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Food Thread: That Matzoh Gave Its All! | Main | Sunday Overnight Open Thread (4/9/23)
April 09, 2023

Gun Thread: Easter Edition!

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There's a hare in my scope!

Howdy, Y'all! Welcome to the wondrously fabulous Gun Thread! As always, I want to thank all of our regulars for being here week in and week out, and also offer a bigly Gun Thread welcome to any newcomers who may be joining us tonight. Howdy and thank you for stopping by! I hope you find our wacky conversation on the subject of guns 'n shooting both enjoyable and informative. You are always welcome to lurk in the shadows of shame, but I'd like to invite you to jump into the conversation, say howdy, and tell us what kind of shooting you like to do!

Happy Easter Sunday evening, which can only mean it's time for the Happy Easter Gun Thread! So bite the head off your chocolate bunny, make yourself comfy, and let's hop right into the wonderful world of guns and shooting!

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Springtime is in full bloom here along the Mid-Atlantic states, and with spring comes pollen and with pollen comes allergies. Do you suffer from allergies? Your ol' pal Weasel do a little bit. Interestingly for someone who owns 30,000 pine trees, I am particularly sensitive to pine pollen. It's not terrible though, and truthfully I seem to be less bothered by it than I was a few years ago, so I must be getting used to it. Not much else going on, other than preparing for a Secret Mission taking place this coming week which should provide some material for upcoming Gun Thread editions.

Q: Weasel, what is the secret mission of which you speak?
A: Well if I told you, I'd have to, well, you know... and then it wouldn't be secret anymore what with dead bodies and all.

So you'll just have to tune in next Sunday to find out what it's all about!

With that, step into the dojo and let's get to the gun stuff below, shall we?


2023 NoVAMoMe Update

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Just a reminder the NoVAMoMe is scheduled for June 10th, and in a couple of weeks a registration page will go live. For those new to the process, we provide an email on the blog main page left sidebar. You send an email for more information and if you're interested, are then directed to a password protected site for registration and payment. For those with time available, NEW for 2023 are opportunities to get together and visit the day before the main event and shooting the day after with the Moron Gun Club (space limited), as well as exciting NoVAMoMe merchandise available for those attending. Please plan accordingly if this interests you. Details will be available with the registration material.

I suppose this is as good a time as any to start nagging you people to come if you're able. It is really such a good time and everyone seems to enjoy meeting their online pals. For the introverts among us, rest assured this is a zero pressure event, and you are welcome to be the life of the party, or to simply sit back and just enjoy the day by people watching.

Anyhoo - more details down below.


Guns of the Horde

First up, let's see what our ol' pal blaster has been up to in the 3D printing lab.

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latest iteration of blaster's blasters Mk 1 pistol - a 3d printed Frankenglock.

Practical 3D Printed Guns

Yes, it's bright yellow. That is the filament I had, and I had it because it is my favorite color. So it is bright yellow. This is about the 6th one of these I have built. It has lots of lessons learned incorporated into it. And it shoots pretty well at least at 5 yards

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I started working on this as a novelty. I have a 3d printer. I like guns. I printed a Glockish frame to see if I could, and I could. Then I decided to see if I could make it a shooter. The first one functioned really well right from the start. BUT, after about 300 rounds through it, barely enough to call it broken in, it was broken. The grip cracked and while it would still shoot, it wasnt anything I would want to shoot! A novelty, really. But it looked pretty promising. There are builders who say that they have thousands of rounds through a similar pistol, so it is possible to make a usable pistol this way. And that is my goal, an actual shooter.

This isn't about an "untraceable" gun which is hogwash anyway just because it doesn't have a serial number doesn't mean they can't trace it, and the ATF has my name in the database many times anyway. I just want to see if I can actually make something. Also, I am not interested in fully 3d printed guns, there really aren't any. There are some that don't use any actual gun parts, but you are still getting some metal in there. And they aren't very good. So I am looking at the Glock.

blaster 040923 boxoglocks scaled.jpg
Maybe $8 worth of material there, but many valuable lessons


A popular 3d printer in the 2A community is the Creality Ender 3 Pro which is what I have. They are available new for under $250. You'll need to learn how to use it. Experience is a plus! Print some other stuff first and learn how to use it. One of the critical steps in 3d printing is "leveling" and if the bed of the printer isn't levelled the object isn't going to print well. Leveling can be tricky and along the way in this process, I added an auto-leveler upgrade to my printer that was about $35. A sound investment.

