Thursday, August 9, 2012

PRIMER - The Blood Dancers: "Why do you need an "assault" weapon for hunting?"

In the wake of the Aurora shootings, the media bombarded the public with pictures of the "menacing" AR-15 rifle, and stories about why it shouldn't be allowed in the hands of citizens. It's an argument that I've heard over and over again; we should ban weapons that have no "sporting purpose."  The gun grabbers (reluctantly) concede that guns should only be used for sport, and gun "X" isn't suitable for sport, so no one should have gun "X".  Next week, substitute gun "Y", and continue this pattern until the list is down to five guns or so that they will magnanimously "allow" you to own.

Like most arguments that the blood dancers fall back upon, it starts with a fallacious concept...that somehow, the laws only recognize guns as legitimate for hunting or target practice.  In reality, nothing could be further from the truth.  The Constitution specifically refers to the right to bear arms being recognized as necessary for the militia, which constitutes "...the people themselves, ... all men capable of bearing arms..." Militia weapons are military weapons, because the purpose of the militia is not hunting.

So, yes, regardless of what you think of it, the Constitution does allow for people to own military style weapons.  But, let's assume for a moment that there IS some "sporting purpose clause" that doesn't allow any gun that can't be used for hunting.  "Wow, things would be different," you might be tempted to say.  "No one would ever get shot again. People would sing and get along.  Birds would land on your shoulder every day.  Unicorns would poop jellybeans on your doorstep."

Pay no attention to the fact that we had an assault weapons ban at one time from 1994-2004 and it failed to prevent the Jonesboro shooting in 1998 and the Columbine shooting in 1999, along with a few others. This time, it will work!

But even if the blood dancers were intellectually honest and decided to ban ONLY "assault" weapons that had no sporting purpose, what would the display cases at the gun stores look like?  The short answer is: much the way they look today, but again, only if they could be trusted to remain intellectually honest.  Why?  Because many of the so-called "assault weapons" not only can be used for sport, but many, many are already used for sport. 

"But everyone agrees that you don't need an AK-47 to go hunting!"  Dismissing the fact that taking firearms advice from someone who wants to ban guns is like taking fire extinguisher advice from an arsonist, I can only say, "Yes, in fact, some ALREADY use an AK-47 to go hunting".  The truth is, the AK-47 can actually be an excellent rifle for deer or other medium sized game, dependent upon several factors. None of those factors would necessitate any changes to the gun.

Most AK-47 type rifles fire one particular type of round, known as "7.62x39", in the nomenclature that the Russian makers of ammunition use to denote their caliber.  What this means in layman's terms is that the round is 7.62 mm in diameter, and the entire shell casing is 39 mm long.  If you think of 39 mm, you're not talking about a big object...just 1.5 inches. It doesn't sound like a very powerful round, because it isn't.  In fact, it's American counterpart is considered the .30-30, which is very similar in size and power, that is to say, small size and low power. Nevertheless, the .30-30 (and by extension, the 7.62x39) is an ideal cartridge for deer.

But how does either stack up to a .30-06, a classic caliber that even non-gun owners have probably heard of?  In terms of total killing power, not very well. The .30-06 is a much larger round.  The bullet is the same diameter, but the overall length of the shell casing is 63 mm, or 2.48 inches long, almost an inch longer. What does this mean?  A larger casing means more room for gun powder.  More powder means a much higher powered and deadlier round.  A gun that shoots a 7.62x39 or a .30-30 round is NOT a high powered weapon.  It's effective range is around 200 yards.  Puny, by most hunting rifle standards, and no match for the .30-06 that has a range of hundreds of yards.

So, here is an incontrovertible fact that assault weapons ban proponents don't want you to hear: one shot from your Grandpa's old hunting rifle, which they claim to be uninterested in banning,  is far more dangerous than a round out of an AK-47 which they favor banning. Logical?

"So why would people hunt with an AK-47, if it has so little power?"  Because in some circumstances, low power has advantages.  Youths, females, or shooters that are slight of build love the 7.62x39 and the .30-30, because of the smaller size and weight of the guns that fire them, the small size and weight of the ammo, and the low recoil.  These guns are comfortable to shoot, but are still plenty powerful enough to take a deer or wild hog at reasonable ranges.  I would give a novice shooter an AR-15 or AK-47 to learn on before I would EVER let them shoot a "classic" high-powered hunting rifle.  In fact, my own son mastered my AR-15 before I ever let him try my higher powered .308. 

Furthermore, in many locations, with hilly terrain and an abundance of brush and trees, a long range firearm is overkill, and even the veteran shooter who's accustomed to recoil will grab a lighter, easier to handle rifle if logic dictates. There's simply no need to carry a long, heavy, 1000 yard rifle into the woods with large, weighty ammo (yes, even a few rounds of .30-06 can weigh several pounds) when a lightweight carbine like an AK-47 with smaller rounds will do the job, and leave you much less fatigued at the end of the day.

