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April 23, 2023

April 2023 ADC Newsletter #2

I hope you had a great weekend. Mine was pretty busy and physically demanding - more on that later.

First, we need to talk about the 84-year-old man in Missouri who shot a 16-yr old boy in the head after the boy rang his doorbell. The boy had been sent to 115th Street to pick up his siblings from a friend’s home -- but went to 115th Terrace by mistake. Hardly a good reason to be executed.

The next day a man in Upstate New York shot at a car that pulled into his driveway, again, the driver mistaking it for another road. A 20-yr old woman died as a result. The Missouri man was arrested and is facing two felonies. The New Yorker was arrested on charges of attempted murder.

I stress getting competent training because both of these men are facing serious legal trouble, and more importantly they injured or killed people who didn't present an actual threat. Aside from the tragic and unnecessary loss of life, the irresponsible actions of these individuals are talking points for the anti-gun crowd. You won't find anyone more pro-gun than I am, but I am also pro-responsibility. This is why, especially as Constitutional Carry spreads, I advocate voluntary training with quality instructors.

Now, let's do a little refresher on the use of lethal force. In order to be legally justified in using lethal force in self-defense, the defender will need to be able to establish that a reasonable person in the same situation would have reason to believe use of force was necessary to prevent serious bodily harm or death. The traditional criteria for this includes:

Ability: the attacker had to have the ability to inflict serious bodily harm or death (physically larger/stronger, numerical advantage, armed with a weapon, etc...)

Opportunity: the attacker needs to be close enough to the defender to physically carry out some action capable of causing life-threatening injury. This is dependent on the type of weapon the attacker is carrying.

Jeopardy: In addition to being able and close enough to hurt you, the potential attacker has to, by word or deed, indicate they have intent to hurt you. This could include credible verbal threats, a furtive movement to conceal or access a weapon, laying hands on you, entering your personal space after you have told them to get back, etc...

These criteria demonstrate a pattern that can be articulated and would cause a reasonable person to believe there was an imminent threat of serious bodily harm or death that justifies defensive action. Were these present in the 2 recent shootings described above? Ability? Opportunity? Jeopardy? I think I would be hard pressed to find all three in either situation.

Preclusion: Remember there's a difference between what you can do and what you should do. Lethal force should always be a last resort only when escape or avoidance have failed. Police often use the "force continuum" to decide what level of force is appropriate. As armed citizens, we have somewhat different rules that apply to us, we aren't bound to the same force continuum, but we should still keep it in mind. Do you have a non-lethal weapon like pepper spray you can use before resorting to lethal force? If you have time to attempt to get "verbal compliance" (e.g. "Stop!" "Drop the weapon!" "Get away from me!" "Get out of my house!" etc...) we should make the attempt if we can do so without subjecting ourselves to the potential of serious injury.

Executing these decisions correctly and quickly is a skill that takes practice to stay sharp. Continue to train! Don't be the subject of the next national news story involving a bad defensive decision.

Weekend Project

I am fortunate to be located in an area where some polite shooting practice in the back yard is not only legal, but well-tolerated by my neighbors. This weekend, I constructed a backstop on my property to help keep my skills sharp. I don't necessarily recommend a backyard range for most people, but if you are going to do it... do it correctly. If you are thinking about putting in a backyard shooting range, make sure there are no local ordinances or HOA rules that prohibit it. Then make sure you have a safe backstop and an adequate range safety fan to ensure errant rounds don't cause injury or property damage. Next, go easy on your neighbors. Busting caps at 8:00 AM on a weekend morning is probably not the best way to make friends. Lastly, have a way to capture the lead or use only lead-free ammunition to avoid any environmental concerns.

This design is similar to the range I had in Ohio - a little smaller, a little better. It uses multiple layers of railroad ties and AR500 steel. I have some ballistic rubber blocks on the way, and bullet fragments are caught in a tray below the splash plate. If I never have to work with railroad ties again, I will be happy. Railroad ties are filthy, chemically toxic, and back-breakingly heavy. A layer of 2 of them will stop most bullets though.


gas block
My new handguards (carbine, mid-length, and rifle length) are headed to the anodizer and should be shipping to me soon. I'm still waiting on the gas-blocks which are the key to this whole project, and which are more difficult to manufacture than anyone anticipated apparently. Sometime in the next month I should have them and they will be sold with the handguards as a package deal.

Barrel Hygiene

First off, I don't recommend people buy borescopes... it provides you with information that isn't typically helpful, but more mentally bothersome. I want to show you the inside of a some barrels.
Think the rifling is smooth? think again. Whether the barrel is button-rifled or cold hammer forged, it leaves surprising tooling marks inside the barrel.
This is the inside of a .30-caliber Savage barrel. Savage factory barrels are some of the most accurate barrels I've ever owned, but look at those tool marks (the pattern of lines perpendicular to the rifling). As you can see, these grooves are a great place for copper to build up. Copper in the bore is something you really can't totally remove without causing more wear on the barrel by cleaning it than you would by shooting it.
This is the inside of a thoroughly-cleaned, chrome-lined barrel.

Something as a "takeaway" from this: people talk about chrome-lined barrels being less accurate than non-chrome lined barrels because chrome lining adds some microscopic thickness to the internal dimensions of the barrel. Because this coating can't be applied perfectly evenly, the though is that has a negative impact on accuracty. Seeing the insides of barrels from several manufacturers and seeing how they all have a lunar-landscape of toolmarks inside, I would say don't worry about chrome lining being an accuracy issue.

When you clean your barrels, use a copper remover like Copperzilla. About every 500-1000 rounds, you should consider using some J-B non-embedding bore compound. I've been using J-B since my Camp Perry days and was always amazed how a bore that was producing clean patches with Hoppes would spit out a pitch-black patch with a few passes of J-B.

When it comes to cleaning guns, the mechanism, bolt, and chamber need more attention than the bore. Don't neglect cleaning the bore periodically. Use a coated rod and a bore guide to prevent bore damage. Use only cleaning agents designed for firearms and never mix cleaning agents as they can chemically react and with each other and turn into bore-dissolving corrosives.
As we just passed the 1-year anniversary of the Cerro Pelado fire, preparedness has been on my mind a lot lately. Considering the news, threats that didn't seem credible 10 years ago seem almost likely now. When was the last time you updated your personal threat assessment and updated your preparedness supplies appropriately? That might be something to do sooner rather than later.
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