“The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.”
– Ernest Hemingway
“I’m not upset that you lied to me, I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you.”
– Friedrich Nietzsche
There’s an old fable that tells of scorpion that begs a frog for a ride across the river. The frog replies, “if I give you a ride on my back, you’ll sting me!”
The scorpion assures him, “if I sting you, we’ll both drown!”
The frog accepts this as logical, and agrees to take him across the river on his back. About half way there, the frog feels a sharp pain, and his legs go numb – they both begin to sink.
“Why did you do it?” asked the frog, “Now we’ll both die!”
“I couldn’t help it,” replied the scorpion, “it’s in my nature!”
In other variations, the frog is replaced with a fox. Perhaps this was to illustrate that even a creature as clever and resourceful as a fox is not immune to the cruel indifference of nature.
A modern retelling has the fox place the scorpion on the end of his snout where he can keep an eye on him, flinging him off at the moment he raises his stinger. Interesting, but I think it misses the point (pun intended); The fox learns no lesson and instead, confirms only what he already knew to be true.
The last variation of the story replaces the scorpion’s fellow traveler with a tortoise. According Bidpai (as retold by Maude Barrows Dutton):
Halfway across he was startled by a strange rapping on his back, which made him ask the scorpion what he was doing.
“Doing?” answered the scorpion. “I am whetting my sting to see if it is possible to pierce your hard shell.”
“Ungrateful friend,” responded the tortoise, “it is well that I have it in my power both to save myself and to punish you as you deserve.” And straightway he sank his back below the surface and shook off the scorpion into the water.
The scorpion pretends to understand logic and can parrot reasoned arguments, but he is and will always be a slave to his nature. Is there any point to being upset at a scorpion for being a scorpion?
The lesson here (if there is one) is this: You can only trust a scorpion to be himself. And if you are going to try help him, you’d better have thick skin.
“Quit eating potatoes, you’re not a goddamn commie, Joe!”
– Big Jim “Kata”
Naming my black rifle “Black Adder” for one my favorite sitcoms seems obvious when you think about it…It was either that, or Black-Helmet Hot Mustard Slinger, but that felt a bit too forced.
I’ve had this rifle for about 2.5 months now, and am just getting around to writing about it. I am blame the potatoes for my lack of initiative…
Putting the damn thing together wasn’t terrible. I watched a lot of assembly videos beforehand to get a good idea of what I needed to do, then got to work putting it together.
Compared to the AK, the AR is a far more complicated animal with lots of tiny springs, detents, roll pins and other fiddly bits to keep track of. All pieces of the build kit were labeled, which made identifying what went where much, much easier. Kudos to Palmetto State Armory taking the guesswork out of it!
A couple of times during assembly, a spring got loose and went flying across the room, but all in all, it worked out in the end.
I decided to go with Supertech Extreme Pressure Multi-Duty Complex Hi-Temp Grease (say that 3 times fast!):
You can find it in the automotive section of Wally World and other fine purveyors of industrial-strength lubricants. It runs about $4 or so for a 14oz can, which is more than enough to outlast both our new Chinese masters and the Robot Apocalypse combined, three times over!
If it’s good enough for a union of Polish AK operators, it should work just fine for Joe-Jim Q. Public!
Since the build came in at under $400, I decided to go ahead and splurge on couple of quality of life upgrades:
- A decent sling (Ferro Concepts Slingster)
- A couple of Magpul QD sling swivels
- Magpul ASAP QD (which would also double as a single-point nut slapper)
- Magpul Sling Mount (M-LOK)
- Magpul Hand Stop (M-LOK)
The swollen testicle mag laying across the sling is Big Jim’s contribution to Project Black Adder, a Magpul D60 (60 round drum) – because ‘America!
The fit and finish is great for the price. No gap, no wobble, the whole thing feels nice and solid. The Magpul furniture adds a bit of weight, but if you’re used to the heftier AKM, this shouldn’t be an issue.
The grip is bit meatier than I’m used to, given that everything else I own uses the standard Comblock AKM variety…
The trigger is nice and crisp, so I’ll probably leave it as is.
We’ll see once I get a chance to take it out, but function tests using snap caps seem to indicate that it won’t have any issues. To be continued!
In decades past, an entry-level AR would set you back some $800 whereas you could pick up a decent AK pattern rifle for around half that. As a consequence, I became an AK enthusiast. At the time, they were cheaper to own and cheaper shoot (~$.20 a round vs ~$.35 for the equivalent 5.56 ammunition).