So yes, the AK-47 can be used for hunting.  If you still don't believe me, look at this:

A "regular" AK-47:

A "sporting" AK-47, called a "Saiga".

The only difference between the regular AK and the sporter AK is the lack of a pistol grip  and the movement of the trigger group rearward to accommodate the different stock.  Guess what?  It can shoot the same rounds at the same speed and in the same volume as the regular AK-47.  Cosmetically, they are clearly different.  Look how scary the top one is! No matter. Functionally, they are identical, so much so that some parts interchange out of the box or with slight modification.

Why did they change the second gun? To make it importable, because our silly laws ban importation of rifles with pistol grips.  But, only from certain countries, one of them being Russia.  You can still get a Romanian AK type rifle that looks almost EXACTLY like the scary "regular" AK-47 pictured above, pistol grip and all, functionally identical to the "sporterized" Saiga. Stupid, huh?

"But, the modifications made the gun less 'assaulty' and more 'sporting', right?" In a word, no. With no pistol grip on the Saiga, the trigger had to be moved rearward so the shooter could reach it easily when holding the stock. The movement of the trigger actually affected the "trigger pull", which is the amount of tension and general feel of the trigger, because it now had to be connected with an extra linkage.

This linkage made the trigger mushy and more difficult to pull, causing the gun to drift off target due to too much effort being exerted on the trigger, It also meant that the gun might not fire exactly the same way every time, preventing the shooter from getting a consistent shot.  So, despite being an attempt to make the AK-47 more "sporting" according to the law, it is actually less so in practice, because there is a slightly greater chance of an inaccurate shot wounding an animal instead of dispatching it cleanly.

As a result, many people who buy Saigas convert them right back to the "classic" pistol grip configuration of the original AK-47 and move the trigger back where it belongs, circumventing the intent law and making them more accurate and pleasant to shoot.  It is perfectly legal to do so, and in fact a cottage industry has sprung up just for the purpose of doing "Saiga conversions". 

I guess the "broken window" theory of economics is alive and well.  Either way, removing the pistol grip wouldn't prevent the gun from being used for nefarious purposes, nor would the presence of one prevent a person from using it for hunting.  For all intents and purposes, it only changes the outward appearance of the gun.

"Well, what about the AR-15?  Surely THAT is a powerful, evil assault weapon.  After all, that's what the Aurora shooter used, and look how many people he killed. There's simply no need for people to have THAT rifle for hunting."

The .223 round used in AR type rifles is even lower in recoil than that used in the AK, and the bullet is smaller to boot.  Most AR-15's are renowned for their accuracy, largely in part because they are built to close tolerances, and as a result, can shoot within an inch of the "bullseye" at 100 yards or more.  AR-15's can still take deer sized game, but are also ideal for smaller animals, and for pest control.

If you still don't believe me, look at this:

Here's a typical, scary AR-15 with a 20" barrel:

And here's a much more tame "sporter" AR-15 marketed specifically for hunting:

Do they look similar?  That's because they are.  In fact, they are nearly identical in many ways.  Lots of parts will interchange between the two.

So, what modifications would I have to do to the scary rifle on the top to make it a legal hunting rifle like the one on the bottom?  None.  I could take the top rifle out into the woods in most locations and legally (and effectively) hunt with it in the configuration pictured, just like the "sporter".  For almost any purpose, and as far as the law is concerned, these rifles are functionally identical.  Both can be equipped with accessories, scopes, different capacity magazines, etc.  The second "sporter" version fires the same ammo as quickly and in the same volume as the "original" in the first picture. But the first one is more scary.

"Wait a mean it's LEGAL to hunt with an assault weapon?"  Yes, it is, and people do it all the time.  Here are the regulations concerning what guns can be used for hunting in my home state:

"It is illegal to hunt deer with...a rifle using rimfire ammunition of less than .25 caliber...[or] a fully automatic rifle, shotgun or handgun...."

There you have it.  Both the rifles I mentioned are center-fire rifles, not rimfire, and both are semi automatic, not fully automatic. There are actually more regulations concerning the characteristics of bows and arrows used for hunting than rifles, at least in my home state.  I suspect other states would have similar regulations.

Just for fun, let's look at one more rifle I haven't mentioned, the Mini 14 Tactical: 

 And the Mini 14 Ranch Rifle:

You know the drill.  Functionally identical semi automatic rifles.  Magazines interchangeable.  Both shoot the same .223  center fire ammo as the AR-15, at the same velocity, in the same volumes.  In fact, the tame rifle on the bottom can be converted to look like the scary rifle on top in a matter of a few minutes, with the right parts.  Not one aspect of its actual function would be affected by the conversion.  It would remain perfectly legal, even desirable, for hunting.

