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Friday, September 30, 2011

Flashback Friday! Rotoscoping (Cartoonish NSFW)

Rotoscoping has been used as a technique for animation a very long time. Almost anyone (male) my age went to the theater to see the movie "Heavy Metal". Aside from the animation that is old school and admittedly driven by adolescent fantasies there are things here that stand out (I know, I know). The movie was farmed out to several teams that worked on segments of the movie. The soundtrack has some things you just cannot get anywhere else. Nice tunes from Steely Dan and Stevie Nicks as well. 

So here is the raw footage of the rotoscoping of the heroine Tarrna. The live action part was played by Carole Desbiens.

So what does our fictional heroine do? Well this for starters.

Yes, a guilty pleasure from long ago. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Smith and Wesson Top Break!

So my Curmudgeon at large whips this out last weekend. Says he has had it for over 30 years. Wants to know if I can find anything out about it. I'm in over my head here. All I can find is serial numbers on the cylinder, top of the back strap, and butt. They all match. 

There are patents stamped on the top of the barrel. First patent seems to be Jan. 24 '65 and reissued with the last date Jan 03 '82 (I think). Hell even the big honking magnifying glass is letting me down! 

Big pictures! Click to enlarge! 


It will not go in to battery. It has a small bulge slightly over half way in the barrel. I don't even know what caliber it is. 

So what to do? You know I want to fire it! Clean it? Leave it alone? I know I can zip some money to the S&W Historian to find out more but I thought I would ask for some help here first (*cough, cough, Tam*)! Any would be appreciated! 

Oh the Curmudgeon has a lap top and stalks constantly! Typing is not his thing! 

Thanks again for any help you can offer!


Monday, September 26, 2011

Someone is channeling the '80's!

The lovely and always amazing Brigid seems to be going through an 80's flashback. 

So I will play. It has been said that the Eagles chronicled life in California in the 70's. Steely Dan picked up doing it for the early eighties. 

So although I love the Eagles, I tend to gravitate to the technical precision of two people that hired studio musicians   for everything else. Much like The Alan Parsons Project. I know. I dated a piano player hired for "The Turn of a Friendly Card" album. She was amazing. Made me walk in the rain with her. It was never to be, but those were times I fondly remember. 

Here is Steely Dan with one of my favorites from them.

The second thing you do to a new M&P!

After shooting several hundred rounds through it simply this:

Get an APEX sear spring, sear, and trigger spring for it. 

Void factory warranty by beating on it with a hammer and removing parts (click to well, you know):

Sear assembly on the right. New sear lower right on the punch block. 

Then move to the trigger assembly to replace the trigger spring:

Trigger assembly to the right. Ambidextrous slidestop levers to far right. Trigger housing to upper center above the slide. 

APEX provided a slave pin for this and it helped!

Then beat on it some more and you get this:

So now I have a trigger that is MUCH smoother and has a quicker reset. Almost like my 1911. It is worth the effort! 

Oh crap! NOW they tell me to have this installed by a competent gunsmith! I should have read the directions first. 

FTC crap. I payed for all of this, thank you very much!

So I briefly entertained the thought today to audition for the 4th season of Top Shot. Any thoughts?

You do what you can...

Local media was at the range yesterday for all the wrong reasons. We all do everything we can and still wind up with senseless tragedies like this. How very sad.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Range Review- The S&W M&P VTAC

So lets get the big question out of the way. Does this make my rear end look big?

Seriously though I have found this Handgun surprising. Many pundits on the Interwebz decry the sights due to a perceived notion that having 6 dots on the sights "overwhelming" or  "too visually cluttered". I will let my range partner from yesterday handle this. I always think I am the Curmudgeon at large. My older friend by several decades brings it. He LOVES a Colt 1911 and is a firm believer that "Colt's are for Semi-Autos, Smith and Wesson for revolvers". Period. End of story. He even gave me some Blog fodder to take pictures of for later this week.

After warming up with a 1911 we go to the M&P. First five rounds by me destroy the "Q" at 7 yds. from a duh, wait for it, an FBI Q target. I did not take a picture as I had a witness. He goes to it. He is drilling the target. He remarks the pundits on the Interwebz: "Full of S**T, these are the best sights I have ever used". He adds that he can't see! 

The stove pipe issues with the reloads are slowly going away. We run 50 commercial rounds through it with no problem. I loaded my reloads to minimum powder charge and they worked fine on a older M&P Pro series. The fact the Pro had a 5" barrel vs. the VTAC 4.25 barrel and being new is probably the factor here.

Today was tactical training for the coming zombie bowling pin apocalypse. After getting the customers out of the way and the range closed I go back to it. Pins fell, the QEB target had everything ventilated properly.

I will put the APEX kit on it. 

Bottom line? I trust it. I will carry it. It is fun to shoot. I will be carrying with these:


The sight thing is a non-issue in my book. If there is enough ambient light for the VTAC fiber optics to work they will. If not, the Trijicon nights sights will pick up the slack. 

So for now my Colt will live in semi retirement. I must say that I think this Handgun is for right now a worthy successor.  

