Regarding primers…

…and getting testy;
There is total energy, and then there is peak power, time to peak power (which in audio circuitry we referred to as “rise time”) and duration of peak or near peak power. So you’d likely want to be able to graph it as power over time, to “really know” what’s happening. Point being of course that total energy would be somewhat inconsequential unless the power were up to a certain level for a certain period.

But maybe you got it just like that already. If so, carry on. Don’t mind me sitting in the corner and muttering.

Experiments with oil and primers

A week or two ago Ry showed up in my office and said he wanted to do an experiment. He and I have had conflicting information on the contamination of primers by oil. The common word on the Internet and word of mouth is that if you get the tiniest amount of oil on the chemically active portion of a primer then it would go dead.

However Ry had seen Lyle demonstrate this was not true by putting CLP in a shell casing with an active primer then detonating it a minute or two later. I had done similar things myself. I wanted to deprime some cases with live primers and to test the “kill the primer with oil” hypothesis I put a thin oil in the mouth of a shell casing and waited, sometimes a day or more, but they would still fire just fine. Bah! As usual the Internet is wrong. Right?

As we talked about the experiment we realized the Internet story wasn’t quite the same thing as our first hand data. Our first hand data wasn’t of putting oil directly on the primer. It was putting oil in the mouth of a shell casing. We believed the thin oil would make it through the flash hole into the active area of the primer.

IMG_1815CroppedAdjustedIMG_1816CroppedAdjusted

But that was an assumption. It was not a proven fact.

So what we decided to do was soak the primers for few minutes in a paper cup and then load them in a shell casing. We would do several primers then test them at various time intervals, like an hour, a day, a week, and a month. We expected the primers would still be fine after a month and the myth would be busted.

Here are the solvents we tested:

IMG_1802

We used Winchester small pistol primers:

IMG_1806IMG_1812

Here are the primers being soaked prior to inserting on the empty shell casings:

IMG_1803

An interesting thing occurred. The primers soaked in Break Free CLP turned the CLP slightly red after a few minutes:

IMG_1804

And the primers in the water turned the water slightly yellow:

IMG_1805

We also created two control sets. One set had dry primers in a dry shell casing and the other set had dry primers with solvent put in the shell casing.

After we had all the shell casing loaded Ry added more of the solvent to the test shell casings so evaporation would not be a factor in the long term testing.

We then tested both control sets and the test set.

We hand loaded the empty shell casings into a handgun and put the muzzle tight against an air pillow used for padding in Amazon shipments. We then fired the gun. If it failed to fire we would cock the hammer and try a second time. If it failed both times we called it a dead primer. There were no primers which failed on the first attempt and succeeded on the second. If it popped the air pillow it was a “vigorous” detonation. If it failed to puncture the air pillow it was a “mild” detonation:

IMG_1809

The dry normally inserted primers would punch a hole through both sides of the air pillow even though there was a significant air gap between the two sides:

IMG_1810

We tested two primers for each solvent. The results with solvent only in the shell casing mouth were as follows:

Solvent Detonation Result
Water 2 vigorous
Break Free CLP 2 vigorous
WD 40 2 mild
3-IN-ONE 1 vigorous, 1 mild
Tetra Gun Lubricant 2 vigorous

This confirmed the tests Lyle and I had done years ago. The primers were still active after putting oil in the case mouth.

Here are the results of the primers soaked in the paper cups with solvent:

Solvent Detonation Result
Water 2 dead
Break Free CLP 1 mild, 1 dead
WD 40 1 mild, 1 very mild
3-IN-ONE 2 mild
Tetra Gun Lubricant 2 mild

We will have updates later after the remaining primers have soaked for longer periods of time but it is clear that the flash hole is a significant barrier to the entry of solvents into the primer compound and the common wisdom of oil damaging primers is true.

Update from Ry after one day:

Solvent Detonation Result
Water 2 dead
Break Free CLP 1 mild, 1 dead
WD 40 1 very mild, 1 dead
3-IN-ONE 1 mild, 1 dead
Tetra Gun Lubricant 2 dead

What pendulum swing?

Yesterday a totalitarian want-to-be said:

FBI Director James Comey called Thursday for “a regulatory or legislative fix” for technology companies’ expanding use of encryption to protect user privacy, arguing that without such a fix, “homicide cases could be stalled, suspects could walk free, and child exploitation victims might not be identified or recovered.”

