Monday, April 30, 2018

Tinkering Tuesday #1 "An almost great idea."

In American history, strike that in the parts of American history that interest me, there have been a couple of things that were good but not quite great and sadly never caught on.
  • The F-20 Tigershark. Designed by Chuck Yeager and relegated to being gutted and hung in a museum/used for cannon fodder in half remembered Mack Maloney novels (no relation)
  • The Remington 600/6mm Remington. A Scout Rifle from back when Colonel Cooper was still shooting a SAA with one hand. 
  • And finally, the topic of today's Tinkering Tuesday: the .357 Sig    
So, we, as members of the gun culture, all know that the .357 Magnum throwing a 125 grain JHP or SJSP is going to end a fight yesterday. And make the bad guy's momma go to Church and repent for her sins, too. Well, at least S&W's ad copy said so. But, we also know, that in the 80s bad guys armed with wonder nines and hopped up on dope were out gunning Officer Friendly and his six shooter. Or at least, the FBI said so after Miami.  Well, S&W once again came to the rescue, sorta kinda.

The FBI adopted the 10mm cartridge in the 1076, and it was awesome. Well, at least to Tom Clancy. To Special Agent Suzy the white collar financial investigation specialist, it was a lot of gun. And to be fair, it's a lot of gun for anybody. And they were heavy. And with heavy, for real "man stopping" loads, the guns had short service lives. Granted it was the 80s, and everyone was saving money by not buying socks, you still couldn't be buying the guys in HRT new pistols every quarter. And thus was born the fortay. *insert eye roll and teen angst I still have yet to resolve here*

Now, as all of this was going, there was a culture shift of epic proportions, I mean we're talking cave man figuring out the war club here, as American cops ditched the stalwarts of Hartfield, Springfield, and Prescott in favor of plastic crap from Austria via Smryna. The days of the .357 Magnum as a police issued cartridge look numbered. And yet, from the barren wintry plains of Exeter and Anoka came this new fangled bottle necked little round that purported to hit just as hard as the vaunted old magnum but yet was based that gosh forsaken .40 short and weak round so you could shove it in one of them double stacked clips for a bottom feeder. Thus was born the .357 Sig. Okay, if you haven't picked up on it now, I'm a bit of a gun hipster. I like odd ball calibers in guns that have been long since discontinued. If I have was a cowboy, you can bet my Colt would have been in .38-40.

I got a hella good deal on used German made P-226 at the shop a week or two back. My plan was to have a .357 Sig barrel already in it by now and post lots of cool pics from the indoor range where it would generate a nice fire ball. And then the garage door went out. So, yeah. That's where I'm at with that project currently. But, until the next pay period with tinkering funds allocated, enjoy a cheesy gun on desk picture.

Oddly, enough I don't have any Federal brass yet.

Military Monday #1 "Ernie and George"

For the inaugural Military Monday, I'm going to paint for you in broad strokes the very rough outline of my senior thesis/very fuzzy notion for a history book I've been kicking around.

First off, a bit of stage setting:

Georgia Southern University, Mid 00s

A tall, and at the time skinny, due to his love for Bud Light in lieu of real beer, frat boy ROTC cadet was taking U.S. Military History every Tues and Thur from 0830-0945. Which is to say, not very regularly because, as Dr. Allison said more than once, I knew enough to pass but wasn't smart enough to attend. Yeah, I spent a lot of time on academic probation. But one thing, Dr. Allison said that really struck with me was that, and paraphrasing slightly, was this:

"RADAR, the liberty ship, Boeing, and the Jeep were all instrumental in the Allied war effort; but, the war was won at the ugly Old War, State, and Navy Building"

Which is to say that, in my opinion, that FADM Ernest King and General of the Army George Marshall were the main organizers of United States military strategy and thus that of the Allied powers.

They were a study in opposites. General Marshall, a stately Virginian, calm and reserved in all things. FADM King, a loud boisterous blue collar kid from Ohio.

Some scholars present their interactions as tenuous and strained, two men whom didn't much care for one another. And that is very grounded in reality; however, there is a bit more to the story of these two five star greats.

World War Two saw a massive expansion of the U.S. military to put it mildly. FDR appointed a Navy Admiral, the former viceroy of Puerto Rico to the position of what we would now call Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. The Commandant of the Marine Corps and Chief of Staff of the Army Air Corps were at the time Lieutenant Generals. That left King and Marshall as some of the few equals in the world.

Some of their personal correspondence is actually addressed as "Ernie" and "George" between the two of them. Which I found both fascinating and very telling as to how they viewed one another. To put it context, General Marshall once famously told FDR that he was to be addressed as "General" and not George.

And Ernie King, well Ernie King, was a self described son of a bitch. His daughter referred to him as even tempered in the sense that he was always angry. An apocryphal tale that surely has some truth behind it is that Admiral King barked at an aide sometime in early December of '41 to "Tell Chet Nimitiz to get the hell out to Pearl and stay there until we win the damn war."

But, and this is where, my thesis ratchets into high gear, they were two very different men with the same very important goal: win the war as quickly as possible with as few Allied causalities as possible.

Everyone knows of FADM Nimitz and General of the Army Eisenhower, and rightfully so, they kicked the hell out of the bad guys in their respective theaters. A study I read at Benning stated that with the exception of the Confederate Cavalry under Stonewall Jackson, no other force of citizen soldiers had come together so quickly into such an effective team as did the men of the U.S. Navy 3rd/5th Fleets during World War Two.

And none of that could have been possible had two guys from different worlds worked together to save the world. Admiral King retired in 1945, his two ocean Navy being chopped into razor blades. General Marshall tried to tend to his rose garden but was called back as SecDef and SecState.

For further reading, I strongly recommend "Master of Seapower" by Thomas Buell and the massive four volume biography of General of the Army Marshall by Forrest Pogue.

If these is a Valhalla, I like to think those two guys are sitting in the Flag Officers Mess, sipping bourbon and wine respectively, in undress khaki, discussing plans for the final battle between good and evil.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Test post/Introduction


In 2017, the online gun blogging world lost one of it's greatest with the passing of Hognose, author of the superb Weaponsman blog. He was a giant in a world filled with greats. His eclectic postings on all manner of small arms, literature, history, and aviation were a great inspiration to me as I furthered my career in the firearms market.

While working the gun counter at Gander Mountain, I would often take to Facebook to lament humorously idiotic customers, stupid guns, and the shenanigans we would engage while repairing guns not worth repairing. After much prompting from friends and family, I decided I would start my own blog concerning firearms and the like.

A little bit about me: Air Force brat, gun lover, former frat boy turned professional Boy Scout who decided that shaping young men was taking too much of a toll on the liver and decided to start selling guns. I now work at a local pawn and gun where I get to see everything from Hi Points to original WWI M-1911s come in on pawn or consignment.

Moving forward, I'll try to do a daily post following a set schedule.

  • Military Monday - Cool Military History stories from America's involvement on the world stage
  • Tinkering Tuesday - What's currently on my work bench and giving MidayUSA money
  • Weapon Wednesday - Neat old guns from the back of the safe
  • Tactical Thursday - A few things I've learned here and there as an NRA Pistol Instructor
  • Free Form Friday - Either a chunk of my novel or maybe a rant about how the Braves bullpen sucks, depends on how much beer I drink at Hooters
  • Cinema Saturday - An homage to Hognose, I review what ever action movie Netflix spits out at me
  • Sunday Stories - The funny and sad stories from behind the gun counter

Thank you for stopping buy and reading my test post. I'll start in earnest on Sunday. 

-Counter Jockey.

Monday Musings

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