Friday, September 23, 2011

Space updated again!

Several have commented on the fact they like the look of the new gun. Ok, I gave it another look after cleaning and lubricating. On the other side of the VTAC Logoed fiber optic sights I find this:

Trijicon night sights? Really? OK, I'm impressed for the night sights! I have them on my Colt. So I attempt to come to grips with all of this. Plastic gun, plastic holster right?

Fobus paddle holster. I used it at the AFHF class. The holes on the side are for you to index your trigger finger on when you get your firing grip. I am beginning to come to the dark side. 

So plastic gun and leather? Can they coexist? DeSantis leather:


Ok, maybe I was wrong! I am becoming at least tolerant of this new stuff! I DO prefer the leather holster still. The plastic one does shoot fast though! Oh, and less shiny gun stuff on us is always good right? 

FTC disclaimer. I bought everything here. So there! 

The Space has been updated!

Thanks for all the comments on the semi retirement of my old friend. It is special to me in many ways. I cannot comment on some of them. So when deciding on my Tupperware gun I had three primary constraints:

1. Cannot be a Glock

2. Cannot be a Glock

3. Cannot be a Glock

Before I offend anyone I must point out that I am a Factory certified Glock Armorer and a member of the GSSF. I have nothing against Glock's, and conversely have nothing for them either. I have shot my share of them and taken many apart. If that is your thing, fine by me. I observed one at the last class I took that ate a double charge reload. The shooter was not hurt. I was impressed. 

So with the disclaimer out of the way here is this Pistol (click to enbiggen):

Smith and Wesson M&P 9mm with VTAC sights. 4.25 inch barrel. Other than that pretty much a plain Jane M&P. Yes, it is butt ugly. "Flat Earth" color? Whatever. The sights are fiber optic on top with night sights below. 

Bad shot of the rear sight but I hope you get the idea:

So why this one? To quote SGT Hartman: "You want to be different"? In a word yes. I had two M&P's for class but I never had to go to the backup. It performed flawlessly.  I am used to the 4.25 barrel length for concealed carry with my Colt. I ran 10 rounds through it straight out of the box. My reloads and they stovepiped. I hope it is because it was dry. I will find out more tomorrow.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Watch This Space!

Whoops! Not that one! That is the pistol I took to class. It is not mine, but it performed admirably.

Watch THIS space:

Oh, clicky to enbiggen.

If the UPS gods are smiling on me I will have something to retire this from carry duty tomorrow:

Yes I have bowed to the inevitable. A plastic gun will be here tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

But Ma, it followed me home!

I cannot keep it though. Here is a really fun lever action to shoot. The Marlin 1894C. Chambered for .357/.38Spl. 

A friend asked me to clean it and give it the once over.

Disassembled it looks like this for cleaning:

This is a fun rifle to shoot and I guarantee that it shoots Zombie bowling pins dead!

Congratulations to my 17 Basic Pistol and 4 CCH students this weekend! !

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Knife Thing

Its going around today. You are to take a picture of your daily carry knife. Here's mine:

Case XX 5120R with Stag handles.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Difficult to do...

And she nails it!

So much for the "fine motor vs. gross motor skills" right?


That time of the month. New shooter class tomorrow followed with CCH Sunday. Once again the "big honking range bag" is out.

Perhaps it will not be a Media event this month!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Old Dog, meet new tricks!

So I went to northern Virginia to ToddG's "Aim Fast Hit Fast" class last weekend. I have very little experience with the "high speed low drag" crowd. In fact this was the forth Firearm class I have attended and NRA nor the NCDOJ CCH Instructor class was anything like this! 

Unpack (click to enbiggen as usual)!

ToddG is an excellent instructor. He does not chant "Tacticool" buzz phrases. He is a thinking persons instructor. He tells you WHY he does it this way and then demonstrates it. He is a consummate operator and more importantly to me instructor with a Handgun.   

Lord knows I must have burned up a lot of his patience! He was always there to offer tips, critiques, and "hey don't do that again, OK"?  He DOES want all of his students to do well and it showed. Range safety was paramount and the range facility rivaled USTC. 

I had zero practice at presentation from concealment at speed with a timer on me. I had plenty when I left!

Simply put if you want to be better with all aspects of running a Handgun, Todd's class is worth the time, effort and energy.  I was firmly pushed out of my comfort zone and that is what I need to continue to learn. I was so frustrated with my performance after the first day I thought briefly about not even showing up the next day. I'm not IDPA or IPSEC, everyone is younger than me, just pack it in and go home.

Instead of going to class dinner on the first night I went back to the room to practice the pressout and other techniques. It probably did not help my standing with other classmates to not attend. No matter. I did have words of encouragement that night from several people. That meant a lot. The most important came from B. I went back!

Sunday I was somewhat redeemed. When shooting the steel plates head to head with other students with three targets strong hand only and three weak hand I prevailed. Old dudes can keep up! 

After the end of class Todd asked if anyone wanted to stay and shoot more. I stayed. Even after class, he had competitions already devised to keep up shooting, still offering pointers to students. It is very obvious this man has a passion for what he does. I will show back up to vex him again like a moth to the flame. 

