Sunday, May 17, 2009

Broken Glocks and Revolutionary Repair Techniques

So, in my usual pattern, I haven't blogged for over a month. I have two problems: A. I really want to have a popular, well read blog and B. I'm too lazy to consistently write a blog.

Those two things work in opposition.

Also, I cannot find the charger to my camera batteries, so I can't take new pictures. But moving on.......

The Mighty, Untouchable, Unyielding, Perfected, Flawless Glocks failed me. And they failed me hardcore. On a day of shooting with an old college friend, My Glock 17's slide began to fail to lock back after the last round was shot. Thinking it was a magazine problem, I began cycling through my various magazines to find that every single one had the same problem.

In the meantime, my friend was trying out my Glock 23 and had several stovepipes. Now, I'm not one of these "Glocks are perfect, they never fail ever!" kind of guys. I know that every gun is susceptible to failures. They will likely all malfunction or break at some point. Glocks are no different, and while I own and shoot them, I think there are superior firearms. These just happen to be paid for.

But I'm telling ya, mine just never have failed. I know they can, they just haven't. But suddenly, I have 4 stovepipes in about 15 minutes on my G23 and my G17 is being fussy too.

After find that every mag on my G17 had the same failure, I decided it was not a magazine problem. I gave up, and began to shoot my G23, which then also experienced the same failure- the slide does not lock back after the last shot.

In frustration I stepped back to gather my thoughts. What could be wrong here?

1. All the mags I'm shooting are quite new, so I don't think I'm having a catastrophic coincidental failure of 10 magazines.

2. Double checked my grip- not limp wristing, hiting the slide release, etc.

3. Inspect guns- appear to all be in good working condition- no obvious broken parts as it pertains to the mag/slide lock.

4. I was shooting a new kind of ammo. Winchester Win-Clean Brass Encased Bass. Okay.....this could be something. I switched back to the ammo I've always used- same problem. Doh.

5. To my knowledge God is not angry with me and playing a joke on me.

So I give up, pack up, and go home a bit puzzled.

Then, it dawns on me.

An idea so crazy, so revolutionary, so fresh that it just could be the solution.

The light bulb lit up over my head as I thought, "You know, I haven't cleaned those guns in a long time......I've shot hundreds of rounds since the last cleaning".

At about 10pm I set about at my garage workbench and cleaned up my guns.......

.....The next morning I ran by the range before work.........

Hallelujah its a miracle- they work just fine. Amazing what a little cleaning will do. So for all the "Glocks never fail, never rust, don't need cleaning, can survive nuclear fallouts and then make a super baby with a penguin and start a new planet in another galaxy" people out there- bad news. Glocks are mortal.

And, prefer to be clean as it turns outs.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Found: Ammo

As the ammo shortage continues, I keep checking the stores. Specifically, I've been watching for self defense ammo to return. I have been threatening to switch to a different type, as it seems Hydrashocks aren't appearing for awhile.

Stopping in a large local sporting goods store yesterday, I saw that 5 boxes of 40 S&W Winchester SXT in 165 gr. had appeared. At $19.99/box, I bought them all. Since I carry my Glock 23 so often for defense, these will work fine. (I'm down to a box and a half of Hydrashocks.) I will run one box through my gun to ensure they work, and use the rest for carry. That will last me awhile longer.

I don't hear about many people carrying this round, but for $20/box in today's market, I'm willing to go with it. Besides, I have confidence in just about any modern self defense load as long as I know it runs through the gun. Something is better than nothing, and I'd rather carry a fresh magazine of a round no one is particularly excited about than a magazine full of really old, tarnished, dinged up rounds of a more popular variety.

While no Hydrashock is around in 40, 6 boxes of 147gr. Hydrashock 9mm appeared, so I took all those off my shelf for my Glock 17.

I also picked up 300 rounds of Winchester White Box in 9mm, as well as the last 6 boxes of American Eagle 40 ammo- 3 boxes of 180 grain, 3 boxes of 155 grain.

Looking at the receipt from the last time I bought ammo, I see that the Winchester White Box has risen $3/box in less than 2 months. Wow.

I also saw that another large sporting goods store, the one I frequent most for ammo, is going out of business. I was quite saddened and was instantly reminded of our country's current situation. Of course, the shelves were completely bare of ammunition. They do have some holsters I have my eye on, but they are only 10% off right now, I'll have to wait and see if they're around when they drop the close-out prices even more.

