Thursday, July 16, 2015

The atypical storm. Why full auto is not all it's cracked up to be. For the "white guilt" sufferers, here's how you can apologize.

This is Thursday morning.  I am pretty sure it is, anyway.  Went to bed last night at 9:00, which is very unusual for me , then slept until 3:00 a.m.  There seems to be no rhyme or reason to my sleeping patterns lately. One strange phenomenon that has started to "manifest" itself is going to take a nap, and then waking up just at dawn or dusk, so when I wake up I don't know if it's morning or evening. A few days ago, I got up, thought it was dawn coming on. But when I went out, none of the security lights were on, the air conditioning in the outbuildings was running ( I turn all that off at night, and turn the security lights on.) Took me about five minutes to figure out I was off by about 12 hours.

I have set the clock on the microwave to the 24 hour system, and my new routine is to check that after a nap.

Tuesday night, there was a storm that came through here, and it was something special. First, it came from the North West, and our weather almost always comes from the gulf, up through Mississippi and Alabama. Next, it was a big cold front pushing down into the hot, humid gulf air over the mountains. So it was very, very violent. The lightning was amazing. Big fingers of lightning, constantly, you could almost have read a paper by the light. Thunder that shook the window panes.

I knew it was coming because my weather radio started beeping early on. Then I got on line and looked at the Intellicast page. I could see it was going to be a bad one.  Half an hour before it got here, the ferrets trooped down the stairs and went into their "safe room" under the cedar chest in the lowest level of the house. Then , after a bit, I heard thunder.

The wind picked up.  We get strong winds here but according to an on line weather station some guy keeps in his pasture about 9 miles from here, we were getting 60 mph gusts. That's really bad. If you look at the picture of my home and outbuildings in the header, you'll see everything is under huge oaks and poplars. In summer, when all the leaves are on the trees, a sharp wind gust after several days of soaking rain can bring them down. If one comes down on the house, it will be major destruction. If you are under the part of the roof a tree comes through, the branches will either impale you or crush you.

Then rain came. Horizontally.  I mean, it was howling across the forest parallel to the tree tops. A lot of branches came down, hard.  One fell right where I usually park the truck, but I'd moved the truck out into the top of the meadow. No trees.

I had already shut down the power to the house and the outbuildings. When something like this is going on, it's the fastest and most efficient way to take everything electric off line. I disconnected from the grid. If you have a transfer switch on the power line coming in, that's easy. Moved the two vehicles to the open space. Put the dogs in the plant room.  Fired up the LED lanterns. I have gas and kerosene storm lanterns, but if you live in a log home with a shake roof, and you think you may have a tree coming through the roof at any minute, you don't want any sources of fire .

This storm put down 1.94 inches of water in the two hours or so, from start to clear skies, that it lasted. I know this by reading the weather station I mentioned earlier.  I know places like Florida and Savannah get more than that, but up here this is a lot of rain in short time.

I got by relatively unscathed.  No loss of equipment, no real damage to the house, no injuries to the animals although I expect some of my chickens are walking around making a mess in the Munchkin village there in Oz.  There was a time when I found this kind of weather exhilarating. Now, it's just one more challenge to get through.

On another note:  After the G3 comments in a previous post, I got two emails asking about "automatic fire."  A lot of people, non shooters, get confused about terminology.  They hear "assault rifle" and they assume the weapon will fire full auto, because that's what a real assault rifle does. But the MSM calls every "scary" looking gun an assault rifle, which is spurious but serves their purposes. Either that, or the people writing the teleprompter dialogue are just ignorant themselves. George Stephanopolis once distinguished himself by describing a self defense shooting in Georgia as involving a .36 caliber revolver. It was a .38 special. If any one has a .36 caliber revolver that does not predate the late 1800's let me hear about it.

