Friday Tour d’Horizon: Clearing the Spindle


Check this Out: 80% 1911 frames

stealth_arms_80_1911_and_jigFrames and jigs in aluminum alloy from Stealth Arms. Interesting to us, the Phantom jig uses a sliding cutter that comes with it, rather than require a milling machine. We may write more about this anon.

These are available at a discount from Sportsman’s Guide if you’re a member of their Buyers’ Club racket.

Sub-firearm 1911 frame blanks have been hard to come by in the last couple of years. Stealth Arms represents themselves as having several styles of “80%” receiver. Note that “80%” is a term commonly accepted in the gun world, but not in law or by ATF. ATF rules (sometimes arbitrarily) whether a given product is a firearm or “not a firearm;” they never, ever, validate anybody’s percentage claim.

Recommended by a Commenter:

They have a new CNC mill coming, and meanwhile, have an interesting set of Shapeoko (CNC router) kits, and an interesting online application, Easel. Personally, we wouldn’t trust a cloud app for firearms parts data. We’ve played with Easel and it’s pretty cool, but we just can’t get over the trust hump here.

SIG-based Guns from Chile coming here

TFB is reporting that Chile’s FAMAE, which makes the SIG 540 under license, and has derived many of its own guns from that weapon (including blowback 9mms), is planning to bring them into the USA, with the compact carbines coming in as pistols, with separate stocks available for those who want to put them on Form 1. How they plan to work around 922(r) is not really clear to us; do Read The Whole Thing™ from the good guys over at TFB.

Humongous BAR Training Aid

A BAR training aid at 2:1 scale. Ian references some of the other versions in the video (link only, we haven’t figured out how to embed from


We’ve seen the M1 he mentions and an M1 carbine, and they used M16A1s along these lines in our basic training in the 1970s.

This one appears to have been modified… the metal “handguard” wasn’t always there.  It’s available at the RIA online auction on 28 March 15.

Shooting an AR to Death

We seem to recall citing or posting this video before, but in it, Iraq Veteran 8888 fires 830 rounds on full-auto, until his barrel bursts (he says it’s the gas tube but it isn’t. Seems to gibe with what we alredy lerned about ARs and long-term results of cyclic firing.

Yeah, the video’s longish. But several things are interesting. A full magazine before the ultimate failure at 830 rounds, you can see the muzzle brake unscrewing itself (on the next mag you can see it depart, but not where it goes — probably 6-10 feet downrange. This is a good reason to have a magnet like the ones roofing contractors use for cleanup in your range truck). The burst is in an interesting place, further forward than it comes on a GI barrel. (Lack of chrome plating may account for that). Note that long before the failure, the barrel is no good in terms of accuracy, and he observes that it’s completely shot out when he looks at the damaged barrel afterward. (Pity he didn’t borescope it).

Note also that he pauses between mags, sizes things up, looks around. In a fight you might not do that. And if he were not pausing (sometimes a minute or more) before locking a new mag in, the weapon would have failed sooner. Our guess is that it would be in the 400-500 range where Colt and US Army tests have shown the M4 vulnerable.

Note that, just as it took more rounds for this cyclic-rate experiment to fail tge barrel than the Colt and Army experiments, it would probably take more rounds for near-cyclic semi-auto fire to produce this kind of failure.

Still sure you want a Shrike or other beltfed AR?

Click “More” to continue to Part 2: Unconventional Warfare, Part 3: Cops and Robbers; and Part 4: Poly-Ticks. (Because this is looooong).

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When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws have Large Ruminants

The yout’ is recovering from a bout of senseless gun violence in a Hispanic section of … Spain? Oh, wait, and it wasn’t gun violence. He actually got injured running with the bulls in Ciudad Rodrigo.

Thing is, they call it running with the bulls, but it really needs to be running well ahead of the bulls. Or, well, the bulls get their licks in, and you wind up like this guy.

Benjamin MillerThe technical term for what he’s experiencing is: “Sucks to be him.” On the plus side, he’s gonna live, and despite Ferdinand’s best intentions, he does not seem to be neutered.

A 20-year-old American man who was badly gored during a bull-running festival is out of intensive care and improving, a spokesman for the Clinic Hospital in western Salamanca said Monday.

