Monthly Archives: February 2013

The right way to do a “buyback”

no-guns-iconIt starts off looking like another banster wet dream, the stale old gun turn-in/buyback. (And, how can they buy it back if they didn’t sell it in the first place? But the biggest problem with these is never the grammar). Newsradio 560 WGAN:

Three Maine communities have a few more guns out of circulation today thanks to a program sponsored with the state police.

The Falmouth, Cumberland and Yarmouth police departments held a gun and ammunition donation program yesterday that gave people the chance to give back their unwanted firearms.

Boy, that’s even worse than a buy “back.” Poor folks didn’t even get a Walmart card. So what happens to the guns?

Between 60 and 70 guns were collected, and they will be sold through a licensed firearms dealer and the money raised given to Special Olympics.

via Police Collect Unwanted Guns – WGAN.

Oh, you have to love this. Orphan guns are relocated to loving homes, and the monies raised thereby go to support a worthwhile charity. We should have known Maine cops would have had basic Downeast good sense, not like some of their New York or Chicago city counterparts.

By the way, these towns are located north of Portland along the beautiful Maine coast, and have a rate of violent crime — heck, of any crime — that’s low enough that the local paper doesn’t bother putting their police blotters on the website. The county’s most wanted fugitives — all the county’s fugitives, actually  —   are a bunch of revoked probations for assault, failures to appear, operating after suspension, selling liquor to minors and other small-town misdeeds. (We don’t mean to belittle the hazards of small-town policing… Greenland, NH is just like that and a low-end scrote just like these Cumberland skip-outs managed to kill the police chief and wound four regional DTF officers on what was supposed to be just the latest in his long line of routine busts. We’re just pointing out that the usual level of gun crime in these three towns, and in the area as a whole, is tantamount to nil).

In fact, in the entire state of Maine, there are normally about 20 to 25 homicides a year, most of them open-and-shut domestic situations. The Maine State Police note that the clearance rate for this crime is over 90%, although of course after many years a backlog of that unsolved 10% gets pretty big.

Kamikaze Para-mice counterattack invading snakes

The Japanese landed by sea in 1941. They were dislodged the same way in '44.

The Japanese landed by sea in 1941. They were dislodged the same way in ’44.

The last invaders who had to be driven out of Guam were the Imperial Japanese Army. But the famously tenacious Japanese couldn’t hold a candle to the current crop of invaders: yard-long brown snakes that have denuded the island of its native bird life and made numerous native species, both avian and terrestrial, extinct.

Appropriately enough, the snakes’s coming D-Day is going to be a vertical envelopment, and all weapons are at hand. In particular, a quirk of herp biology leaves the snakes vulnerable to biological warfare: they can’t handle acetaminophen (Tylenol), and so heliborne scientists plan to drop baby mouse carcasses laced with the common anti-inflammatory drug.

The snakes are not only a problem on Guam, but they stow away on planes to distant places.

The snakes are not only a problem on Guam, but they stow away on planes to distant places.

Dead mice laced with painkillers are about to rain down on Guam’s jungle canopy. They are scientists’ prescription for a headache that has caused the tiny U.S. territory misery for more than 60 years: the brown tree snake.

Most of Guam’s native bird species are extinct because of the snake, which reached the island’s thick jungles by hitching rides from the South Pacific on U.S. military ships shortly after World War II. There may be 2 million of the reptiles on Guam now, decimating wildlife, biting residents and even knocking out electricity by slithering onto power lines.

More than 3,000 miles away, environmental officials in Hawaii have long feared a similar invasion – which in their case likely would be a “snakes on a plane” scenario. That would cost the state many vulnerable species and billions of dollars, but the risk will fall if Guam’s air-drop strategy succeeds.

“We are taking this to a new phase,” said Daniel Vice, assistant state director of U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services in Hawaii, Guam, and the Pacific Islands. “There really is no other place in the world with a snake problem like Guam.

via US gov’t to air-drop toxic mice on Guam snakes – DC Breaking Local News Weather Sports FOX 5 WTTG.

Sleeping-Ugly here is the villain of the piece: a brown tree snake.

Sleeping-Ugly here is the villain of the piece: a brown tree snake.

The airborne mice won’t be coming by parachute; testing has determined that cardboard streamers decelerate the mice well enough that they don’t spatter and lose their snake appeal (the brown tree snake is a rare snake that will scavenge dead animals), and they’re less fiddly than parachutes. Some biologist, though, gets to be the lucky duck flinging the dead meeces — each one gets launched snakeward by hand, for reasons that seem clear to us: mouse-throwing machinery is not an entry in the McMaster-Carr catalog, after all.

