Ten things I say to toddlers slash grown ass women.

No, it’s my turn to talk.
I listened to you.
And while you feel very strongly about your feelings,
it doesn’t change the facts, the situation, or the options going forward.
Mmmm… no thank you.
I won’t share access to my electronic devices or communications with you.
Please think about what you are saying.
I don’t know why your friend did that.
She is your friend, why don’t you ask her?
You know what?
I’m going to take some alone time now.
Wow! When you hit and call me names it hurts me.
Why do you feel entitled to hit me and call me names?
That is my wallet.
It is not for taking any time you please.
That makes me feel exploited.
I need to concentrate on my work.
Work is what pays the bills.
Please be patient and let me finish this.
Being distracted is dangerous.
Paying attention to an electronic toy puts you at risk.
And if you are distracted you put others at risk.
Please pay attention to what you are doing.
Yes you are very pretty.
But that doesn’t mean you can be mean to people who are less attractive.

This list is inspired by a rabid feminist who made a list of ten things she says to toddlers and men. The point I’m making here is that men don’t have a monopoly on childish behaviors, and deliberately comparing men to toddlers is just as insulting as deliberately comparing women to toddlers.
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One shot at the range.

Looking through the spotting scope the mirage boiled straight up. “No wind” he thought as he got into position, noting the wind flags twenty feet up showed a slight breeze. Patchy clouds drifted lazily thousands of feet above, changing the light conditions ever slow slightly. The rifle tucked in tight to the rubberized shoulder fabric of the shooting jacket, the diamond hatch pattern of the AR-15 butt plate gripping it in place, held tight by the sling running from his upper left bicep around the back of the shooting clove to the sling swivel attached to the front of the free float tube.

“Natural Point Of Aim” he thought, as he let the cross hairs of the four power rifle scope settle on aiming black 600 yards distant. A breath, and the cross hairs moved off. He shifted his hips so the rifle went back onto target, and breathed again. At the end of his breath, the small dot in the center of the cross hairs was still in the black.

“Take a breath, let it out.” he thought, as his right thumb switched the selector lever from safe to fire, the only settings available on his rifle. The pad of his right index finger pulled back on the trigger taking up the first stage. At the bottom of his exhale the sight picture seemed to crystallize into perfect stillness, and he pulled back and the second stage broke, the rifle pushed back into his shoulder, and his body rode with the recoil to fall back onto target. He watched the target go down, pulled by unseen hands in the pits. Unconsciously he flicked the selector lever to safe.

A ten. It always feels good to keep all the points from the shot.

He broke the rifle from his right shoulder pocket, inserted another hand loaded cartridge. The red plastic resin tip of the long match bullet reminded him of the nights spent preparing the brass, seating the primers, measuring each charge for the 600 yard line. A push of the bolt release slammed the cartridge home into the chamber. Using his firing hand he pushed the rifle forward from the butt into the right shoulder pocket, and rebuilt his position. Breath in. Breath out. Natural point of aim.

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A cynical view of why the press is now reporting on sexual harassment and sexual assault.

Because they have zero credibility on absolutely any other subject after the 2016 election.

A deeper, and more cynical view, is that traditional “old Democrats” like Harvey Weinstein are simply caught up in the drama of the Democratic party trying to figure out how the hell it can regain some semblance of being an actual party and not the Clinton’s family business, and the armed propaganda wing of the Democrats is doing everything it can to help “purge” the corrupt old guard that lost the last election. You see, Harvey, your money is only good enough when they win.

Just saying that I don’t think the press would be focusing on sexual assault or harassment if Hillary were president right now. Because the big money donors would be on the “right side” of the ruling elite. Since the old big money didn’t win this election, the Democrats are infighting, and the press is doing their best to support the changing of the guard to help the “New, Improved Democrats” look like they really are doing something for women’s rights.

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Long Range…with a 223?

The new 223 Valkyrie is the latest “game changer” according to the people who make it their business to sell articles in order to sell guns. After all, pushing a high BC bullet that stays supersonic to 1300 yards has to be infinitely better than the plane, old, tired, worn out 223 Remington, right?

Well…not so much. Once you start comparing apples to apples, which means a 24″ barrel in the 223 Valkyrie to a  24″ barrel on a 223 Rem with a Wylde chamber (to take a long for caliber bullet), and start loading a high BC bullet like the Hornady 75gr ELD-M in the 223 Rem over a max charge of Varget…well the 223 Valkyrie, even with it’s 90gr match bullet has less than 250 yards of supersonic advantage over the old, tired, worn out 223 Remington. Yes, 1100 yard shots are within the performance range of the 223 Rem, but I’ve only ever seen it done in tactical oriented competitions against E-types and iron maidens. There is a reason for this, but it can be counter intuitive to when you also know that the 223 Remington is the preferred choice for “across the course” High Power and Service rifle, handily beating the older (but still excellent) 308 Win.