So: a semi-automatic weapon, you have to pull the trigger to fire. One pull, one shot. Yes, this is confusing because it is common to call a self loading pistol "an automatic."  But a self loading pistol is really a weapon that functions on a semi-automatic system. One pull, one shot. Now, before I am inundated with comments about the "schnellfuer" pistols like the Astra copies of Mausers, or the automatic functioning of some Mauser Broom Handles, like every other rule in life there are exceptions. There's even an automatic functioning Beretta 92. But you can't control the damn things and they have never really caught on for that reason. You can't hold them on target. With every shot the muzzle jerks around and you are just spraying, not aiming.

The big drawback to automatic fire, is this "jumping around" which means it takes a big person, with big muscles, and a lot of training to have any hope of holding a burst of automatic fire on a target. This is why the Marines switched from an M16 with a  simple selector switch ( semi or full auto) to one that fires a three round burst if you set the switch that way. I don't know what they are using now. They were still using the 3 round burst switch equipped version in 1986. (note: I am talking about hand held or shoulder fired personal weapons here. I am not talking about bi-pod, tri-pod, vehicle mounted or crew served automatic weapons)

A bullet is only effective if it hits the target. If you shoot one round and get the bad guy between the eyes, you have been effective. If you fire 30 round magazine after 30 round magazine off into the sky (people shoot high, as a general rule) then you have not been effective. When you see these Iraqis on tv, hiding behind a berm and lifting their AK-47 rifles over the berm so they can "spray and pray" you are seeing an example of wasting ammo and accomplishing nothing. Aimed fire is effective. That's why the Marines spend so much time on small arms training. That's why they go to the range every year. That's why they say "every man a rifleman."

Feel free to add your thoughts on this. I don't pretend to be the most erudite person alive when it comes to explanations of this nature, but it's my best shot. (good pun, eh?)

Friendly ferret does not agree with the canard that you should aim center of mass.
He says "aim for the belt buckle, especially with a pistol".

Instead of burning Confederate Flags, throwing paint on Confederate monuments, and kicking over gravestones in Confederate cemetaries, South Park has a better suggestion for white guilt trippers.


  1. Glad you survived the storm in good shape. I used to enjoy storms -until lightning struck 45 feet away from me blowing off the top 35 feet of a big old hemlock tree. Tree just missed my solar panels and car. Fried one of my phone lines. Got off lucky.

    Dad taught me to shoot and hunt with single shot rifles. I'm a big fan of aimed fire.

    1. Lightning is bad up here. I stay under cover when it's popping up in the sky. This last storm was something special in that regards.

      Blowing off rounds down range without aiming is an exercise in futility. Sometimes, you can't see the target and you just have to give the area you think he's in a good hosing down, but it's not very effective and it costs a lot of money. If ammo is in short supply, it just won't do.

  2. Your storm reminded me that I need a good AM/FM shortwave radio with a weather
    warning band. I admit that I don't really understand radios, but I know that I need
    one. I have $100 to spend on a good quality one. Would you choose 5 that would
    be the best choices, ranked 1 thru 5. I need it to be portable. I just bought the
    SunJack solar charger system, 14 watt, and need to be able to charge the batteries with that using AA or AAA. I live in northwest Oregon, I know EQ's can't be predicted on a radio, but we do get storms. Thanks, Jane

    1. Jane, I have an old radio shack weather radio that is excellent. Kroger sells good Midland weather radios with audible alarms, starting at about $20.00 and going up to around $49.00 depending on what bells and whistles you want. I am sure you could find one of those cheaper on line than at the store. C. Crane has some excellent weather radios, they usually come with various other feature. I don't know that particular solar charging system, but all the radios above run on AA and they will work equally well with use and lose or with rechargeable.

      There's been a lot of talk about a new geologic assessment of the Cascadia Subduction zone. I think I posted a link to one of the articles on the right side of the blog in the news links.

  3. I am beginning to wonder if we, here in the Minneapolis area, are leading charmed lives, for there have been nasty storms to the north of us and nasty storms to the south of us, but no direct hits here. I expect I probably jinxed us with the preceding statement.

    Looks like it is a good thing that I do not carry around any white guilt baggage. But I am totally amazed at how many are more than willing to pucker up and smooch.