So, when you hear someone say "No one needs an assault weapon to go hunting", as if that is a hypothetical, ridiculous situation that few, if any, sensible people have tried, the fact is, lots of successful hunters have already used "assault weapons" for years as a matter of routine, which is why they think "assault" weapons bans are stupid.  The AR is a precision weapon with great accuracy.  The AK is a tough "brush gun" that is super reliable and cheap to shoot.  The Mini 14 combines qualities of the AK-47 and the AR-15. They are all versatile, handy rifles, so it's no wonder that all three are used frequently in sports shooting and hunting.

So, what's the difference between a sporting rifle and an "assault" weapon?  Scary appearance.  Seriously, if you're for banning assault weapons, this is the trick you're falling for.  When you're lobbying for a ban on "assault" weapons, you're admitting you can be manipulated by scary pictures of things. Adding a pistol grip, barrel shroud, flash suppressor, folding stock, or any other cosmetic accessory does nothing to the functioning of the rifle.  It just makes it look scary.   And people who are easily manipulated, as if on cue, stand and say, "We should ban these scary things!"

You can't ban a rifle based on how it looks any more than you can ban people based on how they look.  Both concepts are incredibly narrow minded and show a lack of intelligence.

"Well, then, why the continued hysteria about assault weapons if the only thing that makes an "assault" rifle is scary appearance?"  Because people simply don't know how they function, and  politicians and journalists like to capitalize on people's ignorance by using terms like "bullet hoses" and "spraying death", which are completely inaccurate and misleading descriptions of how these guns work.  This is no accident.  You are being intentionally deceived, for the sake of an agenda.  As Josh Sugarmann of the Violence Policy Center once said:

"The weapons' menacing looks, coupled with the public's confusion over fully automatic machine guns versus semi-automatic assault weapons—anything that looks like a machine gun is assumed to be a machine gun—can only increase the chance of public support for restrictions on these weapons. In addition, few people can envision a practical use for these weapons." 

By the way, if you're wondering why I didn't cite sources when giving specs on the guns and ammo mentioned in this post, it is because I am speaking from personal experience.  I have fired every gun and every caliber mentioned in this post extensively, often in multiple iterations, over the course of many, many years.

I AM the source.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

PRIMER: Gun control lies.

Over the next few months, I'm going to be addressing the lies told to the American public by the gun control lobby, or, as I like to call them,  "Big Gun Control", "The Blood Dancers", "Freedom Haters" and so on.  This sounds harsh, but when you see firsthand how blatantly false some of their agenda-driven lies are, you'll realize that the last thing these people want is intelligent citizens making informed decisions based on facts.  These multi-million dollar-per-year propaganda and lobbying machines include the Brady Campaign and the Violence Policy Center, among others. 

Some of the crap put out by these and other gun-rights organizations is taken as gospel by the media, who then feed it to you.

If you like gun control, and/or don't care that the media is feeding you a lie, then stop reading now.  If you are honest even with yourself, and want to know the truth, even if it may be at odds with your beliefs, then read this series.  I promise to update it "every so often", and hopefully by dealing with an issue that is pertinent to current events.  We'll call this series the "Primer on Gun Control Lies".  Any title you see with "PRIMER" as the first word will be part of the series.

See you soon.

Friday, August 3, 2012

UPDATE: Further testing with the AR 15 and Tula Steel Cased Ammo

If you'll recall, I was experimenting with my AR 15 that tended to be a little cranky with steel-cased ammo.  Previously, I'd run about 150 rounds through it using a ratio of 1 brass to 10 steel cased rounds and found some success.  I finally succeeded in getting back out to the range yesterday to do further testing.

Although I didn't get to shoot as much as I wanted, I still think my results are significant.  I put an additional 50 or so rounds through the AR, which operated without a hitch.  I still haven't cleaned the gun.  Before shooting, I opened it up, and true to the Tula reputation, the insides were quite filthy.  Nevertheless, the gun operated reliably and I experienced no malfunctions of any kind in the entire 50 rounds.

For the record, that's nearly 200 rounds of steel cased ammo that I've fired through my gun.  Before I started mixing steel and brass, the same gun would malfunction on steel ammo, almost like clockwork, before I could finish the third mag.  Usually, the stoppage wasn't fixable without a cleaning rod.

Although my methods are not even close to scientific, they're good enough for me.  Yesterday, I also bought a few more boxes of steel cased ammo, which I intend to keep shooting (for cheap).

I'm going to continue this test.  I want to run the AR to failure using this dirty, cheap, steel cased ammo, performing no maintenance except for oiling with Mobil 1 synthetic 10W-40, my preferred lubricant of choice.  People may laugh at this, but I've had excellent results.  The oil stays where I put it...even after many rounds, when I open up my gun, the internals are still thoroughly coated with oil.  There's little to no cook-off, even on the back of the bolt where most of the heat and carbon usually build up.  And, the anti-deposit nature of synthetic oil means that most of the gunk is actually suspended in the oil, not fused to the metal parts of my gun.  It just works.

I figure if it holds up for a 1,000 rounds with dirty Tula, it should be just fine to shoot that much or more of brass without worrying about a significant malfunction.