Sledgehammer's Cycles

Sledgehammer's Cycles
Sledgehammer's Performance and Custom Cycles

Thursday, November 27, 2014

A Thanksgiving prayer

May the blessings of this day shine most especially on those who stand a post far from home.  The food is the least of their sacrifice.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

1967 -- 2014

Detroit burned in 1967. After 5 days, there were 43 dead, 1,189 injured and 2,000 buildings destroyed. That was only the beginning. Ten of thousands of people sold or abandoned their homes and left. The burned out businesses never rebuilt. New businesses did not move in. Other businesses closed or relocated outside the city center. The ripple effects of the '67 riots still go on.

The city is still in freefall. There's no tax base, no industry. The population is a third of what it was. Abandoned buildings and homes predominate.

It isn't going to matter why the people in Ferguson burned and looted those businesses. They are gone. It isn't going to matter what sort of justification people had or made up for their actions. All that is going to matter is that the businesses are gone and will not come back. The people of Ferguson will now look to government to fix things.

My guess is that the government will promise big and deliver just like they did in Detroit.

Chrysler Is Now FCA

FCA, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. As part of this they are doing away with the Chrysler pentagon star logo, commonly called the Pentastar. The logo has been around since 1962.

This has prompted a movement to save the logo.

I suppose if you had fond memories of Chryslers like this one, there might be some nostalgia for the old logo.

My memories of cars that carried the Pentastar will always be tainted by the K-Car era and Lee Iacocca. In case your memories of this time have been mercifully wiped, here's Lee and the 1982 Chrysler offering. His last comment, "If you can find a better car, buy it.", is exactly why we have so many Nissan and Toyotas on the road.

Quote of the Day

About those riots:
The unseen winners in the aftermath of the shooting of Michael Brown, and now of the refusal to indict his shooter, are those middle-class and upper-class people who approve of the riots but who of course are not affected adversely by them. It is not their neighborhoods that are being trashed. It is not their neighborhoods that will go into decline as businesses leave. No, but they believe that they are doing the right thing in supporting the rioters. Maybe they even have a nice job in the media or as a professor in which they can propound their views for all the world to hear while calling anyone who disagrees a racist.

But there’s a nasty little joke about stock brokers who lose their client’s money that can be adapted here: the broker made money, and the firm made money, and two out of three ain’t bad. So, how about this? The media representatives didn’t have their neighborhoods trashed, and the ivory-tower theorists didn’t have their neighborhoods trashed, and two out of three ain’t bad.
But remember - those people are smarter and nicer than you or I.  They keep telling us that.


3-Gun on Saturday at the local club. Here's the message.

We will have 5 stages that will challenge your shooting skills. There will be rifle on all 5 stages with shots from 5 yards to 175 yards! Round count shakes out something like this....

30 shotgun
54 pistol
102 rifle
That's a high rifle count for us. Should be fun. I may get out to the range Friday and do some practicing. I have just the target to ensure I know what I'm doing.

I hadn't realized there was so much money to be made playing games

The computer gaming world is facing a cheating scandal:
Over the weekend, Valve had a little autumnal clearout of their suspected Counter-Strike: Global Offensive cheater list. In among the script kiddies and third accounts being handed Valve Anti-Cheat (VAC) bans were some familiar names to those who follow pro CS:GO. None other than Titan’s Hovik “KQLY” Tovmassian and Epsilon’s Gordon “SF” Giry were banned, just hours before their teams were set to fly out to DreamHack Winter in Sweden, forcing both the tournament to drop the teams and the teams to drop the players.
The tournament prize purse is something like $6M, so it's not really a surprise that some people are cheating.  Still, that's a lot of money, and it's only one tournament.  I guess this is where you insert a joke about a parent encouraging his kid to spend more time playing games ...

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

How Long Does It Take?

In 1950, two Puerto Rican nationalists attempted to kill Pr. Harry Truman. Truman was living in Blair House at the time while the White House was being renovated. They attacked at 2 PM, opening fire on the guards. Training, tactics and weapons were not really adequate, but the Secret Service and White House Police managed to prevail.

