Homeland Defense Rifle

I’ve been thinking about rifles again; in part prompted by the utter lack of centerfire rifles in my gun locker. Specifically, I’ve been thinking about this concept of a “Homeland Defense Rifle”, i.e. the first rifle you would grab to defend your country in the event of a total “Shit Hits the Fan” (SHTF) situation. Since I’m in the market for a rifle, and I don’t hunt; I figured it might as well be a Homeland Defense Rifle (HDR). Below, I’ll list out the capabilities I think this rifle should have, then I’ll go through various action types and list rifles that I think would fit the bill. Again, please bear in mind that this is entirely the subjective opinion of me. Your actual mileage may vary.

Capabilities

Caliber – You’d probably want your rifle to be chambered in a relatively common caliber, in the event that you’re reduced to scrounging for ammo. This doesn’t mean just military calibers either, as .270 Winchester (for example) can be found in practically every sporting goods store in the nation.

Capacity – My perfect HDR would have an ammo capacity of at least 10 rounds, and should be able to be reloaded via detachable magazines. I would make the exception that a rifle with a fixed magazine that can be rapidly recharged with stripper clips is just as acceptable in this regard.

Accuracy – Sub-MOA groups not required. Honestly, you need to be able to hit a man sized target in the upper body at 150 yards with the standard sights on the weapon every time. Most rifle engagements during WWII took place at 30 yards or less, so I might even be willing to shrink that 150 to 100 yards if pressed.

Sights – Rugged, fixed sights are preferable (for me at least). In the event of a very naughty situation, I distrust anything with batteries, glass, or moving parts, because these things can break; and if they do Murphy Hizzown-Bad-Self will ensure that your neato-torpedo EOHolotech-CQB-Ultimate-Xray scope breaks at the most inconvenient time possible. Like when you’re taking fire. Iron sights are really, really hard to break.

Size/Weight – Not too heavy? This depends on the strength and endurance of the poor bugger who is going to be lugging this thing around. If you’re strong enough to tote a Barrett .50 around, go right ahead. I’d go for something lighter, as I am of small stature.

Action type – I’m accepting all applications in this category. For the HDR, you may have a semi-automatic, a lever action (I went there), or a bolt action. I would probably rule out single shot rifles since they don’t allow for serious sustained fire. I would add the caveat that if you’ve got a single shot .223 and that’s it, than learn to use it well and to reload it in a hurry.

I’m flying by the seat of my pants here, so if you think of anything else, let me know. From here, I’ll break out the three main action types, and list a few rifles that I feel would be good contenders.

Bolt-Actions

Ishapore 2A1Essentially, this is a Lee-Enfield rifle re-engineered for the higher pressure 7.62 NATO round, instead of the standard .303 British. These were new manufacture rifles made in India at the Ishapore Armory, hence the name. This would probably be my first choice for a HDR if I was going with a bolt action. Chambered for a powerful and common caliber, the magazine is detachable, the sights are excellent, and the Lee-Enfield models have a bolt that allows for very fast operation.

Spanish FR8 – This was a stopgap rifle issued to the Spanish military and police. The linked website gives a pretty good picture of the rifle, but essentially it’s a 7.62 NATO rifle on a Mauser action. I like that.

Ahab’s Dream rifle – A Bolt action .223 built on a Mauser action with an 18 inch barrel. Fixed magazine that can be charged with stripper clips or loaded with single rounds. Boy…that would sure be cool.

Semi-automatics

Honestly, I should just skip this section. Everyone knows that what I’m going to type. Volumes have been written on why the AK or the AR are The Best Rifles Ever, so I’m not going to enumerate the reasons below.

AK/Clones – Do I actually need to explain this one?

AR/Clones – See above.

SKS – …come on. It’s cheap, ugly, but it takes a licking and keeps on ticking. Plus, it can be had with detachable magazines or a fixed magazine if that strikes your fancy.

I probably left some onenulls pet rifle off this list, but for the sake of brevity, I’m listing the rifles I would take in the order I would take them.

Lever-Actions

I can hear you all now. “Lever actions? Are you crazy?” The answer is probably.

