Thursday, March 31, 2011

Smith & Wesson Has Been Heard From

After a week or so of telephonic to-ing and fro-ing, S&W has agreed to replace my unrepairable 625-10 revolver. It should take another 3 weeks or so, but I'm very much looking forward to trying out my brand new Model 325 Night Guard.

Same scandium alloy frame/stainless steel cylinder, same physical dimensions and empty weight, same caliber and Tritium night sights along with a gratis holster too, since there is some difference in initial MSRP between the current offering and the original gun (which is no longer being manufactured anyway). They're sending me the original guns grips back too as they will fit on the new one also. Not a Performance Center gun (which likely contributes to the holster inclusion), but frankly I'm not overly impressed with the differential. The principal benefit in my (admittedly limited) experience is in the trigger and finish. The first can be modified to accomidate my particular preference at least as well by a quick tune-up from my local gunsmith Steve Prater. As for the finish, this was always going to be an alternative concealed carry pistol mostly for summer conditions so the finish is going to take a sweaty beating no matter what.

Sometime late in April I will take ammo from the same box the first gun failed with and put the new one through it's paces. Pictures and drooling comments (hopefully) to follow.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Taking Issue

M. Simon writes the Power and Control blog and has been critically commenting on events in Japan involving the nuclear reactors there (starting here, here, hyperbolicly here and pretty much daily right up to here (just keep scrolling).

Let me interject by stipulating that I know considerably less about nuclear plant operations than does quite possibly anyone else outside the Kalahari desert, though I do know how to read English and have made an effort to grasp what I can from these nuclear amateurs (they not being professional Navy Men you understand).

My objection to M. Simon's characterisation of events up to now lies mostly (discounting my confessed schadenfreude over a professed libertarian arguing in favor of government/military forces occupying civilian businesses) with his willingness to attribute motive and disregard for safety to those whose actions he is in no way personally familiar with nor has any sort of reliable information regarding. This strikes me as both damaging to Mr. Simon's reputation (which I find distressing any time it occurs to someone who's writing I otherwise enjoy) and - at this point in the proceedings - entirely beside the point, assuming a successful resolution to the event is a desired outcome (which I believe to be the case here). I commented to that effect (and more, I fear) in response to his most recent post. While not interested in a blog flame war (and won't participate in one), I did feel obligated to point out the position I have taken on the subject (besides, I haven't anything else to babble on about just at the moment - content is content :)) which I concluded thusly:

I'm a veteran of the same USN you are (if an Airdale instead of a Nuke) and am well aware of just how slow to adapt Navy maintenance standards are. I'm also not going to attempt to argue that Japanese governmental (indeed, social) practices aren't culpable in the recent events - I've been stationed there too and know better. Trying to argue that USN non-civil regulatory compliant practices (however "safe" they might have proved in practice) are somehow a practical alternative for a non-military mission oriented civilian operation to employ is disingenuous in the extreme. Having retired military with the appropriate training and experience performing independent inspections (under authority of national law enforcement) very well might be, but I haven't read that argument being made on these pages either.

A confused and poorly told story about cataclysmic events half a world away actually strikes me as being entirely expectable and within the established norms of news reporting generally. Having counter-factual statements being issued by a variety of uncoordinated sources (governmental and otherwise) also strikes me as an expected occurrence following such a massively disruptive event (indeed, the opposite would seem evidence to me of a deliberate cover-up effort). Making condemnatory statements and broad policy observations based on partial and acknowledged-to-be incomplete information strikes me as ill-advised and damaging to the reputation, but feel free to Carry on, Sir!

If his intent is to prepare an "I told you so!" circumstance, Mr. Simon is well situated. If his intent is to inform, I think he dis-serves himself and his readership (an undesirable outcome for a professed professional writer, I would think). While acknowledging his vastly superior grasp of the technology involved compared to my own, I hope to read a more even-handed and reliably informed opinion in his future posts on this topic.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Life As A David Weber Series

First George W. Bush took us through On Basilisk Station followed by The Honor Of The Queen (with metaphorical allowances for political structural distinctions), now Pres. Obama wants to get us into the now not-so-amusingly named The Short Victorious War. As metaphor's go this one is pretty jumbled up, but it makes for a blog post with leading questions, so there is that to recommend it.

Who is to take up the mantle of Honor Harrington for us?

Is Obama playing the role of Haven or the Terran Empire?

How likely is it the planet will transition into a Robert E. Howard series instead?

These and other real world intrusions into even the geekiest of lives demand answers!

Friday, March 18, 2011

On Japan

Over at The Speculist, Phil Bowermaster has reproduced a recent message he received from an occasional commenter and FastForward Radio listener called THE JAB regarding events in Japan (as experienced from Tokyo for the most part) and the impact technology had on the individuals ability to respond to conditions. While I doubt Phil would object to my copying the piece entire, I prefer to direct readers to his This Was A Hell Of A Quake post instead. If you can add to the list of known (or only potential) apps or devices that might also be similarly useful in such circumstances, please be sure to comment there as Phil and Stephen use such data as content in future FFR programs.

