'The true Soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because He loves what is behind him.' -G. K. Chesterton

31 October 2011

Happy Halloween!

I love Halloween.  The Six does too, even if he won't admit it.  One year he asked me to paint an old helmet so he could wear it around all day at work and give out stickers.  Or suckers, but I think it was stickers.
It's kind of unheard of for the Six to do things that draw attention to him (he doesn't like attention), but the motorcycle/kid combo brought out the silly side.

Halloween taught me to plan ahead.  Lu made me awesome costumes, if I planned far enough in advance.  One year, yeah, never did decide.  Though, I was still darn cute, so it all worked out!

I haven't kept in touch with many of my childhood friends, but we did have fun back in the day.  Part of the joy of celebrations is sharing what you loved as a kid with your kids.  My daughter loves parties, and is setting one up as I'm typing!  If you look closely there is a ghost hanging, and a witch and bat on the fireplace.  Those decorations were made by Lu, and are now hanging in my house, and will be part of the childhood of my children.

Kids learn how to be adults from us, so sometimes I have to remember to step back and be a kid.  I have to remind them that there are worse things then throwing together a clown outfit at the last minute...  And in fact those can be the best!
(My son is 5, no one in his life smokes, yet his Jack O' Lantern is smoking a cigar!)

I try to remember to take joy in their joy, and to remember what magic is in childhood.  I make costumes when I can, and we try to make the day special.  If you take life too seriously you age before your time.  Trust me, I know where of I speak.  My kids have reminded me of some of the things I let go.  I am an only child, and was desperate to grow up.  Being grown up was so important to me that sometimes I forgot to be a kid.  Fortunately I get to be a kid all over again when I share in their excitement!  And dig through their candy, and, er, make sure the good stuff isn't poisoned.  Yeah, that's ti.  I'd better taste it, just to be safe!

Happy Halloween all!

~The DO

(Editorial. That first photo up there, the jack-o-lantern? She's not kidding, that was my official police motorcycle officer's helmet. She painted it up and I wore it at work all day. It was back when I was working motors. The Chief said Ok but he said it with dread in his eyes. First and last time ever. It was great fun and something I'd love to see more of. The face was on the back and that little thing on top was a stem made from a brown paper bag. I gave away about a thousand stickers and recieved at least that many smiles. The DO did the whole thing. She's is a crafty one in every definition of the word :) Six)

30 October 2011

Sunday Kipling

Lu and I will spend the day planning a surprise for the grandkids when they and the DO arrive (next month!). We'll take the dogs for a nice walk and maybe char something on the grill. Summer is gone but Fall is here with it's riotous colors and the anticipation of Thanksgiving and Christmas spent with family and loved ones. Life is good. May you all have a glorious and happy Sunday my friends.

The Rabbi's Song
"The House Surgeon"--Actions and Reactions 2 Samuel XIV. 14.

If Thought can reach to Heaven,
On Heaven let it dwell,
For fear the Thought be given
Like power to reach to Hell.
For fear the desolation
And darkness of thy mind
Perplex an habitation
Which thou hast left behind.

Let nothing linger after--
No whimpering gost remain,
In wall, or beam, or rafter,
Of any hate or pain.
Cleans and call home thy spirit,
Deny her leave to cast,
On aught thy heirs inherit,
The shadow of her past.

For think, in all thy sadness,
What road our griefs may take;
Whose brain reflect our madness,
Or whom our terrors shake:
For think, lest any languish
By cause of thy distress--
The arrows of our anguish
Fly farther than we guess.

Our lives, our tears, as water,
Are spilled upon the ground;
God giveth no man quarter,
Yet God a means hath found,
Though Faith and Hope have vanished,
And even Love grows dim--
A means whereby His banished
Be not expelled from Him!

29 October 2011

On My List

Of things I want to do before I either get too old or cash in my chips.

"More Rum. Throw more Rum."


28 October 2011

Rebar Target Stand Pt.2. The Failing.

So we loaded up and headed out for a nice shoot today. Me, Lu, Sarge and MomInLaw. We had a good time and I found out the limitations of the stand.

Here's the stand in the back of the truck, broken down for travel.

Lu and i brought the cowboy guns. From left to right; Lu's Ruger vaquero 44-40, Lu's Marlin 336 30-30, my Ruger Blackhawk 45LC and my Marlin 1894 45LC.

Sarge brought his Sig P226 in .40, a Remington 870 12 ga. and his Sig P230 in .380.

Sarge and I set up the stand with cardboard. I later glued 3x5 index cards to the cardboard for targets.

Here's the back of the stand with cardboard attached.

Ummm. We might have a problem here. I took a deliberate shot at the left upright with Lu's 30-30.

It failed pretty spectacularly. You all saw this coming, didn't you? I was just sooo sure it'd be too hard to smack it dead center and a glancing hit would just ring and maybe turn it. Sigh.