30-30 Rifles – I’d say you’re well armed with a .30-30 lever gun. Again, the round is very common, although not a military round it can be found at almost every sporting goods store in the universe.

Summary

I guess I revealed my bias towards fixed magazine rifles for guerrilla/survival type situations. Oh well, such is the life. I’m probably going to go buy a new rifle here in the next month or so. I really do need a good reason to stockpile centerfire rifle ammo. I’ve already got 2700 reasons for Nancy Pelosi to hate my house, I reckon I should probably give her at least 500 more.

Class in sports

Not blogging about guns, shooting, or politics today. Today I’m talking about my Colts. For those of you that don’t watch/enjoy the NFL, the Indianapolis Colts beat the New England Patriots 38-34 last night, getting a a huge monkey off our back and clinching a berth in the Super Bowl along the way.

As a Colts fan, the game was almost too intense for me to watch. Going into halftime, we were down 21-6, and I was thinking that it was over, we were going to spend another off season playing “Woulda-coulda-shoulda” after losing to Tom Brady and the Patriots. And then the 2nd half happened. Peyton comes out of the locker room and drives the Colts down the field for a score. 21-13. Then we hold the Patriots. Drive it all the way for another score with a pass to Dan Klecko. Then we get the 2-point conversion! Tie game at 21!

After that, we see-sawed back and forth with the Pats scoring, then the Colts, until Joseph Addai (our running back) scored the go ahead TD with 1 minute left.

Tom Brady and the Pats come on the field, and they’re driving right up until Brady is intercepted by Marlon Jackson, who is something like the Colt’s 26th string cornerback, with 16 seconds left. Peyton takes the field, takes a knee and the game is over – Colts win!

That brings me more or less to the subject of today’s entry, which is class and personal character in professional athletes. After the game, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady both showed a tremendous amount of class and respect for one another. As much as I’d like to hate Tom Brady, he really makes it hard when he looses with dignity.

Then you have Tony Dungee, the Colts’ head coach. Just an all-around great guy. Decency, dignity, and respect are what he’s all about. He deserves to be in the Super Bowl.

I apologize if I’m a little scatterbrained, there’s a lot of emotion going around the city right now. What I’m trying to get at is how nice and refreshing it is to see people of character in sports. You hear so many stories of “this guy got arrested for this” and “that guy got arrested for that”; it just gets depressing. Both teams and players that went last night showed the kind of character that everyone tells you playing sports builds.

Go Colts!

Hi Point and Aguila SniberSubSonic reviews

Today is going to be a “two for the price of one” day. I promised a review on my experience with the Hi-Point C9 9mm, and I also promised the good folks over at Pax Baculum a review of the Aguila SniperSubSonic .22LR ammo I purchased a while back. In the western spirit of my blog, I’m going to review each subject under three categories. The categories will be “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly”.

Please do bear in mind that my review is based entirely off my subjective opinion, and should not be taken as anything other than the opinion of one guy. Your actual mileage may vary. So without further ado, off I go.

Hi Point C9 9mm

I had heard a lot about this pistol. Before I purchased it, I had seen the various internet gunboard arguments over whether it was a jam-o-matic, an average pistol, etc. I was definitely in the camp of looking at it with disdain, as I mentioned in my post on Gun Snobbery. As I said back there, I’m actively taking measures to cure myself of snobbery, so I went out and purchased one for what I felt was a quite reasonable price.

The Good

  • Ergonomics – The pistol sits well in my hand. For whatever reason, the grip is easy to get my hands around and gives me very positive feedback on the pistol.
  • Sights – Actually, the sights are really, really nice. It was very easy to acquire my sight picture even during rapid fire drills.
  • Accuracy – I did not test the pistol out past 10 yards, because I can’t imagine taking a 25 yard shot with this gun. At 10 yards it was more than capable of putting all eight rounds in the magazine into the center section an a standard ICORE tombstone target.
  • Ejection – Rounds clearing the pistol were thrown well clear (and I mean well clear), and I experience no stovepipes or ejection related malfunctions.