The hospital spokesman identified the man as Benjamin Miller and said he was out of danger and not likely to have to undergo any further operations. He spoke on condition of anonymity in keeping with hospital rules.

However, Tom Eppes, a spokesman for the University of Mississippi, confirmed Monday that Benjamin Milley, originally from Marietta, Georgia, and a sophomore at the school, is the injured man.

For some people, “sophomoric” isn’t just a word. It’s a way of life.

The man suffered several wounds, including a 40-cm (16-inch) goring in the thigh, when he was caught by a fighting bull during a festival in the nearby town of Ciudad Rodrigo on Saturday.

Images showed the 20-year-old being repeatedly tossed by the bull and in obvious pain at being gored and pushed along the ground. Helpers eventually managed to pull him up from the street to safety.

via American man gored by bull in Spain out of intensive care | National & World News | Seattle News, Weather, Sports, Breaking News | KOMO News.

More images of the bull having his way with this poor fellow after the jump. No real blood, though.

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Where’s Daesh Cannon Fodder From?

Daesh, or ISIL (ISIS if you’re one of the media guys egging them on sotto voce), only looks invincible when it’s up against the tissue-thin and cracker-brittle (and abandoned by its American mentors) Iraqi army, or when it’s shooting, slicing, or beheading women, children and other helpless captives. These inbreds, product of generation after generation of first-cousin marriage, seek not victory but death, and when their opponents, like the Kurdish YPG, are granted arms and reasonable competence, the performance of ISIL as combatants is pathetic in the field.

Being pathetic in the field means: you take a lot of casualties. Yet if anything, the numbers of Daesh troopies seem to be increasing. So where do the replacements come from? This graphic, lifted from the Washington Post’s story on the identity of “Jihadi John”1, shows some of the flows.


There are some interesting details here: ISIL is drawing, if those numbers be true, more Belgians than Egyptians, as many Germans or Britons as Turks, more Swedes than Yemenis, three times as many Russians than Pakistanis. More than 100 have come from the US and Canada each, 300 from China, and 250 from Australia.

Of course, these clowns pursuing the high status of shaheed tourist are not really Canadians or Russians or Swedes. They’re members of the unassimilated, uncivilized Moslem diaspora who have been called to their Holy Land on their own Crusade for their own values, which include the beheading of children, rape of women, and pedophilia.

The European and Western Hemisphere nations try to arrest these movements and keep their own human pathogens from emigrating and joining up. Why? Why not let them go? And then when they’re all in Raqqa, the civilized Powers ought to use it as a neutron bomb test site. We think nothing about using WMD on equivalent threats: we spray haldane on mosquitos, and set coumadin baits for mice and rats. Why not a brief dose of non-survivable radiation for jihadis?

Why not nuke ISIL? It’s not like anybody would miss them. They want martyrdom, we have the means, the motive, and the opportunity to fulfill that wish.

Just so long as we give our own jihad wannabees every possible opportunity to be under Ground Zero at flash hour.


  1. Quelle surprise for our State Department: he’s a well-off, well-educated kid, just like bin Laden, Zarqawi, and Zawahiri; in other words, “Poverty, my @$$”

The Future of Army Small Arms Ammunition

small_caliber_ammo_presentationHere’s a recent (2013) presentation (.pdf) from an Armaments and Munitions Conference conducted under the auspices of the National Defense Industrial Association, which used to, in the shadows of time, be the American Defense Preparedness Association, and which was before that the Ordnance Association. NDIA conducts regular conferences on many subjects of interest to readers, and their briefing slides — the military being, for good or for ill, a PowerPoint culture — are generally available to the public at the Defense Technical Information Center. Small Arms and SOF conferences may be of greatest interest, but there are gems in some of the others, like this Armament Conference.