Comey said he understood the “justifiable surprise” many Americans felt after former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden’s disclosures about mass government surveillance, but he contended that recent shifts by companies like Apple and Google to make data stored on cell phones inaccessible to law enforcement went too far.

“Perhaps it’s time to suggest that the post-Snowden pendulum has swung too far in one direction — in a direction of fear and mistrust,” said Comey, speaking at the Brookings Institution in Washington in his first major policy speech since taking over the FBI 13 months ago.

What?!!! The “pendulum has swing too far” in the direction of privacy? I wasn’t aware that the government had backed off even a tiny bit from their insistence that they get access to everything. As near as I can tell Comey wants the “pendulum” welded to the totalitarian wall.

Schneier has it right.

Quote of the day—Bruce Schneier

We have one infrastructure. We can’t choose a world where the US gets to spy and the Chinese don’t. We get to choose a world where everyone can spy, or a world where no one can spy. We can be secure from everyone, or vulnerable to anyone. And I’m tired of us choosing surveillance over security.

Bruce Schneier
September 19, 2014
Fake Cell Phone Towers Across the US
[A similar statement can be made about gun ownership.

We don’t get to choose between the everyone has guns and only the good guys have guns. The bad guys will always have guns or at least lethal weapons of some sort. And since they get to choose the time, location, and victim they will frequently succeed in their attacks when the innocent are stripped or discouraged from owning guns.

It’s only when the potential victims have the capability of causing near immediate serious consequences that perpetrators give serious consideration to their life choices. If there are not serious consequences then the case can be made they would be stupid to not to take advantage of those who are vulnerable. If the consequences are significantly delayed, as in a possible jail term a year or two in the future, the perpetrators may not be able to integrate those consequences into the decisions being made in the present.

I’m tired of politicians giving us the false choice of tolerating infringements on our right to keep and bear arms in exchange for imagined security.—Joe]

Scam alert

At 11:46 this morning I received an automated call from 800-331-3172. They said, IIRC:

Your AT&T account has been flagged for possible security violations. Please enter the last four digits of your social security number to avoid service interruption.

I immediately hung up.

How do I know with absolute certainty it was a scam? They called my Verizon phone.

Quote of the day—Rama Lakshmi

India’s $72 million Mars orbiter is the cheapest interplanetary mission ever. Modi said that India’s Mars mission cost less than what it took to make the famous Hollywood space movie “Gravity.”

Rama Lakshmi
September 24, 2014
India becomes first Asian nation to reach Mars orbit, joins elite global space club
[If India had a more gun friendly political atmosphere I might consider moving there. They still have a lot of messed up political ideas, corruption in government, and religious/class/caste issues but as the United States crumbles it is on my short list of refuges if things get really bad.—Joe]

This is not a challenge

From Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association, Forget Fingerprints, Officials Can Track You All Kinds of Ways:

Another important step in the future of biometric identification is storing information in one portal wherein multiple government agencies will trust the credentials, said John Boyd, director, defense biometrics and forensics, U.S. Defense Department. The challenge remains to carry out the many efforts to identify people effectively but still protect privacy.

That’s quite a challenge. In my book as soon as the government has that type of information the worst of all possible offenders has the information you least want them to have.

It’s a lot like the “challenge” of finding a way such that the person that wants you and your family dead and as well as you and your family both get what you want.

This is not a challenge. This is a time to tell them to leave you alone and then back it up with force if needed.

Google Wallet

Does anyone use Google Wallet to pay for things?

The reason I ask is because I am setting up the Boomershoot entry website to use Google Wallet for credit card payments. I get a better rate than with PayPal or Amazon and, at one point, their terms of service were more gun friendly. But now their current terms of service in regards to weapons aren’t much different from PayPal’s terms of service.

What I didn’t realize until I was doing some testing was that you have to create a Google Wallet account with name, address, as well as credit card information. You can’t just give your credit card information and pay. This takes more time and one more business has your credit card info and has the potential to lose your credit card info to thieves.

I expect far more people have Amazon and PayPal accounts than they do Google Wallet accounts.

If you were purchasing an entry to Boomershoot and paying with a credit card would the additional Google Wallet account creation be an issue for you? If it makes a difference you can still pay with a check money order via snail mail.


