Irony And Trade Wars

I am a motorcyclist, also known as a biker.

I ride a Harley (for non-bikers this means I currently own and ride a Harley-Davidson).

I have ridden bikes from five different makers, manufactured in the US, Japan and the UK. Because this is a passion of mine I follow the industry closely and have for some time although I have been more focused on other things in the last few years.

So, when the subject of motorcycles (and tariffs) comes up I know a little about what’s going on; smoke, mirrors, politics and BS.

Harley-Davidson has been in trouble economically for quite sometime. They rode the wave of a certain demographic and milked it for all it was worth without seeing that this wave would crest and break one day like it did about ten years ago. Their target market started to dry up and they have been scrambling ever since. Somehow, the powers that be in Milwaukee have decided that marketing American Steel (irony) to developing nations in Asia would be their next big wave.

They might be right but I think they might have downed a bit too much of their own Koolaid. Not only is there not much of a culture of leather clad, Easy Rider wannabes in India and other Asian nations but there is a very real problem in that most of those nations have fairly high tariffs to protect local industry and jobs (more irony). So, H-D needs an excuse to close at least one US plant (since US demand is and will continue to be down) and open one or more overseas. They need to do this without alienating their primary customer base, most of whom are probably firmly in the Make America Great Again camp. Suddenly they have the perfect cover;  Trumpet and his efforts to “level the playing field for the American steel industry” and Harley gets the excuse they need and they can blame it on trade wars. The left can jump on this and blame it on Trumpet.

Harley runs the risk of backlash from their core demographic but that demographic is shrinking after all. The few bikes that H-D makes that appeal to younger demographics (who are less likely to be Trumpeters) have been manufactured in Brazil for a decade or two (although they were previously assembled in the US).

Now, that last little bit (OK, huge dose) of irony in this little mess?

Harley Davidson has prospered for the last forty years because of US tariffs against big bore (large displacement) foreign (especially Japanese) motorcycles. Yup, a tariff of up to 50% (49.5% actually) and limits on the number of motorcycles that could be imported into the US has ensured the profitability of H-D since the early 1980’s…

Now that the US is no longer their primary growth market, tariffs are their excuse to move production overseas.

Of course, no one looking for yet another reason to hate Trumpet will bother to get the those pesky things known as facts. In fairness, no one looking for yet another reason to adore him with either.

Take care and God bless.

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It’s Not Paranoia If…

Here is a quote from a July 4th column published in a fairly mainstream (and supposedly Christian) newspaper:

Normally, when I get into a debate with a conservative friend and we are at an impasse, with no hope for resolution, I try to ease the tension with levity, and say, “Well, when the revolution comes, I will put in a good word for you and your family.” To my friends in the Republican political and legal establishment who have not stood up to Trump: When the revolution comes, you are on your own, and I will be clamoring not for mercy but for a seat next to the guillotine, where I can do my knitting.

This was not in the comments section. It was the last paragraph in an editorial from a regular columnist with the publication…

I don’t like Trumpette. I don’t agree with all of his policies but there are a number of them that I do agree with including efforts to slow illegal immigration, protect our borders and curb terrorism. Will that be enough to get my head and the heads of my family onto this “man’s” chopping block? Or, will that qualify for the leniency of a “reeducation camp” somewhere? Once the flames of civil war are fanned will it even matter?

I was asked why I would need a passport before the next administration takes office. This is it in a nutshell.

Those of us in this country who support the rule of law, especially the Constitution, and who believe in the principles on which this nation was founded find ourselves increasingly under attack. At some point in the near future those who hold the same views as this columnist will once again hold the Presidency of the USA. At that point all bets will be off.

At that point those without a passport and the means to escape may find themselves (and their families) on the platform for a date with Madame Guillotine or fighting for their lives. There was a very good reason the founding fathers wanted to ensure that the citizenry was armed against tyranny, even if the tyrants are fellow citizens.

