Friday, February 24, 2012

CSS Stonewall

Here is one I did not know about: The CSS Stonewall, an ironclad warship built for the Navy of the Confederate States of America in Bordeaux, France. Confederate agent James Bulloch convinced French Emperor Napoleon III to break his own laws to construct the ship and her sister. She was intended to break the Union blockade via her iron ram. They were named the Cheops and the Sphinx while being built to imply that they were intended for the Egyptian Navy. The Stonewall was not finished in time to see action and was sold to the Spanish in Cuba when the Captain learned of Lee's surrender. It was then sold to the US Navy and transferred to the Navy of Japan under the new Meiji government and saw service as the KĊtetsu against the remaining forces of the Shogun.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

CBJ/ MS 6.5x25mm PDW

This is yet another firearm design intended to fill the role of a personal defense weapon, hence the appellation of PDW. The idea behind the PDW concept is that soldiers in support functions are overly encumbered by full size rifles and carbines, but under armed with 9mm sidearms. This weapon comes to us from CBJ Tech AB in Sweden. The MS stands for modular system. And the CBJ/MS is capable of firing standard 9mm NATO rounds or their proprietary 6.5x25mm high velocity armor piercing ammunition.

The CBJ is somewhat obviously based on the IMI Uzi submachine gun, building off the design innovations of a well proven system. Like the Uzi, it is blowback operated and uses a telescoping bolt. It has several differences, though. The charging handle has been moved to the rear of the receiver to allow easier manipulation close quarters. The CBJ/MS barrel is designed to be quick changed in the field by the user to switch between the available calibers. It also lacks the grip safety of the Uzi series. Fire selection is in the manner of the Steyr AUG, via your finger. The trigger is the only fire selection input- a short, lighter pull results in a single shot, and full-length, hard pull enables full auto fire. The standard version fires from the open bolt, but a kit is available to convert to closed bolt operation for higher accuracy in the first shot. The system has most of the modern extras, optional bipod, collapsible stock, Picatinny rail for the attachment of optics, backup iron sights, and an ambidextrous, non-reciprocating charging handle. Another neat feature is that the foregrip can hold an extra 20 or 30 round magazine. I'm pretty sure that it feeds from standard Uzi mags, but don't quote me on that, it seems that it would though. I would have liked to see a muzzle brake or flash hider with the capability to mount a suppressor, though.

CBJ/MS with 100 round drum magazine and detachable bipod

9x19mm NATO and 6.5x25mm

At the heart of the system is its new high velocity ammunition. The type is called the 6.5x25mm and comes in several different loadings. The main version fires a 4mm, 31 grain saboted tungsten bullet. This projectile is rated at 2723 FPS and can reportedly penetrate a NATO standard CRISAT armored target at 230 meters or 7mm rolled steel at 50 meters.That is pretty good armor piercing effect.
The system can be used with 6.5mm bullets of different construction (tungsten, jacketed lead, etc.) as well. The secondary loading is intended for unarmored targets and is a "spoon-tipped" 4mm bullet designed to tumble quickly and cause serious damage through a large wound cavity.

90 rounds of 5.56mm versus 180 rounds of 6.5x25mm

The 6.5x25mm CBJ can also be used in almost any modern 9mm weapon, provided that the barrel and return springs are replaced. This is possible as the 6.5 CBJ is made from a necked down and stretched 9x19mm NATO case. The same magazines can be used. This introduces the option of converting 9mm pistols and submachine guns in stock to PDW type weapons with inherent armor defeating capabilities.

WWII Gas Identification Posters

Well, these are creepy. They reportedly are chemical weapon identification and education posters from World War II. They remind me of the art from Fallout and a little bit of the stuff in Bioshock. I like to think about the folks that made these. What a strange occupation. Some guy sat in an office and decided that a elephant in a gas mask is just right for teaching G.I.s about phosgene gas. The war effort was unlike any other prior endeavor in human history and a great deal of the success of it can be laid at the feet of the people at home, organizing, working in war materiel factories, and getting the wheels of the "ol' juggernaut of freedom" moving. So anyway, enjoy these rather disconcerting posters. Know your chemical weapons, kids!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Medal of Honor- Major William E. Adams, US Army


Rank and organization: Major, U.S. Army, A/227th Assault Helicopter Company, 52nd Aviation Battalion, 1st Aviation Brigade.

Place and Date: Kontum Province, Republic of Vietnam, 25 May 1971.

Entered Service at: Kansas City, Mo.

Born: 16 June 1939, Casper, Wyo.