Still, that's a pretty direct hit. Not a bad shot but a dismal failure of the steel. The target stand was still usable though. I broke it at the failure point, stood it back up, put the cardboard back on and we shot for another 30 minutes. At least it still worked. That's something. I guess.

There was one other issue. Someone managed to hit the tip of the lower left hanger and bend it into a U shape. It was instructive but still kinda cool. I mean, what are the chances?

So. What did I learn? Having the steel and hangers directly behind the cardboard and targets is a bad idea. On the next stand I'll drop the height by one foot, from 6 to 5 feet. I'll widen and lengthen the target area so it's a larger opening than the cardboard. Since my cardboard is 30x40 I'll go just larger, probably 32x42. I'll change the hangers so they protrude into the target space instead of sticking directly out from the frame. I'll also go thicker on the rebar. 1/2 inch instead of 3/8. The hangers need to be immediately replaceable. Something with bolts drilled through the rebar is about as far as I've gotten. Tips and ideas will be great appreciated.

A failure but not total. I now know where the weaknesses are and have a fair idea how to address them. I'll fix this stand but reserve it for .22s and shotgun patterning only. The feet worked perfectly and with the addition of Instincts U-pegs wind isn't going to be an issue.

Meh, live and learn.


27 October 2011

American Made

I'm tired of Made in China on everything.  I'm tired of wondering how far my stuff has come to get to me.  I'm tired of cut rate costs meaning cut rate products, but since they ALL suck there isn't much that complaining can accomplish.  Until, that is, someone actually listens.  I'm on a hunt to start making my home an American Made home, and there is one place I'm starting:  All American Clothing Co.  I know almost nothing about them, and haven't shopped them yet, but I'm so willing to spend a little more to buy from a home team.  And guess what?  A lot of their stuff isn't more expensive.  They have tees starting at $9, not bad.

One of these days I will stop being moved by people that don't care about my stuff, and I will be willing to spend good money on good furniture.  I'm already saving for Stickley's gorgeous heirloom furniture.  I once watched John Ratzenberger stand inside a drawer still in the dresser on his show, Made in America.

I'm not getting paid to talk about these manufactures, and I'm not getting free product.  In fact, they have no idea who I am or that I'm writing about them.  That isn't the point, the point is that I'm looking to vote with my dollars to bring back manufacturing to American shores.  To make our nation, once again, a strong nation of hardworking builders that bring more to the world than just the latest Ap.

So, any other thoughts out there?  Any American manufactures that you want to pass on?

~The DO

25 October 2011

You Can't Camoflage Stupidity

From the "If they were smart we'd never catch them" comedy criminal file we have Ghillie Boy. GB apparently had the brilliant idea of wearing a Ghillie Suit to a burglary. Just in case the PoPo came rolling by. He apparently forgot that whole dogs-can-smell-really-good thing. He might should have done just a little more research into the local constabulary force and their K-9 program. (Psst GB. They have one.) Add in the fact that the room he was breaking into did not have access to his target building and we have a criminal who needs to be in jail for his own safety.

Here's our no doubt future Darwin Award winner in full weedy regalia. I would have given a months salary to have put the cuffs on this guy.

My absolute favorite quote from the article:

Until a police dog noticed a patch of turf acting in a manner very much unlike most grass. The dog bit down bit down on the grass and the grass responded with a yelp.

That's a 6P* Fail coupled with a heavy dose of "That really, really hurts". I hope his handler gave that K-9 a mouth rinse afterward. Stupidity of that magnitude might be contagious.


*Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance

24 October 2011

Rebar Target Stand

Sarge had an idea a while ago that's been percolating around in the back of my mind. We've had a series of raggedy excuses for target stands that work kinda. As long as the wind is at zero and no one makes any sudden moves. Sarge suggested we make some out of PVC. A great idea, and one I had been cataloging in my mind. What was I going  to need to make them and how best to put it together and repair it when it inevitably takes some hits. The other night I thought about an alternative. Rebar. It's simple steel, comes in a variety of sizes, can be readily welded, is actually fairly tough and should be pretty easy to repair. Lets find out.

Lu and I went to Big Box Home Remodel Store today and I bought three 8 foot sections of 3/8's inch rebar. I chose 3/8's because it's light, should (there's that word again) be strong enough and is cheap. Less than ten bucks for all three.

Here's the plan.
-The target stand will be 2 feet wide and 6 feet tall with a cross piece 3 feet from the top. It will have 2 feet, each 2 foot long with another 2 foot cross brace between them. Think an H shaped footing.
-Take two of the 8 footers and cut 2 feet off each. Then cut two more 2 foot sections out of the last 8 foot rebar. This will give us four 2 foot sections and two 6 foot sections. We'll also need 2 uprights that have an inside diameter approximately equal to the outside diameter of the rebar. We'll need a mounting system, something to cut metal and a welder.