For now, I was glad to find 220 rounds of self defense ammo, and another 600 rounds of target ammo. Though, my wallet really ached when I put it back in my pocket.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Logic of Instruction

Stuff like this kills me. I bought a Shopvac for my little dryer vent problem at my new house.

I get the shopvac out, pop the wheels on, and I notice that the box says I need to install the wheels per the included instructions.

But there are no instructions......

Oh, the manual must be in the actual vacuum tank. I take off the top lid of the Shopvac to find instructions and 4 screws. Here's the instruction manual:

Okay, so step one is instructions on how to open the vacuum tank. Problem being: the instructions that contain step one are inside the tank that they are assuming you don't know how to open!

I love this stuff!

Congrads! You're a Homeowner! PS- your dryer is broken.

Not sure what I paid my home inspector for right now. A couple days into being excited about my first home (which is fairly move-in ready), I noticed that the exhaust vent had become disconnected from where it fed out of the house. No big deal. This looks like a job for H.I.T.

While looking it over, I noticed it looked wet next to my dryer. I couldn't really see, as it was dark, so I grabbed a flashlight. That's when I found that the tubing leading from the dryer exhaust had been torn, and the dyer had been spewing hot, wet dyer lint all over behind the washer, dyer, and into the storage area below our steps.

How long it has been doing this, I do not know. I pull out the dyer, begin to look at things, and realize that though the vent is torn, all the tubing is still completely clogged with lint as well. Not to mention the dang this is set up with several sharp turns = fire hazard.

Just found a great excuse to buy a Shopvac.

What slays me is that just before closing, we asked the sellers to install a radon mitigation system. The system was put in just adjacent to the dryer. So either the home inspector missed the problem, or whoever installed the mitigation system didn't bother to bring it up, or both. Nice.

As I went about rectifying the situation, I vacuumed out the tubing and piping that vents the dryer. A couple pipes were hard to get at to see, so I took pictures to check the progress. In that process, I found my inner endoscopy nurse. These look a little bit like images from the Tin Man's last colonoscopy.

Everything looks fine Mr. Tin Man. Just a few small polyps. That's normal for your age. Some new aluminum foil flexible tubing, some aluminum tape, a few clamps, and good vacuuming, and you're on your way.......

Now That's Handy......

Hmmmmm......wonder if I can get one of those installed.........

Where Have Thy Been?

Once again, its been awhile between blogs. Where have I been?

I bought a house.

'Nuff said.

Range Report: Mossberg 835

Finally got my Mossberg 835 out to shoot for the first time. We had to head down to Iowa for our first bridal shower (first of 4). Fortunately, I was expected only to make an appearance and say hi, then my fiance's uncle, cousin, brother, and I went clay pigeon shooting.

The Mossberg functioned flawlessly. I had never shot trap before, but caught on quickly. I missed the first clay, then hit most after that. I did discover that the gun has a plug in it, and I was limited to 3 shells at a time.

Of course, to ruin the day, one of our party had his brand new Fausti 20 gauge over-under that he had just won. $1400 gun he just won....I never win stuff like that. Now that was a fun gun to shoot.

Anyway, my Mossberg worked, which I was happy about. Like many Mossbergs the pump was a bit "loose"- can anyone out there help me out with some suggestions?

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Range Day and a New Shooter

A buddy of mine has been thinking about getting a handgun. I offered to take him with me for some time at the range just to get the feel of shooting a bit. He agreed, and we set it up to shoot today.

We started at my place, where we reviewed the 4 laws of gun safety. We then ran through the basic functions of the pistol and how it works. After that we progressed into some basic marksmanship. He was worried about looking foolish on the range. I said to him "As long as you're safe, you won't look like an idiot. You can shoot terrible, but if you are safe people will respect you." I sincerely hope that is the attitude that all shooters carry.

My friend shot reasonably well for his first time. Ideally, we should have started with a .22 pistol, but I just had him start with a 9mm (Glock 17). He struggled with anticipating shots, flinching, etc. I had him shoot a magazine with dummy rounds to help him see what he was doing.
He did fire a couple magazines of 40 S&W through my Glock 23 as well. I will have to say, I quite enjoyed helping my friend begin to learn to shoot, and to handle a weapon safely. Its something I would like to do more of. While not an expert at anything, I love teaching and helping people learn something I might be slightly more proficient at....whether it be guitar, singing, medicine, shooting, or bowling ( high bowling score is 108. Cancel bowling). When doing any "teaching" on shooting, I believe its of the utmost importance to stress saftey and responsibility.

