Category Archives: Administrivia

Sunday Stopgap

spring 4So after staring at a screen for some dark period of time, with the command write something clever echoing in the brain, we resolved to simplify the problem to mere write something in the hopes of getting the post live.

The weather has done one of its occasional New England voltes faces, with t-shirt weather turning into snow in two days.

We had some gunsmithing tools come, and so we’re probably going to write something about bench blocks — we have four of them, which is probably two more than you need — and about the toolkit we bought because it was on sale.

We put the tools right to work on our Little Tom, an example of the world’s first DA/SA autopistol. Ours was made in 1922 and has some mechanical problems; taking it apart made us appreciate the ingenuity that went into and, we think, get a grasp of the problems.

It is a beautifully machined .25, bare of any sights, and featuring some parts of such small dimensions as to make us wonder, how ever did they make that thing? (one key part’s about .20″ long and actuated by an even smaller spring. How they did even the workholding for manufacturing that thing is beyond us). Before we go too deep into how Little Tom works, though, we want to review some more common DA/SA guns in the safe, starting with the PPKs and their descendants, and maybe having a look at the CZ and Beretta (we thought the trigger mechanism was a clone of the P.38 but Beretta has some of its own patents, so we get to open things up and look).

Beware, beware of flying springs! Spring may not have sprung in New Hampshire, outdoors, yet; but more springs have sprung on the gun benches this year, than bear thinking about. A magnetic pick-up tool is our friend.

That Was the Week that Was: 2016 Week 13

That was the week that was TW3One of these days, we’ll post our That Was the Week that Was on time. Today is not  the day (it’s going up a day late).

We’ve explained before why these things are “the most expendable post of the week,” and from time to time we don’t get to them at all.

We know not many readers read them, and so why do we do them? A few readers like them, and we find it useful to go back over the week’s production ourselves. That’s it; no magic to it.

The Boring Statistics

This week’s statistics were interesting: 28 posts, which is our current standard,  but a higher than average word count: about 23,500 words all told.  Our average post was longer than usual: 838 words long, and the median was also a little higher than usual at 755; both numbers were materially higher than the numbers made good last week. No post was below 100 words in length, and only one over 2,000; eleven were below 500 and nine over 1000. Post length ranged from 127 to 2778 words. “Normal” for

No significant milestones this week, although we broke 5000 comments for the year. Thanks to all who read and commented on our work.

We did set a new number of unique visitors monthly year-over-year record in March, and a record all-time monthly figure of 225,303 unique vistors. For every month of the first quarter, we set month-over-month and all-time records. But March was up 48.4% over last year’s record March, and up 3.8% over February, which was up 6.5% over January, which was up 5.5% over December. It’s too early to say whether April will continue this growth trend.

Comments This Week

Comments on this week’s points were below average by the delayed close of this post (only 352, down about 100 from recent weeks). This was probably because no single comment took off into the over-50 neighborhood, as some have, recently. Most commented post was Thursday’s Small News Items on Army Small Arms with 37.

The runner-up was Wednesday’s poll:  A New Rifle, a Reliability Problem received 31 comments. Not many guessed that the troubled rifle was the M1 Garand, but some of you did. Everything goes  through teething… but when it’s still teething decades later like the G36 or the M60, it’s not teething, is it? When everybody’s forgotten it except historians, as is the case with the M1’s troubles, then it was teething. In other words, only time and experience tells you.

Thank you all for reading and commenting.

The Week in Posts

Here’s the recap of our posts for this week: (links will be fleshed out and live later).

Going Forward

Stuff we still, still, still owe you… photo essays by OTR.

  1. A bit more on Castillo San Marco.
  2. A report on the Spanish Military Hospital in Florida
  3. A report on Fort Pulaski of Civil War Fame
  4. And some new museum stuff he sent us.


Sacred Sunday

Today is a day sacred to the world’s Christians. Easter represents the date of Christ’s resurrection from the dead, three days after His execution by crucifixion.

It is, those of a scientific bent will tell you, something that is literally impossible. But that is, of course, the nature of a religion: the test of faith is not that you believe something logical, observable and therefore obviously possible.

Every religion tasks its votaries, then, with believing the impossible. As Christians, we believe that Jesus Christ was dead as a stick of wood, until He wasn’t. Not only that, He still lives. And, moreover, He came offering us that same deal — life, after the end of life.

