Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Battle Rifle Fever: Sighting in the FN FAL

I think I'm sold on this rifle.  I was so distracted that I didn't even center the picture well

Obviously, I like my firearms.  Probably more than half my posts are about them or the Second Amendment.  I jump on the chance to handle and shoot new firearms.  I had the opportunity to troubleshoot a FN FAL recently.  I think I may have gotten the 308 battle rifle bug from the experience.

The complaint about the rifle was that it did not shoot accurately.  I had zero experience with FALs, but I do know how to zero a rifle.  So I got to work.  The first thing I checked was the aftermarket DSA Arms Extreme Duty Scope Mount.  DSA seems to offer several variances on this mount, but they all mount basically the same way.  I checked to ensure that the screws had not come loose.  Nope, that checked out just fine.

I used my Weaver Modular Leveling System to ensure that the scope was level to the receiver.  

As you can see, the level on the scope is off slightly while the level on the receiver indicates the firearm is level with the ground.

Lo and behold, it was off a bit.  I found the left side of the scope rings fasteners were loose as well.  

Both are between the lines.  Now we're in business.

I leveled it all out and tightened it back down.  I will probably consider thread locker at some point, but for preliminary evaluation hand tightening and keeping an eye on it will have to do.

I was all set to go out to the range.  I loaded up the truck and drove the 40 minutes it takes to get to Pigeon Hill Shooting Range near Saint Joe, MO.  I groaned in frustration as I pulled up.  Of course, everyone had taken the shooter benches on the 25 yard range.  I'd have to either prone out (which I found out was not going to work out well) or stand and do my best to brace against the raised shooters rest sans seats.  I took one shot to see where it landed and make sure it wasn't completely off the human silhouette.  I then took another three shots to get a grouping.  

My first "grouping" in the 8 ring at 25 yards.  Terrible on my part, but at least I knew it was high.

My first grouping was pretty terrible due to a combination of unsteadiness in my shooting position and user error.  The FAL naturally has more recoil than my 5.56 carbines.  It took me some getting used to.

I dialed down the elevation assuming that each click on the Bushnell Elite 4200 4-16x was a quarter MOA.  I slowly inched the groupings down to the point of aim on the bull.  

First two shots were an inch to the right of the bull.  The last 3 shots were directly above in a string that angled to the left.  Definitely some user error involved.

After 40 rounds, I was satisfied enough that it was roughly zeroed.  However, I was running out of time before I had to return home.  I went ahead and packed up for the day.  I will be zeroing out to 50 yards for it's final zero and, hopefully, will be able to do so from a much more steady position.  It's my understanding that I should expect about 2-3 MOA from this rifle.  I'll be happy if I can produce 3 MOA, but I know I need more practice with this rifle.  It would help to have a recoil pad on the butt!

I really liked the way this rifle shot.  The fact that it was in 308 was a big plus.  It's definately a different feeling from shooting a AR-15.  I can see why the FAL has a following.  I may have to start considering picking this up.  The M1A is in the same class, but I haven't researched it well enough yet.  The SCAR 17 would be a dream gun, but I can't justify the price.  Things for me to ponder.  Till next time.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Anti-2A Crowd is NEVER Satisfied

Never.  Satisfied.  EVAR!

New York pastor's Sunday service assault rifle giveaway draws controversy

So, let me get this straight:  A New York (un)SAFE Act compliant rifle is being raffled away.  It complies with the absolutely insane and arbitrary law that bans cosmetic features.  They could be raffling off a deer rifle that has more stopping power than this so called "assault rifle" (a misnomer by the way, as it operates mechanically like any other semi-auto rifle).  The outcry would probably be not as great or most likely nil if it was a hunting rifle which logically makes no sense.  But, as one lawyer I know is fond of saying, "It doesn't have to make sense, it's just the law."

And, because it is at a church, it's doubly worse, how?  Pretty sure folks who go to church are less likely to commit crimes.  It's not like they are on pins and needles to win a raffled off rifle just so they can go and blow away people at the first gun free zone they can find.

But, what about the gun "falling into the wrong hands?"  You mean like thieves stealing them from gun stores?  Or, buying them from the black market?  By that logic, we should probably place stricter limits on who can drink alcohol as well because the "wrong people" drink it and then drive and kill people at IT tech festivals.

All this hand wringing is ridiculous and, frankly, pathetic.  Grow a pair (male or female) and start taking responsibility for your own lives.  And quit worrying about what "may" happen.  The chances of you dying from anything other than natural causes or illness are slim.  Bad people are going to do bad things.  You can't regulate away those "things" in the hopes it stops a bad guy.  They'll just get a hold of that "thing" one way or another or they'll substitute it for something else.  Oh, and when one of those "things" happens to be a gun, then maybe one should stop to think that they themselves could use that "thing" to save their own life (there's that personal responsibility thing again).  It works both ways.