In the presentation, LTC Philip R. Clark, who was then the PM for Small Caliber Ammunition describes what the status of today’s ammo is, and what’s coming next. You can read Clark’s slides as well as we can, so we’ll blithely skip the present ammo inventory, except to slap one slide up here showing the 67 ammo products Clark was managing: eight 5.56mm rounds,  nine 7.62mm rounds, the single Mk248 .300 Win Mag round, ten .50 caliber rounds, and various odd jobs: .22 ammo, three pistol calibers, shotgun shells, training/marking, and dummy ammunition. (You get to 67 products from the 40-some illustrated below because of different ways they ship. For instance, M855 can be shipped bulk, in strippers, or linked).

Screenshot 2015-02-27 08.58.52


The military acquired and distributed about 1.4 billion rounds of ammunition in Fiscal Year 2013 (Oct 2012-Sep 2013). To put that in perspective, Lake City’s total production was over 2 billion rounds, with the overage going to non-FMS exports and the sporting market.

Future: Fighting at Night

One fact implied in the presentation is that the future will see more fighting at night. Several rounds that offer dim-trace, IR-trace or “one way luminescence” are in development or in production. These rounds are meant to work with night-vision equipment, but also the OWL rounds (fortuitous acronym, that) are meant to upturn the old Murphy’s Law of Combat, the one that reads: “Tracers work both ways.” A world where you don’t see your enemy’s tracers coming is a more dangerous world. A world where the enemy doesn’t see your tracers coming is less dangerous, though — for you, not for him.

Screenshot 2015-02-27 09.37.33OWL isn’t actually a “tracer” as we’ve come to know them, as it’s not pyrotechnic in nature.

OWL is in R&D now in 7.62, and it’s projected to come in during calendar 2016 in 5.56 mm. A future hope (pipe-dream?) is to provide OWL in ball ammo; it will be nearly 2020 before that’s a reality, if ever. OWL is coming to .50, too.

Right now, the Mk301 dim trace round (not an OWL, but a needs-NV tracer) is in inventory for 5.56, in addition to the standard M856A1, the “green” version of the tracer equivalent to Green Tip. Outside of military night shooting, there’s limited demand for tracers, but they’d look cool hog hunting and we still know guys who put a couple in the bottom of every mag so they’re cued to be ready to change.

No tracer ammo is in production or in planning for the .300 Win Mag or .338 Lapua Mag rounds, which shows you how serious the Army really isn’t about an intermediate or light-heavyweight machine gun.

Safer, Greener Training Ammo

Other major Army fixation is on “green” ammunition. In addition to that, they’re pursuing safer ammunition for short ranges, ammunition that will allow them to reduce range fans (for which the current buzz acronym is SDZ, Surface Danger Zone).

One objective for RRTA,  Reduced Range Training Ammo, is to enable collective training (that’s training of units, not individuals) in scenarios on live-fire 360º ranges. It’s quite an engineering challenge to conceive and design a 5.56 round that is ballistically similar to a ball round at close ranges but that has lost all its oomph in 500 yards (460m).

RRTA depends on funding being available and research going well; it is years from being fielded. The Army seems to have scheduled an invention here.

Simunitions for All?

Special Operations Forces have long used Simunitions, marking ammunition for short range/close-quarters force-on-force training. The Army clearly desires to make use of such marking ammunition more widely in training, and doesn’t want to buy proprietary stuff (like Sims) from industry.

Further Out:

Polymer cases offer a serious logistic benefit compared to existing case materials, for US small arms ammunition, mostly brass. There are still some problems (obturation is inferior to brass, and environmental impact greater). Development continues under the name LSCA, Lightweight Small Caliber Ammunition. Barring some unimaginable breakthrough, polymer cases are a better bet for the future than caseless.

When Guns are Outlawed, Outlaws Will Have Their Own Bodies


We’ve all seen this before: the Look. The Look of Bat Guano Crazy!

Turns out there are some social problems you just can’t solve with a gun ban. Case in point:

Amber Ellis was arrested for maiming and assault with a dangerous weapon.

Relatively uncommon, a woman busted for violent crime, but it happens. Was it the ready accessibility of handguns in our trigger-happy society? Read on:

According to the police report, the victim said he and his girlfriend were out drinking and began arguing while walking home “about how needy she had become.”  The couple verbally fought in the apartment until the victim told police Ellis stormed off, slamming the bedroom door.

