The Paradox and Absurdities of Carbon-Fretting and Rewilding

Herschel Smith · 28 Jan 2024 · 4 Comments

The Bureau of Land Management is planning a truly boneheaded move, angering some conservationists over the affects to herd populations and migration routes.  From Field & Stream. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) recently released a draft plan outlining potential solar energy development in the West. The proposal is an update of the BLM’s 2012 Western Solar Plan. It adds five new states—Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming—to a list of 11 western states already earmarked…… [read more]

Does a Police Checkpoint on a Bike-Trail Violate the Fourth Amendment?

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 1 month ago

He poses some interesting questions, and I’d like to see this issue studied a bit by him or someone equally familiar with both constitutional and case law.

My own view is that simply putting a sign up at an entrance to so-called government property (like a park) isn’t reason enough to justify a search.  That’s not a so-called “administrative search.”  I assume and believe that for public places, the rules of “Terry Stop” still apply, i.e., there must be articulable reason for the search such as suspicion in the commission of a crime.

I’ve given this some thought too concerning stops and searches of hunters on public lands.  Almost every hunter is aware of his training, i.e., when you are approached by a DNR officer, put your weapon in a safe condition, be polite, and be prepared to have your privacy invaded.  He may and probably will demand to see your hunting license and examine your harvest.

But why?  What gives that DNR agent the right to do that?  The fact that they’re on “public land?”  Do the citizens not own the public land?  What’s the difference between public hunting land and a downtown sidewalk?  Do we allow cops to come up to us and frisk us, demand to identify us, and demand to search our belongings because we’re walking on a sidewalk “owned” by the state?  No, most states do not have stop and identify statutes, and besides, those are unconstitutional even if they exist.

Why does a DNR officer have the right to assume I don’t have a hunting license just because I’m hunting (that’s the assumption behind demanding to see my hunting license, right, that I don’t have a license)?  Why does the DNR officer have the right to force me to open the tailgate of my truck and examine my harvest?  Does he have evidence of a crime to make such invasive demands?  Without such evidence, or at least suspicion, does that search violate the fourth amendment?

I would claim that it does.  England had rules regulating hunting under the notion of the royal forest.  As of the 12th century, nearly a third of England’s land was designated “royal forest,” and only the king’s men and other nobility were allowed to hunt game there.

We don’t live in England.  We live in America.  We fought a war over things just like this.

I think this is pregnant ground to be tilled, and I’d like to see lawyers take this up with some offended hunter – perhaps all the way to the supreme court.

Big Bore Bear Defense

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 1 month ago

Guns Magazine.

An elk guide I know prefers his .357 with heavy hard-cast bullets. SA or DA, a .357 revolver can be made slimmer and lighter than a .44 Magnum. While big-bores have the clear edge in power, bullets of high sectional density from stiff .357 loads hit hard and bite deep. In auto pistols, the 10mm is more than a match, its 180- and 200-grain bullets packing over 600 ft-lbs. Buffalo Bore lists a 180-grain JHP at 1,350 FPS for 728 ft-lbs., also a 220-grain hard-cast at 1,200 FPS for 703 ft-lbs. This 10mm load is shared by Grizzly Cartridge, which also sells a 200-grain flat-nose at 1,250 FPS. Muzzle-energy: a “mere” 694 ft-lbs! Underwood wrings 676 ft-lbs. from a 150-grain solid at 1,425 FPS. Black Hills has a 10mm HoneyBadger load, the 115-grain fluted bullet exiting at 1,664 FPS with 695 ft-lbs.

The only round to challenge the 10mm in standard-size auto pistols is the .400 Corbon, developed in 1995 by Peter Pi on a necked .45 hull. It kicks 165-grain bullets at 1,300 FPS, for 619 ft-lbs. While the .400 Corbon is only commercially chambered in a few pistols, the 10mm appears in countless 1911 platforms and other autos from SIGGLOCK and Springfield — even revolvers!

Why does no one ever discuss use of the 450 SMC for bear defense?  I have carried a .44 magnum wheel gun before, but I’ve also carried a 1911 with a stronger spring loaded with 450 SMC cartridges.  This round is 230 grains at > 1200 FPS, which matches the 10mm rounds he’s describing.

