control out of the hands of a lawyer and client). But we’re not really free men until a Zach Peters can save his life in New York (or Newark, or Boston, or…) as readily as he can in freedom-loving Oklahoma.

Let’s Dive Deeper on the CZ 122

One of the CZ 122 images from Pazdera’s book.

The CZ 122 we recently mentioned here is a bit of a mystery in the United States, as it was never imported here; some were brought to our friends in Canada, but only a few; and the modern rimfire pistol is not available even in Europe now. What happened?

We turned to a relatively recent book by Czech weapons historian David Pazdera, Legenda Jmeny CZ, or in English, A Legend Called CZ. This coffee table sized book is an illustrated history of CZ from the 1930s to date, with a few sparse areas and holes conforming to issues of Czech historiography, but extremely comprehensive coverage of Cold War and post-Cold War CZ products. Sure enough, Pazdera has the CZ 122 covered on pages 325-328. We were on our way out the door on a road trip and couldn’t bring Pazdera’s mighty doorstop of a book, nor had we the time to fire up the Fujitsu and scan the relevant pages properly, so we photographed the pages and précis the information here.

The CZ 122 was the product of designer Stanislav Buran, who was not actually a designer, but the head of a manufacturing engineering section. The project began in the 1990s with the idea for a “simple and cheap” .22 rimfire pistol, to plug a longstanding gap in the CZ product line. But his initial design was a far cry from the pistol that finally reached production. The CZ 94, prototyped in 1994, looked much like any of the last century or so of sporting .22 automatics, with a hint of Woodsman or Hi-Standard ancestry, and a splash of modern Eurodesign:

The CZ 94 is described by Pazdera:

It was a simple and cheap pistol of the lower sporting category, usable for fun shooting or target practice. It had a fixed barrel, and unlocked (blowback) breech, a single-action trigger mechanism and an internal striker mechanism, The  magazine capacity in the final version was 10 rounds. Particularly unusual was the magazine release on the front side of the frame inside the trigger guard.

Buran continued to develop the idea of a simple, inexpensive rimfire pistol, with the help of Vojtech Anderle. It evolved through several prototypes. One thing that changed — a lot — was the magazine catch, which first moved to the classic Euro/Hi-Standard position at the base of the grip, and then to the classic Browning position at the junction of the trigger bow and the grip frame.

As you might expect for a design that began with a manufacturing engineer, production engineering and cost control were in the design mix from the start as CZ 94:

It’s assumed that for manufacturing, a frame of aluminum alloy or plastic, of which (the plastic) another set of parts might also be made. In addition, there was also expected to be frequent application of stamped sheet-metal parts (trigger, disconnector), and parts from the Kadet small-caliber adapter (barrel, extractor, firing pin, magazine) and from the standard CZ 75 model (hammer, sear).

In 1995, the pistol was extensively redesigned by industrial designer Vojtech Anderle, who drew six sketches, from which one was selected, leading to six more design studies based on that. The final styling was incorporated into the CZ 122.

In the CZ 122, compared to the CZ 94, the angle of the grip was changed to 108º,

The frame of the new model got a slide release. For that reason, the weapon got an old-fashioned magazine release at the base of the magazine well. The barrel was pressed or molded into the frame.

Initial tests found the plastic-framed prototypes more reliable than the alloy-framed ones, but “for technological reasons” the alloy frame was selected. In 1998, designer Petr Pöschl was tasked to finalize the pistol and bring it to production.

The CZ 122 was produced from 1998 to 2002, and then again from 2004-06, but only 6,192 examples were manufactured. All have the alloy frame. The breakdown between European-mag-release and Browning-mag-release production is unclear.

Pazdera says this about the design’s benefits:

The modern design of the CZ 122 Sport Pistol was meant in part to be reminiscent of a modern service pistol, but the weapon was also able to feature a series of sporting features: fully adjustable LPA target sights, single-action trigger mechanism with an external hammer of the sporting type, and a trigger with a straight tongue and screw-adjustable travel.

If it was such a carefully designed pistol, why weren’t more of them made? The pistol performed well — usually. But it was finicky about ammo, and launched into a glutted market full of established target pistols.

The accuracy potential of the weapon was solid, for example during tests carried out during the year 1996, it was possible to achieve groups of 25 mm (tn: less than 1″) at 25m (highly dependent on the ammunition used). The weakness of the one-twenty-two was inconsistent reliability. This compared with the strong market positions of quality competitors had as a consequence unsatisfactory sales numbers, which led the Uhersky Brod company to definitively wrap up this program in the first half of the first decade of this century.