Of course, those pushing for the harassment of conservatives and Trump supporters, violent counter-protests to stifle free-speech, the internment camps, and the guillotine only have the best of intentions. They are doing it for our own good, but as C. S. Lewis once observed:

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

Our nation is growing ever more polarized. I had hoped for a Presidential candidate who would bridge the divide. That didn’t happen. Both parties put forward candidates that were even more polarizing, candidates that widened the gap between us, rather than bridging it. As a result we are staring into an abyss. If we can’t find a way to back away from it…

Well…

…my great, great grandparents knew the horrors of civil war first hand. We may just have to (re)learn them first hand. I pray we do not.

Take care and God bless.

Customer Service As It Should Be

I have a Primary Arms red dot (MD-06) that I use quite a bit. I have had it for several years and it has served on my self-defense rifle, a hunting rifle and for all sorts of testing and trial (not to mention error). Unfortunately, the torx head screw that is used to tighten it down to the rail (or mount) is an odd size that I don’t seem to have a match for lying around handy whenever I need it. As a result the screw head finally stripped.

It is not a flaw in the manufacturing. I buggered it up (that doesn’t mean the same thing here in the South as it does in the UK, by the way) through my own laziness and hardheadedness. Overall it has been a great little optic and there was no reason to toss it for want of a screw so I called PA to order a replacement. They couldn’t be THAT expensive, right?

I called the number on the web site and explained what I needed. Apparently, the model number was not enough to determine which part would be needed to the young man who was unfortunate enough to pick of the phone looked through my order history (I buy a lot more from them than I realized) until he found the match. Then he apologized because this model was no longer in the system and he would have to check with someone else to see if they were in stock. He said he would give me a call back shortly.

A little later in the day my phone did ring but I was on another call and didn’t pick up. A few minutes later I receive an email that my order has shipped.

What order?

Well, when I finally got around to checking my voice mail I found out. Yes, that part was in stock and they were shipping it out free of charge!

The box showed up a couple of days later containing the screw and even a PA sticker.

Now that is customer service. The optic was no longer under warranty and I freely admitted to being the source of the damage. This is why they are on my short list of vendors to do business with.

Kudos and thanks Primary Arms!

Take care and God bless.

A Productive Day At The Range

I have been working on several new loads for various calibers lately but I haven’t been able to make it out to the range to test them out. Well, I finally made the time and took care of that.

Packed up and ready to go to the range!

The two loads I most wanted to test out were:

  • .38 Special 148 Grain Hollow-based Wadcutters (HBWC) over Trail Boss powder
  • .32 Smith & Wesson 77 Grain Lead Round-nosed (LRN) also using Trail Boss

I was really excited about using this particular powder because it is especially bulky and fills the cases very nicely. Unfortunately, these loads didn’t perform as well as I would have hoped. Neither resulted in the velocity I was hoping for. The .38 Special rounds were not going fast enough to stabilize and were keyholing the target. I will say that a 5/8ths inch long bullet traveling sideways at around 500 fet per second (fps) makes a fairly impressive hole in a paper target.

I am going back to a more traditional powder (probably Hodgden 700X) for both of these loads. While the loads were not a success the testing proved exactly what I needed it to do so from that perspective it was a success. My chronograph worked and showed me right what I needed to know.

Until I shot it…

Chrono down! Medic!

I finished testing the two pistol loads I wanted to test so decided to get a little practice in while waiting to move over to the rifle range. Somehow one of my rounds hit the sunshade on the top of the unit and the whole thing took a nose dive into the dirt. That’s one of the problems and risks to this type of chrono and one I was willing to take as a trade off for the extra flexibility in the types of testing I could do (semi-auto handguns, bows and crossbows) and the price of the unit.

I will probably have to replace the sunshade but I will have to work with it a bit to see if there is any other damage.

I have always liked the idea of a small red dot sight on my hunting rifle. At closer ranges it is quick to being on target. It makes the rifle lighter and easier to carry in heavy brush. Plus, I can shoot with two eyes open and still see my target.

