Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Scifi Books Meme.

I can't remember if I'd done this before, so here goes... (maybe again).

The NPR's Top 100 Science Fiction and Fantasy novels with the ones I have read in bold:

1. The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy, by J.R.R. Tolkien
2. The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, by Douglas Adams
3. Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card
4. The Dune Chronicles, by Frank Herbert
5. A Song Of Ice And Fire Series, by George R. R. Martin
6. 1984, by George Orwell
7. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
8. The Foundation Trilogy, by Isaac Asimov
9. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
10. American Gods, by Neil Gaiman
11. The Princess Bride, by William Goldman
12. The Wheel Of Time Series, by Robert Jordan
13. Animal Farm, by George Orwell
14. Neuromancer, by William Gibson
15. Watchmen, by Alan Moore
16. I, Robot, by Isaac Asimov
17. Stranger In A Strange Land, by Robert Heinlein
18. The Kingkiller Chronicles, by Patrick Rothfuss
19. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
20. Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley
21. Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?, by Philip K. Dick
22. The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood
23. The Dark Tower Series, by Stephen King
24. 2001: A Space Odyssey, by Arthur C. Clarke
25. The Stand, by Stephen King
26. Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson
27. The Martian Chronicles, by Ray Bradbury
28. Cat’s Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut
29. The Sandman Series, by Neil Gaiman
30. A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess
31. Starship Troopers, by Robert Heinlein
32. Watership Down, by Richard Adams
33. Dragonflight, by Anne McCaffrey
34. The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, by Robert Heinlein
35. A Canticle For Leibowitz, by Walter M. Miller
36. The Time Machine, by H.G. Wells
37. 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, by Jules Verne
38. Flowers For Algernon, by Daniel Keys
39. The War Of The Worlds, by H.G. Wells
40. The Chronicles Of Amber, by Roger Zelazny
41. The Belgariad, by David Eddings
42. The Mists Of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley
43. The Mistborn Series, by Brandon Sanderson
44. Ringworld, by Larry Niven
45. The Left Hand Of Darkness, by Ursula K. LeGuin
46. The Silmarillion, by J.R.R. Tolkien
47. The Once And Future King, by T.H. White
48. Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman
49. Childhood’s End, by Arthur C. Clarke
50. Contact, by Carl Sagan
51. The Hyperion Cantos, by Dan Simmons
52. Stardust, by Neil Gaiman
53. Cryptonomicon, by Neal Stephenson
54. World War Z, by Max Brooks
55. The Last Unicorn, by Peter S. Beagle
56. The Forever War, by Joe Haldeman
57. Small Gods, by Terry Pratchett
58. The Chronicles Of Thomas Covenant, The Unbeliever, by Stephen R. Donaldson
59. The Vorkosigan Saga, by Lois McMaster Bujold
60. Going Postal, by Terry Pratchett
61. The Mote In God’s Eye, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle
62. The Sword Of Truth, by Terry Goodkind
63. The Road, by Cormac McCarthy
64. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, by Susanna Clarke
65. I Am Legend, by Richard Matheson
66. The Riftwar Saga, by Raymond E. Feist
67. The Shannara Trilogy, by Terry Brooks
68. The Conan The Barbarian Series, by R.E. Howard
69. The Farseer Trilogy, by Robin Hobb
70. The Time Traveler’s Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger
71. The Way Of Kings, by Brandon Sanderson
72. A Journey To The Center Of The Earth, by Jules Verne
73. The Legend Of Drizzt Series, by R.A. Salvatore
74. Old Man’s War, by John Scalzi
75. The Diamond Age, by Neil Stephenson
76. Rendezvous With Rama, by Arthur C. Clarke
77. The Kushiel’s Legacy Series, by Jacqueline Carey
78. The Dispossessed, by Ursula K. LeGuin
79. Something Wicked This Way Comes, by Ray Bradbury
80. Wicked, by Gregory Maguire
81. The Malazan Book Of The Fallen Series, by Steven Erikson
82. The Eyre Affair, by Jasper Fforde
83. The Culture Series, by Iain M. Banks
84. The Crystal Cave, by Mary Stewart
85. Anathem, by Neal Stephenson
86. The Codex Alera Series, by Jim Butcher
87. The Book Of The New Sun, by Gene Wolfe
88. The Thrawn Trilogy, by Timothy Zahn
89. The Outlander Series, by Diana Gabaldan
90. The Elric Saga, by Michael Moorcock
91. The Illustrated Man, by Ray Bradbury
92. Sunshine, by Robin McKinley
93. A Fire Upon The Deep, by Vernor Vinge
94. The Caves Of Steel, by Isaac Asimov
95. The Mars Trilogy, by Kim Stanley Robinson
96. Lucifer’s Hammer, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle
97. Doomsday Book, by Connie Willis
98. Perdido Street Station, by China Mieville
99. The Xanth Series, by Piers Anthony (But not all of them, just the first dozen or so)
100. The Space Trilogy, by C.S. Lewis