Oh, and it's your natural right to be able to defend yourself.  Pretty sure you can't do that with a bat, knife, fork, etc when you're staring down the barrel of a .45 (think the criminal won it in a raffle?).  But, hey, it's your choice, for now, in spite of anti-2A folks.  Good luck with that.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Spiritually Prepared

I make no secret that I am Roman Catholic to those who know me personally.  I understand that some of you who may be reading are not Catholic or even Christian (or maybe not of any faith).  But bear with me.  The point of this blog post will still apply to everyone.

This, is not typically something I blog about.  However, the more thought I gave to the idea of being spiritually prepared the more I realized that it belongs in the number one spot.  As it is written:

"And he said to all, "If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.  For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake, he will save it.  For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?" (emphasis added)

- Luke 9:23-25

Truly, if the end goal is for us all to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven (or for non-believers a legacy that you  can be proud of), then what good does it do me if I focus my attention on beans, band aids and bullets to the exclusion of all else?  My wife will tell you that I am a laser focused individual.  When I set a goal, then I tend to finish it in the most direct way possible.  It has its advantages and disadvantages.  Unfortunately, one of the disadvantages is that I have lost sight of other's needs outside of my own.

Lent started last week on Ash Wednesday.  Some of my Lenten resolutions to improve my spiritual life corresponded to material concerns and constantly consuming the news via TV, Internet and blogs.  What a difference almost 1 week (as of this writing) makes!  I feel a lot less cluttered in the mind.  It also opened up more free time to contemplate.  Which leads me to the point I would like to make with this post.

Look to your family first.  However, do not fall into the trap of neglecting your friends and community when it comes to their basic human needs.  When you are preparing for whatever you may be most concerned with remember to put others first once your family has been taken care of.  Do not fall into the trap of isolationism.  I am no socialist politically, but I am most certainly concerned with social values as they affect my community.  Do something with a local church to help feed the poor.  Go through your closets and house and donate those items to the Goodwill or Saint Vincent de Paul.  By reaching out to others you will build up your "treasure in heaven" and live a life that leaves a lasting legacy on your children and community.  People of faith and people of non-faith can agree that this is a noble and worthy goal.  In this way, you can be spiritually prepared knowing that you gave your best not to just yourself, family and friends, but to society.

"... 'Truly, I say to you , as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.'"

- Matthew 25:40

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Pork Chops A Plenty

Well, it was that time of year again this past weekend.  My brother-in-law and I helped to slaughter four 300 lb. sows.  This year, I opted for a half pig instead of just a quarter.  I ended up with 40 lbs.of ground pork and several lean cuts of pork steaks, chops, roasts and also ribs and a tenderloin.  Sorry, no pictures this year.

Some things I learned from this year that I didn't necessarily get from last year's slaughter:


  • Bring plenty of sharp knives and a way to sharpen them - Last year I had to borrow other's knives (I don't know what I was thinking...).  This year I came prepared.  I brought my Ka-Bar to take the sow's head off.  The long blade was perfect for this task.  My ESEE 4 did the majority of the slicing and dicing (including the skinning and gutting).  I found that it needed to be sharpened more often than I would have thought when cutting out the different cuts of my half of the pig.  Luckily, my brother-in-law had an excellent sharpening stone.  I am thinking about picking up a DMT double sided sharpener for when I am on the go.  I already have a nice Lansky set, but it takes a bit of setup and is used to put different angles for different purposes/blades.
  • More hands helps speed the process. - We had about four less people and one extra pig than last year.  That meant a lot more work for us.  Trust me when I say that the more people you have to help the happier you will be.
  • Vacuum sealers are a must - I missed out on this part of the processing from last year.  It was the first time I have actually seen a vacuum sealer used up close.  My brother-in-law's aunt and mother helped run this part of the operation.  They made bags and we brought back the bags with the ground pork so that they could seal the last side up.  They also sealed all of the cuts of meat.  One roll of bag material ran them about $30-$40.  They ended up buying two packages worth to make sure we were covered.  One of the sealers was new and cost about $60 on sale at Wal-Mart.  If I ever decide to get my own, then I will do a write up here on the blog.
The sows ended up running $0.71 per pound.  That's a hell of a deal for lean pork.  It ended up costing me $140 for half a pig plus sharing the cost of the bagging material.  And, of course, my time and labor which is essentially free.  That's a bargain compared to what a person would have had to pay at the grocer.  I also got to hang out with my brother-in-law and his family who are great people and had a good time.  You cannot really beat that all the way around.