The Bad

  • Magazines – Those magazines are SHARP. I had heard about this in advance, and actually used athletic tape on both thumbs to prevent getting gouged by the magazines. Additionally, the only magazine I could get to feed reliably (without modification) was the aftermarket ProMag. I had heard that those were terrible, but in this instance it far outshone the factory magazines. All three factory mags had to have their feed lips slightly modified before they would function “reliably” (more on that later).
  • Weight – I’ve mentioned before that I’m a relatively little guy, as such weight is a concern in any pistol I’m going to carry for more than 1 hour. The C9 feels about the same in my hands as my GP100 with regard to weight, and the GP100 balances better and has less felt recoil. I suppose though that if you ran out of ammo, you could beat the other guy to death with this thing.
  • Balance – Fairly straight forward, the gun feels top heavy due to the massive slide.
  • Felt Recoil – My first shot from the C9 surprised the hell out of me. The felt recoil from a blowback operated 9mm was surprisingly rough. I figured that the biggest cause of this was the extremely heavy slide on top. Unfortunately, the recoil also beat the hell out of the pad on my trigger finger. Once I got used to it, it was controllable, but I’d frankly rather fire full-house .357 Magnums out of my Taurus than shoot this gun again.

The Ugly

  • The Magazines – I mentioned above that the magazines needed tweaking to work with anything that resembled a reliable firearm. The issue that I was having is that the rounds would be taking a nosedive in the magazines, causing the slide to lock to the rear because it thought the gun was empty. A quick tap-rack would fix it every time, but it was frustrating. After modification, the mags were better, but not perfect. The only magazine that would feed all eight without jamming was the ProMag magazine. Even after I performed the recommended mods to the factory mags, they would only reliably feed 5-7 rounds. That’s right, 5-7 rounds.

Conclusion

The Hi Point C9 had some good points and some bad points, and it had one critical failing that kept me from recommending to someone looking for a defensive pistol. While the failing with the magazines can be corrected with modification, the point of a defensive firearm is that you should be able to pick any specimen out of the box and have it go bang every time. For someone who’s about to drop $140 bucks on one of these, I’d say wait another month and turn that $140 into $300 and get a good wheelgun. You won’t be sorry.

As for me, the Hi Point will continue to reside in my safe, and it will actually fill a niche in my arsenal. Since I have no love whatsoever of semi-automatic centerfire pistols, the C9 will allow me to check the “Own a 9mm pistol” box on the my “guns to own list”. I won’t carry it, but I’ll definitely shoot it.

Aguila SniperSubSonic

I also tested the Aguila SniperSubSonic .22lr rounds. For those not in the loop, it’s a 60 grain subsonic .22 Long Rifle cartridge. It uses a .22 Short case with a super-long bullet to bring the Overall Length up to that of a regular .22 Long Rifle. I tested it out of 2 guns, a stock Ruger 10/22 and a stock Walther P22. The manufacturer said that the rounds should be stabilized out of a barrel with a 1:9 twist, which none of my guns have. So, here we go.

The Good

  • Accuracy – The accuracy of this round is phenomenal, to a certain point. With Ruger at 50 feet (the indoor range is only 50 feet deep), I printed a group about an inch in size. Unfortunately, the rounds were showing signs of tumbling as there was slight keyholing in the target. (More on the keyholing later). At 10 yards from the Walther P22 going rapid fire, I kept 50 rounds in the center section of an ICORE standard tombstone target.
  • Felt recoil – From the P22, the muzzle would barely flip with each shot. Recoil was non-existent from the 10/22.
  • Function – I ran 150 rounds through the P22 without a single malfunction. As the P22 is notoriously finicky about ammo, this is a very good thing. Ejection was positive, although a couple of the empties landed in my hair and singed it a just a bit.

The Bad

  • Dirty – When I got home to clean my guns, the P22 was dirtier than it had ever been. Previously, she had a steady diet of Stingers and Mini-mags. There was a little of leading built up, but that’s also to be expected from 150 rounds of anything.
  • Ejection (from the rifle) – The rounds would eject positively, however there was a very, very disconcerting experience with the 10/22. For some reason (and I’m not sure) the bolt would open before the powder had finished burning, allowing a lot of powder and flash to escape from the bolt. It was mostly just sparks, until one round had a large flash right next to my eye, rather like shooting a flintlock. Due to the keyholing and flintlock effect, I decided to retire the rifle for the day.