I even loaded up some dummy rounds, which I haven't done in awhile, and was surprised to find there was still a bit of a flinch in my pulls. I was concentrating mostly on slow fire today, as it seems my accuracy has suffered as of late. I believe I am struggling with over travel, as many of my shots are driven left, despite my best efforts to not "milk" the grip.

At close distances, I was no problem. In fact, my buddy looked at me in amazement when I could so effortlessly put rounds through the X at 10 feet. If only I could continue that with rapid fire at twice the distance.....

At 25 feet rounds were placing fairly well with slow fire. I was satisfied with this.

At 50 feet, my groupings are trending up and left, the the target's X is quite safe from the lead I sling at it. While not overly concerned about nail-driving at 50 feet from a self-defense standpoint, the USPSA meets I shoot in have a few more longer shots, and I find that in a hurry my shots do not group at all. Hence, my trigger pull continues to need work.

All in all, a great day at the range, 200 rounds fired, several pieces of paper laid to rest, a fresh shooter with new skills in his hands, and everyone home safe. Satisfying and delightful.

I only wish I could say that for the movie we rented: Bangkok Dangerous starring Nicholas Cage. Do yourself a favor. Don't rent it.

But Not Here.....

Often enough, when people talk to me about carrying a gun, many of them think its acceptable, but don't see any reason why they or I should carry.

Living in South Dakota, surrounded by generally good midwest people, having a gun around for self-defense seems unnecessary to most.

Its true, if you avoid dark alleys and certain parts of town at night, you're generally safe.

But things are changing. This week, in my town a man walked into a Fryn' Pan restaurant armed and began an 8 hour standoff with the SWAT team. News story here. Fortunately, he ordered everyone out of the restaurant, and no one was injured.

However, my fiance, my parents, and I have been to that restaurant a couple times in the last year, and we easily could have been in that situation, and what if he had been more careless with others' lives?

In addition, there's been a couple shootings where someone has died this year in my town, and I know several people whose homes have been burglarized.

Me? I feel safe most of the time. If I could know for certain when, where, and how I'd be in danger, I'd just never go there. Since that is an impossibility, I exercise my right to legally and responsibly carry a gun. I have a permit, I've received instruction, I train often, and I am religious about safety.

As for the Fryn' Pan......lets hope they still keep making those really good sweet rolls......

Monday, February 23, 2009

Time to Change

Dropped by the range for about 15 minutes today to shoot off my carry ammo and rotate in fresh stuff. 26 rounds of 40 S&W and 10 rounds of 38spl.

With my G23 I was combat accurate. I didn't pound a hole through the X, but firing double and triple taps from high ready put shots where they needed to be.

I shot so horribly with my J-frame, I could hardly believe it. I am too embarrassed to put a picture of the target up. I sat at the range and dry fired over and over. I make no excuses, its trigger pull. While all the shots hit a man size target, several were abdomen and arms. I barely considered myself combat accurate. I left the gun at the store to have a lighter return spring in, hopefully to help my trigger pull.

Being somewhat new to shooting for self defense (vs. leaning back and haphazardly target shooting), I need to continue to shoot and develop my skills. Switching back and forth from the Glock to the J-frame is an odd adjustment, but must be done.

Still, no excuses, the gap is in the shooter, not the equipment.....

Ammo Shortage Update

Made the rounds (no pun intended) around the stores today searching for ammo. Specifically, I've been looking for Federal Hydrashocks in 40 S&W, which has been my carry ammo.


One sporting good store happily has had plentiful target ammo in several brands for most common calibers, so that has not worried me (though price has gone up).

Hydrashocks for .38spl are usually still around here and there, which is fortunate as I often carry a J-frame revolver. When I found 6 boxes of 40 S&W in Fargo, I should have bought them all. I only bought two.....

I'm considering changing what I carry in my Glock, simply due to the fact that a local gun store always seems to have plenty of self-defense ammo available in everything but Hydrashocks.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Milk Jug? Milk Mug.

