Friday, 15 July 2016

08:54 – Barbara left this morning in time to get to the charity golf tournament by 0630. No idea when she’ll be home, so Colin and I have wild women and parties planned for the day.

We went out for dinner yesterday and then headed over to the range for the monthly meeting of the Alleghany County Rifle Association. The same 8 or 9 guys were there as last month. That’s pretty common with groups like this. ISTR that the club has something like 200 members, but most never show up for meetings. There’s always a match on meeting nights. Last night it was shooting clays. They had a thrower set up, and one of the guys had the back of his SUV full of cases of clays. He said he’d gotten them really cheap at Walmart. We found out why later. Literally half or more of the clays fragmented right out of the thrower. A more usual ratio for good quality clays is something like 1% or less. These clays had obviously either been dropped or gotten wet. Barbara and I didn’t shoot, mainly because the only shotguns we have (or had, before we accidentally dropped them in the lake) are three tactical shotguns with 18.25″ barrels and open chokes. Still, we had a good time just watching. Barbara is embarrassed to shoot with these guys watching, because she’s shot only a few rounds of sporting clays. I told her there’s no need to be embarrassed. Some of the guys were pretty decent. One didn’t miss at all. But some of them aren’t experienced clay shooters, and they missed about as often as they hit. And I told her that I suck at shooting clays, too, so she sure wouldn’t be alone. It’s all in good fun anyway.

Speaking of embarrassed and vis-a-vis a discussion we had in the comments yesterday about younger people being victims of the precipitous decline of US public schools over the last few decades, I got email from Brittany, saying that she doesn’t plan to post any comments here. It’s not an OPSEC issue, as it is with Jen. Brittany has been reading the posts and comments here, and is embarrassed to post because she thinks the literacy level of regular commenters here is so much higher than her own. I told her that she wrote perfectly acceptably. The only things I’d noticed were a couple of spelling errors and a few errors in using apostrophes or switching nominative/accusative case, both of which are pretty common in casual writing, even amongst us hyper-literate old guys. I told Brittany that from her writing, I’d guess she was in her 40’s or 50’s rather than her late 20’s, and that she had nothing at all to be ashamed of. (Or, for you hyper-literate guys, “…nothing at all of which to be ashamed.) So we’ll see if she starts posting comments.

Tonight’s the night for the anonymous-organized protests in 37 large US cities. It may turn out to be nothing, or it may be tragic. Let’s hope for the former.

And of course our sympathies go out to the people of Nice, France, 80-some of whom were killed and many more injured yesterday by a musloid maniac. Fortunately, there don’t appear to be many smart musloids. The recent outrages were simply affairs that could be and probably were planned, organized, and carried out by someone with a room-temperature IQ. What worries me is that a musloid with a bit more on the ball mentally will organize and carry out an attack that causes thousands or tens of thousands of casualties rather than dozens. It wouldn’t be that difficult. Just off the top of my head, I can think of half a dozen ways to do that, none of which require any resources that would be particularly difficult or even expensive to acquire. Fortunately, very bright people are very seldom inclined to apply their abilities with mass murder as the goal. Let’s hope it stays that way.

But just in case it doesn’t, it would be a very good idea to avoid places where large numbers of people gather, and to acquire at least a supply of water and food sufficient to allow you and your family to hunker down and wait out such an event.

10:02 – Another email from Brittany, which she was in the process of writing when I posted earlier this morning. She said it was okay to publish it, but to please “clean it up” first. (I’m posting it without any changes, and I suspect a lot of commenters will tell her to stop worrying.) She seeks advice about prepping on a budget.

I’ve been reading web site articles about defending ourselves if things melt down and they all seem to recommend an assault rifle. My husband shoots a lot but we don’t have an assault rifle. He has pistols that shoot 357 magnum and 45 auto. He reloads both and we always have at least two or three boxes of ammo for each. He has a Ruger 10-22 and we buy boxes of 500 shells for it. He has a 870 shotgun that he uses for hunting and skeet and a 223 bolt action with a scope that he uses for target shooting and varmints. He also has a lever-action cowboy rifle that shoots 357. We could afford to buy an assault rifle but there are so many other things we need to buy that I wonder if we really need one. What do you think?

To which I replied:

First, I posted your email without “fixing” anything. There’s nothing wrong with your writing.

I think you have enough guns to defend yourselves. After all, there are only two of you. An AR-15 rifle with spare magazines and a decent amount of ammunition is going to cost you $1,000 or so, and it sounds like you have plenty of other places to spend that $1,000. If I were you, I’d put an AR-15 on my wish list, but don’t buy one until you’ve covered other areas to your satisfaction.

Some things you might want to do to enhance your existing collection of guns:

o It sounds like your 870 pump shotgun probably has a relatively long barrel with a fairly tight choke. To make that 870 more suitable for self/home defense, buy a spare tactical barrel (18.25″ long with an open choke) and keep it on the shotgun. You might also want to buy 100 rounds or so each of either #4 or #00 buckshot and the same number of rifled slugs.

o A lot of people will scoff at the idea of using a .22 rimfire for defense, but it allows you to put a lot of rounds out and no sane person wants to be shot even with a .22 LR bullet. I’d suggest you buy a spare magazine or two for the Ruger 10/22. Buy only Ruger-branded magazines. The after-market mags sold by third-parties just aren’t very reliable, especially those with very high capacities.

o Some people are contemptuous of lever-action rifles for defense, but the truth is they’re an excellent choice. The .357 is a marginal man-stopper from a short pistol barrel, but the higher velocity from a rifle/carbine barrel helps a lot. It’s also an economical choice, as .357 Mag is relatively inexpensive to buy and even cheaper to reload, and you don’t need to buy a lot of expensive magazines for the lever-action. Just practice the “shoot-one-load-one” method to keep your rifle’s built-in magazine tube topped up. Also, your husband might want to reload some .357 specifically for the rifle. He can load those rounds “hot” and mark them only for use in the rifle. If he loads them with lightish bullets, that rifle will shoot pretty flat out well past 100 yards.

o Finally, you don’t say how much you shoot, if at all, but if you aren’t an experienced shooter, now would be a good time to get some experience. Get your husband to take you out and teach you to shoot. If that’s a bad idea, get someone else to teach you. But get someone to teach you.

My readers/commenters are not a shy bunch, so I expect you’ll see many comments explaining why my advice is completely wrong and telling you what you should do instead.