Sunday, October 29, 2017

gun myth

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I think it has been quite some time since I’ve really tried to piss off the minions with an inflammatory idea, one that headed straight into the pasture where the sacred cows were grazing.  What I’d like for you to do is look to either side of yourself.  See your fellow minions?  Most of you really suck with a firearm.  I’d think one out of ten being marksmen is asking too much.  Let’s call it nineteen out of twenty, basically striving mightily to attain mediocre status.  Hey, no loss of love from here, I hold zero illusions on my skills with most guns.  I suck, also.


If you think I’m full of crap, and can prove it, well, congratulations.  You are the 5% who can shoot.  The rest of us?  I see no reason to be embarrassed.  Shooting is just a skill like any other.  If you can’t afford the time and or money, you’ll stay a novice.  And it doesn’t even have to be money.  Mostly it is just the lack of willingness to TRULY dedicate yourself.  I’m going to tell you two stories, not to make you feel bad about your lack of talent but to showcase how insanely time consuming it is to acquire some skills without spending money ( old timey skills require very little investment but that is because they lack a worldwide high tech supply chain ).


A minion was telling me about how he beat the motor vehicle tax ( the high cost of operating a motor vehicle for 99% of us ).  As a teen, he got a junked truck.  You know, back before China started buying up all our scrape metal and if you hauled away a beater they were happy to give it to you at no charge.  He  took the entire vehicle apart.  Every nut and bolt.  Every single component.  Then he put it all together again.  And from then on it was easy to figure out how to replace anything.  You might not be able to diagnose every problem-but few mechanics do.  Sometimes they just replace the most likely part.  Anyway, the point was he learned how to be a mechanic, for free.  And from then on each New To Him car cost less than the average yearly insurance payment you or I would make.


Second, I was watching a YouTube video titled something along the lines of shooting a 223 for ten cents a round.  This guy ended up shooting for free, actually, but the amount of time he took to get there was crazy.  He must have lived in the corner of the garage with his reloader.  Yes, he did have hundreds of dollars in tools, but you know that paid for itself pretty quick.  The first part was range scavenging.  I thought everyone policed their brass at the range, but what do I know?  The last official one I was at was a good ten years ago.  Perhaps not everyone does.  That, AND he got permission to sieve the berms for bullets.


You’d think this would be as fruitful as looking for wheel weights at the tire shop.  It takes ONE guy in town to get there before you and the supply is used up ( how to sort wheel  weights: lead when rapped against hard steel makes a dull thud sound.  Zinc and steel a high ping.  Lead weights will scratch or cut easy.  Or, rub against hard metal and lead will easily rub away to show a shiny spot.  A magnet, used far away from the clip, confirms steel.  Once you’ve found a collection of lead, use them on similar sizes to confirm-zinc and steel are much lighter in the same size.  Labeling.  Zinc is Z or Zn, steel is Fe.  Sometimes lead is marked “micro”, but it is also the only one that gets deformed, gouged, scratched and scared.  This saves you from trying to melt them all to determine content ).


But my point here is not that this kind of advice is usually not applicable but the amount of effort that is involved in free.  He recast all the bullets, from ingots he had created with the reclaimed lead, then he coated them with something in his tumbler and cooked it dry.  If I recall they were a bit of a red/orange color, which I assume took the place of copper jacketed bullets.  Then he reloaded.  The ten cent cost was assumed to be the powder and the primer.  He didn’t really break anything down by cost ( that was just in the video title ).  He did mention he gave his buddy a bunch of range brass in exchange for the powder and primer, reducing his cost to zero beyond the tool amortization. 


Now, I am certainly NOT arguing that the level of Zen master in anything isn’t attainable.  All you need is dedication and practice ( being half bullheaded and anal retentive German and half tightwad Scottish doesn’t hurt ).  What I am saying is that after all our workaday world jobs, you can usually pick ONE additional skill to get really good at.  Most of us DON’T pick being a Billy Bad Ass Sniper or military grade Close Quarter Urban Combat Ninja.  For that, we usually trust and hope our money rather than skill equipment makes up in 80/20 fashion. 


This is usually what a semi-auto and a near middle class income does.  It makes up for the lack of skill.  Again, don’t be butt hurt here.  Almost every cop and every non-combat veteran military puke out there almost never practices and counts on semi-auto to replace skill.  With the lack of community cohesion, cops have been forced into the role of mediator for ALL conflicts, and that makes up the bulk of their skill set.  The military is so bureaucratic and Politically Correct it is almost impossible to nourish and encourage gun skills past On The Job Training. 


Now, of course, being cursed by the gods to not only be able to identify problems but also be expected to remedy them by legions of screaming minions, I’ll continue tomorrow.