So why isn’t the 223 Remington more common on the long range firing lines of the world? Well, to sum up a long line of data, it comes down to case size and primer consistency. The smaller a case, the more sensitive it is to primer variance affecting total pressure, and pressure spike shape, which greatly effects the harmonics of a rifle barrel. This is why larger cases, like the 308 Win, remain preferred for long range High Power and Palma, because the same variance in priming compound force between the two cartridges produces a much smaller percentage change in pressure for the larger case. If small rifle primers were perfectly consistent, then it would stand to reason we’d see more 223 Rems out there shooting long distance for competition.

The longer the range, the more you need consistency. From 600 yards and in, even having double digit standard variation in your match load isn’t going to matter, with either the 223 or the 308. However that is not the case at 800, 900, and 1000 yards. For example if you were shooting a 24″ barreled “Space Gun” 223 Rem and had a load that clocked in at 2,880 fps with a 20f/s standard deviation. The spread at 1k would be 1.2 minutes using a high BC bullet like the Hornady 75gr ELD-M. That is literally a foot of spread (for all intents and purposes it rounds to a foot, so I excuse my use of the word literally). At 600 yards the same dispersion is only 0.4 MOA, or just under three inches. This means that for your run of the mill High Power match, having a load with 20f/s standard deviation doesn’t matter as long as you can do your part on the rifle, since the load is only ever going to put you out 0.4 minutes off intended point of aim.

Now this is only looking at a 24″ barrel, and if you are shooting Palma or F/TR class you can easily get a 32″ pipe to put on your rifle. That may change your performance, especially if you can get the standard deviation down into the low double digit or high single digit range. But still, you’ll be competing against people who are going to be shooting tricked out 308s pushing equally high BC bullets equally fast.

So to sum up this article, the 223 Valkyrie will actually be a better “long range” option for the AR platform, but it won’t be a game changer. If anything were going to be a game changer the 6.5 Grendel, 6.5 LBC, 6mm Hagar, 243 WSSM, or 30 OSSM would have “changed the game” by now. Since none of them are legal for Service Rifle, none of them have been adopted by Service Rifle shooters, and Match Rifle shooters have often chosen the longer AR-10 or bolt action rifle platforms to build on (although many simply build “Space Guns” on the AR-15 platform for economic reasons, and because economy stick with the 223 Rem).

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Spinnaker Medium Cahill Diver style watch initial review

I purchased a Spinnaker midsize Cahill watch as part of a massdrop group buy. My initial impression is rather favorable.

There are only a few watch companies that make products that actually hold their value. The usual suspects like Rolex, Omega, Longines, Cartier, Patek Phillipe and the rest of the luxury watch brand names are on that list. Names like Bulova and Tag Heuer are not (look at the cost of a used Tag or Bulova on ebay sometimes). So what you have are “premium brand recognition” that gives some sort of “brand equity” which allows a used Rolex to be sold for much more than an equivalent quality Tag.

It also means that there are a LOT of brands which make product that don’t hold their value, or don’t appreciate in value at all. There is nothing wrong with this, as many of these brands such as Seiko, Casio, Citizen, Orient will make a watch that will fit in whether you are wearing a business suit or a diving suit, and while they don’t have the brand equity of Rolex or Patek Phillipe which is associated with Rolls Royce or top end Cadillacs, a nice Citizen watch wouldn’t be out of place at all on the wrist of someone who drives a Lincoln, or Lexus.

And then there are brands that purchase components in bulk and have their watches manufactured in Malaysia or China. Brands like Invicta (who discontinued their Swiss mechanical line) and Vostok, which allows them to produce a decent watch for a decent price. And now Spinnaker, which doesn’t divulge their sub contracted watch makers but at least once was “Solar Time LTD” of China according to one customer’s shipping label reports. Which brings us to the Spinnaker medium Cahill watch.

The good: It is an homage dive watch that isn’t an homage to the Rolex Submariner. It looks to be an homage to the Breguet 1646, which this blog accurately predicted back in 2014 would have several homage watches rather quickly enter the market: https://www.ablogtowatch.com/breguet-1646-diver-watch-newly-discovered-vintage-1965/ In short, this watch looks very handsome and until the market is saturated with other Breguet 1646 inspired homage watches, will look like something that costs more than it did. Also good is the domed mineral crystal, which I particularly enjoy because it doesn’t reflect sunlight in an annoying bright spot pattern to flash on anyone’s eyes as I’m driving or doing anything else in bright sunlight.