Furthermore, if that’s not enough out of a semiauto handgun, you can always bump up just a little bit to the 460 Rowland with a barrel and spring change.  That gun will send a 250 grain round down range at 1300 FPS.  There are kits for this modification.

The Founders Were Well Aware Of Continuing Advances In Arms Technology

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 1 month ago

David Kopel.

While the Founders could not foresee all the specific advances that would take place in the nineteenth century, the Founders were well aware that firearms were getting better and better.

Tremendous improvements in firearms had always been part of the American experience. The first European settlers in America had mainly owned matchlocks. When the trigger is pressed, a smoldering hemp cord is lowered to the firing pan; the powder in the pan then ignites the main gunpowder charge in the barrel.

The first firearm more reliable than the matchlock was the wheel lock, invented by Leonardo da Vinci. In a wheel lock, the powder in the firing pan is ignited when a serrated wheel strikes a piece of iron pyrite. The wheel lock was the first firearm that could be kept loaded and ready for use in a sudden emergency. Although matchlock pistols had existed, the wheel lock made pistols far more practical and common. Paul Lockhart, Firepower: How Weapons Shaped Warfare 80 (2021).

The wheel lock was the “preferred firearm for cavalry” in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Id. The proliferation of wheel locks in Europe in the sixteenth century coincided with the homicide rate falling by half. See Carlisle E. Moody, Firearms and the Decline of Violence in Europe: 1200-2010, 9 Rev. Eur. Stud. 53 (2017)

However, wheel locks cost about four times as much as matchlock. Moreover, their moving parts were far more complicated than the matchlocks’. Under conditions of hard use in North America, wheel locks were too delicate and too difficult to repair. The path of technological advancement often involves expensive inventions eventually leading to products that are affordable to average consumers and are even better than the original invention. That has been the story of firearms in America.

The gun that was even better than the wheel lock, but simpler and less expensive, was the flintlock. The earliest versions of flintlocks had appeared in the mid-sixteenth century. But not until the end of the seventeenth century did most European armies replace their matchlocks with flintlocks. Americans, individually, made the transition much sooner. Lockhart at 106.

Indian warfare in the thick woods of the Atlantic seaboard was based on ambush, quick raids, and fast individual decision-making in combat—the opposite of the more orderly battles and sieges of European warfare. In America, the flintlock became a necessity.

Unlike matchlocks, flintlocks can be kept always ready. Because blackpowder is hygroscopic, and could be ruined by much water, it was common to store a firearm on the mantel above the fireplace. Another advantage, which mattered greatly in America but was mostly irrelevant for European warfare, is that a flintlock, unlike a matchlock, has s no smoldering hemp cord to give away the location of the user. Flintlocks are more reliable than matchlocks—all the more so in adverse weather, although still far from impervious to rain and moisture. Significantly, Flintlocks are much simpler and faster to reload than matchlocks. Seee.g., W.W. Greener, The Gun and Its Development 66-67 (9th ed. 1910); Charles C. Carlton, This Seat of Mars: War and the British Isles 1585-1746, at 171-73 (2011).

Initially, the flintlock could not shoot further or more accurately than a matchlock. Lockhart at 105. But it could shoot much more rapidly. A matchlock takes more than a minute to reload once. Id. at 107. In experienced hands, a flintlock could be fired and reloaded five times in a minute, although under the stress of combat, three times a minute was a more typical rate. Id. at 107-08. Compared to a matchlock, a flintlock was more likely to ignite the gunpowder charge instantaneously, rather than with a delay of some seconds. Id. at 104. “The flintlock gave infantry the ability to generate an overwhelmingly higher level of firepower.” Id. at 107.

[ … ]

In 1777 in Philadelphia, inventor Joseph Belton demonstrated a firearm that could fire 16 shots all at once. The committee watching the demonstration included General Horatio Gates, General Benedict Arnold, and scientist David Rittenhouse. They wrote to the Continental Congress and urged the adoption of Belton guns for the Continental Army. Congress voted to order a hundred–while requesting that they be produced as 8-shot models, since gunpowder was scarce. However, the deal fell through because Congress could not afford the high price that Belton demanded. Repeating arms were expensive, because their small internal components require especially complex and precise fitting.

