I will be patient, I will be patient, I will be patient... 
2011.04.29 22:12 - Guns, Whining
I am not very patient.

Ordered a semi-custom gun a while back (one of a small run of Sterling carbines built by a small company out west). Been waiting a while now. When I contacted the guy building it a week ago, I was told I'd get a tracking number when it shipped. So, I've promised myself I won't bug him about for at least a little while.

And, even if I got to pick it up tomorrow, it'd be at least a week before I could take it out and shoot it.

But! So impatient.
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Well. That's a bummer. 
2011.03.27 13:45 - Guns, Meatspace Stupidity
I bought a couple of cheap AR mags from a local gunshop: they had a large box of them at $8.99 each. I'd done a little research before buying on the names stamped into the floorplate, which indicated that the manufacturer had a good reputation. Both are stamped:

ADVENTURE LINE MFG. CO., INC.
PARSONS, KS. U.S.A.

Black followers, heavy finish.

Wasn't until last night that I noticed both magazine bodies appeared a bit banged up. One has a dent that seems like it could cause feeding problems, the other has a nick in the hole for the magazine catch, and the area above the hole is pulled out.

Turns out, neither magazine fits right in my rifle's lower receiver. Doesn't fit right in the Armalite lower I'm working on, either. The magazines are very tight, and won't drop free. The one with the damaged magazine catch engagement was also pretty difficult to remove. And, of course, I didn't get around to checking any of this until after replacing the follower and floorplate on both magazines--and I've tossed the followers.

I've ordered a couple replacements from Bravo Company, and salvaged the aftermarket parts. Costs a little more per magazine this way, but only because of shipping.
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Quick Review: Homefront (PC) 
2011.03.20 21:32 - Guns, Magpul Masada/Bushmaster ACR, Entertainment, Microcode, Whining
I finished the single-player campaign of Homefront on the PC. I'm not real enthused.

As John Walker opines over at Rock, Paper, Shotgun, the single player campaign is scripted in a way antagonistic to human interaction. Walking is slow, and your access to an area is almost always gated by one or more of your companion NPCs.

What I found most obnoxious was the way the game handled weapons. There are two things I found specifically obnoxious:
  • Guns that almost certainly share ammunition and magazines in the real world do not in the game. Which is why I found myself hauling around an empty ACR early in the game, despite being surrounded by M4s and M16s. I'm too lazy to go back in to find out if this problem affected everything in the game that would have taken STANAG mags (i. e. the M4, M16, ACR, SCAR-L, and PWS Diablo), or just some of them. Maybe the M4 and M16 actually work right, and the other guns are understood to take different ammo. Dunno. At the moment, not in the mood to find out.
  • The gun or guns I have at the end of chapter A almost never carry over to chapter B. Which is how the aforementioned ACR disappeared at the end of the first chapter and was replaced by an M4 at the beginning of the second. "What's the matter," one of the NPCs quipped, "don't you like guns?" Actually, I love guns; I was trying to figure out where mine had gone.

And I can't say much good or bad about the graphics. The reviewers claim it's fantastic, graphically, all I can tell you is I needed to turn all the levers down to "Very Low" and it still ran poorly. Also, it's very brown (that's a TV Tropes link; click at your own discretion).

I'm not really interested in the multiplayer. The reviews say it's fine, but I'm not really in need of a multiplayer FPS right this second.
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I have a Remington 870 Express, now. 
2011.02.09 08:55 - Guns
18.5" barrel, +2 magazine extension. So far, I have replaced the factory, orange, plastic magazine follower with a stainless steel follower from Vang Comp, and changed out the trigger group for one with a metal housing.

Long term plans probably include a shell carrier on the side of the receiver, and a bayonet lug0, but I haven't made major decisions past that.

I haven't been to the range with it yet, owing to the weather and the various other demands on my time and money. I'd like to get a couple swivels and a sling, first, though.

Footnotes
0. It makes me laugh.

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Fans are Mystifying 
2011.01.20 11:32 - Guns, News and Politics
Not that I have any.

I spend too much time (which is to say, any time) watching the Magpul forum at arfcom. I do this because Magpul makes good stuff, and this has, in the past, been a good way to find out what works and doesn't work and how to use some of less conventional bits. The long-suffering people at Magpul even keep an eye on the forum and answer questions, now and then.

Over the last three years, though, their participation has become more narrow and less transparent: less information about stuff under development, more guarded answers, and less direct involvement, generally. They've cited multiple reasons (including problems with industrial espionage, IIRC: stuff that hadn't been officially announced getting knocked off by competing companies), and I don't blame them: if you've been burned, the natural response is to pull your hand out of the fire.

This week, SHOT Show is going on in Las Vegas. SHOT Show is sort of like E3, or CES: it's a big, industry-specific trade show, and is not open to the general public. New media participation has been pretty large the last couple of years, though, and that has made news from the show much more widely disseminated. As a result, I suspect that SHOT is suffering some of the problems that E3 and CES have and/or do: instead of being a big dog-and-pony show from the traditional press, it's starting to become watered down by public marketing.

Last year's launch of the Bushmaster ACR might even be a big contributor to this problem: the news was public almost immediately, and internet-based kvetching started the same day (and you'll find some of it here: I wasn't thrilled, but I also figure I have a readership that can be counted without removing my shoes).

In the past, Magpul has shown off various new and upcoming goodies at SHOT Show: rubberized grips, new handguards, weapon systems, etc. When the new products did not materialize on whatever schedule was mentioned or assumed, the webweenies complained. When the new products didn't cure cancer, the webweenies complained. (If you can't tell, I think the bulk of these complaints are unjustified.)

I guess the complaining was producing more negative PR than showing stuff off was producing positive PR: this year, Magpul's not showing any new stuff at SHOT Show. And, as above, I don't blame them at all.

But, of course, the webweenies are now complaining that there's nothing new to complain about. I guess Magpul can't win on this.

Related (really): I know Apple has its ridiculous fanboys. Do they get similar shenanigans?
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