Ok. Here's two of the 2 footers with the two 6 footers.

Here's the footing already cut and welded. I found 2 pieces of pipe just laying around to use as the uprights receptacles. These will hold the 6 foot sections when the stand is assembled. They were too large inside diameter but I'll address that later in the build. You can see the H shape I was talking about. 2 feet long by 2 feet wide.

A this point I needed to take some measurements. My target cardboards are 40 inches tall by 30 wide.

That gave me my final measurements for the target opening. I'll weld the 2 footers on the inside of the 6 foot uprights for a final width of right at 25 inches. I decided that 36 inches from the top was good for my cross brace.

First, square up the corners. Then weld a 2 foot section to one end of the 6 footers. This is the top of the stand.

25 inches wide.

I then marked a spot on each upright at 36 inches from the top and welded in the cross brace.

Remember I said the 2 pipes I welded into the footing to hold the uprights were too big? When I fitted the upper stand into the foot it wobbled badly. Now keep in mind I was working with whatever I had in the shop so please be kind. I had a piece of copper pipe with the correct inside diameter and 2 large square nuts that were the exact size I needed. I cut the copper so it would fit in the pipe flush and welded the nuts to the top. When I do another one I'll actually go out and buy some pipe that fits without going through gyrations to make it work. I swear. Probably. Maybe. (I won't).

The uprights now fit into the pipe perfectly. The stand is solid with no wobbling. You can see how the uprights fit into the footing.

Here's the stand complete but for the mounting system. It's 6 foot tall and 2 foot wide. It sits on a stand that's 2 foot by 2 foot. It may be too small but if so I can easily bend the feet or add length to them. Sarge and I talked about even adding claws to the feet or plates that we can stake to the ground.

On to the mounting system. Remember, I'm working with what I have. Anyone know what these are?

If you said "those wirish doodads one uses to mount things to peg board" you're obviously a Redneck. You would also be absolutely correct. I cut off the little single 'tail', leaving me with the other 2 for welding. Yes, that is a hand hacksaw. Please don't tell anyone. I don't want to lose my powertool cred.

Mounted and ready for welding. I sharpened the tips to make it easier to poke them through the cardboard. There are 2 at the top and 2 on the crossbrace.

Here's the final product with a cardboard attached. Angus insisted on modeling. Something about everything being better with a Lab. The mounting spikes are at the top and mid brace giving me 4 points of contact. If any one fails it'll still work. It'll even work if 2 fail, so long as one's at the top and the other at the bottom.

I know, the width of the stand is such that it it behind the edges of the cardboard. I built it this way for a couple of reasons.
Most of my targets, including the silhouettes, are 24 inches wide so good hits won't be an issue. The top and mid brace were always going to be behind the cardboard no matter what. I wanted a solid mount for the cardboard instead of relying on bunji's or similar. I like having something solid behind the target for it to push against. No blowing the target through this stand. Because I made it out of steel it'll be both tougher and easier to repair than PVC. It's round to full on hits will be rare and those that do hit shouldn't come back on the shooter (remember that shooting into steel is always dangerous. Wear your safety gear). I wanted it to be as small and light as I could manage while still being large enough for full sized targets.

The final weight of the entire stand was 10 pounds. As weighed on the calibrated, super accurate scales here at the Evil6 Incorporated R&D laboratories of course. Total outlay (minus the stuff I had 'just laying around') was 10 dollars and a couple of hours of work by Sarge and me. A lot of which was talking and lying about how well we shoot.

Will it work? Will it fall over in a mild breeze and completely mortify me? Will it break the first time Sarge or I hit it with anything larger than a BB gun and stubbornly refuse to be repaired? You'll just have to tune in later to find out. Sarge and I have a date at the Super Secret Evil6 Range Facility later this week. We'll put it through it's paces, including shooting it on purpose, and file a report. Backyard engineering. I dunno.

Success or abject failure. We shall see.


Redneck Airlines

Duct tape, is there anything it can't do?

Still, I'm not certain I want to fly on an airline maintained by Bubba and Cletus (Bubsmythe and Basiletus?).

"Hey Bubsmythe."
"Yeah Basiletus?"
"Winder on the cab is loose."
"Whul hail boy, slap some duck tape on 'er."
"It's a aeroplane Bubsmythe."
"Don't matter. If it's good enough fer them boys in NASCAR it's shore good enuf fer us'n."

"Rhat. I knew that."
"Bless yer heart Basiletus."


23 October 2011

Sunday Kipling

I hope this Sunday finds you all in good spirits, happy and healthy. As for me, I'll watch some football, play with Angus, give Chrisi a good belly rub and wait for Lu to return. And when she's home?