Filament is the medium the printer uses. PLA+ is recommended, and what I used. Others have used nylon which is more durable, but it is harder to print with. A 1kg spool of PLA+ is $20-30 dollars. And they come in colors other than yellow!

STL files are the models for your objects. You process them with a program called a slicer because it cuts the model into layers for your printer. Learning the settings that work with your particular printer and filament involves some trial and error. See the box of Glocks for reference!

The .stl files are available on the internet, but since I started this, there has been new "ghost gun" legislation and regulation, and they have become harder to find. But they are out there. This one is a FMDA (for Free Men Don't Ask) 19.2, which is a Glock 19 Gen 3 clone. There is a also an FMDA 17.2, and FMDA 26.2, and a 19X. I did one of those, that one is really a public beta I don't recommend it.

Polymer frames need metal rails and you can find them specifically for the FMDA models for $35-50. A Glock lower parts kit can be as little as $29 and the locking block $35-50. Glock Gen 3 compatible slides are plentiful but range from $200 (for crap!) on up to whatever you want to spend but for $200 you can get a PSA Dagger slide so just do that.

Also, a cheap lower parts kit comes with a polymer pin for the trigger assembly which worked fine in my first iteration, but perhaps because I moved the same parts through several guns, it got a little bendy, and finally the ends snapped off. I have replaced it with a steel pin. All in for parts is about $300 give or take, which is a lot for a novelty! It's less than a Glock, but about what a PSA Dagger would cost. That's the incremental cost to build/print a pistol, after your 3d printer.

Range time - because this is DIY, you will need some test and tune time. If you have a membership to a range that gives you unlimited time, or can walk out back to shoot in the 100 Acre Wood, that will be a big help.

There used to be a TON of videos on Youtube about 3d printed guns, and the FMDA models in particular, but they are mostly gone now and only some have landed at more free speech oriented sites. One of the popular debates, like crossbows vs. longbows, is "rails up" or "rails down." In other words, in what orientation to print the frame, rails at the bottom, or rails at the top. This makes some difference in the amount of time it takes to print, how muchhand finishing is required, and how it looks when it is finished. 3d printers do a better job on the top of an object, usually, than the bottom. We have rails down on the top, rails up on the bottom.

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rails down

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rails up

I printed rails down except for the most recent one. It's easier to clean up (20 minutes for rails down vs. an hour for rails up), takes less time to print (21 hours v 26), and while the internals don't look great, they do still work. The rails up one looks pretty good in the internals but looks way rougher on the bottom. If I reprint in the future, I will go rails down. The internal roughness does not make a functional difference.

The project continues with further durability testing. I will consider it a success if I see at least a thousand rounds through it. I am not quite up to 300 on this one, but it seems like it is holding up.

In Summary

This process has helped me understand the internal workings of guns a lot more than before, because I am putting the whole thing the thing together. It has actually made me a Glock fan, seeing the internal simplicity, as an engineer, I get why it "just works." I also get the attraction of the "ghost gun" for the criminal - but also for the patriot, and for the artist, and for the people who just like to make stuff that is personalized for themselves. I can't buy a bright yellow Glock, but I can print one.

In the future, I expect the 3d printing to improve, and I expect the legislation and regulation to change as well. Can't stop the signal, Mal.

Neat-O! Thanks for the update blaster!


Range Time!

Who has been back to the range? Why, our pal Washington Nearsider has been back to the range!

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So I made it back to CF Phelps for closing day (they open again 01SEP), and managed to accomplish two missions.

I actually remembered my magazines this time, so I got my battle rifle dialed in at 25m, and then moved on to a test. How far, I wondered, would suppressing my bolt gun actually shift my point of impact? In an effort to pursue #TheScience, I set up an experiment.