The interesting: The NH35A movement has been used in many ISO certified Diver’s watches, and so it represents a solid choice here for price to performance (as it is the movement of choice for Invicta and Vostok for that very reason) : https://wanderingthroughthenight.wordpress.com/2017/05/27/a-deeper-look-at-the-sii-nh35a-watch-movement/ The water resistance rating of 100 meters means that this watch is fine for anything you’ll normally do on vacation. The owners manual comes with a note to not wear the watch in a jacuzzi or steam room, as that may lead to condensation inside the watch.

The bad: The watch is clearly built to a price point, much like Invicta. The illum used is nothing to write home about, but it is better than Invicta and Vostok illum when compared at the same price point (about 90 dollars from a Massdrop purchase). The uni-directional rotating bezel has no illum at all, and suffers from an apparent misaligned gasket problem which causes it to bind a bit randomly as it is rotated, although it could be that this is a problem with only my model and not with others (I’ve had this problem with a Seiko Orange Monster, 2nd gen, as well which cleared up with a new gasket properly coated with silicon dive grease).

As to why do I call the Spinnaker medium Cahill a diver style watch? Because I’ve come to expect very bright illum from Seiko dive watches, and this is much more subdued. There is nothing wrong with the watch that would prevent me from taking it snorkeling or reef diving, but things can get very dim even 80 feet down depending on conditions. The lack of an illuminated reference point on the rotating bezel make this watch a “clear water, bright day only” type of diver, designed to be seen on the wrist by others rather than used on the wrist by a diver.

The “style” of watch is in line with the Citizen military theme watches or the Timex weekender line of watches in terms of being a “casual fashion accessory.” And substituting one of those watches for the Cahill would hardly change a gentleman’s look at all. And while there isn’t enough “brand equity” to ensure that having a Spinnaker on your wrist is an acceptable social status token to be taken seriously by the one percent, the Spinnaker brand is working very hard to establish their brand space in the “Tag Heuer and Bulova” range rather than Invicta and Vostok range. As such, I predict that lower cost offerings like the midsize Cahill will be the exception rather than the rule.

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How to make a bunch of alpha male SF veterans go apeshit over fabric…

Mention the proposed Security Force Assistance Brigade (SFAB) patch and beret. http://www.sof.news/sfa/sfab-beret/ Which given their collective “nickname” of “Silent Professionals” is rather ironic once you get ten comments in on any of the military news sites where these “quiet professionals” (or at least people claiming to be SF) leave their nuggets of wisdom to share with the world at large. Read the comments if you darehttps://www.armytimes.com/news/your-army/2017/10/27/the-rumors-are-true-the-army-plans-to-issue-distinctive-berets-to-its-new-military-training-advisers/

The usual complaints abound, “the green beret is ours!” and “the SFAB patch steals our Recondo heritage!” are the two most common, and superficially they seem like sound arguments.

But…this isn’t the first controversy that the Special Forces community has come up with over the Security Force Assistant Brigade concept, even to the point where an SF Colonel openly reminded his SF compatriots to “shut up and Soldier, bitch.” https://warontherocks.com/2017/03/a-green-berets-ode-to-big-armys-new-security-force-assistance-brigades/

And the Army has experienced this before. The Black Beret, adopted by the 75th Ranger Regiment so that they wouldn’t be “paratroopers” with their raspberry “maroon” beret, nor be Special Forces with their surplussed Canadian infantry berets “green” berets, adopted the beret of the British tanker. The beret is an excellent piece of headgear for a tank crewmember, because your communication headphones slip right over very easily, and there is no brim to get in the way of using periscopes to drive the tank or aim the cannon (or “tank gun” as Americans call it as the Field Artillery branch claims to own all things with the label of “cannon”). And the color black hid the grease stains very well, so it was a rather nice uniform choice for tankers. When GEN Shinseki made the black beret standard headgear, the Rangers very publically protested, then went about finding a different color for themselves.

It seems that any group which thinks of itself as “elite and special” tends to get a case of the butthurt when someone else shows any level of competence at a similar mission set. Marines are incensed to find out that the Army can do amphibious assault, and has no problem with force projection as they see those missions as uniquely belonging to the USMC. Unfortunately for our Devil Dog brothers and sisters, a mission is something given down from the powers that be, and never inherently belongs to any one service, or branch within a service.