The Pirates in England

When Rome was rotten-ripe to her fall,
And the sceptre passed from her hand,
The pestilent Picts leaped over the wall
To harry the English land.

The little dark men of the mountain and waste,
So quick to laughter and tears,
They came panting with hate and haste
For the loot of five hundred years.

They killed the trader, they sacked the shops,
They ruined temple and town--
They swept like wolves through the standing crops
Crying that Rome was down.

They wiped out all that they could find
Of beauty and strength and worth,
But they could not wipe out the Viking's Wind
That brings the ships from the North.

They could not wipe out the North-East gales
Nor what those gales set free--
The pirate ships with their close-reefed sails,
Leaping from sea to sea.

They had forgotten the shield-hung hull
Seen nearer and more plain,
Dipping into the troughs like a gull,
And gull-like rising again--

The painted eyes that glare and frown
In the high snake-headed stem,
Searching the beach while her sail comes down,
They had forgotten them!

There was no Count of the Saxon Shore
To meet her hand to hand,
As she took the beach with a grind and a roar,
And the pirates rushed inland!

22 October 2011

Dirtcrashr On Motorcycles

Dirtcrashr has a wonderful series of posts on motorcycle racers, specifically those brave and supremely talented souls who piloted the old GP500, 2 stroke missiles. The sheer courage and talent needed to bend those barely controllable, incredible machines can be matched only by the men and women who carve arcs in the sky in high performance jet fighters. I stopped watching years ago, when they went to 4 strokes and called it MotoGP. The magic was gone. PC and the big manufacturers won and we lost something so precious, never to come again.

The photos were taken by a professional race photographer, none other than Dirtcrashr himself. Did you also know he used to pen cartoons for CityBike? There's such a wealth of talent amongst us (I just wish that included me).

The pictures and stories take me back to my early adulthood. CarGuy and I went to Laguna every year. We attended the Keith Code riding school together. To a motorhead, the smell of burning 2 stroke is like Hoppes #9 to a gunnie. It can't be replicated nor forgotten. It evokes visions of fearless men riding at the absolute edge of the envelope, looking for just that little bit of extra speed. A corner refined until it passes without a thought. Braking markers that flash by so fast they can't be seen, only judged by talent, guts and experience. Glory or disaster contained within the breast of a shreiking beast of an engine and the courage attached to a right hand. Men who rode with the incisions still fresh where the steel rods were inserted, holding their battered bodies together for just one more race. Men who raced because they loved it and (as Dirtcrashr so eloquently puts it) because they were "all arrested-adolescents who's childhood was accelerated away from them on the wings of hydrocarbon - their talent was too much." Exactly.

If you love all things two wheeled and haven't yet seen it, stop by Dirtcrashr's place and take a look. And remember what it was like to be young, fearless and invulnerable.

Thanks for sharing brother.


19 October 2011

Painting The Storage Building

The storage building was finally ready for paint. I've trimmed the eaves and soffets, replaced the roof, added exterior corner mouldings and Lu primed the bare spots. Time for some finish paint.

I wanted to spray the building. Two problems. A consumer grade gun is $100.00 and up and renting a commercial rig is $50.00 a day. Have I ever mentioned just how cheap I am? A couple of years ago I bought a Central automotive gun to do some work on the Corvette. I later decided to bite the bullet and have it painted so the gun has been on my shelf, unused, ever since.

It's an el cheapo I bought from Harbor Freight for 25 bucks. It's a gravity fed HVLP with a one quart hopper. Still, it was worth seeing if it would actually spray the thicker house paint.

I fiddled with it, adjusting pressures, spray patterns and feeds. I didn't have any additional tips so what I had was what I had. Still, after much trial and error I got this pattern. It'a only a few inches wide but it put out enough paint to make it acceptable for our purposes. The best part is the narrower spray pattern gave me good control in tight spaces and really cut down on the amount of paint we used, about 5/6's of a gallon for the entire building.

The siding is clapboard so the gun really saved time painting the underside of the boards. The gun is gravity fed but as long as the hopper was kept full it painted on it's side just fine.

Lu has always been strictly a brush and roller painter. One of my goals here was to introduce her to spray painting, both to let her try it and to make sure she knew how to set everything up when I'm not around.

Yeah, call it mission accomplished. She was tickled pink. I never saw the gun again until it came time to paint the places she couldn't reach. I did get to hear those words every husband dreams of. "I love this. You were soooo right!" That color is also going on the rear building and the main house. Dark brown trim throughout.

Here it is finished. We'll be doing the trim in dark brown to match the house and garage. The panel in the center of that door will also be dark brown with the rest of the door house color or maybe reversed. We can't quite decide. Anyone have an opinion? Please chime in. The door surround will be dark brown.