Rifle - Tikka T3X with a 24" barrel, chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor
Scope - Vortex Viper PST II 5-25x50
Ammo - Sellier & Bellot 140gr tactical rounds, listed at 2475fps
Can - ThunderBeast Ultra 9"

To establish a baseline, I zeroed myself to my satisfaction and then screwed my barrel into the can. (We're not doing phrasing anymore, right?) I expected some drop in impact, but what I got was extreme. Four inches! (No, seriously. We're done with phrasing?) I developed my own dope data! I established a known shift in POI based on a change to my shooting conditions. This is repeatable data and allows me to instantly dial in a suppressed round v. an unsuppressed round, depending on my shooting needs. I can also, I think, use this known data to extrapolate out the bullet drop at longer distances. If I'm hitting 4" low at 100m, I know the rate of fall of the round. That's constant. 9.8m/s/s. I should, in theory, now be able to dial in a suppressed shot at 300m using that data. I've not done it, but that's next on the list.

Fun note: The Vortex Viper has a zero-stop on the vertical turret. That means I can set the point at which the turret will no longer rotate - a floor. From that known baseline, I can dial as much bullet drop as I need to, but don't have to think about how many clicks I need to undo to get back to zero. I just turn until it stops. To an amateur shooter, this is a GREAT feature. I can now write out a physical dope chart and attach it to the scope cover or stock and have a set point from which to dial.

To confirm, I hung a new target and fired 10 rounds unsuppressed, then dialed in 16 clicks, strapped on the can, and fired 10 rounds suppressed. I'm pleased with my results.*

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All in all, I think this was my best solo range day ever. The weather was windy but gorgeous, there were a few other friendly shooters there (no range babes, alas), and I learned a - to me - very, very cool thing about the capabilities and performance of my weapons system. From this established zero, I now have the confidence to start extending my range in an effort to meet my 2023 goal of ringing steel at 1000m.

*Please note the #Weasel Recommended Protektor bag, which I believe gets full and sole credit for my performance.

Nicely done, WN! This, folks, is how you test and collect data on your firearms. Have a plan and take notes!

Also, thanks for mentioning the Protektor Model Bags. I really cannot say enough good things about this company, their products and customer service. Remember all of my admonitions regarding wobbily shit? Well a Protektor bag is how you avoid this dreaded condition when you're shooting from a bench or other fixed location. I know we have a lot of super-ninja bad-ass tactical mo-fos out there who must travel light and be ready to burst into deadly combat action at a moment's notice, and owing to the weight of the bag this solution isn't for them. However, you merely normal people should do yourselves a bigly favor and get one!


Pics of Yesteryear
Our pal WTM shares a pic of Annie Oakley (WIKI) from yesteryear.

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I bet Nurse Ratched could do that!


Ax Weasel

Q: Weasel, how do weasels hunt?
A: Like this!


Here is our pal GunBlue490 with his thoughts on the meaning of Easter.


Gun Thread Pop Quiz
Last week we featured a nearly 12 Hour lecture on Special Relativity, and I mentioned there would be a quiz this week. Here 'tis:

Q: How does Professor Greene spell his name?
a) one E
b) two E's
c) three E's
d) four E's

Put your answer in the comments and don't forget to show your work!


Here is a fun little video on the M61 Gatling Gun.


Home Gunsmithing
Are you threading barrels onto your own guns, and do you use an anti-seize product on the threads? Does it work? Let's find out.


NoVAMoMe 2023

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Not so fast on the gun stuff, buckaroos! We have a little bit more on the NoVAMoMe to discuss. In fact, this will be the first of a long and seemingly endless series of reminders to get yo' big butt off the couch and come out and meet some of your online friends. Let's kick things off with a few NoVAMoMe FAQ.

Q: Is it fun?
A: Yes. Just ask anyone who has been to one. You will have fun, or else.

Q: When is it again? Did you say June?
A: Yes. A thousand times yes! June 10th, from 1pm til 6pm or so.

Q: I'm sort of a dork. Can I just slink-in, watch for a bit and then slink out without having to actually speak with anyone?
A: Yes. In fact, we have strategically placed large potted ferns for lurkers to hide behind.

Q: Will bluebell be there? I really want to meet bluebell.
A: Of course! Well, assuming things go well at the parole hearing.

Q: Is there food and drink?
A: Yes! $30 for a bigly buffet, and a cash bar. We had to bump up the food price a bit to cover costs this year.

Q: Can I make references, even veiled references to the secret MoMe location on the blog?
A: NO! Seriously, please don't.

Q: Sounds great, Weasel! How do I sign up?
A: We will again have an online page with registration and payment specifics, however, it's not yet live as we're still working out a few of the details. Keep an eye out here on the ol' Gun Thread or the main page sidebar for more info in the coming weeks.