There is one difference between the last counterinvasion and this one: in 1944, the US Army, Navy and Marines planned the invasion of Guam for a couple of months (including a one-month postponement caused by stiffer than expected resistance at the previous invasion, Saipan). Being that the snake attack is not a military operation, but a more typical government job, it’s been in the planning and preparation stage for over a decade.

Our money’s on the snakes.

Beretta preparing Maryland escape contingency plan

beretta USA logoMaryland is a dependably blue, liberal state. Liberal Democrat governor Martin O’Malley, then, is in his happy place leading a crusade against guns, and seems to see harm to one of the largest employers in largely black Prince George’s County as inconsequential collateral damage. The managers of, and workers at, the plant have a very different view. The plant in question is, of course, the Beretta USA factory in Accokeek, which makes the 9mm M9 for US and allied military services, and various products for civilians as well. A multi-million dollar upgrade to produce a 5.56mm rifle is on hold; the politicians of Maryland seem to expect the factory managers to eat no end of abuse and hostility, while still providing their constituents with good manufacturing jobs. The Washington Post reports that this expectation may be misplaced.

Now Beretta is weighing whether the rifle line, and perhaps the company itself, should stay in a place increasingly hostile toward its products.

“Why expand in a place where the people who built the gun couldn’t buy it?” said Jeffrey Reh, general counsel for Beretta.

Concern that the company will leave, and take its 300 jobs with it, is palpable among state lawmakers who worry it could be collateral damage from Gov. Martin O’Malley’s proposed gun-control bill.

Among other restrictions, O’Malley’s bill would ban assault rifles, magazines with more than 10 bullets and any new guns with two or more “military-like” features. Gun experts said it’s a near-certainty that Beretta’s semiautomatic version of the ARX-160, now only a prototype, would be banned under O’Malley’s bill.

“I’m concerned. I think they’re going to move,” said Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert). “They sell guns across the world and in every state in the union — to places a lot more friendly to the company than this state.”

In Beretta’s low-slung factory along the Potomac River in Accokeek, where walls are lined with trophy heads of caribou, wild boars and black bears shot by employees, the legislation proposed by O’Malley (D) feels like an affront.

In testimony this month in Annapolis, Reh, who oversees the plant, warned lawmakers to consider carefully the company’s future. Reh pointed to the last time Maryland ratcheted up gun restrictions in the 1990s: Beretta responded by moving its warehouse operation to Virginia.

“I think they thought we were bluffing” in the 1990s, Reh said. “But Berettas don’t bluff.”

via Beretta’s future in Maryland tied to state’s gun-control debate – The Washington Post.

After the 1990s move, which sent hundreds of jobs to Virginia, Beretta went from the largest single employer in southern Maryland to merely one of the largest. And there are reasons that Reh and Beretta patriarch Ugo Beretta (the business is still family owned) are loath to move, if it can be avoided: they have a million dollar barrel hammer-forging machine that isn’t even set up yet, and vast chromium vats for plating barrels that would be a major ordeal to move or replicate in another jurisdiction. But Beretta has come to regret the 1970s decision to locate in a state which has turned out to make a sport of vilifying the thriving manufacturer: “There always seems to be a problem with Maryland,” he told Reh on his last visit.

In the article, an O’Malley fluffer, one Raquel Guillory, expresses confidence in the governor’s ability to call Beretta’s bluff, and a little of the contempt that O’Malley feels for the 15th-Century firm.

800px-M9-pistolet

The Beretta M9 with its “13-bullet” magazine. All you round counters been doing it wrong, the Post says….

Of course, all that assumes that the report is good. That might be a reckless assumption. As you might expect from the Washington Post and its love of fact-free, anonymous and unsourced reporting, reporter Aaron C. Davis made no serious attempt to get his facts straight on this one. Example:

Its iconic 9mm pistol — carried by every U.S. soldier and scores of police departments — would also be banned with its high capacity, 13-bullet magazine.

Holy mackerel, Andy! Every Beretta we carried in the field and in combat was profoundly defective, and let us stuff two (issue mags) to four (later Beretta factory mags) extra cartridges (with bullets, even!) in.

