Thursday, June 19, 2003

Part of the reason blogging has been light - okay, damn well non-existant - is because here at the Publicola house we have a new mouth to feed. You can see pics of her here. It should work for those w/o a Yahoo account, but worst comes to worst Yahoo accounts are free & have some handy features.

The vitals -
weight - 9.5 lbs.
length - 43.5 inches
color - light grey/dark brown
Date of Birth - august 1944 (i think)

In case you haven't figured it out, the new mouth to feed is approximately .308 in diameter & is attached to what is commonly know as the M1 Garand.

More or less I think the serial number puts it as being made in August of 1944, though the literature that came with it had 1941 serial number ranges. Probably a simple mistake as my serial number was 3,xxx,xxx & the 1941 serial numbers covered the 300,000's. It was made by Springfield Armory. It was re-barelled in 1949 with a Springfield barrel. It spent some time in the Danish military. It came my way via the CMP.

Now why would a simple purchase take up most of the free time I spend blogging?
Well the military hates rusty rifles in warehouses, so they dose them liberally with cosmoline. Cosmoline is a great preservative - for metal at least. Over time it's not real good for wood. & in any event it's not a good lubricant. So before firing it's advisable to remove all the cosmoline, clean & lubricate the rifle. Cosmoline gets everyplace. Every little nook & crevice that you could never purposefully lubricate in a decade cosmoline will find its way into.
The best method for cleaning cosmoline off metal is gasoline. But gasoline isn't the most stable of cleaning agents. Next best is kerosene. It's an improvement over gasoline but not by much. So I opted for method No. 3 - mineral spirits.
After detail stripping the Garand, which due to my rusty memory took more time than it should have, I washed all the parts in mineral spirits. I scrubbed with an old toothbrush (at least I hope it was an old tooth brush!) to make sure I didn't miss anything, as cosmoline can gumm up in places. I then let the parts dry. When they'd been drying an hour or so I then degreased the whole thing with a spray degreaser. It ate a nice layer or two off my hands before I remembered I had some rubber gloves laying around, but the important thing was I then had a clean, grease,oil & cosmoline free rifle.
After that oil it all over, wipe off the excess & then use grease (not oil) to take care of a few of the more critical contact points.
The stock was a little trickier. I hadn't decided then whether or not I was going to re-finish the whole thing, so I taped off the outside portion of the stock with masken tape, then sprayed the inside of the stock ( where the rifle sits) with easy-off oven cleaner. Nothing I know of works better when it comes to removing oil from wood. After spraying a coat, letting it sit & then scrubbing the hell out of the barrel & receiver channel I let it dry for a day. Then boiled linseed oil was applied to restore some of the oils the wood is suppossed to have.

Ammo is another consideration. The Garand likes ammo that uses a medium to medium fast powder & sends a bullet along at between 2500 & 2800 feet per second, depending upon the weight. heavier bullets, slower powders or faster velocities won't hurt the action, but they may very well bend the op-rod, which is something that must be replaced - not fixed. So new factory ammo is out of the question. There are some good deals on military surplus ammo but I handload so it's not that economically enticing.
Handloading for a gas operated semi automatic is a bit different than say, for a bolt action. Cartridge headspace, primer depth & over-all length are much more critical. A Garand has a free floating firing pin, so if the primers are too high, or too sensitive, then there's the possibility of a slam fire. A slam fire is when the cartridge discharges the instant the bolt locks shut. Sometimes this will happen the instant before the bolt locks shut, which is called an out-of-battery fire & they are mucho dangerous. This can also happen if the cartridge headpsace is longer than the chamber headspace.

& a good bit of time has been spent searching for parts. Not just any part mind you, but the parts that will make this Garand into a decent macth rifle. I've also been pricing gunsmith work that I don't feel up to doing myself.

So if you add all of that on to the normal things that keep me from blogging as much as I should (such as making a living) then you'll understand why blogging has been light to damn well non-existant as of late. Lord willing & the gas port pressure don't rise I'll resume a semi-normal schedule sometime within the next few days.

In the meantime please check out the blogroll. there are some excellent bloggers over there. The Smallest Monority is always worth a visit, as is Kim DuToit, Annika, Rachel Lucas, Courtney, Random Acts of Kindness, Lileks, The Volokh Conspiracy, Lay Lines, Boone Country, Jen Speaks, Say Uncle, A Coyote at the Dog Show, Weck Up To Thees, & Kippercat among others.
& worth special mention is Alphecca. Not only has he done more to help out pro-Right to Arms bloggers (like myself for instance) than any other blogger I know, but he's added some neat graphics to his Weekly Media Anti-Gun Bias Survey. If he keeps up with the fancy graphics, I suspect he may become the first gay gun nut to have conservative heterosexual gun nuts visit his blog just to look at the pictures! In any event throw something in his tip jar as he has hungry cats to feed. In fact any & every blogger you enjoy reading that has some sort of tipping system, throw in what you can.

& for your enlightenment here are a few links I found which provide some helpful tips for High Power Rifle competitions.

Equipment for High Power shooting

Forum about High Power shooting

Several articles discussing various aspects of High Power shooting

Several more articles about High Power shooting

CMP's National Matches page

Home page of a High Power competitor

Camp Perry website - home of the National Matches

National Association of Shooting Sports Athletes

Shooting coach Chet Skinner's Homepage

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