Fifty out of one hundred.  Not bad, but I see an Amazon purchase in my future.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Accusations fly....

Last weekend I was accused of being a gear-do.  Now, since I'm always on a limited budget and thus I have to be careful about what I get and why, I was a bit surprised, to say the least.  I'm not one to rush out and get the latest doodad or gizmo just because.  Well, aside from the latest AR build that is.  But in my defense, that build took more than a year to finish and on an AR, "just because" is a valid enough reason.

But since I'm labeled as one, I thought I aught to do a gear review.  In for a penny, in for a pound.  Or maybe, damned if I do, damned if I don't would be a better one.  Anyway, here goes. My first gear review.

For my first gear review I'm going to review a rifle carrying case. After the latest slew of builds I was left with two rifles without a carrying case.

The two on the right.

My first thought was, "Cool, two carbines. I'll get a double rifle case.".  The more I thought about it though, the less the idea appealed to me. Because I would only be carrying both rifles at the same time on very few occasions, namely Blogorado and events like that.  The M1 Carbine just wont get shot that often.  The occasional range trip really.  It's not going to be a hunting rifle like the AR or the M14 are.  Also, my rifle bags tend to be bulky for whatever reasons, I figured I didn't want to make one doubly so.

So, I sat down and mentally listed what I wanted in a carbine rifle case.  Since most of my ready range stuff had migrated to a separate range bag, I decided I didn't need a case that could carry everything for a trip to the range.  That cut down on size.  I wanted something that I could carry around easily.  By that I mean in and out of the Jeep without having to fold the back down.  I also wanted something that didn't scream rifle.  So, I had a list of sorts.  Something discrete, with a shoulder strap or straps, needn't carry more than the rifle and maybe a couple of mags,

So, I went hunting and found this.

It's available at Cheaper Than Dirt.  It's called the covert carbine discreet rifle case.  Which aside from being named by the Departmental Office of Redundancy Department, really fit the criteria I had in mind. 

It doesn't scream rifle. It does scream equipment, but unless you're a gunnie, you won't immediately think rifle.  It holds the AR, in a broken down form, and two mags quite nicely.  Has carrying handles or a shoulder sling that can be tucked into a pocket in the back, and three pockets on the front for other items. 

See, it can fit a 16" barreled AR Carbine plus optic and a couple mags with no problem.

Granted with the Trijicon on it, it has to fit crosswise, but that's just the way the optic is mounted.  You could just as easily remove the optic.  Everything will still fit in it. 

Things I like about this.  Size for one.  It's easy enough to move it in and out of the Jeep without having to do any fancy maneuvers. The center padded divider.  Your rifle isn't going to beat itself up when it's broken down and in the bag. In fact the padding all the way around this bag is nice for protection. The carry options.  The carry handles are good enough, solidly double stitched. In fact the construction quality of the whole thing looks to be on the better side and I'll keep you up to date on how it holds up to daily use. But the real ace is the shoulder strap.

It's nice and wide where it needs to be, namely across the top of the shoulder. So, even as light as this bag is, it wont ever dig into the shoulder if I have to trek it in the bag any length of time. And it's truly ambidextrous.  Either bottom strap can be buckled in to the bottom of the shoulder strap and the other either tucked away or buckled to the side of the strap to add stabilization.  So, you can easily set it up for offside carry if that's your concern.  The back of the bag has plenty of breathable fabric to help keep it comfortable in hot weather or if you're carrying it for extended periods.

