Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Train to Busan

"Where are you going?" Belladonna asked.

"In the basement. Just going to reload a little bit of ammo." I replied.

"But dad, the movie isn't over yet!" Bella objected.

Does anybody else get the urge to reload when watching zombie movies?

Monday, December 17, 2018

Mid-December mast report

American Persimmon
GoldRush Apple
Asian Pear as seen through Purple Osier Willows
Crab Apple
Wild Grape, Vitis riparia are about done
No mast in this shot. Just spruce, poplar trees, blue sky and the moon and a dog
Speaking of dogs...
Do turnips count as mast?

What can I do now?


One of the most powerful question you can ask yourself is "What can I do now to make things better?"

It is easy to hyper-focus on events in Washington D.C. or on Wall Street or in Paris. But the thread connecting our behaviors to those outcomes is tenuous at best. Yes, those events will shake us like a terrier shakes a rat, but do you really think your efforts will make a difference in those venues?

The prudent captain does not rage against the storm. He spends his time reefing sails, securing supplies and inspecting the knots on the sea-anchor.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Still here


Hornady 2266 into water. 18" of penetration and dented the back of the last milk jug.
55gr, boat-tail, soft-point, w/cannelure, core is lead and just barely soft enough to scratch with a thumbnail. The apparent thickness of the shank is due to the bullet being shaved on the bias.
Bullet fired from a 16" barrel. Loaded in front of an appropriate charge of an appropriate powder. Guestimated velocity at impact of 2900fps.

The next item on the agenda is to stair-step down the load and find out where my friend's AR stops feeding reliably. We will be looking for the min-load where 50% of the rounds and 10% of the rounds don't feed.

The plan is to use H-4895 in this test because that powder is "friendly" down to 65% case capacity, or about 16gr of powder. I expect the gun to cough up a hairball well before we get down to 16 grains of powder.

One of the variables is the shooter's mass that is coupled to the body of the firearm. The worst case, and the easiest to ensure consistency, is to hold the firearm as loosely as possible. That is, limp-wrist it.

The purpose is two-fold. One is to back-engineer what the fine folks at DPMS design their ARs to. That might be useful if I ever decide to build my own rifle.

The other is to have a baseline before my friend starts junkifying his rifle. Suppose the rifle, as designed, will cycle reliably down to 20 grains of powder and my friend installs a new buttstock/buffer assembly. Suppose that after that modification it pukes at 24 grains. Since a very "typical" load is 25  grains of powder it may cycle just fine when everything is nominal but my friend just gave away 80% of his margin; margin that can be eaten up by running a little bit dry or a little bit of dirt.

Any comments from folks who have real experience with ARs will be much appreciated.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Reloading for the .223 Remington - 5.56X45mm NATO


Federal brass, Remington 7 1/2 primers. Factory chamber, not SAAMI min chamber.

We had our family Christmas this evening. I took some .223 Remington reloads with 55 grain Sierra BlitzKings to the White Elephant exchange. They were well received.

Sierra Load Map Bolt Action

Sierra Load Map AR 

Western Powder (Ramshot and AA powders) :  .223 Rem data starting on page 45-of-114.   5.56mm NATO starting on page 48-of-114.   .223 Rem is loaded to a max pressure of 55,000 PSI while the 5.56mm NATO is loaded to a max pressure of 62,000 PSI.

Hodgdon Reloading Data. Requires inputting data.

A link talking about primer cup thickness. Thicker primer cups are preferred for semi-auto with floating firing pins and for 5.56mm NATO pressures

Ramshot Powders Frequently Asked Question.


A few notes on fleet vehicles

Pawpaw commented on an earlier post:

Can you say "fleet sales"? I knew you could. My son recently bought two work trucks. Roll-down windows, no radio, stripped as it could be. Cruise control is an optional item. Fleet sales have basically, sedans, pickups, and vans. Generally one color (white). But the price is very attractive, and they'll sell you one or a hundred.
He is right.

I want to discuss the economics behind the auto company's decisions to make and sell vehicles to fleets. As always, I am representing myself and these are my observations, not official positions of any automaker.

Economics
The bean-counters amortize the fixed costs of a new car program against a guess of future demand. Suppose they figure five years of production in one auto plant capable of making 200,000 vehicles a year. That would be a million vehicles

Let's speculate that the total fixed cost of the program was $4 Billion. That includes engineering, tooling, compliance costs for all markets the vehicle will be sold in, yada, yada, yada. That works out to $4000 of fixed cost per vehicle, ($4B/1M)

If the corporation determines that there is sufficient demand for the vehicle and if the factory floor space is not in high demand for other products then the bean-counters might advise that the vehicle be produced for a sixth year.

The 1,000,001st vehicle off the assembly line is, magically, $4000 cheaper than the first million vehicles. Every vehicle after 1,000,001 is also $4000 cheaper.

Risk minimization
There are times when the assembly line is stressed. Examples include after shift-area preference moves, when new product is introduced to the line, after a shut-down.

The schedulers are likely to run a schedule that is rich in "base" vehicles as a way to minimize risk. It gives operators time to cycle through their job and get solid before adding complications.

Concave pricing curve
Suppose you had an assembly line that built both Chevy and GMC or both Toyota and Lexus vehicles.

Even if the vehicles were identically optioned, the up-level marque will command a significant premium in sales price.

Consequently, the factory generates more revenue for the company if it produces a maximum number of maximum-optioned, up-level marque vehicles. The problem is that there is not enough time-in-station to build all max-optioned vehicles.

So rather than slow down the assembly line, the schedulers "chase" the maxed out vehicle with a plain-vanilla, Chevy or Toyota so operators can "catch up" and not get swept out of station.

The issue with being swept out of station is that it vastly increases your walk time and you will start bumping into operators in the next station.

Why white?
White hides minor metal imperfections like small dents and dings better than any other color. It is also inexpensive paint compared to red or anything with metal flake.

One of the bottlenecks in the factory is the final quality inspection. There will be enough other issues that you don't want to jam-up that final gate with avoidable paint issues. The minor dents and dings might be there but if the quality inspector can't see them then neither will 95% of the customers.

Another reason for white is that fleet buyers who used to order custom colors figured out that they get more money on resale when they stick with a standard color. Municipalities who used to order odd shades of yellow and orange now order white because their bean-counters told them to.

Summary
As a retail customer going to a car lot you might have some leverage if you looked at white cars and trucks.

You can look at the last six digits of the VIN and that is typically the sequence number for that model year out of that factory. If the number is low, less than ten thousand for instance, then that vehicle has probably been sitting on the dealer lot for a while and he is sick of looking at it.


Some manufacturers also list the build date or build week on a sticker on, or near the driver's side door. The internet is your friend if you need help decoding the sticker.

NPC Women: Its the debt, stupid

It is human nature to rationalize the virtue of good attendance when you don't have a choice.

Captain Capitalist has a provocative post titled There are Only NPC Women to Date.

The K-College education industry alone has spent trillions of dollars over the past 50 years indoctrinating women to become men, putting their careers ahead of family, their educations ahead of individuals, and their politics ahead of love.
He also points out the staggering debt load these women carry.

I am not going to argue that the debt was wisely incurred.

But I will listen to anybody who wants to make a case that temporarily freezing the interest on student debt for women who want to shift tracks to mommy-hood is in our national self-interest.

I bounced the idea off Belladonna. She suggested a maximum of a five year freeze. That way the woman can have one child and get him/her into preschool before the loan starts re-accruing interest or she can have several children in that interval.

Even a trapped muskrat will fight. Women who carrying large amounts of student loan debt may feel trapped into putting a higher priority on their work than on husbands and children.