Just for comparison here's how it looked before. Crappy paint, diseased soffets and gables, open siding corners and a bad roof. I cut the soffets and gables back by about 6 inches to get to good wood, put on a new roof, put on exterior corner mouldings and painted the whole thing. At least it no longer causes me physical pain every time I look at it. We seriously considered just tearing it down. I'm glad we didn't.

I think it turned out quite well. A nice transformation. We'll be painting those fences to match. Lu has 'volunteered'. She loves her new toy. My total investment was less than $100.00. That includes everything except tools. Lu and I do have more than a few hours into it but that's just pride and sweat equity.

And a cheap husband of course.


16 October 2011

Sunday Kipling

It's a good day to be an American. Lu and I will laze about today, enjoying our freedoms and blessings. She's making a stromboli. Sarge and MIL are coming over later for dinner at Casa Six. The 49ers are 4 and 1. The Rangers clinched the ALCS last night. My daughter and grandchildren are only a month away from a visit. Angus awoke me this morning with a joyful kiss and an invitation to go outside and play.
I think I will.

The best of Sundays to you my friends and may your blessings flow like rain.


The Portent
Horace, BK. V. Ode 20.
"The Prophet and the Country"
From "Debits and Credits" (1919-1923)

Oh, late withdrawn from human-kind
And following dreams we never knew!
Varus, what dream has Fate assigned
To trouble you?

Such virtue as commends of law
Of Virtue to the vulgar horde
Suffices not. You needs must draw
A righteous sword;

And, flagrant in well-doing, smite
The priests of Bacchus at their fane,
Lest any worshipper invite
The God again.

Whence public strife and naked crime
And-deadlier than the cup you shun--
A people schooled to mock, in time,
All law--not one.

Cease, then, to fashion State-made sin,
Nor give thy children cause to doubt
That Virtue springs from Iron within--
Not lead without.

15 October 2011

Fun With Stuff That Goes Boom

Is that a......Tire?

I'm an old Cannon Cocker. I've worked with and around everything from SP to Towed to Mortars. 4.2 inch, 105mm, 155mm even the old 8 Inch guns (which were beasts in every sense of the word). I've never seen an artillery piece quite like this one but anything that shoots a tire with a resounding boom and a cloud of smoke is flat out awesome.

I think I need it. I at least have to shoot one though perhaps with a slightly longer fuse. I gotta drop an e-mail to The Redneck Engineer and put a bug in his ear.


First Car

My first car was actually a pickup. It was a 1948 Chev 3100 pickup. It really belonged to me and my 15 months older brother (and was therefore a subject of many fistfights over possession on any given Saturday night). Here's picture of the truck but not my truck. My truck always looked like something a farmer had abandoned in a field.

We lived next door to my mechanical genius, could do anything, former homesteader and Hughes Aircraft Inspector grandfather. We pulled out the six cylinder and three speed and dropped in a 327 and a Rock Crusher 4 speed. Just because we could. During that build we took off the bed, ostensibly to get at the driveshaft to shorten it and get easier access to the transmission. Talk was heard about "body work" and "a paint job" but I think that was mostly youthful fantasy and bragadoccio. In any event, the bed never again saw the frame rails of that truck nor did anything more than rattle can primer touch the cab.

It could modestly be called a Tire Smoker. It'd break loose the rears in any gear with barely more than a thought and a dare. Being severely financially challenged it wore a series of two dollar used tires on the back. Usually about three miles from being bald as Captain Picard. Probably a good idea because we never did get around to a rear end swap. That stocker would have snapped like soft candy if we'd ever on put anything stickier than those bias ply tires that were harder than my head.

We got the truck while I was still, let's just say somewhat shy of the date where a license could be legally acquired (I think the statute of limitations must have run out by now). I remember driving with one of my best friends past the high school and seeing the driving instructor coming the other way. I was scheduled for Drivers Ed. in the next semester so we were motivated to avoid detection. I still wonder what he thought on seeing a totally pilotless pickup pass him. I wonder more how I ever managed to miss a parked car. Thank the Mormons for very wide streets.

We later sold it when it became apparent it was totally uncool (though it'd be awesomely cool to have it now, exactly as I remember it) and we were never going to actually complete any of the grandiose schemes we had for it. I moved on to a 63 Impala SS and later a 69 Chevelle SS. There was a certain Vega in there somewhere that that same mad scientist grandfather dropped a small block into but that's a story for another day. Want to be tempted to throw something hard at me? I later abandoned the Impala. Abandoned it. It was towed by the city and who know what happened to it. I totalled the Chevelle in a head on with a bread truck and sold it for scrap. Kids.

Though I wish I still had a lot of those cars the one I'm most tempted to try again is that 48 pickup. I guess the first girl will always be special.