Well, that or Davis did a typical Post make-it-up-as-you-go job. Fortunately he was caught by the Post’s “layers and layers of editors” — oh, wait.

In definitely related news lately, the Post has decided it doesn’t need an ombudsman, because the hilariously misnamed “reader’s representative” was cramping reporters like Davis’s fabricative creativity.

Meanwhile, officials in at least three states have solicited Beretta’s interest in relocating. Because of the company’s extensive government contracting, its most probably direction of relocation is south to Virginia.

A mess of accidents, No. 9

ND-shot-in-footY’all haven’t been listening to Clint Smith, out there. (Or Jeff Cooper. Or… never mind. You get the idea). So we have a fresh roundup of new blockheads having the same old accidents: breaking rounds in the wrong places, at the wrong times, towards the wrong targets, and just committing mayhem and general wrongness with firearms.

As Clint said, this reflects on all of us, when these bozos do these things, because this is what makes the news and helps people who are outside the gun culture form an opinion of we who are in it.

For the time being, we’re leaving Oscar Pistorius out of it. The South African courts will tell us later whether it was the most egregious negligent discharge to ever take place south of the Zambezi, or murder, in which case it’s not really an accident? (So far, we’re impressed with the SA judge and court. Place hasn’t turned into Zimbabwe yet. Heck, it hasn’t even turned into LA — remember that assclown Lance Ito?).

Without further ado we’ll meet this cast of characters (and in some cases bid them further adieu, not quite the same thing).

  • 2/20: There was the Florida woman whose boyfriend or roommate or whatever he is put his Glock in one place and its magazine, containing four .45 ACP rounds, in another… the oven. He didn’t tell her, and the rounds literally cooked off. (Real literally, not room-temp-IQ Joe Biden “literally”). She was wounded with brass fragments — not seriously, as she was able to catch a bus to the hospital, picking fragments out of her skin the whole way. The polymer mag was a melted mess and the oven was trashed. (If you wonder why Piers Morgan thinks Americans are stupid, well this girl and her numbnuts pal are the kind of Americans that make the news in the UK, where he was a newspaper editor specializing in bugging celebrities’ phones for scoops. The news is something different over there).
  • 2/19: There’s the young Utah couple who were changing a tire by the side of the road, or trying to, when the guy touched off a .30-06. (This is not the ASE Certified Mechanic blog, but we’re pretty sure that if you’re trying to change a tire with a deer rifle, you’re doing it wrong). The gal walked off… until she fell over from loss of blood. The slug came through the side of the pickup and nailed her in the chest, but she was unaware she was shot at first. It was a near-run thing involving all kinds of drama and a life flight helicopter,  but looks like she’s going to live.
  • 2/22: A former government minister in the Rose Revolution government of the nation of Georgia is in crowbar motel in Tblisi after a gun accident during a party at his house.

In a statement released by the Ministry of Interior on its website www.police.ge, Vardzelashvili recounts the incident. He says that while examining the weapons collection, he handed the TT pistol, an old-fashioned pistol for Red Army officers now out of service, to his friend Zviad Kavtaradze who accidentally fired a shot that hit their friend Devi Siradze, 45, in the chest. Siradze died after a few minutes, and before he arrived at the hospital. Some account say before the the ambulance arrived.

TT-33 is a modified Browning copy. Note absence of safety.

TT-33 is a modified Browning copy. Note absence of safety. Image: world.guns.ru.

What went nonlinear for Mr Vardzelashvili is that the old TT (called TT-33 in the USA) was not registered to him. Now both he and the relative to whom it actually was registered, a former cop who apparently have it to him, are jammed up with the Georgian law, which is still based on Soviet gun prohibitions. His political history won’t help him — the party in power are opponents of his. (NB that a TT-33, like a Glock, has no mechanical safety. The safety is quite literally your trigger finger. Or not. Which is why a lot of Glocks wind up in NDs, and so would TTs if they were still in general use).  