Not everyone wants to be part of that belief group. Others have their own faiths, and if you examine yours, you may find that it asks you to believe the impossible — and you do.

Perhaps it’s heresy, but we’ve seen enough good people of all faiths and none that we think almost anyone may do God’s work, whether he knows it or not. We may not be in the same army, as it were, but it’s nice to think we’re interoperable with one another. And almost anyone can fall under the sway of the mirror image of the benevolent spirit we are pleased to call God.

We don’t talk about faith much, here. We have a lot to be humble about on that score, and we are diffident about preaching for that and other reasons. But today, we confess we believe something that’s literally impossible.

We are looking forward to some good gun stuff in this week’s blog, some of which is already written.

That Was the Week that Was: 2016 Week 11

That was the week that was TW3OK, so we’re two weeks behind on That Was the Week that Was. This one, for Week 11 (19 March), is getting posted first, and then we’ll backfill Week 10 (12 March).

We regret the absences of these, but it’s not without any reason.

This is the most expendable post of the week, as far as our schedule goes, and when the schedule gets compressed, the That Was the Week that Was post is invariably the first one ordered off of the lifeboat.

The Boring Statistics

This week’s statistics were unremarkable: 28 posts, and about 22,000 words .  Our average post was a little longer than usual: 789 words long, and the median was 659; higher than, but not remarkably so, last week. No post was below 100 words in length, and only one over 2,000; twelve were below 500 and seven over 1000. Post length ranged from 149 to 3620 words. This is all pretty close to “normal” for

No significant milestones this week, although we broke 300 posts for the year (and 4,500 comments). Thanks to all who read and commented on our work.

We are still on track to set a new number of unique visitors monthly year-over-year record in March. We’ll have to figure out how many back months we’ve been doing that.

Comments This Week

Comments on this week’s points were about average by the delayed close of this post (437). Most commented post was a tie between Monday’s You Didn’t Plan or Rehearse… Now What?  and Tuesday’s 2050 Years Ago Today: Assassination of Caesar, both with 56 comments.

The runner-up was Tuesday’s, also. What Should the Army Do About Pistols received 42 comments.

Thank you all for reading and commenting.

The Week in Posts

Here’s the recap of our posts for this week: (links will be fleshed out and live later).

Going Forward

Stuff we owe you….

  1. A bit more on Castillo San Marco.
  2. A report on the Spanish Military Hospital in Florida
  3. A report on Fort Pulaski of Civil War Fame

All of these are photo features by OTR. And we’ve been sitting on them since Christ was a Corporal. Let’s see if we can get the Redeemer his third stripe this week, eh?

Sunday Silence

A moment of silence, please, for the Blogmother, who slipped the surly bonds of earth a year ago yesterday. We placed some small flowering plants upon her stone yesterday, and took a picture for more distant relatives. (It was a bit hectic, as none of our usual nurseries are open yet, the spring has come so soon this year).

She would be greatly amused by the fact that she was cremated, and her cremains then buried. She would have some witty way of expressing it, too. She was the source, we think, of our delight in books, reading and the pursuit of knowledge. For her, learning was never a means to an end, but an end in itself, an inexhaustible wellspring of amusement and delight. We took her to buy books a week or two before her death; she was so ill and so weak that it was hard for her to hold up a book, at the end, but that didn’t stop her from buying a number of carefully selected library discards.

There is a school, a school she attended, that will now bear her name for a very long time, long enough that it will just be a name to the kids; they’ll never think that it is the name of a person who was young, and full of dreams, and rushing to classes with her friends, and making connections that would change a life. Just like they are, but they’ll never know that.

It’ll be our little secret.

Later today, expect the overdue Saturday posts from yesterday… but we may spend some blogging time curled up with a book instead. Playing hooky from life’s responsibilities, as we follow an author’s creations into their world, deep in our own imagination.

You see, it runs in the family.

Southlands Sunday

Here we are at Hogney World, not far from the Kennedys’ fabled Southern White House but much safer for the womenfolk, and the temptations of sunshine and swimming and old SF buddies who retired nearby are strong, but still we do the blog.

We think cognitive scientists call that, “perseveration.”