Fighting back

As always, the hard working American can stand being stepped on only so long.  Eventually we fight back.  Right now the fight is with the idea that only 53% of American's pay taxes, and those 53% are pissed off at the slackers.  It's a beautiful thing:

We are the 53%

~The DO

14 October 2011

Who Will You Vote For?

My two main go to bloggers for all things political are Borepatch and Ed Rasimus. Both are smarter than me and both have a good grasp of the larger implications of political choices. There are a lot of others, including the big political blogs, but for my money these two men have their fingers firmly on the national political pulse.

Recently Borepatch has posted two missives on Romney and not voting for same should he be the GOP nominee (which still looks like a better than 50/50 shot). You can read them here: First, Second. If you haven't read them yet you should. The comments are just as intelligent and illuminating as the posts.

It brings up a very important question. What do I (we) do if the establishment GOP manages to get their nominee (I'm next!) on the ticket and that candidate is yet another version of lefty lite?

I hate the very idea of continuing the big government policies (of both parties) resulting from presidential election choices since at least 1988. We're here, not because of any one particular candidate/president, but because we've had to choose between a host of increasingly unpalatable nominees. Take a look at just the last two Republicans to run and lose. McCain to Obama and Dole to Clinton. Who ran and lost to Bush twice for the Democrats? Gore. I think South Park said it best. Sometimes it really is a choice between a douche and a turd sandwich. Lately it seems that it always ends up that way.

Still, there is absolutely no argument in my mind that the current crop of liberal Democrats are worse. Just saying the names Clinton(s), Obama, Reid and Pelosi sends chills up and down my spine. I've ground my teeth down to stubs watching the America destroying policies and legislation of this gang of thugs and regressionists.

I'm admit that I'm motivated by the fact that I want Obama out of office so bad I can taste it. Never in the history of our nation has one person had so detrimental an effect on my country. I want to stick it the faces of the MSM, race baiters, government handout seekers and corrupt lackeys and excusers. I want them to cry on election eve and throw hissy fits when the anointed one makes his concession speech. Petty? Maybe but I'm hardly alone in my zeal for a resounding electoral defeat for that man and all he stands for.

But Romney? Yes, there is a difference between the two but it's incremental, not marked. Romney really is Obama in GOP guise. Romney is "Phew! We're good for a few more years now. We'll worry about getting the car off the tracks later." It's postponing a reckoning, nothing more.

Blue makes the point that time is running out for us to force the GOP to accept an outside the establishment nominee and that's it's ultimately up to us, the self described informed Conservative/Libertarian voters, to make that a reality.

He's absolutely right but what if? What if it is Romney? What then?

I have said publicly that I won't support Romney. He's cut from the same bolt of cloth as McCain, his suit stitched by Massachusetts politics. We won't get an obamaesque 'fundamental remaking of America' immediately but I'm thinking about my grandchildren and not myself.  We will get northeast liberal republicanism and in the end what's the difference? Watching as my grandchildren get harnessed to the yoke of socialism later as opposed to now is still unacceptable. I'd rather die. I'd much rather restore the Republic.

But what if Romney wins the nomination? The choice will be between Douche Romney and Turd Sandwich Obama. When I'm in the booth, faced with that proposition, what will I do? It's a question I have to answer, not in a year but now. Right now. Because my decision will trip a whole series of other questions I will then have to answer. Choices I will have to make. Choices I, my wife, my daughter and grandchildren will have to live with. It's not just the presidency, it's federal court nominations. It's cabinet appointments. It's Executive orders. It's the power of the Bully Pulpit. A lame duck Obama, given four more years, can do a lot of damage even given a Republican controlled Congress and assuming anyone has the courage and fortitude to weather the media storm.

The flip side is another four years of Obama and his stuttering incompetency, if opposed intelligently and unreservedly, could spell doom for socialist politics in this country for generations. That thought strongly appeals to me but I'd rather it not come at the cost of re-electing this particular President and the misery he could yet inflict.

Ed talks about the self destruction of a presidency and the need to keep the viable GOP candidates from following suit. To me that seems to be the issue for us in the coming primaries with one word addition. Keeping viable Conservative candidates in the race.

Herman Cain seems to be a strong contender. Many like Ron Paul. I thought maybe Perry was a comer but he seems to be in free fall. Who else is left that has a snowball's chance? The rest are pretenders or jostling for a place on the ticket of the eventual winner.

I'll answer Borepatch, and state my position plainly, by joining my voice to his. If the choice ends up being between a douche and a turd sandwich I'm going to go with a third option. I'll either vote third party of I'll leave that space blank. What I will do right now is to work with my local Republican committee to try and get a Conservative nominated. At this moment that candidate looks like Cain so that's the way I'm going. I'm open to another name but, as Blue so eloquently reminded me, time is short. If there's another viable Conservative candidate I'll take a look but I'm not waiting for that fair/flaxen haired savior to arrive. I think we've got what we've got and may the best horse win.

