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Food Thread: Spinalis Dorsi And The Other Fine Things In Life | Main | Sunday Overnight Open Thread (6/10/24)
June 09, 2024

Gun Thread: Post 2024 NoVAMoMe Discussion and Analysis Edition!

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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!

This past Thursday was the 80th Anniversary of the D-Day Landings at Normandy If you haven't already, please take a moment to remember those who participated in liberating Europe with many of them paying the ultimate price.

Holy MoMe Shitballs! How in the ever-loving hell did it get to be the Post NoVAMoMe Discussion and Analysis Edition? Well guys and gals, another NoVAMoMe is in the books, and I invite participants to share their MoMe story in the comments below. It is always so much fun to get together and we had several new faces this year which is always nice, and sharing your story may just inspire a reluctant lurker to attend. Thank you all so much for being there! If you are still hesitant, I promise you will not regret the decision to come!

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


******

FUNdamentals
Show of hands - who made it to the range this past week, what were your training goals, and did you accomplish them? How many of you simply went to the range to shoot with no particular plan or training strategy in mind? I honestly cannot recall ever meeting a shooter so skilled they didn't need to practice. Does it make any sense to pay for the range time and ammunition without having an objective in mind and a clear way to measure progress and results? Sure, banging away at a target may be fun and even therapeutic, but since you're all dressed up and at the range anyway doesn't it make sense to make a wee-teensy amount of additional effort to actually try and improve your skills?

I know of no way to measure results and progress other than adopting some sort of objective and training plan. This may sound like more of my usual B.S., but I am serious. Set a reasonable objective and date to complete it. It might be something like 25 consecutive rounds in the nine ring or better at 7 yards by the end of June, and then start working toward that objective by focusing on fundamentals. I try to end every range session by incorporating a little self-test by saving a few rounds and a fresh target to keep track of how I am doing. Take notes on the target and study them when you get home. Did your group look fine other than dropping a round low and left or right? Well then work on your grip, trigger mechanics and flinch reflex control the very next time you are at the range.

Change your targets frequently and study them to determine what might be giving you trouble. There are plenty of free scorable targets available online which can be printed at home reducing the cost significantly and I simply use blank letter-size paper and 1" sticky dots for a center aim point. I sometimes wonder what people are thinking when they use one target for an entire range session that might involve firing 50 or 100 rounds or more, then take pictures of a ragged and shredded target as proof they have accomplished something other than making holes.

You can still have fun while you are shooting with the added bonus of improving your skills at the same time. Set achievable goals and work towards them by first establishing solid fundamentals and then reinforce these good habits through diligent practice.

Grip fundamentals review:

******

Katana Update

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WeaselKatana

Note: If you missed the backstory on how we arrived at this point (point - get it? Point! Hahaha! I crack myself up), I have condensed previous Gun Thread katana background articles HERE.

OK, all y'all things are starting to happen! I know the story of how I boxed up the blade and shipped it to my togishi was fascinating in it's own right, but now we're starting to see progress on the blade itself!

First, I think it's time for something of an introduction. My togishi, or sword polisher, is David Hofhine. Dave's website is www.theswordpolisher.com and he can also be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/swordpolish. When I first decided to have the sword evaluated, I did some due diligence and kept seeing Dave's name come up across multiple online antique sword forums as one of the top polishers in the United States. Someone whose work rivals that actually performed in Japan by the masters of the art. During my initial research I read countless horror stories of blades being ruined by amateur or cut-rate polishers and I obviously wanted to avoid that outcome at all costs. So I dropped Dave a note with some photos and we started a conversation. I encourage you to look at Dave's website which contains a lot of examples of his work all of which speaks for itself. Dealing with Dave by phone and email has been a pleasure because he's not only a good guy who happens to share the interests of the Gun Thread, but is also a veritable fountain of knowledge regarding antique Japanese swords. I will repeat this once again, Dave performs all of his own work himself and entirely by hand using Japanese polishing stones. Nothing is ever given to an apprentice or helper, and nothing is done with power tools such as electric grinders or sanders. As a result, Dave's work is in high demand and his waitlist is measured in years. In my case about three years to be exact. Through our discussions, I knew Dave was the guy I wanted to perform the work, and I didn't mind the wait, so I treated the blade with protective oil and, well, waited.

***

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WeaselKatana - click to embiggen

This week we have an exciting update with the first picture and commentary on the process from our pal Dave!