Things I don't like.  The red straps on the inside of the bag.  Yes, they would be good for extra security for the rifle upper and lower, but I don't see a need for them really and they just get in the way.  The three front pockets are basically useless with the rifle in the bag.  There's no give to them and with the rifle on the inside anything you put in them is gonna be sticking through the front or poking your rifle in the bag.  If they'd made them with some way to expand along the sides, that would have been better. Maybe a bit more MOLLE webbing.  There's some on the shoulder strap, but that's about it. But then, a lot of that would have defeated the idea behind the whole "discrete" thing.

I've had friends point out that some states get all PSH'y if you have an assembled rifle in your car and this would be perfect for toting your AR to the range and back, rather than that giant blue plastic case that it came in.

Others of you out there are going to scream that the rifle is disassembled and therefore useless if I happen to need it in a hurry.  First off, I'm not a first responder.  I'm probably never going to need the rifle in a hurry like that.  If, by some wild stretch of the imagination, I did end up like that, my situational awareness is shit and I deserve what I get.  Secondly, come on guys, it's two take down pins.  Last night, because I knew you'd make this argument, I had the thing out of the bag, assembled and loaded in under 30 seconds.  In the dark. If you can't slap two take down pins in faster than I did without the blindfold, then you need to review your understanding of the AR platform.

So, there you go Vine, this geardo has done a geardo review for you.  I didn't rush out and buy the shiny, or pick the first thing I saw that had "tactical" in the title.  I figured out what I needed, what I wanted and got the best bag to fit the requirements. Although maybe that makes me a thinking man's geardo. hmm....

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

What I did on my summer vacation.

I went to Blogoradoville this last weekend.  A couple of us gathered there to help do some setup for this years Blogorado.  The plan was to start work on the Blogorado Battle Buggy and maybe do some setup on the range.

We actually stayed mostly to plan.

Here are a couple of pics of the buggy.  Coming along nicely, don't you think?

I'm trying to convince them that this should be the Blogorado flag.  The Skull and Bewbies.  I'm finding it a tougher sell than I first imagined.  Can't figure out why.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

It's a double dip recover?

So, the DOW drops 400 or so point on Friday, then another 600 some on Monday when the great zero stood up at the podium, you know the one that has the seal and everything, and said "Move along, nothing to see here... Nothing to see..."

Quick math... carry the one...

That puts us down 1000 points at the beginning of Tuesday.  When the market creeps up 400 that day, we've got talking heads touting the "Obama Recovery"... ZOMG We all be saved! Praise the Lord Anointed One.... 

Now, today that the market has dropped all it was able to get yesterday and then some by noon, the crickets chirping is deafening.

Edit: And in further news, in true liberal form, they're calling for "reform" of the credit ratings system.  Figures, if something happens they don't like because of their actions... Well, just cheat till it goes away.

Monday, August 8, 2011

I listened on the radio....

To the President's speech today....

I think he's got Baghdad Bob writing for him now.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

M1 Carbine project.

Just a quick note on it.  Since it was OMGLOLWHT hot today as well as threatening to rain, I decided to spend the day cleaning cosmoline off the parts.

One thing led to another and I finished the day with an assembled rifle.  Not bad considering I had none of the special tools and the trigger group was literally in individual pieces.

No pics yet.  When I'd finished I found out I have none of the parts that go on the stock.  So, no recoil pad w/ screw and nut, barrel band spring, butt pad and screw.  Also, the barrel band screw is stripped out, so I had to find replacement front sight keys and pins so I can replace the barrel band with a new one.  I think the new barrel band will be the kind with the bayonet lug (type 3).

Parts are on order and as soon as I get everything together I'll post pics.

p.s.  BTW, the plan for the M1 Carbine has always been to build a stock rifle.  It's gotten so that all the ones I'm finding at the gun shows or in the shops are either basket cases too unsafe or shot out to shoot or museum quality pieces that I'd be afraid to shoot for ruining their worth.  And what I wanted was something that I could pull out and take to the range for some fun with no worries one way or another.  I should have enough parts for two by the time I'm done and still be no more than what they're charging for one of those reproduction Auto Ordnance ones.