English is an interesting language. We believe it has more words than any other current language, thanks to its eclectic borrowing from all other languages, in part, but also thanks to powerful connotations that make the difference between persevere and perseverate signficant. It is, through fortunate happenstance, our native language, but we’re glad not to be constrained in the narrower outlines of some other spoken tongue, like French (where a committee tries to enforce purity, like a cabal of old Afrikaners inspecting you for mixed-race ancestry or something) or modern Hebrew or Norwegian (where the language is narrow enough and the population small enough that they use English textbooks in some technical graduate schools).

Darn good luck, that the baby talk gooed at us all those decades ago just happened to be the dominant language of business, transportation, and engineering. Makes us appreciate all the more the efforts of those for whom it is an adopted language.

Heh, and we were going to talk about our expedition to the habitat of Florida Man this week. We wound up musing about English. What happened? Well, one never knows where one of these is going to go.

That Was the Week that Was: 2016 Week 09

That was the week that was TW3This makes two straight weeks where we gave you a Saturday Matinee and a That Was the Week that Was.

Tokens of gratitude, showers of rose petals, cases of beer, your chieftains’ nubile young daughters, and conexes full of ammunition gratefully accepted. (OK, the TW3 was half a day late getting posted).

Or, you guys can just keep reading and, for those so inclined, commenting. And that just might be enough for us.

The Boring Statistics

This week’s statistics were ordinary: 28 posts, and about 20,000 words .  Our average post was 739 words long, and the median was 632; almost the same as last week. No post was below 100 words in length, and only two over 2,000; ten were below 500 and seven over 1000 . Post length ranged from 140 to 2371 words.

No known milestones this week.

We did break January’s all-time unique visitors record in February, and if this month’s trend so far doesn’t reverse itself, we’ll set a new record in March.

Comments This Week

Comments on this week’s points remained below average at 390 by the close of this post. (Last week’s disappointing 371 crept up to 407 by now). Most commented post was a tie between Tuesday’s Vision, Perception, Combat, and Court, and Wednesday’s When it’s More than Just a Bookboth with 38 comments.

A close runner-up was Friday’s SF Medics, Combat Medics, Combat Lifesavers with 35.

Needless to say, we appreciate every reader and every comment, and sometimes we learn as much or more from the comments as we do preparing the posts.

The Week in Posts

Here’s the recap of our posts for this week: (links will be fleshed out and live later).

Going Forward

Stuff we owe you….

  1. A bit more on Castillo San Marco.
  2. A report on the Spanish Military Hospital in Florida
  3. A report on Fort Pulaski of Civil War Fame

All of these are photo features by OTR. Meanwhile, he’s sent us another training review, which will be up on the site at 1800 Eastern, Monday.

Sunday Sprayin’ and Prayin’

The Prayin’ bit, of a Sunday, should be self-explanatory. The Sprayin’, though, does not refer to anything we might do with the fine firearms that are begging for release from their wintertime incarceration. Nope, it’s literally sprayin’, in terms of EkoPrime primer for the wing skins of the RV-12, assuming (that word!) that the forecast warm weather does appear.

If not, we break down the El Cheapo Paint Booth in garage stall #3, and wait for better weather. But with one spar assembly just about together (and we only had to take part of it apart and start over once!) the time to skin the wings and move on to the flaperons (which look like they’ll go together hell for quick) is right upon us.


Yes, we can take it out of the basement workshop. We checked. (We actually built a mock-up to the wing dimensions out of wooden furring and carried it out into the sunlight, just to be sure).

The funny look of the wing ribs is the thin primer we’re using, Stewart Eko-Prime white. We’re not sweating the aesthetics, we just want to cover the bare parts’ AlClad surfaces for corrosion prevention. (We’re only priming internals, and you’d need Superman’s x-ray vision to see them once we skin the wings). The spar itself comes pre-assembled from anodized aluminum plate, and so it doesn’t need prime for corrosion protection. The wing rib nearest to you will be snugged up against the fuselage of the airplane, and the part of the spar jutting out slides into an aperture in the fuselage that receives it. The left and right spars overlap inside the aircraft fuselage and pins join them both to one another and the fuselage; the wings can be removed by two reasonably coordinated people for storage or transportation.

If we’re all pretty stupid in the comments tomorrow, it’s probably fumes from the paint!