In the modern era, of course, CZ-UB is a profit-making enterprise, and a slow-selling pistol is a waste of manufacturing resources. Worse, a pistol that is prone to fits of unreliability and that is finicky about ammunition — even though that’s not a rarity in the rimfire market — risks the reputation CZ has built up for almost a century. As a result, the CZ 122 is a rarity, enjoyed by those who’ve found the right ammo, and coveted by CZ collectors.

Great Special Operations: A Platoon Seizes a Fortress, 1940

We have mentioned the German airborne forces’ capture of the Belgian fortress of Eben Emael before a few times, but we’ve never explored it in depth. In this incredible special operation, an overstrength engineer platoon, 78 men, led by a first lieutenant who wasn’t even there for the bulk of the battle, captured a fortress held by a garrison of approximately 1,100 men. It was not an old, obsolete fortress, either: it was one built just a few years prior. The concrete was scarcely dry!

The place was the Belgian fort of Eben Emael, named for two villages it sat between: its function was to protect the approaches to Liége. Ir did this by puttin the crossroads at Maastricht and the Albert Canal under gunfire, especially the bridges crossing the canal and related rivers, which were natural choke points. It was well equipped with 120mm and 75mm artillery pieces and 60mm AT guns, in reinforced concrete, steel-armored casemates.

This documentary shows how the Germans used new weapons (shaped charge explosives, assault gliders) to deliver an effective, economical attack that the defenders had not even conceptualized a defense against. It has five parts, which should load and play after the first.

It was produced by a thing called the History Channel, which used to exist before it discovered that more of the sort of people who watch TV like welfare recipients do drugs were interested in Finding The Ghost of Sasquatch than the history of a global war.

There are some interesting small arms in the video, including some MG.34s mit und ohne Lafette, and the relieving engineers are seen marching in with an MP.34 (or -28, perhaps) slung over an officer or NCO’s shoulder.

Eben Emael is the subject of a number of worthwhile books and papers; it’s a frequent flyer in war and command-and-staff college papers (here’s an example), and it was one of the case studies in Admiral William McRaven’s compendium, Special Operations. 

We’ve been reading a lot about European fortresses of the 20th Century lately. They essentially were a lesson mistakenly learned from the First World War, where defensive technology, tactics and operational art deadlocked offensives, a lesson obvious in 1914 that did not sink in until the generals who ran up the butchers’ bills on all sides were looking back at the event over port and cigars postwar.

Four nations built fortress chains, none of which availed them much in the 1939-45 unpleasantness. They were France, whose fabled and well-engineered Maginot Line was flanked; Germany, whose post-repudiation fortress construction seems to have been a propaganda effort; Belgium, the fate of whose fortresses in the face of Blitzkrieg is here recounted; and the Czechoslovak Republic, whose fortresses, similar to those of the francophone nations, were in those regions of the nation inhabited primarily by ethnic Germans, and ceded to Germany by the Munich Agreement in 1938.

In fact, the ex-Czech fortifications in the Reichsprotektorat Böhmen u. Mähren were used by Lieutenant Witzig’s Abteilung Granit troops to practice fortress takedowns, before they had to do it for real.

This is a tourism video promoting visits to Eben Emael in the here and now. Five minutes.

Here’s some B-roll (mostly) of a 2010 reenactment. In the historical case, there does not seem to have been this many Belgian defenders on the surface… just a few AA gunners with Lewis guns. The gliders also had wings, and the German guns didn’t jam this much…. Voice-over en français.

And this is a video of the fort today, with some role-players at work. Best part: you get to hear the actual sound of the fort’s alarm siren. And see what’s for sale in the gift shop.

Here’s another recent-day visit. Different views of some of the same role-players as above!

A tactic, technique or procedure is only new once. Even though Billy Mitchell proposed vertical envelopment in 1918, and even though Germany, Italy, Japan and the USSR had been training for it since the 20s and 30s, the paratroop elements of the invasions of April-May 1940 took Britain, France, and the neutrals by complete surprise.

The cost of the German victory in Crete the next year took the Germans, who had been encouraged by their 1940 results, by even greater surprise. But that’s another story!

USMC to Issue M27 More Widely?

A dog’s-breakfast of an article at Marine Corps Times suggests that the Marines are considering issuing the M27 IAR, now issued to squad automatic riflemen, for issue to all riflemen — not all Marines, in the sense of “every Marine is a rifleman,” but to MOS 0311 Riflemen, who apparently haven’t been named Genderfluid Riflepersons yet, in a crushing blow to the one USMC initiative of late unlamented SecNav Ray Mabus.