One officer was killed, two others wounded. The gunfight lasted about 40 seconds.

I found the a write-up of the events on the Family, Friends and Firearms Forum. If you scroll down in this link, the full article by Massad Ayoob from American Handgunner Magazine is posted. His review and assessment of the events is worth reading.

When things go wrong, they go all the way wrong, and it happens very fast.

UPDATE: TheAxe left us a comment recommending a book about the assassination attempt, it's called American Gunfight, Stephen Hunter is the author.

Remember how Obama was a super smart, super cool technocrat?

You know, one who would set policy based on the smartest analysis, rather than the way it was done by Chimpy McHalliburton?  Yeah, me neither:
President Obama completely fumbles when George Stephanopolous asks him how he’d respond if a future president takes the same action on taxes that Obama has taken on immigration. Incredibly, Obama responds as if he’d never heard or thought of this argument before, stumbling blindly along immigration talking points without answering the actual question.

Stephanopolous asked: “How do you respond to the argument, a future president comes in and wants lower taxes. Doesn’t happen. Congress won’t do it; so he says ‘I’m not going to prosecute those who don’t pay capital gains tax.’”

“The truth of the matter is George,” said the President, haltingly, “The reason that we, have to do.. uhm prosecutorial discretion in immigration, is that we know, that we – are not even close to being able to deal with the folks who have been here a long time…” Obama then pivoted to immigration talking points, without addressing the original question.
Nice crease in the trouser leg, though.

The silence of the antivirus industry

A public autopsy of sophisticated intelligence-gathering spyware Regin is causing waves today in the computer security world.

But here's a question no one's answering: given this super-malware first popped up in 2008, why has everyone in the antivirus industry kept quiet about it until now? Has it really taken them years to reverse engineer it?


For one thing, it doesn't operate like conventional spyware: Regin doesn't form a remotely controlled botnet – suggesting its masters really didn't want it to be found – nor does it harvest personal financial information.

Instead it collects intelligence useful to state spies. Coupled with the fact that virtually no infections have been reported in the US, UK or other Five Eyes nations, some to suspect it's the work of the NSA, GCHQ or their contractors.
The NSA's fingerprints look to be all over this.  Of course, they've been all about intelligence gathering for, well, forever. 

It is interesting that it's taken 6 years for the antivirus industry to catch this, but it's plausible that the unusual behavior and small number of infected devices explain that.

Whether it's good politics to spy on our allies like this is another discussion.

Monday, November 24, 2014

What You Can See Coming

If the President Leader can ignore laws, the Constitutional system, and his own Oath of Office to grant amnesty to people who entered the country illegally, and Congress responds to this by adjourning for the holiday, what's to stop him from do the same thing with any other pesky issue that gets in the way, like gun control?

No, I didn't see that coming

One Million Steps

Here's a book recommendation. And here's an interview with the author, Bing West. Mr. West was an infantry officer in VietNam, served as an assistant Secretary of Defense under Pr. Reagan, and authored a series of books. I think this one is his best work.

This book is about a platoon at war. Really at war. This isn't nation building. This is small unit patrols, IEDs, and casualties. Day after day.

One Million Steps should be mandatory reading for every citizen who wants to understand the reality of the war we are in with those who would destroy our civilization and kill us. It is a stunning, sobering, and brilliantly written book.”—Newt Gingrich

Basil Hayden

My new favorite bourbon.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

For Jay G, The Chevy 789

 Jay G posted up some Friday Car Pr0n and he questioned how well a retro '57 Bel Air or Nomad would do in the market and whether it would get done right.

Here's one answer, the Chevy 789, taking features from the '57, '58, and '59 Chevrolet, grafted onto the body of a C5 or C6 series Corvette. The body is hand done. The engine is replaced with one a number of high performance options. There's a theme to them, but each one is unique.

They look like this.