Citation: Maj. Adams distinguished himself on 25 May 1971 while serving as a helicopter pilot in Kontum Province in the Republic of Vietnam. On that date, Maj. Adams volunteered to fly a lightly armed helicopter in an attempt to evacuate 3 seriously wounded soldiers from a small fire base which was under attack by a large enemy force. He made the decision with full knowledge that numerous antiaircraft weapons were positioned around the base and that the clear weather would afford the enemy gunners unobstructed view of all routes into the base. As he approached the base, the enemy gunners opened fire with heavy machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades and small arms. Undaunted by the fusillade, he continued his approach determined to accomplish the mission. Displaying tremendous courage under fire, he calmly directed the attacks of supporting gunships while maintaining absolute control of the helicopter he was flying. He landed the aircraft at the fire base despite the ever-increasing enemy fire and calmly waited until the wounded soldiers were placed on board. As his aircraft departed from the fire base, it was struck and seriously damaged by enemy anti-aircraft fire and began descending. Flying with exceptional skill, he immediately regained control of the crippled aircraft and attempted a controlled landing. Despite his valiant efforts, the helicopter exploded, overturned, and plummeted to earth amid the hail of enemy fire. Maj. Adams' conspicuous gallantry, intrepidity, and humanitarian regard for his fellow man were in keeping with the most cherished traditions of the military service and reflected utmost credit on him and the U S. Army.

Kel-Tec KSG update

Everyone seems as excited about the KSG as I am, so I decided to put out a quick update about the new models that have been announced recently. Above you see first the standard KSG that I have already talked about and below the Patrol and Tactical versions, with a 16.1" barrel and 24" overall length for the Patrol and the a 13.7" barrel, 21.4" overall length Tactical. Both of these weapons would be considered a short barrel shotgun by the ATF and are subject to the rules under the NFA, namely a US $200 tax stamp is needed to purchase them. If you are from a state that tightly controls firearms, just keep dreaming. The "authorities" obviously know better than you and are there to protect you from yourself.

Both of the new models will obviously weigh a little less than the standard KSG and most likely have a little more felt recoil. I don't think there will be too much of a market for these guns as the original KSG is already so small and will be at a much lower price point and more easily available. (You know, for a Kel-Tec) But some police SWAT teams may buy them for use as a breaching tool or entry gun. It looks like the reduced length will translate into one 2.75" round fewer per tube for the Patrol and two fewer per tube for the Tactical. At 12 rounds for the Patrol and 10 for the Tactical, they still have more than almost any standard or mag fed shotgun.
For what it is worth, I wouldn't be that interested in the Tactical model even if it was easy to obtain and in my price point as the other two are plenty short enough. But that is just me. As they say, your mileage may vary.

Hillbilly Emergency Candle

Right about now, you might be asking yourself "Why is Mr. Kevlar showing me a picture of a regular old steel can?" Well that is because it is not just a can, grasshoppers. I am going to try and spice up the blog with some survivalist/DIY type stuff and here we have what we might call the Hillbilly Emergency Candle. If you are like me, you might get a bunch of catalogs from various companies with all manner of survival and emergency equipment. Some is great and some of it is junk. But most of us simply cannot afford every single type of equipment that we might need or want. So I find that ways of increasing my preparedness without spending much money are very valuable. By the way, I did not come up with this myself, one of my good buddies showed me how to make these a little while ago, so remember that there is always more to learn.

So that brings us back to the hillbilly candle. The materials are common and cheap or free. Start with an empty food can that has been washed out and preferably opened with one of those side opening can openers. More on that in a second. Most of us eat canned food at least a little, so the can is pretty much free. The second ingredient is some cardboard, another item you probably throw away every week. (you should recycle though- don't be an asshole)
Cut and roll the card board into a tight spiral that will fit in the can, stopping just below the rim. The last item that you need is two blocks of paraffin wax, available from just about any grocery or hardware store. It is very cheap and has many uses so it is not a bad idea to keep a box or two around. To complete the hillbilly candle, melt the wax in a double boiler (place a pot with the wax blocks inside a larger pot of boiling water) Let the wax melt, but be careful to not let it get too hot. (It should not smoke), Then simply pour the wax into the can and over the cardboard. Try to let the wax cover as much of the cardboard as possible. Let it sit for quite a while as the wax will stay liquid for longer than you might think. Keep in mind that the can will be hot, so don't burn yourself.

And there you are, one hillbilly emergency candle. Burn time is estimated at about 8-9 hours. It is good for low level illumination, you can warm up some soup or water for coffee or whatever on it. It does make a lot of sooty smoke, so don't burn it in your mama's house. Also, keep in mind that a fire inside a steel can will make said can very hot, so don't come crying to me if you pick it up after it has been burning for 3 hours and leave your fingertips on it. To extinguish the flame you simply put the lid down on it and cut off the fire's oxygen supply. That is why I recommend the side cut lids because they make a tight seal with the rim and are also easier to hold and less likely to cut you. The hillbilly candle can take the place of or supplement real standard and emergency candles, firestarters, Sterno cans or other types of open flame heating elements. It is completely waterproof, mostly windproof and about as cheap as can be. My next project is to make a couple out of smaller cans for decreased weight and size, like the ones that tomato paste comes in.