The 0311 Rifleman, we are assured by no less an authority on all things Marine than R. Lee Ermey as Sergeant Loyce, “is the &%$ing United States Marine Corps.” Let’s pick up a few things from the article, starting with why the Marines love the IAR:

While the M249 can put more rounds downrange, the IAR allowed Marines to provide suppressive fire with greater precision, Marines said.

“It’s been almost a paradigm shift in understanding what suppression is,” 1st Lt. Tom Rigby told Marine Corps Times. “It’s always been understood by the junior Marine that volume of fire and the sound of the machine gun equaled suppression.”

For the love of God, random noise was never “suppression,” but we suppose that’s what the reporter gets for interviewing a lieutenant. “In my experience…” it’s Baby Duck’s First Day!

Only accurate fire suppresses enemy fire. This is not a new discovery… people throughout history have had better luck shooting right at the enemy than sort of at him.

What’s next, on this Baby Duck’s First Day when All Is New? The distilled wisdom of a mosquito-winged PFC, speaking from his six months’ Marine experience?

Well, funny you should mention that:

“On single-shot, you can hit 800 yards no problem,” Lance Cpl. Joshua Houck told Marine Corps Times. “I love that you can go from single shot to full auto with the flick of a switch.”

Gee, what a novel feature. The Marines never had it before… except in the M16A1. And the M2 carbine. And the Thompson Submachine Gun, designed in 1918-1919, and bought by the Marines in the twenties, for crying out loud. But you can’t expect a boot PFC to know that.

Then, on the superiority of the HK 416 (which is all the IAR is) to the M4, the authority they cite is — a long retired Army Major General, a professional camera hound who has zero combat (or even training) experience with either weapon. Seriously, look at this (emphasis ours):

The M27 that the Marine Corps currently uses for the IAR, is “hands down, the best automatic rifle in the world,” said retired Army Maj. Gen. Robert Scales, author of the 2016 book “Scales on War: The Future of America’s Military at Risk.”

“It outclasses the M4 in every single category,” said Scales, who is not affiliated with Heckler & Koch.

FFS, it is an M4, except with two 1980s-vintage improvements, a free-floating barrel and a gas tappet system.

“The key category is reliability — particularly in dusty, sandy, muddy terrain. The HK has a solid rod system, like the AK-47.”

“Solid rod system?” Is that a thing? And no, the HK 416’s gas tappet system is nothing like the AK’s gas piston system. Unlike Scales, we have examples of both, and have shot and maintained ’em. (From a Larry Vickers video, this is the HK 416 gas system).

The M27, sold to civilians and overseas as the HK 416, uses a piston to control the function of the bolt, and that eliminates problems with gas-tube operating systems used in the M4 ­carbines and M16 rifles, according to the company’s website.

“Uses a piston to control the function of the bolt?” This is retarded, although it’s not Scales talking, but the reporter. It’s pretty clear that neither of them has the foggiest notion what goes on underneath the handguards of any modern military rifle.

But hey, Scales does step up to double down on the Full Retard:

If you have a solid rod, then the action can literally blow through things that would normally slow down a bolt action, because you’ve got more mass,” Scales said in a March 27 interview.

This is beyond being stupid about weapons… he’s galactically stupid about physics, too. Hey, we just noticed that there’s a solid rod on all our bolt actions, and you actually have to grab it and waggle it around to load a new round. That definitely slows things down.

“Whereas, the M4 has a floating bolt that’s not attached to the rod. The gas goes down a long, thin tube — and the gas itself blows against another tube on top of the bolt, which throws the bolt back instead of carrying the bolt back.”

Two little sentences, more fail than we can count. Proof positive that one can “be ‘tarded, and still live kick-ass lives.”

Now the reporter gets to to paraphrasing rather than quoting Scales, so you can’t be sure whose retardation is radiating stronger in this particular Superfund Site of a sentence:

The HK 416’s floating barrel makes it much more accurate and stable than the M4, especially in automatic fire, he said.

Aargh.

The rifle also gives troops between 100 and 150 extra meters of effective range than the M4.

Mostly, as Shawn at LooseRounds has demonstrated, because we underestimate the M4 and undertrain with it… but yeah, the longer barrel and free-floated barrel of the M27 are helpful at longer ranges. Where, alas, the terminal ballistics of the 5.56 are comparatively anemic, and where an infantry unit has much more effective weapons, something Scales would know if he were still an infantry officer and not a quote-generator-for-hire.

And let’s close the quotes with another direct quote from Scales:

“It’s the only weapon better than the AK-74, according to people I’ve talked to,” Scales said.

Oh, Lord. “People that he’s talked to.” Well, we defer to that! 