It's a Grail Car. With the starter car for this project being a late model Corvette, and the cost of the mod, one of these will set you back at least $140,000.

It's been a long time

... since I've made Mickey Mouse pancakes.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Forgotten War

No, not Korea.

The forgotten war of the 1920s and the 1930, the Banana Wars.

Haiti --1915 to 1934.
Dominican Republic--1916-1924.
Honduras, where the term "banana republic" was coined to describe the use of U.S. Marines in support of the United Fruit Company--off and on between 1903 and 1925.


And since I like stories about Marines, here's one.

Christian Frank Schilt, one of the early pilots in the Marine Corps, received the Medal of Honor for actions taken in January of 1928 in Nicaragua. Here's the citation:
During the progress of an insurrection at Quilali, Nicaragua, 6, 7, and 8 January 1928, 1st Lt. Schilt, then a member of a marine expedition which had suffered severe losses in killed and wounded, volunteered under almost impossible conditions to evacuate the wounded by air and transport a relief commanding officer to assume charge of a very serious situation. 1st Lt. Schilt bravely undertook this dangerous and important task and, by taking off a total of 10 times in the rough, rolling street of a partially burning village, under hostile infantry fire on each occasion, succeeded in accomplishing his mission, thereby actually saving 3 lives and bringing supplies and aid to others in desperate need.
Christian Schilt went on to serve in the Pacific in WWII, then was commander of the 1st Marine Airwing in Korea. He retired as a 4-star in 1957. There were not many times during his career that the gates to the temple would have been closed.

Old People Remember

Where were you?

I was six. In first grade. The custodian came into the room and put black cloth over the American flag. The teacher announced what had happened, then sat down at her desk, put her face in her hands, and cried.

I got back on a motorcycle today

Cowboy up.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Breakfast of (Kentucky) Champions

Hot Brown and Ale 8. And a birthday party. Been quite a while since I've been around small kids. It's as fun now as it was then.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, November 21, 2014

Assessing This Blog

Borepatch and I have been blogging since 2008. We started blogging together in June of this year.

Last night we had a long, wide ranging phone conversation. It was a great conversation, one I would have with a brother, if I had one. It touched a lot of topics and I think neither of us could quite find a way to bring it to an end.

One of those topics was this blog, what we are doing, why, and how we assess ourselves. Bloggers create their content, either unique or rehashed, and post it. We have no editors. We are unpaid. The digital equivalent of the guy standing on a soapbox in the park. 

We can look at two things. Hit counts and comments. Hit counts are a measure of how many people visit the site, how long they stay, how many pages they click on, what they click on, and how they got to the site. It is a regular, clockwork way to get a feel for hits. A lot of you are regulars, you stop by every day. Some one time visitors go to a particular post as a result of a search.

Comments are the other measure. Comments are like manna to a blogger. If you moved a reader enough to get a comment, it's a plus. A post that generates a discussion of readers, especially a discussion that doesn't devolve into insults and Godwin's Law, is a gift.

Sometimes you put up a post that you labored over. Something you care about, a personal story like the one I did a few days ago about photography and the Marine Corps. You think, "There, that's a great post." You put it up and sit back waiting for comments. Instead, crickets.

Other times you put a picture of a cat and some one line joke and thirty people chime in.

It may be that we are using hit counts and comments as assessment tools and it's a false measure. Maybe the regular readers really enjoyed a post, but just didn't have anything to add. Maybe the ones that got something out of it only lurk and never comment. How would we know?

We don't know what we don't know.

Meanwhile a picture of a cat...

And three one liners, that's an extra two just for reading this far...

1. I thought I wanted a career, turns out I just wanted paychecks.
2. Never hit a man with glasses. Hit him with a baseball bat.
3. With sufficient thrust, pigs fly just fine.

What is Your Time Worth?

I called Borepatch last night to tell him about the surplus .303 at $0.40 a round. One of things I said was, "You can't reload it for that price." Which is true, if you're buying projectiles.