Friday, August 5, 2011

It's the desert....

Travelling around my city and it's surrounding communities, I realized today that after Lash's closed there was no one who carried basic gun parts for sale except Medlock's.  That's a shame.  But, Medlock's prices are really good and they're a local business.  Plus they carry .30 Carbine ammo as cheap as I can find it anywhere on the web.  (Best price is 43 cents a round right now.)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Piston AR Build: Range Report

Okay, as promised I got to the range today to sight in and test fire my new Adams Arms Piston AR.  But since it hit 115 F today. I opted to wuss out and go to the nice air conditioned brand new indoor range.  Sighting in was without issues, and even though I was generous with the trigger pulls I had it zero'd in at 25m inside of 10-12 rounds.  I must say the ACOG Horseshoe reticle is nice.

The rifle, on the other hand, was not without problems.  Almost from the beginning I had FTE issues.  By the end of the first magazine, it was happening pretty consistently.  I broke the rifle down and examined the bolt and extractor.  One thing I forgot to mention in my build report was that I'd installed one of Brownell's improved extractor kits.  The spring was supposed to be good for 50,000 rounds and was also supposed to improve extraction.  This kit is shit.  Everybody I know who's installed this kit has had the same issues regardless of DI or piston systems.  As a product review for Brownell's extractor spring kit. Don't waste your 10 bucks.  Oh, and the extractor pin supplied with the kit was a roll pin which is incorrect for that part.  So, I broke out my tool kit, got out an extractor spring and pin from some DPMS spare parts kits, put those on the bolt and ran the next 90 rounds without an issue.

So, in summary, the rifle runs great, the piston is working as advertised, the ACOG is a dream, and I'm a happy camper.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Piston AR build Report.

For one reason or another it's taken me a bit longer to do this build than usual.  But it's finally together. 

Specifications:  It's an AR-15 built up using AeroPrecision's upper and lower receivers.  I have to say that these are a very snug fit with no play at all between the two receivers.  In the lower I used a Rock River National Match 2 stage trigger,wolf springs in the buffer and non-trigger related springs.  All the pins, roll pins and internals came from a DPMS kit.  But, considering that everyone gets their fiddly pieces from the same couple of manufacturers, one kit is as good an another.  Although I did get a KNS anti-roll pin kit for the trigger and hammer pins.

I put MagPul's extended trigger guard, BAD lever and the UBR buttstock on it.  In fact it's all MagPul furniture, including their MIAD grip and MOE Midlength Hand Guard.  I'm waiting on a rail to arrive and when it does I'll have MagPul's AFG attached to it.

The upper, as I said was AeroPrecision, is an A3 flat top with M4 feed ramps.  On to this I stuck a BCM stainless steel 16" midlength barrel.  I am also using BCM's GunFighter charging handle.  The BCG is an Adam's Arms made for their piston kit.  Which also means that the gas block and piston, piston rod, etc. are all from the kit.  On the front of all this is AAG's 51T flash hider.  And yes, I do plan to someday put a can on it.  I'm just waiting on paperwork and money for that.

On top is a Trijicon ACOG T31H 4x scope.  I went with the horseshoe reticle for a couple of reasons.  It tends to cover up less of the target and, for me, it's a little easier to do the hold under/over for range shots.

On the dust cover you can see I engraved the model name of this rifle. Yes folks, this is the TACTICAL SCHMOO rifle (TM pending).

Below are a few quick snaps I took of it. With some closeups of the various parts. There were a couple of parts that needed to have the loktite set on, so I'll put up a range report for it on Wednesday.

Now before the flames start, this AR build was all about "because I can". So, why the piston? Because I can. Why all MagPul? Because I can.  Why the ACOG? Because I can.  Do you see a pattern developing here?  So, when you start screaming at me in the comments about how a piston will never run right or that trigger teh suxxors or whatever bee you have buzzing in your bonnet.  My reply to you will be... because I could. 

I only have one more project gun on the books right now.  And I'm expecting the last few part to finish it to show up in the mail this week.  So, keep your eyes open for another build report sometime this month or the next. 

p.s. The last pic is the parts I have for that last build.