In a related observation, to my somewhat dated knowledge, Los Angeles County in California is the closest equivalent to Japanese building codes in the USA, and my impression is that the two standards are actually quite similarly rigorous. The recent Christchurch, New Zealand experience is probably much closer to what the rest of the US (indeed, almost anywhere else in the world outside of possibly Singapore) can expect to experience in anything close to remotely similar an event. I can't imagine what a slip-fault quake in N. Lake Michigan would do to Chicago for instance (impossible you say, look at the geology forming Niagara Falls and think again) and the probable effects of a major quake in the New Madrid fault system has been thoroughly examined long since.

Go read the Speculist post and give some thought to how you might improve your chances post-event.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Smith & Wesson Hates It's Customers

Day 55 of an American Held Hostage to corporate disdain!

At least a few people have noted my experience with what is publicly acknowledged as a Smith & Wesson design and production process failure. The so-called agent of corporate dissimilitude "customer service representative" commented at the time of my first contact that, "That's ours". Now, to be fair, I suppose he could have been noting the obvious, that the pile of wreckage gun with "Smith & Wesson" prominently stamped into the frame was one of theirs, but the impression he let stand was that the likely cause was one he was familiar with, that the cause was theirs and not the obvious result of my own ineptitude.

What is most galling is the complacent avoidance of any effort to inform me as to any progress in what Smith & Wesson must laughingly refer to as their "decision making process" as regards any potential resolution of this matter. Follow up calls on my part don't rise to my personal estimation of "keeping me informed" and neither do vague references to a "metals shop" having the responsibility to determine my fate.

As to that - resolution of this matter, the 625-10 was a limited production weapon from the outset and one that Smith & Wesson no longer makes. I have no idea what value the corporate leviathan will pronounce for my unrepairable purchase, but none of the revolvers they offer in their most recent catalog rise to the specifications that led to my buying the gun in the first place. I note that their scandium frame 1911 pattern pistol in .45 acp comes quite close, but somehow doubt that corporate financial interests will agree it's near-$1200.00 msrp is compatible.

To the extent past performance actually is a guide to future activity, more to follow, I promise.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Some Saturdays Are More Equal Than Others

While shoving things around in the closet (the one I mostly use to store my Big Boy Toys when I'm not using them) trying to fit "just a bit more" in, I discovered I have 800 more rounds of 230 gr. good-times than I thought I did (that is, in addition to the basic stocking level of 500 rounds). A void space was immediately created by my transferring 300 rds. to my range bag - that works out to three full ammo boxes of 100 rds. each (one of which was already full), all seven of my Chip McCormick Shooting Star practice mags filled and the six back-up Wilson Combat carry mags I mostly store in the bag filled as well. The remaining 500 rds. went into the stand-by ammo boxes on the top shelf, while (some of) my gradually expanding collection of carry ammo went into the by-then vacated ammo can on the closet floor.

Fortunately, it really was "just a bit" of stuff to fit into the mess storage space, so mission accomplished I guess. I do know that my next trip to the range is going to involve the (to me) unique experience of firing off 13 consecutive magazines without having to recharge any of them - and quite possibly the acquisition of a truss for my lower back later that same day. :)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Screw Smith & Wesson

Important Update below.

Still having not heard back from Smith & Wesson about this little event, I've found a gun I'd really like to get someday; this Coonan Classic .357 Magnum. As a companion piece to a .357 Mag. carbine, I think this a better option to the traditional Ruger Blackhawk revolver. Admittedly, not quite as concealable as my Commander in .45, but the cool factor has a caliber all it's own [groan].

"Important" Update 3/13/11: As I should have noted in my original post, I discovered the Coonan link at Oleg Volk's blog here. Sorry dude, it was late, I was tired, whine ... waaahhh! :)

Oh yeah, and Smith & Wesson still hates their customers.

Friday, March 11, 2011

What'cha Wanna Do?

Joe Huffman wants to debate the merits of privacy of public data as that relates to gun ownership and licensed carry status. My comment seems to have fallen afoul of the spam filter (I was interrupted in mid-brilliance so that may be what's holding things up), but my basic point was that data regarding the individual exercise of an enumerated Right isn't automatically recipient of privacy protection, so explicitly making it so is a better option to exercise than debating the philosophical extremes of privacy concerns is likely to prove to be. My question to Joe (or anyone else) being, do you want to argue, or solve this specific data privacy problem? I referenced the Illinois Senate bill currently being considered in their debate of this same issue in support of my contention, but I don't expect to convert many to that POV.

We'll see ...

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Behind The Headline

Mexico City focuses on CCTV to combat crime

Because actual policemen would only be added competition for the available bribe money, wouldn't they?

[Editorial note: no condemnation is implied in this attempt at low-brow humor regarding the good people at from whence the linked story originates, nor Drudge Report where I first noticed it. The viewpoint of law enforcement being an unbudgeted revenue stream for government is both reprehensible and not confined to Mexican authorities.]