Mostly off-topic but I found this clause in Google’s buyer terms of service interesting:

2.2 USA PATRIOT ACT NOTICE

To help the government fight the funding of terrorism and money laundering activities, federal law requires all financial institutions to obtain, verify, and record information that identifies each individual or business that opens an account or requests credit.

Don’t believe everything you read on the Internet

I recently really, really needed to get someone’s phone number quickly. I ended up paying a few dollars for one of those websites that offer detailed information on people. I got the phone number and “unlimited” use of the service for a month. So I asked for information on myself and a few other people of interest.

To the best of my knowledge most of the information was accurate. But there was one item that was really, really wrong.

According to this one service I am a ATF agent.

Test everything

The picture below is from a computer backup I was doing over the network.

TransferRate

This was with the existing file on the target drive being overwritten. For new files the transfer rate is nearly constant and a little above the peak shown here.

I suspect the algorithm used by either the driver or the controller for the hard disk for update an existing file results in a large number of seeks of the head. The file copy program (Robocopy in this case) could work around the problem by deleting existing files before doing the copy. But the designers of the program may not have been aware of the problem with this particular hard drive.

In my situation I don’t care a lot because it can just run as a background task and it doesn’t much matter if it takes 10 minutes or 300 minutes (yes, the transfer rate is over 30x slower). But for some people it might.

As always, thoroughly testing your products, processes, and assumptions is important and either this one wasn’t fully tested or management marked the bug as “Won’t Fix” and shipped it anyway.

Having presided over numerous Boomerite failures I know how easy it is to say, “This change shouldn’t matter” or “This has to make it better, no need to test it.” There is a reason many companies have a test team that is independent of the development team and may even have a reporting chain independent of engineering.

This, almost, paranoia about testing can be generalized to a lot of things in your life. Have you ever changed a tire on your current vehicle? I bought a used vehicles a few years ago and discovered a day or so after I bought it that it didn’t have a jack in it.

You have a gun to defend your home and loved ones? Have you ever pied the corners of your home with that shotgun? Have you looked at possible choke points for stopping a home invasion? How about looked at what happens to misses or shoot-throughs from likely shooting positions? How do those speed reloads you practice for USPA matches work out for you when you are at the top of the stairs in your birthday suit?

Progressives want the government to have more power to implement “social justice”. Ask the tens of millions of people that went into the Gulags of the USSR how that worked out for them. Oh, that’s right, most of them that weren’t shot after their forced confessions were worked and starved to death. We don’t need to run that test again. 100+ million people have already been killed during the testing done by various progressives regimes in the 20th century.

Anti-gun people want to register guns. Ask Canada how that worked out for them.

Does your bug-out kit included canned goods but you forgot to include a can opener?

You’ll discover many such things when you test.

Replacement for tracers

Via Mitchel M. on the gun email list at work:

The interesting part starts at 1:46.

This may mean that the new “tracers” could be safely used when the fire risk from normal tracers is too great. I’m a skeptical they can match the brightness of the pyrotechnic based tracers. But they probably would work for many applications.

And of course there are application where incendiary rounds will be needed when tracers might have worked.

Electronic Marques

Interesting idea. The US Constitution authorizes operations against pirates. Article 1,Section 8, Clause 10 “To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offenses against the Law of Nations;”

It also covers issuing letters of Marque and Reprisal, Article 1, Section 8, Clause 11 “To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;”

Why not do the suddenly obvious and issue Letters of Marque and Reprisal to private corporations to go after international electronic pirates, foreign agents who are attacking our corporations and infrastructure electronically? Makes sense to me.

The high point of our weekend

Barb, both my brothers, and I went for a walk yesterday to check out one of the WiFi Nanostations I put up to get a new internet connection to brother Doug the last time I visited the farm. Doug just has a temporary installation for the solar power and the mounting of the Nanostation is still the steel fencepost I used but it is still working:

WP_20140622_004

The signal strength at this station was about 10 dB lower than the last time I was there and by realigning the antenna we regained 3 dB but we were unable to account for the other 7 dB loss.

It was only a short distance away so I suggested we visit the highest point on the farm. According to the GPS on my phone the altitude is 3161 feet (+/- 10’) above sea level.

From there I had brother Doug take a picture of Barb and I:

WP_20140622_011Adjusted

As you can see in the background there is a very nice view from there. Some of the geological features are 30+ miles away.

Windows Phone app reviews

My two Windows Phone apps have some reviews now. All are five stars!