So far this doesn’t sound that unfamiliar. Most couples have had arguments. But most arguments don’t go here: 

Police say the victim fell asleep on the couch only to wake up to find Ellis “biting his (penis) off.”

jawsIIEven with the implication that Judgment Juice was a factor, this is pretty outrageous. We’ve treated women badly enough (or pushed their buttons badly enough, perhaps) to really irritate them, but the closest we got was a redhead throwing things — a rolling pin (that was a 50’s-sitcom moment); a rosewood Telecaster (she was a strong girl).

But in the War Between the Sexes, it seems like there ought to be some convention analogous to the Customary International Humanitarian Law proceeding from the 1868 St. Petersburg Declaration, about “the employment of arms which uselessly aggravate the sufferings of… men,” or the 1899 and subsequent Hague prohibitions on “methods of warfare of a nature to cause superfluous injury or unnecessary suffering.”

The victim told police he fought Ellis off but she hit him in the head with a laptop computer.

That sounds more like our redhead. But even she’d agree that an incisor-applied sex change is some kind of Geneva Relationship Convention violation.

Once hospitalized, the victim received several stitches to the base of his penis and was treated for injuries to his head, face, neck, fingers and knee.

Our guess is that, as word of this gets around, being beaten up and nearly Bradley Manning’d by  his last girl is not going to make him more appealing to the female of the species. For that, he’d have to have beaten her up.

Ellis was taken into custody for an interview and ultimately booked into the Tulsa County Jail.

At that point, about the only thing she could have done that would have done her any good was to clam up and lawyer up. Regardless of what the friendly policeman says, a trip to the station and a chance to tell “your side of the story” is not what it sounds like, it’s your opportunity to increase the solidity of their case against you. But we get the impression that Amber was not operating entirely on a solidly rational basis during this misadventure.

Some more details and a video report are available at KRJH, Channel 2, Tulsa, for those inclined to Read The Whole Thing™.

Instant South American Revolution Kit

One gun jeep — looks dead butch, but needs work. (Starting/charging system has proven resistant to troubleshooting). Ian at Forgotten Weapons has reached that stage that all vintage-vehicle LTRs reach; he is so eager to be divorced from this 1946 CJ-2A Jeep (basically, a wartime Jeep with bigger headlights for the civilian market) that he’s throwing in the semi-auto 1919A4 and mount. Beats the hell out of the toaster oven they might throw in at the local Buy Here Pay Here.

Ians Gun Jeep

Where’s Dietrich and his half-tracks? Lemme at ‘em!

I love old guns, but it turns out I only like the *idea* of old vehicles – not so much the actual working on them. It’s time for the Jeep to go, and free up some space in the garage for a project I will enjoy more. And what the heck, I’ll include the Browning 1919 semiauto with it.

The Jeep was basically rebuilt from the ground up, and while it isn’t a looker, it is top-notch underneath where things count.

The engine is a fully rebuilt (professionally) Studebaker Champion flat 6-cylinder, 170 cubic inches. It gives about 50% more horsepower and torque than the stock Jeep engines did, and it bolts right up to the stock transmission. That’s enough extra power that the thing can basically drive up trees, but not so much that it requires making the rest of the drivetrain beefier.

The transmission and transfer case are are the stock type (3-speed stick shift, with a 2-lever transfer case), and were both professionally rebuilt as well. The axles and diffs were in good shape, and have the original 5.38:1 gear ratio.

The ancillary equipment was all replaced or rebuilt – water pump, carburetor, radiator, radiator shroud, all the wiring, alternator, starter, and fan. It has 11″ drum brakes all around (in place of the stock 9″ ones), and a dual master brake cylinder. It also has an electric fuel pump. In addition to the stock 10-gallon gas tank, I replaced the passenger side toolbox with a second 10-gallon tank, and there is a switching valve on the dashboard so you can choose which tank to use at any given time.

The suspension was also replaced, with a set of Rancho 1″ life springs and new shocks. It has standard 16″ rims with some really cool looking narrow tires. The roll bar has the socket for the gun, and also has a gas can mount on either side, allowing you to carry a can of water and a can of gas.

via Want to buy a Jeep with a Browning 1919 on it? « Forgotten Weapons.