If the AK-74 is so awesome, why is Russia only exporting them to places that get them, essentially, for free, courtesy of hard-working Russian taxpayers? Has he shot an AK-74? Of course he hasn’t! He’s a general, he has people for the shooting stuff. And he talks to people, who may be complete random souls but we’ll defer to him because we are impressed with the Argument from Authority logical fallacy.

If you want to read the whole article, it’s not entirely retarded. There are quotes from Marine Commandant Neller, and those are OK. The reporter has also stealth-corrected his original error in which he said the Marines envisioned issuing the IAR to every mortarman, anti-tank infantryman, etc., while what he meant was that the Marines don’t envision issuing the rifles to infantrymen who are not MOS-designated riflemen.

Ten Rules for Collecting

These are not original, not any of them. But they are wisdom passed down from generations of collectors before us. And almost every collector has a story to go with each one. These are specifically aimed at gun collectors, but they’re general enough that they’ll work for whatever you collect, whether it’s Spiderman comics, barbed wire, or cats.

Wait, not cats.

1: Some Day Your Item Will Be Sold Again

Perhaps you will sell it to deal with a financial calamity, like your daughter being accepted to college. Or a sixteen-count Federal indictment. You never know what the future holds. Moreover, if you keep eating red meat (or anything else) and breathing oxygen, one of these days you’re going to up and die. (Sorry to break it to you). What then?

You should probably think, before you buy, about the potential circumstances in which you will sell, and plan accordingly. The default option, “Let my heirs sort it out, it won’t be my problem,” does not do those heirs any favors. Most of them will cut some deal with a dealer and your collection will be dispersed for 30¢ on the dollar, if that. Set it up so the heirs get as much of the whole dollar as possible, and they can spend it on whatever silly $#!+ they collect! Or donate it to a museum, but if you do that, you’d better know that the museum might want a piece or two but will just auction your stuff to get cash to buy whatever the curator’s priority is.

Collection entropy. It happens. You can’t prevent it.

2: Buy the Book Before You Buy the Item

This is old, old, old advice, and almost everyone has a story. “I thought this was incredibly rare, and then I got Roger Kaputnik’s book where I learned that all 600,000 produced, minus the one in the Royal Museum of Ruritania, were imported to the USA by Val Forgett in 1966. After that, I started seeing them in every shop in Podunk for half what I paid.”

That’s why gun collectors say, “Buy the book before you buy the gun.” It’s not just gun collectors. Every serious car collector looking for a Shelby Cobra has the SAAC book that documents, to the extent possible, the provenance and disposition of every chassis by CSX Number. This protects you against fakes, misrepresentations, and (most common problem) your own errors. Buy the book. It armors you with knowledge. Books aren’t perfect, but there’s stuff in that book you’ll never learn without it. Learn from the other guy’s mistakes!

3: Rarity has no Direct Effect on Price

Something could be the only one made, or the only one surviving, and yet nobody cares, or almost nobody. We watched one of the rarest and most historic rifles in existence expire, and get re-listed, for over a year on GunBroker — before we finally up and bought it. And as far as we know, nobody else was even following it. The gun was a survivor of only a few thousand made, ages and ages ago. We didn’t snap it up right away because, like the French knights’ master, we already had one. Finally we gave in to the impulse to corner the market, kind of like the Hunt Brothers but in a much smaller pond. That doesn’t mean our two ultra-rare rifles just got more valuable. It just meant we have two examples right here to write about, and whoever liquidates our collection has double the rare-Brno-rifle headaches.

Meanwhile, have you seen prices on GI 1911A1s lately, or M1 Carbines? A beater GI M1 Carbine, which was produced in a quantity of over 6 million, is worth over double the value of the above-mentioned extremely rare rifle, of which around 1000 times fewer were made, and which seems to have had a much lower survival rate than the common Carbine. And the Carbine will almost certainly appreciate (although that appreciation will have its limits).

Rarity does affect supply, but that’s only one side of the equation. The rarity of Colt Walker revolvers only adds up to headlining auction numbers because of the firearm’s historical importance and high collector demand. For all we know, Italian Rigarmi .25s may be nearly as rare as Walkers, but as a crummy, derivative gun from a forgotten company in a secondary gun-manufacturing country, they’re functionally orphans. We’ll give you a Rigarmi for a case of beer — and you can owe us the beer.

Here’s a very direct example of how rarity does not impact price. If you were to machine, yourself, a steel copy of an M1 Carbine receiver, engrave your own name and “Serial Nº 1” on it, and build it up with available parts, you would have the only one of its kind. But people want an Inland, ideally one that is documented to have hit the beach on D-Day, but remains in new condition (yes, those are contradictory objectives. That’s collectors for you). They will pay much more for the Inland than they will for your copy, even if you spent 10,000 hours making it, and even if it is machined and finished far better than anything produced during the war.