The Ugly

  • Keyholing – Unfortunately, it seems that the need for a barrel with a 1:9 twist is correct. At a mere 50 feet from the 10/22, the rou
    nd
    s were starting to tumble. Obviously, tumbling inside the target is good, but outside is bad. From 10 yards in with the P22, there was no tumbling, which is encouraging.

Conclusion

I want to get a rifle with a 1:9 twist in the barrel and really test the accuracy of these things out to 50 yards. I feel like they have a lot of potential for pest control out on the farm…or for those stupid cats that insist on mating outside of my bedroom window. From the P22, these rounds are going to supplant Stingers as my carry round, due to the fact that they’re double the weight. Overall, I was very pleased with the Aguila ammo, it’ll stay in regular stock in my arsenal.

Airguns, England, and Common Sense

Well, I was wondering what I was going to write about this morning, when my my fishing expedition through Google News turned up a keeper. The background of the story linked is that a family in North Wales (England) lost a son to an airgun related accident. That family is now (of course) pushing for tighter restrictions on airguns.

Seeing as this takes place in England, I’m not terribly surprised that the family seems to think that just taking airguns away from kids is the solution. God, if these things are so dangerous, how did I ever manage to survive my childhood? You could probably measure the amount of time I spent shooting my Crossman pump up air rifle in days, and count the number of pop cans I killed in the thousands. I guess I should probably be thanking my lucky stars that this dangerous airgun didn’t up and kill me dead on the spot.

In all seriousness, while what happened to this family is a tragedy, as no one should lose their son to an accident; in my view it’s even more tragic because it is entirely preventable. Upon reading the article, you’ll find that the child killed was shot in the head with said airgun. The only valid point that the article makes is that “airguns are not toys”. They are in fact dangerous and should only be used properly.

This leads me to why I believe this accident is all the more tragic. Had the children “playing” with the airgun received even basic instruction on safe firearms handling, this probably wouldn’t have happened. We all know the rules of firearms safety, one of which (Don’t point a firearm at anything you’re not willing to destroy) would have eliminated the possibility of this tragedy.

Instead of common sense in England, we have a near total cultural hoplophobia. The parents could be crying out for firearms safety classes, education for children to teach them airguns are dangerous and are not toys. Of course that would involve accepting responsibility for what happened as opposed to blaming the inanimate object. Don’t lock up the airguns; teach responsibility and safety.

Plinking cans (and the occasional jackrabbit) with my airgun was a huge part of my life growing up. It’s where I learned to shoot, and where I learned safe gun handling skills. Perhaps what England needs is more airguns, and maybe a National Youth Shooter Education Program. Hell, since they love spending government money on things, why not?

That Guy at the Range

One of my favorite things to do (after shooting) is talk to Mrs. Ahab about some of the more “colorful” characters that I get to encounter at the range. Since I’m in a lighthearted mood, I’m just going to list the major players that I’ve had the pleasure & displeasure to meet. Please note, the vast majority of these are just caricatures of certain types of people that I’ve met, some are good and some are bad.