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  1. For myself, I try to dry fire at least a hundred times per week (with snap caps of course ! ) With both hand guns and rifle.
    Trigger memory being the most important skill to retain current. Going to a range maybe two or three times a year.

    Now , also on a daily basis. I shoot a compound bow at least twenty times daily. As the trigger on both gun and bow give the same result. Squeeze and press, muscle memory !
    The mind can only concentrate on one thing at a time. This must be on aiming...with the trigger pull being actuated by the sub conscience alone. Most shooters practice with aim, aim, aim then think pull the trigger...WRONG ! Always think aim only and let the hand brain decide when.
    A most difficult skill to develope, but once achieved will give positive results.

    1. Huh, I call myself bored with entirely too much time on my hands.
      Still too screwed up , ta hold a real, gotta pass time somehow.

    2. Real jobs are overrated. As long as you "make work" at home. You'd be surprised how long I can stretch out making Cowboy Coffee, drinking a cup with NOL before her work, walking the dog and checking blog comments and e-mail.

    3. Then too, the book a day habit I've developed. Eats up mega amounts of time also.
      I drink about five cups while doing my am reading, starting usually around 4 am.
      Then at 10 am , I know you've posted and read yours and a couple others.
      Afterward go out and fling a few arrows. Do a little on projects etc.
      Watch the spews news while using the tube for dry fire practice heh heh.
      Go to the gym and walk on the treadmill till I numb out (bout a mile and a half now) was only ten feet two years ago lol
      So , actually I stay fairly active...

    4. If you still have Kindle Unlimited, try Slow Burn. Nine in the series. I hate zombies, but this guy is a good writer ( Bobby Adair ) and has good characters. When I want quick fluff which is oddly compelling, Pete Thorsen. I'm sure you ran into him. can give you some good stuff, also. They introduce me to non-post apoc stuff.

    5. Yeah I too usually shy away from zombie genra. Tho you're right about Adair's writing. So I went ahead and got the first three of that series.
      Mostly ,I tend to read plausible scenarios, so that I might glean usable info. Bout run out of EMP, Economic collapse, geologic event or astronomical types. Been working through the pandemic variety lately

    6. I like the "plausible scenarios" thing but I tend to gleam more from not the type of collapse but just dairy encounters after any kind of collapse. Does that make sense? I've only had one cup of coffee and was up after just six hours. Gore Warming :), this has been a very mild October-only got below freezing a few times-hard to sleep sometimes when the temp won't fall.

  2. Please define what you mean by 'marksman.' How can I tell a marksman from a non-marksman. I look forward to your reply.

    Beware range brass. Brass wears out, gets brittle and fails. This can be a minor or major problem depending on where the brass fails. You do not know the history of range brass and do not know why it was discarded. If you must use range brass, then you must, but if you have any degree of choice, don't.

    Be very careful about the alloy metal you cast. This is not a task for the ignorant. If it has anything in it other than lead, antimony, and tin, my advice is dump it and clean your melting pot.

    I've been reloading and casting for over fifty years and have made most of the common mistakes, and not a few of the rare ones.

    I cast for accuracy and hunting, from 55 to 500 grains. Have taken major African animals with my cast bullets. Felt great satisfaction.

    What have you said that you consider controversial?

    Sam Caffer

    1. I have a bit of a higher definition to marksman than the military does. They want a majority of hits on the man size target. I'd call for only the rare miss as a definition. Range is immaterial-you stay at your skill level. NOT wasting ammunition, either from semi or missing too often, would be my definition of marksmen.

  3. in days gone by I shot many a pistol match.
    of the groups of shooters by profession the police were some of the worse shooters out there, only the military were worse.

    1. See? Why do you people think I make stuff up? I listen to tales such as the above.

    2. Wow! Such generalizations. I've competed at all levels in many types of pistol and rifle sports. I'm retired USMC and sworn federal officer. Most cops (and I was one of the instructors in our state basic SWAT course) are poor shots, and worse, don't care, have no interest in getting better. The military, even the Corps of Rifleman, does not have the time/funds to train most of their people to be expert marksman.

      On the other hand the AMTU turns out a National Champion pistol or rifle marksman now and again. And I've known cops that were better than most anyone, particularly one Border Patrolman who was the most beautiful, fluid pistol shooter I have ever seen. He was as close to perfect as anybody I've know. And a police officer.

      Most of any large groups, even those with badge and weapon, are mediocre at best. Half are most likely below average.

      My definition of a good shooter is anyone who can beat me. And there aren't many of those. I do keep in mind, however, that they exist.