That Was the Week that Was: 2016 Week 08

That was the week that was TW3We’ve been remiss in posting weekend wrap-ups lately; this is the first time in some time that we’ve posted either a Saturday Matinee or a That Was the Week that Was aka TW3.

We could issue any of a number of flimsy excuses for that, but probably not a really good reason, and if we did have a reason, would you want to hear it?

We’re not going to wait for an answer for that… we’ll just move on.

The Boring Statistics

This week’s statistics are a bit higher than usual: 29 posts, and about 23,000 words .  Our average post was 793 words long, and the median was 643; so the mean doesn’t result from a small number of inordinately large or small posts, and indeed, none was below 100 words and only one over 2,000; nine each were beow 500 and over . Post length ranged from 251 to 2291 words.

We didn’t hit any milestones of significance this week.

We’re very happy with the level of hits we’re seeing; despite February being a short month, we’ll either break last month’s all-time unique visitors record or come very close, and we’ve already broken our all-time February record.

Comments This Week

Comments were below average at 371 by the close of this post, as most weeks are breaking 470. Most commented post was Tuesday’s, Book Review: <i>Unintended Consequences</i> by John Ross (1996), with 54 comments, as there are a lot of John Ross fans out there — including, as it turns out, John Ross.

Runner-up was Monday’s Washington, The General with 35. It never ceases to surprise us, which posts draw a lot of hits and comment, and which do not.

One key to getting hits and comments, of course, is the many bloggers that link to and excerpt our work — we are grateful to them, each and every one.

The Week in Posts

Here’s the recap of our posts for this week: (links will be fleshed out and live later).

  • We report a bird sighting, and show a very substandard picture, on Snowy Owl Sunday
  • We report on a weapon most people have never heard of: The American Cal. .60 Anti-Tank Rifle, T1 & T1E1
  • It shouldn’t surprise us that Incompetence Taints Everything, Even Corruption, in Afghanistan
  • A tragic accident cuts a life short, without any firearms involvement whatsoever: When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have Snowmobiles
  • Washington, The General is often forgotten; the anniversary of his birth seemed like a good time to remember his military prowess. 
  • We offer a chart Visualizing World Arms Exports: 1926-1936
  • Pedophilia is an Army Value. If that doesn’t creep you out, it should. 
  • We promised more book reviews, here’s one: Book Review: <i>Unintended Consequences</i> by John Ross (1996)
  • Poly-Ticks: Running on Guns sounded good to this New Hampshire candidate. 
  • We offer a little More on the Federov Automatic, and Max Popenker chimes in in the comments with some rare photographs of rarer Federov-Degtyaryev light machine guns. 
  • Here’s video of what looks like a PR exercise: Littoral Combat Ship Live-Fire Defense Test.
  • When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have Meteorites. Anything can kill a person, even rocks from space.
  • We keep Reg Manning’s work, and the sacrifice of the heroes of the Regiment alive, in This Week’s Special Forces Casualties in SEA: 21 – 29 Feb.
  • This is a great site, with promise to be even greater going forward. Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week: Russo-German Archives.
  • Another American Anti-Tank Rifle — Wait, <i>Two</i> of Them! We think that these two posts might be the most information anyone’s ever had in one place on American experimental AT rifles. That’s not a boast, it’s actually kind of sad. 
  • Rock Island has a great auction and it’s still running through Sunday. Auction: It’s <i>On!</i>
  • Mess Up and Move Up: VA Plays Musical Bad Execs, surprising nobody. 
  • When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have a Panoply of Edged Weapons and rob and rob, and rob, with them. It must be the edged weapons, it can’t be the criminal!
  • A few grim facts about Execution by Hanging, the primary way the UK did it for centuries up till they gave up and began to yield the streets to crime in the 1960s.
  • Not unknown, but not often seen: A Rare G.43 Variant. Was it combat tested outside Leningrad in 1942-43?  The jury’s still out. 
  • Not the Face, <i>Not</i> the Face! Jeezly dog. 
  • This is one of the most heartbreaking ones of these we’ve ever written: When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have Exhaust
  • Hognose’s Laws needed to be collected in one single place. This should be a Page, too. 
  • We throw a bunch of junk in the trunk of the week: Friday Tour d’Horizon, 2016 Week 08
  • CZ System, High Style, Made in… Israel? That’s the Jericho. 
  • The stories of A Handful of Hostages.
  • He was just minding his own business until the lioness made him her business. When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have Big Cats.
  • We resuscitate a some-love-it-some-hate-it dormant feature: Saturday Matinee 2016 08: Firing Squad (TV, Canadian, 1990)
  • And we’ve circled back here. That Was the Week that Was: 2016 Week 08

Going Forward

Stuff we owe you….