  • 2/22: A lady famous for trying to rip off Wendy’s (the fast-food chain) with a human finger planted in a chili bowl and an unethical lawyer (but we repeat ourselves), apparently never noticed that she’s a really crappy liar. Her deficiency in that skill came up again when she lied to police about how her son got the bullet wound in his foot. Junior actually plugged himself, but she was trying to cover the other part of the anatomy bozos usually target, because he’s a felon and not supposed to have a gun (apple didn’t fall far from the tree, did it). Now mom and son are both jammed up, more deservedly that Mr Vardzelashvili.
  • 2/22: An Ohio man holstering his gun in a new holster he’d just bought at a gun show, shot himself in a finger of his left hand. Here’s a hot tip for you unless you, too, want to be nicknamed Nine Fingers: try a new holster for the first time with the holster off your person and the gun dry. And tip number two: if you want to keep your ten other tips, the finger ones, get in the habit of keeping your digits out of the trigger guard whilst drawing and holstering. No matter what threat presents itself, you can’t shoot it until you are aimed at it in the first place, so absolutely nothing but risk is gained by having your finger on the trigger except when the gun is actually presented to the target. QED.
  • 2/22: There is the kid in Pennsylvania who shot himself in the face. He’s in critical condition. He’s two years old. Not much you can really say about that; the toddler found the gun in his mother’s purse. No charges are contemplated… but what a tragedy.
  • 2/23: We’ve heard of murder-suicide, but accident-suicide? Apparently, it happens. Kyle Thacker of Slate Branch, Kentucky, was handling a shotgun and shot his sleeping brother, Kody. He then shot himself. The police are convinced the first shooting was accidental.
  • 2/18: the grossly negligent discharge that left a Maryland campus police cadet seriously brain-damaged has claimed another casualty: Major Eric Russell, the suspended director of the Baltimore Police’s education and training department, under whose authority this accident took place, won’t be getting his job back, whatever the investigation determines. Major Joseph Smith has been appointed to Russell’s former position, while Russell continues to hang on the waiver wire. The Baltimore cop who fired the fatal shot is also on paid vacation, while they decide whether to charge him, or more accurately, how to cover their heinies if they don’t.
  • 2/24: An Iowa kid went to the hospital after playing with a gun with his friend. Police said that the kid “didn’t think the .22-caliber revolver was loaded when he pulled the trigger.” Do tell. Is there any weapon in human history that has racked up the body count of “the unloaded gun”? We’re inclined to think not. Kid will live. The adult who owned the gun, and apparently let the 13-year-old kids play with it, has been threatened with charges, and his guns all confiscated.

For crying out loud, people. I’m on the target, I’m on the trigger. I’m off the target, I’m off the trigger. Is it that hard? Evidently.

Sunday Sunday Sunday!

Geez, with that headline we should be announcing a full card of unlimited fuel drag racing or something. Instead, it’s just that Sunday is our day of rest (although we will post the Saturday Matinee and TW3 posts that we didn’t get to yesterday).

Meanwhile, maybe we’ll find some motor racing somewhere to watch.

That was the Week that Was: 2013 Week 08

That was the week that was TW3We’re running just a wee bit late this week, so this post is posted late and backdated, and the Saturday Matinee isn’t even posted yet — although its listing on this page tells you what it will be. Sorry ’bout that.

As often happens, this may initially be posted without the links to the stories being live, and they’ll be retrofitted.

The Boring Statistics

This week’s output was close to the median. There was a fairly normal number of posts, 22, slightly down from last week’s 24. A bright spot is the comments, with 41 comments, nearly doubling last week’s count, by press time for this post. Our word count was a near-median 12,000 (approximately). The average post was about 540 words, up from about 460 last week.

Comment of the Week

Pending

The Week in Posts

Here’s the recap of our posts for this week:

How we did on last week’s promises (hint: not good)

We promised (and we’ll line out the promises kept)

  • a revisit to printable hardware. (this one’s now two week’s overdue)
  • a really old book on explosives and incendiaries to turn you on to. (ditto)
  • We also have a pile of guns to clean and are trying to figure out how to make that into a blog post. (We didn’t do it, and now there are even more dingy guns! Oh noes!)
  • A good Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week

Going Forward

  • We’re really going to clean up the backlog of promises from last week. (50/50)
  • We’ll check up on some stories from last year we haven’t followed up in ’13 yet.
  • We’ve got a story on the last battle of King Richard III (we’ve been trying to pin down the U of Leicester experts on his fatal wounds).
  • We’ve got a follow-up on the earliest standard-issue American military rifle scopes. You may remember we had  story on the Small Arms Firing Manual’s single paragraph about telescopic sight, and the Warner & Swasey “Telescopic Musket Sight M1913” for the 1903 Springfield. Turns out, a book crossed our transom that deals with this scope and its forebears and successors in some depth.

Yikes. With that dismal performance, we’re not even going to make a prediction for next week.