  • The Bullseye shooter – This guy is definitely a good person to be next to on the range. He keeps mostly to himself, shooting the tightest groups he can. Usually packing a .22 target pistol and a target type 1911a1. You’re most likely to encounter this fellow at a private range than a public one.
  • Tacticool Teddy – We all know this guy. Most often seen wearing a thigh holster with the latest and greatest CQB Tactical Destroyer and 3,276 extra magazines secreted in various pouches, slings, and body cavities. He’s not really a bad guy to shoot next to, if you don’t mind constant rapid fire from the other booth. I usually see them at public ranges more than private.
  • The Couple – This has been me on more than a few occasions. Pretty straightforward, and it’s often a nice sight on the range to see someone teaching their significant other how to handle a firearm. 19 times out of 20, I’m glad to have them on the point next to mine.
  • Mr. Unsolicited Advice – Yes, I know that you’ve taken pistol classes directly from the ancient Siberian Pistol-Fighting Monks. I understand that you can teach me how to print one hole groups at 25 yards from my CZ52 during an accidental slamfire. Honestly though, most people don’t appreciate unsolicited commentary.
  • The Cop – This person is a cop. They’re practicing with their duty weapon. Good for them.
  • Revolver Man – My all time favorite person to shoot next to, because if I’m lucky, I’ll get to shoot one of their cool revolvers. This guy has more revolvers than I’ve got exes that hate me. Just piles of wheelguns, single actions, double actions, it doesn’t matter. This guy has ’em all. This is my favorite guy.
  • The Kid who has Seen too many movies – The sights are on the top of the pistol, son. I’m glad you’re here and your shooting, because bullets going downrange is good. I’m not going to offer you any advice either (because I don’t want to be that guy); but really it would help if you used the sights. You might start to hit the paper.
  • 2nd from last is That guy that gives you the weird vibe that you just can’t explain but sweet jesus he is really giving me the creeps – I’ve only run into two of these, but they were very, very memorable. Two different guys, two different states, but for some reason both of these guys made all the hair on the back of my neck stand up. I had the urge to look over my shoulder constantly while they were at the range. Just two creepy, creepy guys.
  • Our final contestant is Me – You’ll find me at the range. I’m quiet, and I keep mostly to myself. As I explained it once to my wife, going to the range is my place of peace. I shot NRA Collegiate pistol in college (duh), and since that time I am never more relaxed than when I’m shooting. I shoot to get away from my job, I shoot because it’s fun, I shoot to practice a skill that has saved my life. Most of all, I shoot because I love the sport. My universe contracts at the range until it’s just my sights, the trigger, and the target. If I could do one thing for the rest of my life, I’d shoot.

I love going to the range. I have met some truly interesting people there, and I’ve even made a couple of good friends. I really do enjoy the people at the range, because most of them are really good folk. On the line, everyone’s a shooter. I don’t know why you’re at the range today, but I’m glad to see you here. Those bullets you put into that backstop mean that our hobby stays alive for that much longer.

If you asked me “What Would John Wayne Do” when The Duke’s at the range, I’d tell you that “The Duke would shoot.”

On Gun Snobbery

Okay, first off I’d like to say that Google docs is about the coolest damn thing I’ve ever played with. I know that Google is the devil and everything, but my goodness it sure is nice having everything integrated into one interface.

But enough with that, let me get on to the topic at hand. I have always been something of a gun snob. For the longest time, I’ve sneered down my nose at “cheap guns”, Saturday night specials, etc. I always had this vague sense that no handgun that runs less than $200 is worth its salt. As I’ve gotten older and more disposable income, my attitude has only gotten worse.

Before I continue, I should emphasize the “handgun” in my above statement. Plenty of fine .22 rifles are less than $200, as are some very nice rifles that I have my eye on for C&R, as well as some goofy surplus handguns. Additionally, New England Firearms manufactures some excellent single shot rifles (if that’s your bailiwick) for less than $200. If put to the task I could probably come up with a few good handguns that retailed for less than two hundred smackers, but I’d have a hard time doing so.

So, what’s a boy to do? I figured I could start with handguns, because curing me of my wine snobbery will be a lot more difficult although less expensive in the long run. With that in mind, while attending the local gun show, I laid my hands on a Hi Point C9 9mm for the bargain price of $120 before taxes.

I did my homework before I bought this gun, and oddly enough Combat Handguns had a review of it in their (I think) November issue. According to its owners, it’s reliable and accurate, although they will admit that the magazines are its weakest point. The detractors of the gun say that it’s ugly (which it is), heavy (guilty), and a jam-o-matic. I haven’t had the opportunity to get it out to the range yet (you’ll know when I do), but it is definitely working on my snobbery issues.

The weirdest thing is that it’s growing on me. I’ve always had love for the “ugly duckling”, especially when that ugly ducking does what it’s designed to do every time. When I first purchased the pistol, my thoughts were “Well, let’s see if it shoots” while I idly hoped that it would turn into a piece of shit; thereby justifying my snotty attitude.