    1. I hope the storms keep missing you . They are no fun.

      There are plenty of low information types out there just palpitating at the thought of expressing their collective guilt for being white. I'm sure they would be enchanted to apologize to Jesse and I'm equally certain he would enjoy allowing them to exorcise their guilt in this manner.

  4. Harry, a few years ago I decided to buy one of those Chineese SKS paratrooper variants just for kicks. The ammo was cheap, so I couldn't resist. Anyway, there I was plinking away in semi-auto mode when suddenly it decided it had a mind of it's own and let off a 3 round burst in full auto. I was stunned to the point that I sold the rifle soon after. It just wasn't worth the safety risk. You definitely get what you pay for. --T

  5. Hey Harry,


    I just think your internal clock is off because 'your well retired. I don't mean that in a bad way, but if you still had an 'eight to five job' your internal clock would be more regular.
    I get lower back pain after sleeping about three hours, so if I go to bed at ten. I get up at one or two AM. I then goof off on the computer for awhile. Go back to sleep for another two/three hours and so on. I do stuff early in the morning, through the mid morning because of the heat and maybe by three PM, I sleep for about an hour or so. Yeah' my clock is kinda screwed up too.

    Oh' on the white guilt Crap!. The only guilt I have is I was not around to fight with my great, great grandfather in the 42nd Infantry of the Georgia volunteers and yeah' back then. Everyman was a real rifleman.

    Yeah' on the gun thing. I'm real big on shooting straight, shot placement and marksmenship. Any idiot can put a bunch of bullets down range. Using one bullet to hit your target effectively is optimum.

    As per the storms. We get fronts in with winds up to 80 miles an hour. Nothing new down here since most structures are designed to withstand mild hurricanes.

    1. I've been retired now for about four years, I think it is. You would expect the sleeping business to settle down, but I've been an insomniac for about 32 years at least, so maybe it just is what it is.

      Come on, CC. You know you feel bad about being white, deep down inside. Just give old Jesse's a big smooch, you'll feel better! ;-)

      The only bullet that counts is the one that hits what you fired it at. Everything else is a waste. Getting excited and just hosing off rounds is one reason you hear whining, weeping stories about how the evil police shot poor old Fat Doggy Dog the Rapper 18 times when the first bullet killed him anyway.

  6. Harry,

    Good to hear you were prepared for the storm rolling through, you and yours were safe, and no major damage to you place.

  7. Full-auto has it's uses, albeit limited. In the big guns (belt-fed), it's all about area-denial, ambush and keeping the enemies' heads down while your riflemen move up. With subguns, they are basically short-range "brooms" used for sweeping corridors, rooms, dense forests, etc., while on the move against close-range targets. In those roles, they work great. Otherwise, they're pretty much just noisemakers. The recoil isn't bad on the smaller ones--9mm, 5.56, etc.-- but it's ridiculously counter-productive in the .30 rifles. I love my Uzi but can't for the life of me envision a scenario where an M-16 or my M-60 would realistically be all that handy.

    1. You....

      I am truly impressed. I never knew anybody that had one of those in their gun locker.

      I hope that at my stage of life, I'm past suppressive fire. But these days, who can say? These are strange times.

      I think with an M60, you wouldn't have to hit them. You could kill the bad guys with awesomeness. Now if only you can find an MG42....

    2. Yeah, I have one, at least until the transfer clears. I'm selling it now. It was fun, but it served no purpose other than to make money disappear. Now MG-42s are out there and even more common than the sixty...and parts are cheaper by a ton. I just finally realized that I was like the dog chasing a car for a lot of years who, when he finally caught the car, realized that he couldn't do anything with it. That was me and the sixty. But yeah, go to that search bar for my blog and put "M60" in there. Lots of posts and pics.

    3. You should keep it just for the God like status it conveys on it's holder.

      I have weapons I've never fired. Sometimes I just get them out of the safe and look and them, and think "Yes, By God! That belongs to me!"

      But I haven nothing with a 100% coolness factor like the M60.

      Besides, think how handy it will be come the Revolution!