  1. The second half of the cache story
  2. A bit more on Castillo San Marco.
  3. A report on the Spanish Military Hospital in Florida
  4. A report on Fort Pulaski of Civil War Fame
  5. … we’ll think of it, we know there’s more.

Snowy Owl Sunday

As you know if you read At the Fudd Range, Thinking About Safety on Friday morning, we’re at the Fudd River Fish & Game Club for Phase II of the Interminable Range Orientation this morning. But through the magic of scheduled posts, we can be here entertaining you (in the warm expectations your comments will entertain us in turn).

We are having a burst of unseasonable warmth; it hit almost 60ºF yesterday, so the BikeE came out of the garage — tires still at 100 psi from the last warm snap — and off we went. Muscles unused to the recumbent complained at first, but the weather, scenery, and people we met (a recumbent bike is nearly as good a conversation starter as a dog) all made it delightful. Of course, we had to stop and hobnob with all the dog walkers, even though Small Dog was back at home, pining for his humans who were everywhere but giving him the lap he needed. We met a rescued Greyhound and his human, and a solid, stolid black Lab and her family, and a whole bunch of other people.

People wonder: why live there, when you could live anywhere, and the winters can be depression-inducing? This, dear readers and friends, is why:


True, there are days the sight is best enjoyed from atop the climate-controlled seats of the Plush Car, but yesterday was not one of those days. Even at low tide (this is low-ish, maybe not absolute low) it’s a pleasing sight. The Atlantic has a thousand moods; this is the inviting, I-am-here-to-feed-Man mood. Off to the right of this picture, there are some small, bleak, rocky islets, and the next landfall after that is, depending on azimuth, Iceland, Ireland, England, or the Azores. On other days, the Ocean is in the I-am-here-to-feed-on-Man mood.

Heh, too much oceanic thinking. Maybe it was the seafood plate from Friday night. Frozen seafood is okay, but seafood that you know was landed in this harbor today — that’s the best.

After taking this picture, we saddled back up on the bike and came across a knot of excited men and women with huge cameras — like the cameras the pro photographers had in the airshow press briefings, 200, 300, 400 mm lenses. (The airshow guys lean Canon, and this group Nikon. Color of the lens is the giveaway). They had to be birdwatchers. They were!

They explained that they had their eyes on an uncommon Snowy Owl, and the bird had been right here mere minutes ago. One of them talked us onto the bird by terrain association — it was a good 2000m away, a white speck, perching regally on a railing behind a seafood restaurant. Well, we were going that way anyway, and when we ran into a knot of cameras, we’d probably find the bird.

Sure enough, we did, although this group was mostly looky-lous with point-and-shoot and phone cameras; the long-lens team knew they could not get a good shot from this road, shooting west into the setting afternoon sun. But the looky-lous were trying, and so we did, too:


We’ll talk you on to the bird now. Of course, his (?) white privilege is not showing, as he’s backlighted by the aforementioned yellow star. But you can certainly spot him in this picture; begin from the telephone pole.

Go right: there is a chimney.

Go right again: there is a small antenna, probably a TV antenna.

Go right to the very peak of the garage roof. There is our Snowy friend. Let’s zoom in:


Ah, the “antenna” was a weathervane.

The temps will drop again, and Snowy the Owl will probably have real snow to be concealed against soon enough. But it’s quite a thrill to share the zip code with one of these interesting birds that roost in the Arctic and only come down here to feed.

Most of the birdwatchers were not from around here; they were from all over New England, motivated by a Rare Bird Alert on the Audubon website. The birdwatchers we saw were all class acts: remaining on the public right-of-way, respecting private property, and not approaching the bird, in short, all the things the Audubon Society asks people to do. They say that “seeing a Snowy Owl is a rare privilege,” and although, as the pictures show, we didn’t see it all that well, we do feel rarely privileged.