Don’t suppose he’d take a 1996 Impala SS in partial trade?

The counterweight to all that good stuff and sensible improvements is the dodgy electrical system. (Well, you could just paint it green, put a star on the hood, hang a Left Hand Drive placard on it and tell people it’s a British Jeep — no one would expect the electricals to work). $9,500, pick up in Tucson.

For more details (including the ones on the 1919, which is something that goes for $2k or so on its own) and to see two of Ian’s videos, one on the installation of the 1919 on the roll bar, and the other a Rat Patrol parody, or maybe tribute, go to Ze Link. But for Ian, ze voor in ze dezzert is over.

And hell, there are countries in South America that you could overthrow and govern better than the caudillo doing it now.

Wait, did we say South America?

3D Printed Fire Control Group

We’ve seen several of the WarFairy designed 3D-printed AR lowers being put through their paces, but here’s something we weren’t expecting to achieve test-fire status so soon — the Deimos 3D-printed fire control group.

The printer used was a Rostock Max V2, a deltabot style printer. An E3D hotend was used. The material was ABS filament and was treated with acetone vapor after printing. The same printer printed the lower receiver (which had mods to accept this FCG) and the FCG itself.

The FCG design is based on general best practices, adapted for 3D printing and for ABS plastic as a material. Before it is manufactured, it is rendered, both bare:

Deimos FCG rendering no receiver

And in a rendering of the lower receiver:

Deimos FCG rendering

By “general best practices,” we mean a trigger with hook or hooks, hammer (with places for the hooks to engage) and disconnector (also with hook) of the type designed by Browning over 100 years ago for such semi-auto firearms as the Auto 5 shotgun and the Remington Model 8 rifle. This general Browning design was adapted by Garand, Kalashnikov, Stoner and many other subsequent designers. (If you examine an AK and AR closely, you’ll see their kinship in this area. Both inherited the Browning fire control, the AR via Garand and the AK via Remington Model 8). This FCG has three parts in semi-auto form: a trigger, a hammer, and a disconnector.

Deimos FCG parts w springs

By”‘adapted for 3D printing and ABS plastic” we refer to changes required by this material and means of manufacture. Each of the parts is printed on the Rostock Max before getting its acetone vapor bath. And each part has some base and support material that must be removed.

Deimos FCG disconnector as printed

ABS is a strong plastic, but a brittle one. Nylon may be better; an FCG printed in white nylon (presumably Taulman 618) is shown here. It’s unknown why this version has not been given the test-fire treatment, yet; perhaps there are yet undisclosed problems with it. But the nylon works better “on paper.”

Deimos FCG nylon

Here’s the FCG in the lower, cocked:

Deimos FCG in place

And here it is, decocked:

Deimos FCG in place hammer down

The “wet look” of the plastic is a result of the acetone-vapor bath.

Home manufacturing is just getting started, and right now, it’s still for tinkerers and fiddlers, not for end users. It’s a bit like computers were in the early years — it’s in the hands of a shadowy priesthood, guardians of abstruse knowledge. But it turns out the priests are very friendly and helpful once you show a sincere interest.

It’s still harder than (and easier to go wrong with), say, starting up a new Mac or assembling an Ikea table. But so were earlier versions of the same products.

Some people will try to stop this. Lotsa luck. You can’t stop the signal.

This isn’t just about one single design for an AR fire control group. It’s about putting the tools of design, testing, and iteration — the whole RDT&E cycle, really — into the hands of anyone who’s got the nerve to pick them up.

John Browning had to file metal into shape, largely by hand, to transfer his ideas into real prototype firearms. But that was a century ago. Today, we don’t have to any more.

Hey, it’s just a Ka-Bar, right? An $11k Ka-Bar?

Hey, it’s just a Ka-Bar (on this day of edged weapons, which we’ve now added as a category). Just a Ka-Bar. Even if this one is a Camillus, these Marine knives are best known by the name of their original maker. They’re good, simple, sturdy, dependable and cheap field knives, much used in SF and other Army units as well as in their birthplace, the Corps. So what makes this one worth, says the auctioneer, $11k? (That’s the opening bid, for an auction opening in a few hours). It doesn’t look real special, does it?