Saturday Matinee — Guns at Batasi

Screen shot 2013-02-24 at 5.15.07 PMAs it happens, the guns don’t have a very central role in Guns at Batasi, but it’s an interesting tale of an unusual period — the early 60s, when Britain was fleeing its overseas responsibilities, first East of Suez and then everywhere, and when African nations were taking their first steps towards independence and the classically African political institution: one man, one vote, one time. This interesting, forgotten black and white drama deserves wider viewership and appreciation.

Batasi Camp is the regimental home of the “2nd African Rifles,” a unit where a British commander, officers and key NCOs mentor African native other ranks and emergent officers. The two key Britons are the commander, Colonel Deal, ably played by Jack Hawkins, and RSM Lauderdale, played with eye-popping uptightness (and snap-cracking dialogue) by Richard Attenborough. Had Attenborough not done dozens of these things, you could call it the role of a lifetime, but of course he did; so you are never ill advised to pull out an obscure DVD from the $5 “fin bin” if his name is on the marquee.

In this case, a mostly bloodless coup leaves the officers isolated in their mess, the colonel away to consult at the embassy, and the sergeants isolated, and nearly unarmed, in the sergeants’ mess, with some unexpected visitors: Private Wilkes (John Leyton), a day from demobilization from his National Service; a comely UN worker, Karen Eriksson (Mia Farrow) who has taken a shine to Wilkes; a traveling lady MPm Miss Barker-Wise (Flora Robson) who has strong opinions about the Africans’ readiness for self-rule, and equally strong and far more negative opinions of military men; and Captain Abraham (Earl Cameron), the former senior African officer, now wounded and hunted by the coup leaders.

Attenborough and LeytonWe have already seen Attenborough establish several aspects of RSM Lauderdale’s complex facets. That he is a martinet, and often the butt of behind-his-back snark from the sergeants, is shown to the viewer, rather than told to them. So is his unflinching character. Likewise, the tension in the country is shown, rather than told, to us, as Wilkes and Eriksson make their way through a hostile mob.

The dialogue rules here. Here are three prize pronunciamentos of Lauderdale:

  • “Let me tell you. There’s no alteration, no celebration. No argumentation, no qualification in this mess that escapes my eyes! Read, learn, and inwardly bloody digest!”
  • “I have seen Calcutta. I have eaten camel dung. My knees are brown, my navel is central, my conscience is clear, and my will is with my solicitors, Short and Curly.” (He says it in such a manner that you can’t quite be sure whether he’s referred to his “will” or to his “willy.”)
  • “I can always stomach a good soldier whatever his faults! What I can’t stomach are Bolshies, skivers, scrimshanks, and boghouse barristers! I’ve broken more of them than you’ve had eggs for breakfast! If I take a likin’ to you, lad, I’ll be your good friend and counselor. If you offend me, I’ll pull out your sausage-like intestines, hang ’em round your neck, and prick ’em every so often like they do real sausages!”

The guns that don’t play a very large part in the movie, actually, are all accurate, with one possible question. There are a mixed bag of then-current British arms (SLR, Stirling) and WWII arms that a colonial army base might have had (Brens, and we see No. 4 Enfields in racks). The one questionable arm is the presence of two 40mm Bofors guns in what’s supposed, after all, to be a rifle unit. Usually, specialty antiaircraft weapons like that are the province of AA Artillery units. But the Bofors guns play a very important part in the plot of the film.

Using sheer bluff and force of Attenborough’s character, the sergeants mount a raid on the arms room, arming themseves with BREN guns, grenades and Sterlings (prior to this, they are only armed with Wilkes’s L1A1 SLR). After they bluff their way past the guard on the facility, RSM Lauderdale derides him to the others: “That one’ll never make an NCO. No initiative.” He is, in fact, always thinking about the future of the Army and the Regiment, and these small asides are the mortar in the wall of believability that he builds for his character. (In several of them, he’s trying to persuade Wilkes to re-enlist).

Soon the plot’s local leader, Lt. Boniface, discovers that the sergeants are hiding Abraham and demands him, the arms, and — in a telling description of his character, and most of the real-world African leaders on whom he’s based — the regimental silver. He gets the silver, but Abraham has been offered the protection of the sergeants’ mess, and they will give him up only over their dead bodies. Boniface is coool with that and has two Bofors guns with which he intends to reduce the mess building t rubble if his ultimatum is not satisfied.