OK, I'm talking to YOU Mr. or Ms. I'll Go Next Time. Guess what? The next time is here. It's a really fun event and we would love to have you join us. Hopefully some NoVAMoMe veterans will speak up in the comments and encourage the introverts to stop being big baby chickens and make this the year to come out of the shadows!


Musical Interlude
Here is Glenn Campbell and Classical Gas. Weasel really likes this piece of music.

Man, that guy could play! I especially like it when orchestras play along with bands.

Here is a version by the composer of the piece Mason Williams (WIKI).


Gun Basics 101
New video from the She Equips Herself gal! This week's video has SEH gal answering your embarrassing gun questions!

One of the main reasons I write the Gun Thread each week is for the new or beginner shooter. I vividly recall when I took up the shooting sports and how utterly overwhelmed I was by the new world I had entered, and how many questions I had. My goal has always been to make this tiny corner of the internet a welcoming place for those just starting out.


Cigar of the Week

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This week our pal and Chief Gun Thread Cigar Correspondent rhomboid scores again with this excellent review of the Gilberto Oliva Reserva Blanc

A ways back here I reviewed the Gilberto Oliva Reserva Blanc (I liked it). It's the mild option in what has become a 3-cigar line for Oliva. The Noir is the full-bodied, darker end of the spectrum. The original, called just the Gilberto Oliva Reserva, is a medium-bodied stick, with Nicaraguan fillers, an Ecuadoran binder, and light brown Sumatra wrapper.

I tried the corona size (5.7 X 43), one of my favorite vitolas in most cigars. The one I burned had what I would call a difficult draw - I partially fixed this with a very thin screwdriver (the kind for repairing glasses) poked up inside to loosen things up. I hear there are construction issues cropping up more often in most cigar lines, due to the disruptions of 2020 and related operational and labor problems in Central America. But industry observers say these things are being smoothed out, and this is only the 2nd such problem I've encountered in a long time.

No complaints on the burn or flavor, however. Burn was even. Pro reviews talk of leather and earth, but for me, smooth slightly sweet tobacco, sweet wood, and some baking spice were the notes I could pick up. A very nice medium cigar. As with Cameroon wrappers, I've yet to encounter a Sumatra-wrapped cigar I didn't enjoy. The Gilberto Oliva Reserva can be found online for around $6 and up

Excellent, rhomboid! Are you a professional cigar reviewer? Thank you!


Here are some different online cigar vendors. You will find they not only carry different brands and different lines from those brands, but also varying selections of vitolas (sizes/shapes) of given lines. It's good to have options, especially if you're looking for a specific cigar.
Bobalu Cigar Company

A note about sources. The brick & mortar/online divide exists with cigars, as with guns, and most consumer products, with respect to price. As with guns - since both are "persecuted industries", basically - I make a conscious effort to source at least some of my cigars from my local store(s). It's a small thing, but the brick & mortar segment for both guns and tobacco are precious, and worth supporting where you can. And if you're lucky enough to have a good cigar store/lounge available, they're often a good social event with many dangerous people of the sort who own scary gunz, or read smart military blogs like this one. -rhomboid

Anyone have others to include? Perhaps a small local roller who makes a cigar you like? Send me your recommendation and a link to the site!


Ammo Link-O-Rama
I'm really very seriously not kidding around anymore. Buy Ammo
AmmoSeek - online ammo search tool
GunBot - online ammo search tool
SG Ammo
Palmetto State Armory
Georgia Arms
Target Sports USA
Bud's Gun Shop
American Elite Ammo

***Mail Bag***

This week's mailbag entry is from our pal and most excellent TXMoMe host Rancher Bob. Great one, thanks RB!

RB 040923 scaled.jpg


Please note the new and improved protonmail account gunthread at protonmail dot com. An informal Gun Thread archive can be found HERE. Future expansion plans are in the works for the site Weasel Gun Thread. If you have a question you would like to ask Gun Thread Staff offline, just send us a note and we'll do our best to answer. If you care to share the story of your favorite firearm, send a picture with your nic and tell us what you sadly lost in the tragic canoe accident. If you would like to remain completely anonymous, just say so. Lurkers are always welcome!

That's it for this week - have you been to the range?

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posted by Weasel at 07:00 PM

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