On another note the S&W M&P Pro Series with my reloads had no malfunctions. Good on me and good on S&W! We did have a Glock throw up on a reload during class but it was the reload, not the pistol.  

We shot until dark and again he asked if anyone wanted to go to dinner. I had to decline as I was headed to "Banjo Country" to meet someone the next day.

After a little ride I arrived in lagniappe's lair country. Hole up and meet Murphy's Law over breakfast. I jump in his ride for a trip to a gunsmith and the range. WARNING! If you are a victim passenger in a motor vehicle with him, use the "Oh Jesus" handrail on the passenger side. You will need it! We arrive at the range. I would not have been able to make it there in my ride. So we go at it. ML details the events from there here.  

So I am careening around Banjo Country.  I am out manned and out gunned. My Blackberry is going "wait, what?" trying to get location updates. This is the first Blogger I have met in meat space. NO banjo music in the background and the conversation is great. ML took a great deal of time and effort for us to go shoot. I relax. Here he is on his M-60:

ML is a class act all around. It was a pleasure to meet him and I will return to Lagniappe's lair as soon as I can. The "secret weapon" was covered in awesome sauce! The other hardware was just as impressive as the man owning it. I cannot say enough about ending my weekend with ML. IT was a perfect ending.  

Monday, September 12, 2011

I'm Back!

And I am toast. Off to work tomorrow. More later on the weekend's activities!

Thursday, September 8, 2011


This is a repost from January.  I have added this to it. You know the drill, click to enbiggen!


If you are going to putz with these things you have to have the knowledge. Shop manuals for everything from a 1967 Cadillac to a 2004 F-150. The binders are the records for automobiles I get my hands on occasionally.

Here is one of the oldest books I have yet one I consider a treasure:

First edition in 1947, the second 1955. I enjoy this book and consider it one of the best if you decide to work on "old school" stuff.

 Next up overflow parking for mostly fiction:

Then the current queue: 

And now the post from January!

Several Bloggers of late have posted about books. B. has a picture or two here. Tam laments the fluid nature of the Internet here. The Retrotechnologist shows even more dead tree media and made accommodations for them.   

Books have always been an important part of my life and in every room in this house you will for better or worse find printed media. 

Here is the current shot of the dining room table. You may infer that I am not all about fine dining and you would be correct unless I have guests:

Here is an end table in my living room with two books from my home town:

 Here is the coffee table:

The right hand side is a "Today in History" book. I find it enjoyable. 

Here is a shot from the office bookshelf:

And another: 

These are textbooks I have used as both student and teacher. If anyone notes the age of some of these I would be impressed! 

Finally another bookshelf picture. 

Many thanks to those that have commented on books and there will be more of them here I fear based on their recommendations! 

They do have a permanence to them that the Internet will never have! The oldest one here I acquired when I was 13. If you have not read it, get 2001. It does explain much after watching the movie! It was not HAL's fault, but the folly of man in my opinion!  

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

UPDATE! Feature or Bug?

ZombieRush brought it. DUH! RTFM! Right there on page 16 it says it will do just this:


Power is back on! So you decide. S&W M&P Pro Series. 9mm in slide lock. Attempting a reload (with dummy rounds of course!) Here is what we get. 

I DID NOT engage the slide stop lever. It does it all the time unless you carefully hit the magazine buttplate at a 90 degree angle or do not use as much force. This is the primary Firearm going with me next weekend. It DOES load a cartridge when this occurs. 

I will have my trusted M1911 as backup. So is it a bug or feature for timed competition?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

HMI and engineering

I received a call tonight. Not just a pedestrian call, but one that in retrospect made me think. One I was not expecting was a plus!

I will save this for a much longer post, but the topic is this. Humans design control systems and humans must interpret them and act upon them. They (engineers and end users) nowadays seem to come at it with competing viewpoints. The fact relayed to me today is that engineering can be used to try to reconstruct what went wrong between the humans and the machine. That is wonderful, but I fear that the human training element is lacking nowadays. On both ends.

When I get back I will post about how humans could do nothing to change what was going to happen due to bad engineering. I will then tell how humans overcame a human error that threw the technology in the ditch, but not because of the technology. It worked fine given its constraints.

I fear that we are lacking the training for humans to master what other humans create. More importantly the will to decide the machine is lying and take control without assistance from the algorithms and programming others have made seems to be lacking.  The skill to DO that successfully also seems to be lacking if it becomes needed. 


Blogging will be lighter than normal this week. I know some of you view that as unpossible, but I have things to do for the upcoming trip. 

1500 rounds of 9mm reloaded, 400 rounds of factory too for after class activities:

Oh, BTW can anyone tell me HOW to put the poncho:

Back into the pouch?

So for the first time in a while I cleaned this out:

And I do have this to load into the car for an excursion into "Banjo Country":

Oh, here is the IDPA "Concealment Garment". I hope everyone approves!

I will try to get back before I go! 

I will leave you with this little post from the wonderfully eclectic Frog Blog. I like it!