(Incidentally, this example also proves the untruth of Karl Marx’s Labor Theory of Value, the principle on which the whole monstrous lie that is Marxian economics stands).

4: Highest Price, Highest Appreciation

A rising tide lifts all boats, perhaps, but if you want to appreciate faster than average, you need pieces that are higher quality than average — which means, they are already higher priced than average.

This also means that the value of these high-flyers will take the greatest hit in a market downturn; but that’s temporary. Over time, the most in-demand pieces (Winchesters, Colts, Lugers, that original FG-42 that went for nearly $300k) will outpace the general market consistently.

5: Junk Just Becomes Old Junk

And popularity gets magnified. While some things are so rare and historic that even beater-condition examples are valuable, that’s not the house bet. If it was el cheapo crap when it was new, it may be an interesting way to have a collection of cheap crap culture of the period, but there’s just never going to be that much interest in no-name spur-hammer .22 short revolvers of the 1870s, or crummy Spanish, Italian and Belgian.25s of the 1945-68 era. You can call your junk “vintage” if it amuses you to do so, but when you go to sell it, it will bring junk prices. Unless you sell it on a street corner in the Engelwood section of Chicago, which we don’t recommend for health reasons.

6: Buy the Piece, Not the Patter

Every gun comes with a story. But absent proof of provenance, it’s just a story. Some dealers are extremely skilled at selling you the sizzle, but all that you will have when you open the package is the steak… and if you aren’t a similarly skilled purveyor of sizzle, you won’t be able to pull off the same stunt. (Even be careful of provenance documents. We’ve observed computer-faked Colt and S&W letters, and there’s some jerk out there that’s used one CMP document to “authenticate” dozens of inauthentic M1 Rifles with the help of some digital Wite-Out. See Rule #9).

7: “Instant Collectibles” — Usually Aren’t

Things that are manufactured and sold, new, in large quantities, as collectibles? Like Franklin Mint, American Historical Foundation, various gaudy el cheapo commemoratives, those kinds of collectibles? Well, they aren’t, much. There are a few exceptions in commemorative or limited-run guns by makers that make proportionately few limited-run guns. If an outfit’s business is commemorative-heavy, it’s selling sizzle and not steak.

8: Don’t Let Yourself be Rushed

There are a very few items that exist in single digits, and a very, very few deals that will never be equalled. Don’t let yourself be rushed into something prematurely. Remember that the “higher price later” will probably just reflect general inflation, and may even be short of that. It will almost certainly be short of what your money will make in an index fund in the same period. Being able and willing to walk away from a piece puts you in charge. Make Je ne regrette rien your motto, when the Deal Of The Century scoots away from you. There are other days and other deals.

9: Not Everyone is as Honest as You Are

This is a painful lesson to learn, but we’ve found that there are two reasons a piece might be misrepresented: the seller doesn’t know his representation is incorrect (a real possibility; maybe he didn’t buy the book); or, the seller does know his representation is incorrect. A seller misrepresenting one gun may be making a mistake; a seller misrepresenting many guns, whether he does so in series or in parallel, is a different thing entirely. Most sales take place on an as-is basis, and the buyer has no recourse. The seller will always deny any intent to deceive, and he may be telling the truth, or think he is. (Some of these guys are so bent, they deceive themselves). If you suspect someone is this kind of guy, look over his return policy (3 days if the firearm is unfired and unmolested, no other questions asked, buyer pays shipping back, is fairly standard; deviations from this against the seller’s interest should be a caution signal). But as a buyer, you have the right not to do business with anyone (as a seller, likewise). It’s a right well exercised.

10: It’s Not an Investment

We can’t hammer this enough. While this is a great fiction to tell yourself (or your wife, or in one case we know about, husband), as an investment collector anything is speculative, risky, and almost certain to lag the stock indices.

That said, it does have a purpose for some people. Just as equity in a home is some people’s only savings — savings because it has been forced upon them — for some people, the only store of wealth they have is in their firearms. Firearms are always convertible to cash, unlike most other collectible items.

Bonus: In the End, You Do this for Entertainment

Don’t take it too seriously, don’t expect too much of it, don’t be freaked when others in your life don’t understand. You’re doing this for your own entertainment and education, and the only one you have to please, as long as you keep the obsession short of 12-step-program levels, is yourself.

You do keep the obsession short of 12-step-program levels, don’t you?