Gagnon USMC Knife L


Well, what about the markings? Perhaps there’s something special there.

Gagnon USMC Knife details L

Nope. And the condition is OK, but not too special. Call it average. Well, then, if the knife is unremarkable, and its condition is just middling, it’s got to be something about the guy whose knife it is or was. 

The guy that wrote this, home from boot camp:

[I]t certainly gives you a funny feeling to know that in my hands I hold two means of killing a person…stabbing him…or shooting him…Those are the things we’re fighting for…when I was a kid I never realized that I one day would actually kill a man, as a matter of fact none of us really like the idea of killing, but if that’s the only language the Axis understand then that’s what it will have to be.

That introspective Marine was this rakish, Hollywood-handsome fellow:

Rene GagnonBut he’s famous not for motion pictures, but for a still. This still:

Mt Suribachi flag raising USMC

Joe Rosenthal’s famous flag-raising picture is a powerful symbol of the Marine Corps to this day. And Rene Gagnon of Manchester, NH, was one of the six men in that picture, raising the flag. (He’s the guy opposite the guy whose helmet is bisected by the libe of the flagpole. Gagnon’s mostly hidden, apart from his hands and one leg, but he was definitely there). He’s one of the three that survived. (His story is told, along with those of the other five, living and dead, in the bestseller Flags of Our Fathers by James Bradley — a descendant of another survivor).

When Rene Gagnon passed away he left the knife to his son. The Manchester, NH Union Leader‘s Amanda Beland interviewed Rene Jr., and reports:

The Marines-issued knife belonged to Gagnon until he died at age 54 in 1979. Since then, it has officially belonged to his son, Rene Gagnon Jr.
But for Gagnon Jr., of Concord, the knife was a part of his life long before his father’s death.

“I used it growing up — in Boy Scouts, cutting things up around the house, playing cowboys and Indians, lots of ways,” he said.
Gagnon Jr. said he always expressed his fondness for the knife — which is how it came into his possession. “When I was younger, the whole time I really liked that knife and I made that clear.”

Gagnon Jr. said he decided to sell the knife now partly for financial reasons, partly because he was unsure of where it was going to end up.
“I have three daughters and a son, and it was never like ‘I like this,’ so there’s the thought of where do I leave it,” he said.

“A lot of my father’s memorabilia is in Wolfeboro (at the Wright Museum of World War II History). If there’s someone there who cares for it, then it’s not going to get lost or something.”
Gagnon Jr. said he’s aware that his father has a public persona that’s been perpetuated by interviews, books and movies. But to him, Rene Gagnon represents something much simpler.

“To the whole world, he was a hero, but to me, he was my father, just my father,” said Gagnon Jr. “I had the knife, yeah, and now someone who cares about that type of thing can have it, but I had and have my father.”

The auction house thinks the knife may bring as much as $20k. In that rarefied air, individual bidders may be competing with museums, although most military museums are much happier trading a paper tax-writeoff for “free” stuff, than laying out actual cash for exhibits.


When Guns are Outlawed, only Outlaws have Dentists

Rashmi Patel mugshotEveryone knows that guns are dangerous, and if you’re careless with one, you can get your ticket (or someone else’s) punched, and wind up in front of a judge on a negligent homicide charge.

But Connecticut fixed that problem and solved all crime for all time with a variety of new gun bans and restrictions championed by Governor Dannel Malloy. So why is this man under arrest?

Enfield police say 45-year-old Rashmi Patel turned himself in Tuesday on a misdemeanor count of criminally negligent homicide and a felony count of tampering with evidence.

Authorities say Patel’s patient, 64-year-old Judith Gan, of Ellington, died at a hospital last February after her oxygen levels dropped while under sedation when she had 20 teeth pulled and implants installed.

Gan’s death prompted the State Dental Commission in December to suspend Patel’s license pending a comprehensive review.

via Dentist charged in death of patient getting 20 teeth pulled | National & World News | Seattle News, Weather, Sports, Breaking News | KOMO News.

Er. Good news and bad news, Mrs Gan. First, the good news: everybody’s going to love your new smile. Now, the bad news: they’re only going to see it once before someone closes the lid on you for good.