Thanks for the kick BP. It made me think and decide. All we can do, any of us, is to make the best choices we can, work to maintain and advance liberty and let the chips fall where they may.

May God bless and preserve our Republic.


12 October 2011

Is It Bulletproof?

I'm finally feeling better. Enough so to do the post I've been putting off for a couple of weeks now. Is it bulletproof?

You may recall that Lu and I have been doing a pretty thorough remodel of the house. We finished the bathroom some time ago. During that bathroom upgrade I took off the old tile which was backed with cement and steel mesh. This is the post where I talked about it and posted a few pictures. I decided to save some of the larger pieces for a penetration test. Yeah, that's it. Not an excuse to shoot up stuff that shatters into pretty pieces but sciency stuff.

We headed out to the Super Secret Range with a few guns, some ammo and a burning desire to explore the limits of bathroom tile bullet resistance.

The pistols. Two Sig 226's. The all black one is 9mm and the nickel slide is my old duty gun in .40. My friends at the department pitched in and bought it for me when I retired. Better than a watch. Yes, the 9mm is missing both grip screws. The 226 is infamous for backing them out if they're not loctited in. I bought that gun from Lu's brother and just never did it. That'll teach me. Now I have to buy 2 new screws. This picture was taken after the shooting was done.

The shotgun. My Remington 870, 18 inch barrel, cylinder bore.

We started the day shooting a silhouette just to get warmed up and go over some drills. We both needed the practice and I wanted Lu to get more comfortable and faster doing double taps and controlled pairs. An interesting thing happened during this shoot. If you've read Brigid or Tam you know their very informed  thoughts on guns and calibers for women and small handed shooters. I bought the 9mm specifically for Lu. After shooting it and my .40 she quickly decided the .40 was more to her liking. Virtually identical guns but the .40 just felt better to her. Nothing we could specifically pinpoint, she just liked it better. So much of shooting is about comfort. If the gun feels right chances are you'll shoot it better. Such was the case here. She shot the .40 better and the caliber increase was a complete non-factor. It is now her gun. I've traded for the 9mm because to my rough hands they feel identical.

Here's a shot of Lu girded with duty belt and holster, learning that loading the .40 magazines was a different beast than the 9mm. You can see the look on her face. That's the smile of a woman who's having a ball shooting her new pistol.

Ok. Practice is over, it's time to see If It's Bulletproof. First target. That's standard 4 inch ceramic bathroom tile on about an inch of cement with a steel mesh backer. The cement is troweled on and is twice the thickness of standard cement backer board With an additional steel mesh layer. If it'll go through this stuff it'll go through any backer board I am familiar with.
Range for all shots, both pistol and shotgun, was 21 feet. A quick word on safety. The area we were shooting in is out on the Ariznoa Strip, many miles from the nearest dwelling or business. We wore all safety gear. I did all the shooting with Lu standing behind the truck or behind me.

I shot this with the 9mm. Ammunition is Winchester SXT 147 HP. Holy crap. No penetration! I was shocked. I expected the round to go through with no problem. This test just got a little more interesting.

Next up was the .40. Winchester SXT 165 HP. I re-set with a slightly larger target. I was concerned that the smaller piece was giving too much and skewing the results. The .40 went right through.

A second shot yielded the same result with the addition of flying tile shards.

I decided the 9mm test may have been a fluke so I shot it again. Yep. Through and through on the second attempt.

Here's a shot of the back. You can see three clear bullet holes through the tile, cement and steel mesh.

It's a small sampling but clearly cement and steel mesh backed ceramic tile is not bullet proof. At least at 9mm and larger performance levels. I think what happened with the first 9mm was what I had first surmised. The piece was small, not firmly anchored and tilted back slightly. It was just a fluke that the first shot didn't penetrate.

On to the shotgun. By this time I was certain that double ought was a non-starter. If 9mm was enough then 12 gauge 00 Buck was going to make a mess. I did have one thing I wanted to try. Steel shot. Here's a link to a chart that shows the pellet diameter of the different shot sizes as well as the number of pellets per ounce.
I had some of this on hand and yeah, it's a shoulder breaker. The factory claims 1350 fps but that's almost certainly out of a 28 inch barrel. From my 18 inch figure no more than 1150 or so. The load is for the taking of large ducks and geese at ranges out to about 35 yards. That's a very shaky distance. It all has to do with temperature, wind conditions, load, etc. and the 600 fps rule. Suffice it to say it's fairly speedy and hits pretty hard at reasonable ranges but it's still bird shot.

Here it is side by side with a 2 3/4 00 Buck shell.

First shot with the 3 inch magnum T shot. It shattered the tile but didn't penetrate the cement backer.