It falls to Attenborough and a volunteer — if one can be found — to mount a raid on the Bofors guns, to take Boniface’s strongest pieces off the chess board.

Meanwhile, the British Embassy is frantically negotiating with the new government.

There is quite a bit of drama and quite a few surprises, and the end is anticlimactic, but realistically so. It seems that some good deeds, in the dark and confused world of the early 1960s, cannot go unpunished. Some outcomes can shake even a sergeant major, but in the end, the righteousness of his decisions, however much they have caused his superiors political problems, are reinforced by the respected Col. Deal announcing that he’d have done the very same thing.

We leave RSM Lauderdale as we found him, then: strutting across the parade ground, the model of a sergeant major. Bravo to the cast and crew, particularly Attenborough, director John Guillermin, and screenwriter Robert Holles (based on his own novel), who put those remarkable quote in Attenborough’s capable hands for delivery.

So how bad is New York?

muqueenweaponsThis bad. This picture represents what the police and news media are calling an “arsenal.” Some guy, Lawrence Mulqueen, of Manuet, NY, posted on Facebook that “if anybody ever came” to take his guns, “they would suffer the consequences.”

So based on that “threat,” some other stuff he said about anti-gun politicians, and possession of this “arsenal,” he’s now sitting in jail.

His allegedly illegal assault weapons?

  • A scoped Marlin lever-action hunting rifle;
  • A bolt action Russian M44 (or Chinese M53) carbine, the last version of an 1891 bolt-action gun;
  • Some antique swords and bayonets;
  • and a fake US M1918 trench knife.

And, oh yeah, “over a hundred”(!) rounds of ammunition. Arsenal!

Lord love a duck, how many of our readers have more firepower than that in their pockets right now?

Remember, this is a state where murderers walk with short sentences, as long as they’re career criminals or bug-nuts insane. Yes, they are coming for your guns.

In Mulqueen’s case, he was ratted out by his landlady, who’s being treated as the Donosnik 001, the sainted Pavlik Morozov (Russian language link), of the case (or perhaps the Hitler Youth Quex). “I snooped, I was an internet stalker,” the landlady boasts, to acclaim from the media. (She even has a Hitler Youth name, “Pillersdorf”).

CBS calls it a “cache of weapons.” New York mag calls in an “arsenal.” NBC goes with “cache” and says he had “100 rounds of ammunition, including armor-piercing bullets.”

Landladies like that are one excellent reason to own your own home.

No more “no more hesitation” targets?

Take that, little Johnny!

Take that, little Johnny! One of the controversial targets.

A company we’ve personally done business with, Law Enforcement Targets (which offers, as you might expect, a wide range of LE targets, but also military and general purpose targets and target systems) has been in the news lately, and not in a good way. Their targets range from the various qualification targets specified by many agencies, to comical targets of zombies and the “Minnesota State Bird”: the mosquito.

It wasn’t mosquito targets that made the news. A series of targets developed for DHS were featured, if that’s the word, at Alex Jones’s conspiracy website, InfoWars. The targets were called “No More Hesitation” targets, and showed targets that some LE trainers say officers have trouble shooting: old folks, children, mothers with children, and pregnant women. With flames fanned by Jones and his allies, people lost track of the fact that every target showed the individual in a threat posture with a weapon (usually a handgun).

LET-5The targets were, in fact, slightly more realistic (because they were photo-based) versions of the shoot/no-shoot targets that we military CT guys were trained on back in the day, except without the vital interchangeable hands and weapons that our targets had. (The purpose of this is to drill the shooter to look for the hands to assess the threat, not to rely on the general gestalt of the person he sees). A hostage, a hostage-taker brandishing a gun, an unarmed individual reaching for an innocuous object, an armed individual muzzling the shooter’s projected firing position, and an armed individual not muzzling the shooter, and perhaps displaying a badge or other recognition sign, are different things that require different responses on a split-second basis. To us, that was clearly the (not quite realized) intent behind these targets.

But to the public already alarmed by DHS’s focus on political opponents as targets and wartime-army-level ammo buys, it was an easy sale for Jones, that the purpose of the targets was to “desensitize LE agents to murdering unarmed civilians.” A careful look at the targets indicates that this could not have been the target-makers’ intent (we reiterate, all targets showed people in a threat position with lethal weapons), but when the legend gets big, the papers print the legend.