For As the Crow Flies:

  • by Antonio
    5/18/2014

    Thank you for this app. Useful for me as a firefighter because I can only live a certain distance from the firehouse “as the crow flies” so this app very useful. Simple but worked perfectly.

  • by Kevin
    4/12/2014

    Very accurate, easy to use.

For Field Ballistics:

  • by Bryan
    5/1/2014

    Seriously a cool app for shooters.

Double action!

No, it’s not a porn video, though some moms may demand it.

Recently I read Col. Cooper on the subject of double action. His thesis is that DA means the gun has two action modes; Single action, wherein you thumb-cock the piece, and trigger cocking, wherein the trigger does the cocking and the releasing. Two modes of fire (thumb cocking and trigger cocking) hence the term double action. Therefore he said that the term “double action only” is nonsensical.
Continue reading

A new Internet connection

Off and on for a couple years and then starting in during the week between last Christmas and New Years I have spent a LOT of time trying to get a good Internet connection to my brother Doug. I have a good connection at Boomershoot Mecca but Doug and his family are blocked by the woods behind their house from Teakean Butte which is the source of my connection. They have a satellite connection that cost a lot of money, is unreliable, has HORRIBLE ping times, and poor transfer rates.

Mecca is 1.6 miles from our Dad’s house and is blocked by a small hill. Doug’s house is about 75 yards further still. And Dad’s house, a machine shed, and the hill block their view of the Boomershoot site. So we had to find a way around the hill just get it to Dad’s place. From Dad’s place it is a pretty easy hop around the machine shed. But first we needed to get to Dad’s place.

The obvious answer is to put a repeater on the hill between Mecca and Dad’s place. But we don’t own the hill. The nickname we have for the owner is “Wicked Witch of the Boomershoot”. So you can imagine how well such a request might be greeted with. I wouldn’t be surprised if she complained about us transmitting electromagnetic waves over her property—if she knew about it.

Anyway the best we could come up with was putting a repeater on a hill I own 1.7 miles from Dad’s house. Yup. We go further way to get a better signal to Dad’s place.

The ordinary Nanostation2s should work for several miles under ideal conditions. But this isn’t an ideal situation. We are probably actually just out of line of sight. In December I couldn’t get things to quite work unless I chose a different hill which belongs to cousin Alan. We probably could have gotten permission from him but at that location we needed to have two Nanostation2s, one pointed toward Mecca and the other toward Dad’s house.

I ordered a parabolic reflector hi-gain external antenna and came back the end of February. And found to my delight that I had good signal strength with just the Nanostation2s, completely different results that when I had done my tests in December. I still wasn’t able to get a high bandwidth connection but I was pretty sure it was a configuration issue on my part. Doug purchased the equipment he would need to get solar power on my hill to power the Nanostation2 and I planned to come back in a few weeks and do my part with the configuration of the Nanostation2s.

I went back in April and again tried to get a connection. Now the Nanostation2s alone didn’t work. The signal strength was back to what I had in December which was too low to be usable. What is going on? I suspect some differences in the ground conductivity or something. I just don’t know for certain. Again I gave up for the moment.

This weekend with the help of daughter Kim, Jacob, and Jeff I did some Boomershoot cleanup, mounted more solar panels on Boomershoot Mecca, and took down a solar panel that Doug was going to use for the repeater. I then proceeded to do some more signal strength testing.

I put up a twelve dBi antenna (a Nanostation2 has a 10 dBi internal antenna) on my hill attached to a Ubiquiti BulletM2 (the same one I used at Boomershoot with great success) and with the parabolic (24 dBi) antenna on a Nanostation2 at Dad’s place was able to get good signal strength. But for some reason the bandwidth sucked. Probably a configuration issue I guessed.

Doug wanted to avoid mounting anything on the outside of Dad’s house so I moved the parabolic antenna to the BulletM2 on my hill and used the internal 10 dBi antenna on a Nanostation2 at Dad’s place. It should only be a 2 dB loss compared to the 12 dBi antenna we were testing with before.

Signal strength was good but the bandwidth was in the toilet. I’m talking throughput to the Internet on the order of 60 kbs download and 10 kbs upload. It has to be a configuration issue. I spent hours trying all kinds of things with no success.