Don't know why, but milk just tastes better from a coffee mug.

The Pocket Problem

When I bought my Smith and Wesson 642, I bought it with the intention of frequently pocket carrying. I thought I would pocket carry....all the time. The salesman at the gun store promised it would disappear into a pocket, and indeed, he produced a j-frame revolver from the front pocket of his jeans. I had no idea it was there. Perfect.

I, however, am struggling with pocket carry. It seems I have no pair of pants which accommodate the revolver in such a way that it "disappears" into a pocket. While I don't wear the biggest, baggiest jeans on the planet, I certainly don't wear skin tight cowboy jeans.

In an Uncle Mikes pocket holster, it seems to still print a fairly obvious pattern through a pair of jeans. I can always identify a cylinder and a grip.

However, most people aren't specifically looking for a gun, and may not see those things. However, it still seems to leaves a fairly large.....uh......bulge.....for lack of better term, in my pants pocket.

So, while I may be able to carry and not obviously have a gun, I still look like I stuffed a Cornish game hen down my pants. That is a far cry from the revolver that disappears into my pocket.

I do have several coats that work just fine, though my favorite coat does not have deep enough pockets, and the grip sticks out. To carry with that jacket, I must keep my hand in the pocket at all times.

So, suspicious looking hand in pocket at all times, or small fowl in the pants.....this seems to be my dilemma. It was hard to capture in pictures, but trust me, its quite obvious.

Hence, i carry IWB most of time.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

To Do/To Acquire List

I need to slow down on my purchasing. Instead of buying everything with every extra dollar I have, I need to make a list, prioritize it, begin saving, and acquire or do things one by one. This list I'm sure is subject to change and become reprioritized, so I will edit this post as it is changed.

In order as of 2/14/09

1. Better CCW Holsters. I need better holsters for my G23 and S&W 642. I'd like an IWB for each, and an ankle holster for the G23. Thinking Milt Sparks, but I may downgrade to Galco Summer Special for money's sake. I'm taking comments and suggestions. I'd like to keep each holster under $100.

2. Trigger Work. I'd like to do a drop in Ghost Rocket 3.5# connector on both my Glocks, and put a lighter trigger return spring into my J-frame revolver. This will probably get done soonest, as its the cheapest thing on my list.

3. Night Sights. Probably Trijicons on my G23.

4. Glock 26 vs. S&W M&P 9mm compact. I'd like a semi-auto that I am more apt to carry. I'm finding the grip on my G23 too long. Since I shoot mostly Glocks, I'm leaning toward the G26 to keep a uniform platform/trigger, but the M&P is just looking really good. Used is fine, I would like the gun to have night sights and a good IWB holster.

5. Deer Rifle. Something simple, probably in 270.

6. Pocket Pistol. I'd like one of those tiny 380 pistols for when I really need something small. Probably a Ruger LCP.

7. Home Defense Shotgun. Again, nothing fancy. Just a plain, short barreled 12 gauge. Load it up with 00 buck. No pistol grips or anything, just the gun.

8. AR-15. Actually, will probably build one from Del-ton Inc. This is getting to be a ways out in the future now. Doesn't have to be real fancy. 16" barrel, probably a forward pistol grip. Eventually, I wouldn't mind a red-dot sight, but I need to learn to shoot iron sights well first.

9. 1911. I'd like 1 or several 1911 guns again. Wouldn't mind reclaiming the Kimber Custom II I sold.

Kindered Idiots

It was 6pm when I finally strolled into Target today, Valentine's day, to get a card for my fiance. A gentlemen in his 50's approached the cards the same time as I did. We slowly gave each other a sideways glance, made eye contact, and smiled.

"We were supposed to be doing this a lot earlier, weren't we?" I remarked.

"Well, at least we're here, right?", he asked.


New Poll

Shooters- check out the new poll on the right of the page. How much do you shoot a month?

Helping Shop

A friend of mine has never owned a gun nor has shown any interest in shooting. After the election, he calls me and tells me he'd really like to buy a 9mm pistol. I was fairly surprised buy more than happily agreed to help him shop and then teach him what I know about safety and shooting if he buys one.

But helping someone "find" a gun is tough, especially when they aren't sure what they want. Having recently bought a house and with a baby on the way, he is understandably budget conscious. Yet, he hasn't really set a firm price range.