I was pretty sure it would work well enough at closer distances but I wanted to see if my marksmanship and experience had improved enough that I could use it at longer ranges as well; 100 to 150 yards (I know that’s not a long distance to many of you). I had a Primary Arms red dot laying around so I mounted it on my Ruger American Ranch rifle in 7.62×39 (7.62 commie) and loaded the rifle in the bag.

Red dot on 7.62×39 Ruger American Ranch

The little red dot sure changed the weight of the rifle and its balance point. I liked that just as much as I thought I would. I sighted the little optic in at 25 yards with just a few clicks and was shooting just fine at that distance. Fifty yards was the same. No problem with hits.

100 yards?

OK, so much for this idea.

At that distance I was still hitting the target reasonably well. In fact, back when I first started shooting center fire rifles I would have been pretty happy with those groups on a scoped rifle. Easy center mass hits on a man sized target at that distance but I like to be more accurate than that when hunting. My groups opened up a little too much for what I would be comfortable with for hunting.

Plus at that distance the target was visible but not nearly as much as it would be with even a 2x optic. The extra magnification will help ensure that I am hitting exactly where I want on the animal and hitting exactly what I think I am. Another test that successfully failed. I will be going back to the 2×7 scope.

The one test I really wanted to do but didn’t get a chance to was to test some .308 Winchester loads I put together some time ago. By that time the heat was really starting to get to me so I was about ready to go. Besides, I had already shot my chrono so…

…I’ll just have to head back out there again soon

Take care and God bless.

Christians and Self Defense

Amen…

The Stuart Fant Blog

I read an article the other day about how chaplains working at Federal Prisons no longer were required to carry pepper spray because some felt that it was against there religion to use any kind of violence against another person.  I spent several years as a correctional officer and knowing what I know about prisons find this to be absolutely crazy.  Sadly, this idea has become a common belief  among many Christians and it is doing nothing but making them a soft target for criminals and the evil people of this world.

I am not advocating for Christians to love violence, but I am advocating for them to be willing to protect themselves and their loved ones.  I don’t want to live with regret and neither do any of you.  Imagine how angry you would be if you honestly believe God doesn’t want us to use violence and you watch…

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The Lever Gun Has Had Its Day

The lever gun has had its day, and a hell of a day it was. But the present and the future belong to the bolt-action and the AR.

-David E Petzal, Field and Stream (link)

Well, I am not sure where ol’ David lives but it sure isn’t around here.

He is correct about some things. The increased interest in long range precision shooting tends to move people away from lever actioned rifles. The bolt gun tends to be a better platform for that particular sport. He is also correct that the AR platform is now incredibly popular and a new “wonder cartridge” is released every few years which tends to keep them selling. So, the days of a deer rifle in every pickup truck and every deer rifle being a lever action from either Marlin or Winchester are gone. That’s true as well.

However…

It doesn’t take the incredible popularity or success Henry has had in recent years. with their lever actions. Typically you don’t see new models and new chamberings being released as often as Henry does in a platform that is dead.

Remlin sales are probably still suffering these days but that has more to do with their quality control and production issues than the the demise of lever action rifles. By the way, a quick check of the biggest sporting goods store in my area has the Marlin 336 as a top seller.

Winchester may have sent production to Miroku in Japan but I sure don’t see their prices falling or spare inventory sitting on the shelves. And we won’t even go into the replica manufacturers like Rossi, Uberti, etc. who also seem to be doing quick well selling this deceased platform.

Now let’s take a look over at the used firearm market. JM manufactured Marlins, especially pistol caliber carbines, sure do seem to be hold their value pretty well. I have seen worn out old Marlins and Glenfieds going for the same price as brand new bolt guns. Finding a pistol caliber carbine, especially chambered in .38/.357 for less that eight or nine hundred dollars. Go ahead. Try.

In the leftist occupied sections of the country there is a renewed interest in lever action rifles, especially in pistol calibers, as self-defense weapons. Because ARs are essentially banned in many of these locales.

Folks, these are not the signs of the end of the lever action rifle. It is a sign of a writer out of touch with the real world.

Take care and God bless.