I finally decided the BulletM2 on my hill had to be the problem. So Monday afternoon I put in a Nanostation2 in place of the BulletM2 driving the parabolic antenna:

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It worked. Just this minute I have 2.11 Mbps download and 0.68 Mbps upload from my computer through a WiFi access point in their house, a switch, five Nanostations (remember I needed to hop around the machine shed), the router at Mecca (two miles away via the Nanostation path), and to the outside world.

Tomorrow I bring my Verizon Network Extender to test out in their house. I’ll finally have them connected to the rest of the world in a civilized manner.

Update: Early (6:19) in the morning the connection to the rest of the world was less busy and I got this result:

SpeedTest

Yeah. I’m all thrilled about something that is considered poor service by anybody in a major city but this is out in an area where it’s tough to even get cell service. Only Verizon and Inland Cellular even have a hint of service here. And then it is very spotting and intermittent. You have to travel at 20 miles, as the crow flies, to get service from AT&T or T-Mobile.

Their satellite ISP has an advertised (but never realized) download rate of 1.5 Mbs and upload of 256 kps plus a download data limit of 17 Gbytes per month. Ping times are in the 1.25 second range. If you watch a few movies and do a bit of web browsing you exceed that data limit. This is so much better and they will have a solid Verizon connection in their house in a few hours.

1911 barrel question

Well, technically it’s a Colt 1991A1 question. How much difference is there between a ramped barrel and a “normal” barrel? Specifically, is there much work beyond grinding off some metal at the breech to turn a ramped barrel like this into an unramped barrel like this. Just by eyeballing it, it looks like grinding away the ramp (carefully, of course, and without overheating it, etc) should be all that is necessary. Is there anything else that needs to be done, or some other difference that makes them non-interchangeable? I’m not a serious 1911 geek, but I’m sure there are some out there that would know. The difference in availability is the reason I’m asking. The description says some minor fitting may be needed in any case, and I assume that’s generally emery-cloth minor grinding to slim it a thousandth or two in one spot or another to make for a proper fit instead of being overly tight, but is there more involved?

Gun Lube

Via Peter at Bayou Renaissance Man I came across this article on gun lubes and water protection. Basically a guy with the handle of “Rancid Crabtree” bought a bunch of stuff, documented his procedures, tested things, took pictures, and posted the results. I’m sure quibbles might be made about some detail or another of what he did, but it’s a lot wider that any other test I’ve seen, and makes at least as much sense as others I’ve come across. Food for thought in any case.

Privacy is tough

Very interesting stuff:

The signals produced by smartphones turn out to be so identifiable that it may never be possible to use one anonymously. Even basic privacy may be difficult to achieve.

Despite all the standardization and quality control that go into accelerometers and other sensors built into smartphones, each sensor contains enough tiny, unique imperfections to identify, not only the physical component, but also the data it records, researchers from the University of Illinois, the University of South Carolina, and Zhejiang University report.

“Even if you erase the app in the phone, or even erase and reinstall all software the fingerprint still stays inherent,” Romit Roy Choudhury, the UI associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science who led the team, said in a press release. “That’s a serious threat.”

By analyzing data from the accelerometers from more than 100 devices, the team was able to determine that tiny differences in the data recorded by the accelerometers were unique to the sensor itself, rather than reflecting flaws or differences in materials or environment from a particular plant of production line.

It’s not even necessary to get that specific or interact that much with one smartphone to identify it as unique. In June 2013, researchers at Technical University of Dresden published a paper that said variations in the performance of the power amplifiers, oscillators, signal mixers, and other components of a cellphone radio transmitter leave patterns in the analog radio signal that become a uniquely identifiable pattern of errors after the signal is converted from analog to digital.

That makes it possible to identify and track individual phones passively by their radio “fingerprints” without doing anything but listen to it, and to identify a specific phone even if the SIM card has been replaced or its unique identifying numbers have been altered, according to Jakob Hasse, lead researcher for the paper, which was presented at an ACM Workshop.

“Our method does not send anything to the mobile phones. It works completely passively and just listens to the ongoing transmissions of a mobile phone — it cannot be detected,” Hasse told New Scientist.

I forget who and when I was telling the following story to recently but it is my understanding that during the Vietnam war we had technology that could hear the radio emissions from the ignition systems from trucks many miles away. And because of variations in the ignition systems, such as worn spark plugs, dirty points, etc. the operators of that equipment learned to identify individual trucks.

I think the lesson to be learned is that if you leak electromagnetic radiation you can be tracked.