So why are the SF long tabbers getting their Ranger panties in a bunch over the SFAB concept? Well, because it does place a much larger “non-SOF” unit clearly into the “gray zone” of conflict. The SF community, in the form of the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School (JFKSWK), put out in their most recent newsletter that only SF was SF and it would not be handing over any more of the SF mission set to Psychological Operations or Civil Affairs. Even inside the SOF community SF is feeling a bit butt hurt as more Civil Affairs Teams and Military Information Support Teams (MISTs) are welcomed into countries by the State Department on missions that would have gone to SF teams two decades ago.

News flash to the SF community. You guys got exactly what you lobbied for, and I’m going to laugh and laugh as you start to realize this. As massive numbers of SF Captains leave the community due to noncompetitive promotion rates, while “pipe hitters” from CAG and DEVGRU take the 4 star command slot for SOCOM, and while the Infantry Officers from the Ranger Regiment bounce back and forth between SOCOM and FORSCOM to get all their key development positions punched, there is no conclusion left except to point out that SF has worked very hard to make itself irrelevant. If that offends you, it is probably because my point is very true and not made with any sort of malice.

The war on terror reshaped the US Army. SF took way more “direct action” missions than it should, and the “regular Army” tried a whole bunch of solutions to fill the percieved mission requirements. From “Military Transition Teams” to “Police Transition Teams” to “Advise and Assist Brigades” to the new SFAB concept, the Army has decided that we need forces that are able to deploy, embed, and train allied conventional forces. The SF model was never able to take on that mission set, training a Tank Battalion for example, and as long as it was an “ad hoc” solution then the SF teams didn’t seem to mind. But the SFAB…well that is an institutional solution, and one that the SF community sees as a direct threat to their mission.

But…the truth is that there is more “peacetime” deployment mission load than SF can carry. There is more deployment requests based on foreign requests for training or requests for assistance than all of SOCOM can fulfill even with Psyops and Civil Affairs also involved. And JFKSWCS had the chance to shape how the Army as a whole addressed that shortfall when they were put in charge of a proposed war fighting function called “engagement” which is meant to do exactly the sort of things that SFABs are designed to do (as well as the old “advise and assist brigades”). With this prime opportunity to shape the doctrine that would shape the Army, what did the SOF community, specifically the SF community, do? Nothing.

The SF community quietly fought the idea of regular Army units conducting “engagements” during peacetime for reasons of their own. The irony is that it was a former CAG guy who lobbied to create “engagement” in the first place. So congratulations Green Berets, you kept “engagement” from being an Army warfighting function. However that did not change the reality that SF can’t cover down on every mission, and you guys keep bitching like Prima Donnas every time another unit stands up to fill the gap. I was there for when the Asymmetric Warfare Group stood up, and I heard all the SF bitching then, to the point where the AWG now works for the Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) rather than SOCOM. I very much remember the wailing and gnashing of teeth that AWG would need to use “regular” M4s https://shadowspear.com/vb/threads/army-takes-hk416s-from-special-unit.2037/  But now AWG is all over the globe, embedding with allies, and bringing back lessons learned while sharing our best tactcis, techniques, and procedures with the units they embed into. SF is not really doing that mission.

There is an old joke that if you want to see two heterosexual men get passionate about a swatch of fabric just go to any Civil War re-enactment and ask about uniform authenticity. The new reality is that if you remind and SF fanboi that “Recondo” came out of the regular Army they’ll tell you that you are “stealing SF’s heritage!” http://www.25thinfantrycrips.com/recondo-school-vietnam/  Then again, when you mention to the “Batt Boys” that Ranger school predates the Ranger Regiment by decades, they like to argue that because Ranger units existed before Ranger school that somehow it is being in the Regiment that is important. Never mind that “Merrill’s Marauders” never once called themselves “Rangers” as the Regiment needed some sort of history and that is what they chose (to the point that every Marauder was awarded a Ranger tab, no matter if they’d gone to school or not).

People often have a deep sense of pride in their unit, and there is nothing wrong with that. However, when the “quiet professionals” start bitching like divas about a shade of a beret being too close to theirs, it doesn’t inspire confidence in the professionalism of the quiet professionals.

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Bullet Stability, the Greenhill and Miller formulas, and the search for the right compromise

What makes a bullet stable? What are the symptoms of less than stable bullet flight? What are the symptoms of an unstable bullet? These are questions that are actually a bit more difficult to answer than you might think.

The Greenhill Formula is an “empirical formula” in that it took a lot of data points, and tried to describe them using math. There are a lot of empirical formulas out there, such as the tensile strength of materials is actually based on testing them, but since you can’t test every configuration of a material you come up with an empirical formula that describes reality well enough for the engineers to design parts based on material shapes and lengths that were never tested before. And it works pretty well. The Greenhill formula has largely been supplanted by various Miller formulas. The Miller stability factor formulas work like this, it essentially compares bullet length, twist rate, and velocity to figure out how fast a given bullet will be spinning on exiting the muzzle and says that “anything that calculates above 1.3 is stable, anything 1.0 to 1.299 is marginal, and under 1.0 is unstable.” And the Miller formula generally works really well at predicting whether a bullet will leave round or oblong holes in a paper target.