Here is the first picture. This is the blade after initial straightening. The first step in sword polishing is to get the blade as close to perfectly straight as possible. This involves carefully mapping out all bends, wobbles, variances in thickness, etc. and then counter bending where possible. This process takes about half a day of very meticulous work. Some irregularities in geometry are actually original hammering or grinding flaws that can not be fixed by straightening. These can only be corrected with new precision foundation shaping. A careful balance must always be maintained of trying to remove flaws and improve the shape as much as possible, while removing as little steel as possible to best preserve the blade.

Now how cool is this? When I say the rabbit hole for Japanese blades is much, much deeper than that for guns, I am not kidding.

Q: Weasel, are you kidding?
A: No, no I am not kidding.

***

Full Polish
So what to expect from a full polish? What can a true artist and master accomplish? What would a before and after result look like? Well Dave has provided some narrative and example photos to share. Please note the following photos are NOT of WeaselKatana, but rather the blade Dave had just finished for another client before starting on mine this week. Pictures are used with permission, and many others can be found on Dave's website.

Dave adds some educational narrative:

While you are waiting, here are some pictures of the blade I finished just before starting yours. This group includes 3 "BEFORE" pictures and 4 "AFTER".

This is a 29" late Shinto period (late 1600's to mid-1700's) mumei katana. It has a dramatic o-kissaki (extra large point) with a lot of interesting muneyaki (hardened steel along the spine) showing towards the tip. With a traditional katana, the shinogi-ji (flat upper surfaces of the blade) and mune (spine) are "burnished". This is where a series of super hard burnishing blades and needles are used to compress the steel. This closes all of the pores in the metal, giving it some degree of rust resistance. This also creates the characteristic mirror like appearance of the upper surfaces of a well polished Japanese blade. This blade presented a bit of a challenge because doing the traditional burnishing is absolutely required to complete a professional polish, but I also wanted the special tempering along the back edge to show with good detail. The end results for this blade are exceptionally good.

First the before pics:

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And now for the after pics

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click to embiggen

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click to embiggen

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click to embiggen

060924 after katana 3 scaled.jpg
click to embiggen

I'm not certain I knew this kind of work was even possible and have one word to describe it; Holy Double Jumping Flaming Atomic Shitballs! Absolutely amazing. This is only the beginning of the process, so stay tuned for more updates. A BIGLY thanks to Dave for the progress notes and examples!

******

Speaking of Polishing Stones
Please note: you can very easily and very quickly ruin a trigger if you aren't careful, so I'd consider this video from GunBlue490 for entertainment purposes only. Do not have someone hold your beer and do not try this at home!

***

More Restoration
Restoring the Colt Lightning M1877

******

Still More Restoration
This guy has the best general restoration channel I have found, with the added bonus of no talking!

******

Musical Interlude
So which of these versions of Play That Funky Music do you like best?

The original by Wild Cherry?

Or this cover by Prince?

******

Gun Basics 101
New video from the She Equips Herself gal! This week's video compares the Shield Plus vs the Hellcat.

******

Cigar of the Week

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Our pal rhomboid is back with this excellent review of the Southern Draw Kudzu

Southern Draw has fairly big catalogue by now, and one of their first blends was the Kudzu. A nice looking chocolate brown box-pressed cigar with clean construction. I tried the robusto (5.5 X 54) size. The smoke from this one was particularly thick and rich. The burn line did need a fair amount of touching up (if one likes to keep it even, as I do), but the draw was just fine. The cigar has a rich brown Habano oscuro wrapper from Ecuador, with binder and filler from Nicaragua, as well as filler from Pennsylvania. Predominant flavor for me was wood - company describes it as charred oak, I got something closer to cedar. There were hints of baking spice here and there, and surprising (to me), the second half featured a sweet-ish finish that wasn't there at the start. A good medium-full stick that would likely offer even more to those with more developed palates. The Kudzu goes for $7 and up online

Excellent, rhomboid! 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.

Cigarsinternational.com
Cigarpage.com
Famous-smoke.com
Cigarsdaily.com
Neptunecigar.com
Smallbatchcigar.com
Bobalu Cigar Company
Cigarbid.com
Nicks Cigar World New!

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
AmmoMan
Target Sports USA
Bud's Gun Shop
American Elite Ammo NEW!

***Mail Bag***

This week's mailbag entry is from our pal JT. Save the candy!!!

060924 JT funny scaled.png

******

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?

digg this
posted by Weasel at 07:00 PM

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