I looked up some prices. These are current prices, although the powder was unavailable.

Bullets -- $29.00 a hundred, so 29 cents each
Powder -- H4350, $28.00 a pound, 7000 gr./lb., 44 gr./round, so about 17 cents each
Primers -- $32.00 a thousand, so 3 cents each
Cases -- Let's say you have the cases.

Reloading .303 British would cost you $0.49 a round for materials. ($235.00 for 480 rounds)

Of course, you could cast bullets. Assuming that you can find a source of free lead and you don't count the cost of the propane to make the ingots, let's call the cast bullets free. Now, you're at 29 cents a round. ($139.00 for 480 rounds)

Let's also forget all the equipment costs for the reloading and casting equipment, too. Call that a sunk cost, amortized years ago. The storage and work space, tables, cabinets, presses, dies, the brass prep tools, scales, lead molds, lubrisizer, powder measures, etc. all written off and forgotten.

You haven't done the work yet. So let's talk about time.

Note**: The following applies to calibers you already know, that you have loaded before, and that you can readily set up. If you were starting with a new caliber, all bets are off on how long it would take. You would be making up small test lots, going out and shooting them over a chronograph and shooting them for accuracy and function, collecting data and generally spending many hours getting to the point where you would consider loading in larger quantities like this.

Say I set up the lead pot, get it heated up, warm up the mold, get all the safety gear on, and cast some bullets. I have a 2 cavity steel mold, and allowing a half hour of getting things ready, I start making usable bullets at the rate of 4 to 6 bullets a minute (I'm an optimist). Allowing for some futzing, some discards, and the setup time, I make about 200 bullets an hour for a couple of hours work.

I take my 400 usable bullets and run them one at a time through a lubrisizer to size, lube, and seat a gas check. That's probably 2 bullets a minute, give or take. Maybe I'm a little quicker than 2, so let's call that 3 hours at the lubrisizer.

That's 5 hours to make 400 loadable rifle bullets. And I think that's optimistic, but not unrealistic.

Now you tumble up 400+ cases. One by one, you rub some lube on them. I use Imperial, put a very light coat on each case. Get the sizing/decapping die adjusted in the press. Pick them up one by one and size them. Then maybe I tumble them again, or rub the lube off. After that, one by one, I prime them. I have a couple of priming tools, but none that don't require some attention and effort.

Primed, sized cases, ready to be loaded with powder, are what you want to keep around. Now you set up the seating die in the press. Set up a powder measure to the specified quantity. Then you put powder in cases. I tend to do 10 at a time, then check them visually. Each one is run through the press one more time. At this point, setting the bullet in place and pulling the handle finishes a usable round.

What kind of time do I have in making 400 rounds? 3-4 hours to lube and size the cases, 2-3 hours to prime them,  4-5 hours to throw powder and seat bullets? I dunno. I doubt I'm handling a hundred an hour on a single stage press no matter how efficient I am. I may have to actually time myself on each step of a hundred the next time I do 30.06 and see what it is for each part of the process.

Pretend I'm in the ballpark and it takes about 2 hours accumulated work to do 100 rounds of rifle ammo for a caliber you're familiar with. If you're using cast bullets, add another 2 hours to cast and lubrisize 100 bullets (one hour for each step).

What is an hour of your time worth? I reload. I cast. I do it because I enjoy it. It's a hobby unto itself, not just work I do so I can go enjoy the shooting sports. But I know I'm not reloading to save money and I don't think about the time.

Name that rifle!

Tacitus sometimes puts up pictures of old grave stones.  This time he's found one with a lever action rifle on it.

Head on over and leave a comment on what you think it is.  I already emailed him my thoughts, but the more the merrier.

National Ammo Day

OK, I'm a little late for this, but I just ordered by Christmas Present.

Cheaper Than Dirt found some mil-surp .303 Brit.  Can't beat the price - 40 cents a round.  Actually, co-blogger ASM826 found it, and called me.  Thanks!