A second attempt, same results. A lot of exterior damage but no through and through penetration.

Let's try a round of 00, just for giggles. Pretty much as expected, a fist sized hole through everything.

Interesting. The steel shot, which I can attest through personal experience is plenty powerful enough to cleanly kill large geese at pretty significant ranges, does a lot of surface damage but has limited hard target penetration. Draw your own conclusions but I'm beginning to look more favorably on high speed, large steel shot as a potential self defense load in homes where wall penetration is a concern. I need to do a test with Sheetrock and ballistic gelatin or equivalent.

Still, how relevant is all this? I mean, how likely is it that you'll have an adversary trapped in a room with the tile facing you or find yourself trapped in a room with the tile facing the bad guy?  No too was as far as I got. I needed to flip the tile and try a shot from the back. There was no sense in repeating the test with all calibers. The 9mm, ,40 and 00 had demonstrated clearly that they had the oomph to defeat the barrier from the hard side. Starting from the soft side wasn't going to be any more of a problem for them. That left the steel. How would it do?

Here's yours truly firing two rounds of the steel at the back of the target. Now, in the interests of scientific honesty, I must point out that this is the very same tile target that had so far absorbed Two rounds of .40, One round of 9mm, One 00 buck 12 ga. and Two 3 inch magnum steel T 12ga. Still, it was the only tile target I had left and I felt there was enough physical integrity left for the test to be valid. YMMV so take it for what it's worth.

Do the puffs of dust behind the target give it away? If it's not clear what happened please allow me to elaborate. This is what's left of the front of the target. The two rounds managed to do a very good job of stripping most of the tile and cement from the steel mesh.

The steel shattered the tile and cement and scattered it in an arc behind the target that was 21 feet long and 16 feet wide. If you look closely you can see many, many small and very sharp shards of tile.

For perspective, that's Lu standing at the furthest shard we could find, 21 feet away from the target. Now imagine being in a small room with that kind of shrapnel flying around.

My conclusions are that 00 will go through tile and cement like a hot knife through warm butter. Big surprise. Steel shot not so much. It's interesting. Lots of power in the larger shot sizes and 3 inch or better loadings but no excessive penetration. If you're on the back side of the tile wall and he's shooting bird shot you might be Ok. If you're on the hard side duck, surrender or charge out guns blazing because the results of shooting into that will be ugly. If the bad guy is in there and you're loaded with anything from T size steel and up start shooting and don't let up until you hear him scream for mercy and a medic.

My over all impressions are that cement backed tile isn't bulletproof, from either side. The steel mesh had no discernible impact that I could detect. The one 9mm deflection I had can be chalked up to a fluke and I won't trust my life to something I can't control. My view is that it won't stop or deflect any of the calibers you're likely to be up against (steel shot in limited situations not withstanding) in the event you find yourself in a shooting scenario in your home or a public place with such construction. I've watched Myth Busters so I know that you can construct a wall with ceramic tile that is bullet resistant but it's also clumsy and subject to multiple hit failure. Ceramic tile breaks when struck by hard objects. When it goes you're left hiding behind whatever it was stuck to. If that's concrete or Kevlar you're golden. If it's cement backer board you're screwed. Find better cover.

Sometime in the future, when I get a few of my more pressing house remodel chores done, I'll do more testing on the steel. Until then here's an article on steel versus lead. Pay particular attention to the very end of the article where it closes with this little tidbit;

A fact revealed by this study: A steel pellet, with an energy level equivalent to that of a lead pellet, provides 5% to 10% deeper penetration.

They're talking about soft tissue penetration, ducks and geese, but it's very interesting.
Duck Hunting Chat has gone further and produced a ballistics gel penetration chart for the various shot sizes. Bear in mind that this chart only shows penetration at 600 fps, what is generally considered the minimum velocity at which bird shot is lethal to waterfowl.

It doesn't necessarily directly relate but it is interesting enough to warrant further inquiry. I'll post anything more that I learn here and if anyone out there has more info please leave us a comment. I will give my opinion on what I saw. The steel shot is made in larger sizes than lead to make up for the steel being lighter, less dense, than commesurate lead shot would be. It's also harder so it's penetration in soft material is actually slightly better than lead. When the steel hits something hard that's backed by something else that's stiff it sheds most of it's energy shattering the hard surface. Enough so that it can do no more than embed itself into the cement backer. When it first encounters that softer strata it has enough energy to penetrate to the harder layer and blow it off. Anyway, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

So, Is it bulletproof? The short answer is absolutely not. Do not trust your life or your loved ones lives to cement board backed ceramic tile. And if the bad guy heads into the bathroom to shoot it out with you? You get to teach him a valuable lesson in the difference between Cover and Concealment with a side trip into Painful Shrapnel Wounds. I don't think he'll enjoy the experience.