      A good principle to keep in mind is this:

      Someone out there is smarter, stronger, meaner, nastier, hungrier, and better prepared than you are.

    3. "Someone out there is smarter, stronger, meaner, nastier, hungrier, and better prepared than you are." Ah, how true. Yet, dare I say, do any have superior hair? HMMMM????

  4. Of course, the military has a definition, and it varies operationally with the situation. I have many examples, but my favorite involves a match requiring a one mile run before engagement of three targets by two shooters at 25 yards. Details are not necessary, but it was called a Patton Match. In any case, the first relay ran and fired. As did the second relay. It was then discovered that the first relay had run a course that was significantly less than a mile.

    What to do? We are running out of daylight and have a third relay to run. We have neither the time nor the ammunition to re-run the first relay.

    It was decided (somewhere above my pay grade) to cancel the match. I informed my team and we prepared to return to our duty station. Still OK.

    Now it gets funny: the supply officer, when informed that the match was cancelled, or as the U.S.Army put it, "did not take place," informed us that the ammo issued to and fired by relays one and two must be returned.

    Huh? "It was expended," we mere team captains explained. "No it wasn't," the supply guy stated, "because the match 'did not take place,' so come up the the ammunition." And nobody leaves until the missing ammo is found and returned.

    This being the Army, and knowing my soldiers always have a little put back for hard times, I put the screws to them and they found ammo in their vehicles or up the ass, for all I know, but we did satisfy the supply officer.

    Point of this long story? The military can and does define things situationally. You need 100% of your people qualified as "Marksman"? By God, you get it and have the paper work to prove it.

    Don't get me wrong; I had a good career in the service. Loved it. But it did get funny at times.

    I gather that since I retired many years ago, it has gotten more than funny; perhaps outright insane.

    I never had to ride around in a Humvee until I encountered a sufficient amount of high explosive to send me home; all the while requiring clearance from some JAG officer back in CONUS for permission to shoot back.

    I have come to believe that we are in the very midst of cultural collapse right now.

    Right now. As we speak. We just experience it as gradual. As Rome was built in a day, neither was it destroyed in a day.

    But destroyed it was.

    1. The culture collapse started out in the 60's. Are we still in it, or is there any left to go?

  5. Never mind the military. They have their ways. I need a better definition. Do you mean a marksman never takes a shot he can't make? Or never misses whatever the conditions if forced to fire by circumstances?

    If I had a so-called marksman on my range, what test would I apply to identify him?

    Or is there no way to identify him except after the fact?

    Standards need to be obtainable, exceedable, and quantifiable; no?

    Talk's cheap, old friend. I need quantifiable standards.

    Here's an example. Before I take a man to Africa to shoot dangerous game, I want him to demonstrate that he can hit an eight-inch target twice at fifty yards in five seconds, starting with him standing with a loaded bolt rifle of at least thirty caliber with the safety on. What position he shoots from is not material, as long as he makes the five second time.

    1. Why do you need this quantifiable? A marksman is simply at the top of his profession. I don't mean matches with rules and a strict competition, but someone who practices and improves and is in the top 5% of shooters. I thought this was self explanatory a loose, relative thing. Okay, I get it-we don't think on the same wavelength here. I see intangables.

    2. In army standards Marksman is the lowest level. Then, Sharpshooter, and the highest level of Expert.

      I'll know an Expert by how he handles his weapon(s). You can tell the diff, if you're an Expert yourself.
      If I need to hit a target 2 times in 5 seconds I won't use a bolt, what's the point?

      A good shooter understands what tools to use for any particular job. My bolts are for jobs 10X as far as 50yds. 50yds is pistol territory and my Beretta 92FS will deliver more than 5 rds into that target in 5 seconds, every time.

    3. I should have just used "expert" as otherwise everyone is in an uproar. My bad-semantics matter.

    4. @the guy with the pretentious handle, something about sniping.

      So good of you to self-identify as ignorant. But then, on the 'net, nobody knows you are a dog.

    5. Ghostsniper certainly has a rich fantasy life.

    6. As a matter. Of fact. I did qualify expert, back in the day ha ha.
      Later on I became much more proficient...

    7. 610 & 613-for what its worth, I listen to GS. I think he's the real deal. I can usually smell out BS as I've had plenty of practice.

  6. Nobody asked me, but I understand "marksman" as a position within a squad, just as a quarterback in a football team.

    So, you're our best shooter, you get to do the marksman job.

    All these anal retentiveness vibrations here are like a wiff of fresh air, fresh like when you open the door during the winter and all the heat dissipates :)

    1. Hey, I'm happy-I stirred up a big old bubbling pot here :)