In light of this,  LE Targets has thrown in the sponge. The former link to the No More Hesitation targets now 404’s. And the front page of the website contains this explanation:

LE Targets Statement_2

 

As we’ve written, we didn’t think the targets were particularly offensive. and the basic idea: to stress-inoculate officers to some degree, and to get them to look to the weapon, not the person, to define the threat, is a good one. The fulfillment of the idea, in this case, was not as good as it might have been, but Jones’s complaint about the targets is quite mistaken.

These cops didn't hesitate. Oops.

These cops didn’t hesitate. Oops.

One interesting thing: the firm has removed the targets from the website, but it doesn’t actually say it isn’t selling them.

One more interesting thing (and we wish I could remember what blog this idea is shamelessly lifted from, so as to give credit): maybe hesitation is a problem some cops could have used a little more of?

 

That’s not a gun, mate…

THIS is a gun.

8 bore rifleNo, it’s not a shotgun, even though its calibre is gauged in “bore” like a shotgun. But while shotguns peak out at 10-gauge for hard-core waterfowlers and 12-gauge for general sporting and self-defense use, this puppy is an 8-gauge (to be persnickety, 8-bore) rifle.

What on earth would you hunt with an 8-bore? Elephants? Why, yes. Also cape buffalo, rhino, hippo, man-eating lions and tigers, and other dangerous African and Asian game. In its day, this W.J. Jeffery double rifle was the serious hunter’s field tool. It has sight leaves for 100 and 200 yards, and fired a massive, thousand-grain .875-inch bullet from lathe-turned brass casings, propelled by black powder. It manages recoil the traditional way — by weighing 17-plus pounds. (So the next time you think some 19th-Century Great White Hunter was a pansy for having a gun bearer, pick up three M16s and walk around with ’em in your arms all day).

8 bore with shells

Several English smiths made eight and even four bore rifles, and each maker designed his own cartridges — there’s no such animal as a standard 8-bore casing or load that could be interchanged among disparate weapons.

Large-bore black powder elephant guns are one of the many side currents in John Ross’s legendary novel of the gun culture, Unintended Consequences, which is unfortunately long out of print.

This particular 8-bore is up on GunBroker, offered by a highly reputable seller fairly local to us, but, alas, priced beyond our reach. An excerpt from the write up (there’s more, and more photos, at the link) follows.

This Jeffery double rifle in 8 Bore was made in 1893 and is, as they say, the real thing. With 24” barrels having somewhere between a 1:68” and 1:72” twist in the 11 groove rifling it’s clear that bullets between 950 and 1200 grains will be stabilized nicely at 1500 or so feet per second delivering in the neighborhood of 6800 foot pounds of energy to whatever happens to be very unlucky that day – twice.

With the Empire’s numerous (while far flung) pockets of dangerous game, the London gun makers responded to officer’s and gentleman’s requests for something of a “stopper”. So the 8 Bore was refined. Only a few makers rose to the top and Jeffery was a pioneer there.

This example features a round body Jones type under lever action which was chosen for its extreme reliability, durability and strength. The 5/8” wide rib is matted from the doll’s head to the express sight and again from the muzzle to 4-1/2” behind it. The front sight is a tapered bead of platinum while both the 50 and 200 sights have a thin platinum centerline inlay. The locks are appropriately large back action with rebounding hammers. There is tight floral engraving on the doll’s head and screw heads while the locks, guards, tangs, grip cap, forend iron and frame have a tastefully simple line bordering with subtle flourishes here and there. The stocks are beautifully figured walnut with single border checkering and the wood has that great depth that only age brings. Sling hook eyes are present on the lower barrel rib and the butt toe line. It appears that the original horn or hard rubber butt plate has been faced off to a thickness of 5/16” (5/8” at the point of the heel tang) on to which a ¾” custom pad has been glued (LOP is 13-3/8” & 14-3/8”). It weighs in at 17 pounds, one ounce. This rifle was made to put ivory on the bearer’s back and it certainly did.

via W.J. Jeffery & Co 8 Bore Double Rifle Made 1893 : Antique Guns at GunBroker.com.

By all means, Read The Whole Thing™.

We’re not even hunters, really, and are generally much more interested in combat weaponry than in hunting tackle. But this thing stirs every impulse of want in our imperfect human souls, and like the most interesting military weapons, it draws an involuntary exclamation out of us:

“The stories this gun could tell if it could talk!”

If you can afford the staggering, but probably fair, price, perhaps it will come home and talk to you.