All that’s changed now that I’ve owned it for about a week. Now I’m hoping that it runs like a tank. I can’t explain it. Maybe I’m just rooting for the underdog, or maybe that I’m hoping that this will turn out to be that “functional but ugly” pistol that I have a soft spot for. Who knows? I will turn out a range report for everyone once I finally get out there and shoot the sucker. I’ve got magazines and 9mm ball ammo on the way for the break in period.

All this has gotten me to thinking about something else. Why shouldn’t someone make a low cost reliable handgun? Is there some rule that only people that can afford the $500 CQB-Tactical-Destroyer should be able to defend themselves? Or would it not stand to reason that financially disadvantaged (nice word for “poor”) folk have just as much a right to self-defense as you and I.

If this gun runs like I hope, than Hi Point firearms will get a Bravo Zulu from me. An American company that wisely uses available resources to manufacture a pistol that Johnny Everyman can keep and carry for self defense is a good company in Ahab’s book. So if this pistol works as advertised, than John Wayne should be smiling.

From the "What the hell" file

With apologies to Alphecca as I stole the link from him; but I had to mention this today.

It seems that Mexico says that there is a flow of “assault weapons” coming in from America.

I will freely admit that I almost spewed coffee all over my keyboard. I thought to myself, Self, did you really just read that Mexico, as in MEXICO, is blaming the US for their illegal gun problem?

Apparently, yes I did. Even though guns are illegal in Mexico, the drug runners and people smugglers still have them. AKs, M16s, whatever money can buy. The problem is this theory that they’re coming from the US. I can’t even begin to express how confusing that is. Apparently, it’s not enough that illegally deposit half their society in the States, now they have to blame us that drug runners are buying AK 47s?

That would be like me blaming Mexico that Arizona has a rising wave of crime due to illegal immigration….wait, sorry that was a bad example. Maybe that would be like me blaming Austria for handgun crime because Glocks are made there. Yes, that’s it. Blame Austria!

Update: Hello Instapundit readers!  This particular entry is pretty old – please feel free to look around the blog, as well as check out our radio show

AFC Championship game

Well, it appears as though the fans of the 1st Colts Galactic Empire have gotten our wish, the AFC Championship game will be played from the RCA Hoosier Dome, with our Indianapolis Colts taking on Cronos and the Titans Tom Brady and the Patriots.

I will say that this is a good thing, because the game is now in our dome-sweet-home. Additionally, we have beaten the Patriots at Foxborough twice in the last two seasons, Peyton Manning is DUE for a big game, and our defense is playing huge.

That being said, the Colts nation also needs to remember that they guy on the other side of the field is Tom Freakin’ Brady. As evidenced by the game against the Chargers, he finds ways to win. It’s what he does.

So, let’s look at Ahab’s key points for the game.

Colts

– Our defense has to continue to step up. We have played balls-to-the-walls in the last two games, and that has to continue.
– Keeping defense in mind, even if we shut down the run, remember that the other quarterback is TOM BRADY. We can’t afford to get demoralized if he finds a way to put up points on us, because that’s what he does. If/when Tom Brady finds a way into the end zone (and he will), our defense needs to come right back firing and get stops when it matters.
– Offensively, Peyton needs to find his stride. He was good in the 2nd half of the Chiefs game, but he needs to find his regular season form.
– The running game has been ticking along quite nicely. Joseph Addai, Dominick Rhodes, I don’t care, just keep running the ball.
– Keep the Patriots defense on the field. They’re good, but they’re also one of the older units out there. If we can wear them down through three quarters, we’ll get big, gashing runs in the 4th quarter.

Patriots

– Keep Peyton Manning off the field. His cold streak cannot continue forever, and he can win ballgames with those wide receivers.
– Run, run, run. This goes in hand with the above, as it’s the most efficient way to keep Peyton off the field.
– Protect Tom Brady. The Colts d-line isn’t big, but it’s fast. If the Colts are playing with a lead, those ends will come flying at Tom Brady faster than groupies at a club.
– On defense, they have to stop the run game. The Colts love to pass off the play-action, and establishing that run makes it that much easier for Peyton to take those deep shots at Marvin.

Prediction
Colts win, 33-24. Did you really think I’d pick against my boys?

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