So what we have is: 9mm, semi-auto, reasonably price. Purpose: home defense, possibly some plinking (no intention to carry concealed).

Search results: a dizzying array of possibilities. Seems like price is the driving factor, though he's not willing to buy complete junk. At least we've ruled out Hi-points for starters. He's also not buying a new Sig Sauer, or a 1911 style 9mm.

But really, what a prospect. Since he knows nothing about guns, I feel obligated to come up with options. Its always a matter of "find something that fits your hand and shoot it and see if you like it."

Not always so easy in SD. Not a terribly large amount of people own handguns. There is only one store which allows you to rent and fire guns, but they only have a fraction of the selection to try.

Originally, he seemed bent on a new S&W Sigma, which I steered him away from. I'm not sure they are built to last. I encouraged him to consider used- a quality gently used gun is better than a cheap new one. He has been very interested in the used Sigs I wrote about in my last post, but they are in 40 S&W (which he is not opposed to). For that price, he's near the price of some decent new 9mm guns though.

n consideration is myriad of new and used guns: Sprinfield XD, Smith & Wesson M&P, S&W 99, Glock, Taurus, Sig, Browning Hi-point, Beretta, FNH, Tangfolio, EAA, Stoeger, the bigger Kahrs, and on and on and on......

At the end of the day there are many decent guns in the running, all seemingly in a price range he's willing to pay for. He's really in a win-win- they would all be fine. He indicates that he knows he wants one, he knows he is going to get one, and his wife has okay'd it, he just can't quite bring himself to write a check.
Oh well, guess I have a great excuse to window shop.

Gun Show

pent about an hour this morning buzzing through a gun show here in town. First hour of the first day of a gun show.....beyond crowded.

It took me under 5 minutes to end up childishly grabbing at a couple guns like a kid at a candy store before being shooed away by 3 mustached men yelling "display only!" Leave it to beaver.
I hate it when I look like an ignorant kid, since I'm regarded that way often enough. Sometimes I think I'd like some grey hair. Maybe it would buy be me some credibility. Careful what you wish for....
In my defense, there was no "display only sign" up.

Gun shows in South Dakota tend to be...less than impressive. There was plenty of junk, as always. Lots of racks with fairly priced guns, but not a lot of deals that would drive you to buy.

I was hoping to find some Glock mags for my G23 a little cheaper, but they were all the same price as any store, and since I paid $5 to get it, it wasn't worth it. Maybe you're supposed to haggle those things. I'm bad at haggling.

I did find one booth- a company that buys police carry guns and refinishes with duracoat. They had some Sig Sauer P226's that looked very fine, internals looked very good. 1 mag and night sites for $525. Brand new that's a $900-1000 run.

Since police guns get a lot of finish wear, but aren't actually shot a lot, they can be a nice find if you don't mind the cosmetics. After a refinish they looked brand new. Was I in the market for a DA/SA handgun, I probably would have walked away with one......

Sugar Buzz

Let's see here.....

Late night, no patients in the unit. Check.

2 cans of diet Mountain Dew. Check.

1 large heart-shaped monster cookie delievered by fiance. Check.

2 generous pieces of apple crisp. Check.

.......Yup. I've got a bit of a Sugar Buzz goin'.

There is some insulin about 20 feet away from me..........Nah.

Mossberg 835

Finally, I have my first shotgun. Its also my first long gun in something other than .22lr. To see the story of buying it from the old man I named Joe, click here.

The gun I bought was a Mossberg 835. Its used, the cosmetics are probably 85-90%. Its internals look great. That's exactly what I was looking for. A slightly used, decent pump action. Its old enough that it is still finished with shiny lacquered wood, which I love. Not the cheaper looking stuff you see today. This gun came in at $175 even.

To be exact, its the Mossberg 835 Ulti-Mag. 28" barrel, built-in Acu-choke, accommodates shells up to 3.5" You can find specs from the company here.

I still haven't shot the thing (lets hope it works!), but have several offers to shoot clays soon. I'm looking forward to trying my hand at pheasant and duck this year. I've never hunted birds, so should be a new experience for me.

I am debating buying a second slug barrel for it, cutting it down to 18.5", and using it as my home defense shotgun. Then, when I want to go sporting I'll pop on the longer barrel. I'm emailing Xavier to get his opinion on this.

I'll post an update after I've shot it. Cheers