However, technology moves on. Bullet design has changed and advanced, and Bryan Litz has added new data points to the data set and determined that for some bullets, specifically the new low drag bullet designs with a very long “torque arm” on their center of gravity, that not having a stability factor of 1.5 or higher can and will cause a reduction in the ballistic coefficient of these bullets. http://bulletin.accurateshooter.com/2015/03/how-ballistic-coefficent-varies-with-twist-rate-stabilization/  It should be noted that the ballistic tools that Litz is using isn’t just looking at whether the bullet leaves a round or oblong hole in a target.

Now…this isn’t to say that a tighter twist will be more ACCURATE than a slower twist, if there is even the slightest imbalance in a bullet a tighter twist rate will expand the expected accuracy of a group. The math here is more “proven physics” than empirical formula, but the twist rates of the top rated benchrest shooters provide the empirical results consistent with “lowest twist = best accuracy potential” http://riflebarrels.com/a-look-at-bullet-imbalance-and-twist/

So…what do you do? First, you need to decide what exactly it is you want in terms of performance from your rifle. Do you want outstanding short range accuracy? Or do you want something designed to keep a long skinny projectile supersonic for as long as possible? The answer to that question is going to help you prioritize what bullet design you are looking for, and what twist rate is optimal for that bullet design.

For a normal hunting rifle, where pinpoint precision and long range wind bucking abilities are not prioritized, almost any twist rate fast enough to stabilize normal and “heavy for caliber” hunting bullets will do splendidly. This is the reason that a 1:10 twist is so ubiquitous among hunting rifles, as it handles the heavies very well. As bore diameter increases, 1;12 becomes the norm at 338, and 1:14 around the .358 or .366 range. Some 44 caliber bores will have a sedate 1:18 or 1:20 twist rate. Or do they?

About 8 years ago, a world record holder rifleman for long range accuracy posed the question,

“Here’s three barrels:
22 caliber (.224″ groove diameter), 1:8″ twist.
30 caliber (.308″ groove diameter), 1:11″ twist.
44 caliber (..448″ groove diameter), 1:16” twist.

Which one has the greatest angle the rifling presents to the bullet?

The only answer anyone came up with involved trigonometry, and of the answers given this one is the version I understand best “Inverse Tangent of Pi times bore diameter divided by twist equals rifling angle” And using that formula I calculate that each of the three barrels had the same angle of rifling, 5 point zero two degrees (which should really just be five degrees for all intents and purposes), except the 44 caliber which was 5 point zero three degrees of rifling twist angle. It is very counter intuitive to think that the same rifling angle produces very different twist rates, but once you consider the larger bore has so much more material to cover before making a complete revolution, it makes more sense. For the record, a 1:10 twist on a 308 barrel comes in at a 5.52 degree angle, which is about 10% more than the 1:11 twist, which makes sense that the 1:10 is 10% tighter than 1:11.

So, with all this theory, what does it really mean? Well, if you are shooting long skinny premium Berger, Sierra, or other top shelf VLD bullets for long range, make sure you have a barrel twist and velocity that gets you into the 1.5 or higher range using a Miller calculation. If you are shooting shorter, blunter bullets, or less than perfectly manufactured bullets (like you cast your own) then go with the slowest possible twist rate to get you right at 1.3 using a Miller stability calculation. This bifurcation of twist rates reflects the split of bullet making technology, and is a very interesting development.

Now…Palma shooters have traditionally gone with the slower twists. They are limited to 155gr bullets in International competition, and so often choose twist rates that are very slow compared to other 30 cal bullets (and the 223 Remington, aka 5.56×45 NATO hasn’t supplanted the 7.62×51 aka 308 Win as the top Palma cartridge yet). And those Palma shooters are launching those 155gr pills out to 1000 yards with great accuracy using those 1:14 twist barrels. Except for John Whidden, who built a 1:10 twist competition rig which took him to back to back LR championships: http://bulletin.accurateshooter.com/2017/07/john-whidden-wins-2017-nra-long-range-championship/

So maybe we’ll see more Palma barrels with 1:10 twists in the future, as bullet manufacturing technology eliminates major and minor sources of bullet imbalance and allows shooters to take advantage of a more consistent ballistic coefficient for long range shooting. No matter what, this is an interesting time to be a ballistics nerd.

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