Accessories for the AK developed into a cottage industry, and before long, many of the features that used to be exclusive the to AR became available for the AK (e.g. railed hand guards, telescoping buttstocks, optics, enhanced triggers, AR-style grips etc.).
Even so, the utilitarian nature of the AK lacked many of the quality of life features standard on all ARs (e.g. magazine wells, last-round bolt hold-open, easier safety selector, better ergonomics… etc.). Do any of these features inhibit your ability to send lead down range, or appreciate the simplicity and elegance of a proven platform that has continued to serve its purpose for 70 years? Not at all.
So why consider an AR now? For the same reason I bought my first AK’s: price!
Over the last 6 months, we’ve seen a 180° shift in the market. AK’s (and other mil-surp imports) that used to run $400-800 are now selling for $900-1,600+. AR’s which were manufactured during the election scare that were fetching as much as $700-800+ for a basic plain Jane AR can now be had for as little as $300 with a stripped lower and parts kit.
For that reason, I decided to look into buying one, here’s what I settled on:
- Caliber: 5.56. Exotic uppers and ammunition get expensive and can come later (if ever).
- Mid-Length Gas System: Carbine-length (from what little I know) is intended for shorter barrels (14.5″ and less). Rifle-length barrels start at 18″+, and since I’m building on a 16″ barrel, mid-length was optimal.
- MOE Furniture: Magpul furniture is solid and comfortable. The basic MOE buttstock was designed to be light-weight and snag free. I was very happy with my last MOE lower, and they are still a good option today. While I used to like quad-rail hand guards, I found that I never used all that rail space, which most people would just end up covering with panels/covers anyway. If I wanted to mount a flash light, sling adapter, rail etc., that would still be an option.
The last AR I built was on a Palmetto State Armory complete lower, which cost me $300 in 2012, which I was very happy with but ultimately sold to buy Natasha, an SGL41. Boris, my Saiga 12 will only tolerate 3″ magnum shells…
Today, you can get the exact same complete lower for $160. I opted instead to buy a mid-length rifle kit for $330, and a $40 stripped lower. With a Magpul PMAG and shipping, my total cost was $399.58:
What am I expecting for $400? An entry-level AR-15 that cycles reliably under normal operation and is reasonably accurate (at least no less accurate than my AKs). Is that realistic? Ask me again once it arrives! The stripped lower has already shipped whereas the kit might take a little longer. My hope is that I receive both by next
weekend month, but we’ll just have to wait and see!
“The business is on. I am trying to raise the balance for the Gummy Bear so he can submit all the needed Fizzy Cola Bottle Jelly Beans to the Creme Egg for the Peanut M&Ms process to start. Send £1,500.00 via a Giant Gummy Lizard.”
– Solomon Odonkoh
“Stressed” spelled backwards is, “Desserts.”
Think about it…
In his book, God, No! Signs You May Be an Atheist and Other Magical Tales, Penn Jillette fondly recalls the line, “And now I’m Japanese, so fuck off!” from the mid-80’s porno movie, New Wave Hookers as delivered by the late Jamie Gillis.
Unfortunately for Penn, nowhere in the movie does Jamie say this, or anything like it. What actually happens is that the “Vice Squad” busts in on Jimmy (Jamie Gillis) and his partner, Jamal Lincoln Bubba Washington to break up their “New Wave bitches” prostitution ring.
They confuse Jimmy with Jamal, at which point Jamal jumps up and runs off into the night in his fly, banana-yellow jumpsuit. Jimmy, in all his fo-punk glory, is left to deal with the two agents. What he says next is this:
“Hey, listen guys. Hey, I’m not Jamal, but listen, you take it from me. You’re smart enough to throw in with us, you can have any of these fuckin’ bitches you want, any fuckin’ day of the week you want. Get it guys? I mean, fuck it. Don’t you recognize me? I used to work in your fuckin’ office. And now, I’m rich, I’m satisfied, and I’m Chinese you assholes!”
Not quite the impassioned speech from Penn’s Clorox-scented memories, but there it is. Incidentally, this is all an inception-like shared dream between the two protagonists.
Does it really matter what Jamie (Jimmy?) said? Or is this just another manifestation of the Mandela Effect? Like the plastic-covered seats of a seedy porn theater from a bygone era, memories can be slippery.
“Now he’s winking. Does that mean you’re the hamburger patty?”
– Giles Hardie