Hence, the Founders who served in the Second Continental Congress were well aware that a 16-shot gun had been produced, and was possible to produce in quantity, for a high price. Delegates to the 1777 Continental Congress included  future Supreme Court Chief Justice Samuel Chase, John Adams, Samuel Adams, Francis Dana, Elbridge Gerry, John Hancock, the two Charles Carrolls from Maryland, John Witherspoon (President of Princeton, the great American college for free thought), Benjamin Harrison (father and grandfather of two Presidents), Francis Lightfoot Lee, and Richard Henry Lee.

Likewise, the 22-shot Girardoni rifle famously carried by the Lewis & Clark expedition starting in 1803 was no secret, as it had been invented in 1779. It was used by the Austrian army as a sniper rifle. Powered by compressed air, its bullet his as hard as the modern Colt .45ACP cartridge. John Paul Jarvis, The Girandoni Air Rifle: Deadly Under Pressure,, Mar. 15, 2011.

The Girardoni had a 21 or 22 round caliber tubular magazine, and could be quickly reloaded with 20 more rounds, using speedloading tubes that came with the gun. After about 40 shots, the air reservoir could be exhausted, and would need to be pumped up again.

As of 1785, South Carolina gunsmith James Ransier of Charleston, South Carolina, was advertising four-shot repeaters for sale. Columbian Herald (Charleston), Oct. 26, 1785.

Visit his article for further discussion of innovation, as well as the founders in literature and their own positions on development of weapons.

Suffice it to say that the founders would have been delighted with massively powerful and rapid firing weapons for the purpose of effecting quicker victory in the war of independence.

Also, note that innovations (except for crew served) almost always come from the civilian sector, even today.  The 30-06 was a civilian round before it was used in the original M1.  The .308 was introduced to the civilian market 2 years before adoption as the 7.62 by NATO.  Even Stoner adopted (and adapted) a mostly civilian equivalent for his 5.56 round in the M16, and the AR-15 was introduced into the civilian market before it was ever adopted by the U.S. military.

Revolvers have been in existence for a very long time, and yet were adopted as one of the sidearms by the U.S. and British militaries and in use up through WWI and even a bit beyond (M1917).  The venerable 1911 design by JMB may be the exception to the rule, having been designed for use by the military.

Don’t allow anyone to tell you that the founders would have felt differently about the second amendment had they known culture today.  They’re just being emotional and ignorant.  The founders would have said to spank the children and send them back to the schoolmaster to learn the bible, letters, mathematics and logic.

How We Stopped Mass-Murderers Time After Time

1 year, 1 month ago

We posted about this two months ago when the President of Ecuador authorized citizens to carry and use arms for defense against crime. I argued that the media will need to report these uses to be an effective deterrent to further crime there. And here in America, if there were robust reporting on all defensive gun uses, including when the gun is not fired, the amount of armed robbery and other violent crimes would be drastically lowered.

Slow Facts argues that mass shootings would also be reduced.

Real life isn’t like the movies. Bad guys don’t walk around with a soundtrack thumping with every step. Movie makers want to thrill us, but saving lives in real life is a lot more ordinary than that. Because it doesn’t sell tickets or sell soap, the news media isn’t interested in how our neighbors stopped mass-murderers about once a month for the last eight years. Ordinary people like us would do it even more often if politicians got out of our way.

Recognizing a new problem- Times have changed. Today we live in a media driven culture. Mass-murderers feel like failures and they want to take revenge on society. These narcissists know that the mainstream media will give them a multi-million dollar publicity campaign if they kill enough innocent people. The murderers revel in the thought of being famous even if they are not alive to enjoy that infamy. That feeling of anticipation is one reason the mass-murderers spend years in the planning stage. Those feelings of resentment and anticipation explain why these murderers write such lengthy manifestos and diaries.

Recognizing new solutions- Mass-murderers already feel like a failure. They don’t want to experience more failure when they come to kill. That explains why they seldom attack a group of armed policemen or attack an NRA convention where about half the adults are armed. The media won’t give mass-murderers the recognition they want when they are stopped and killed so quickly.

At first, we weren’t sure if armed citizens were a workable solution. Because the news media doesn’t cover it, it was hard to find cases where the attempted mass-murderers were stopped by ordinary citizens who happened to be nearby. Oddly enough, the mass-murderers did our research for us.

More at the link.

Eyes Wide Open: Using Situational Awareness to Avoid Trouble

1 year, 1 month ago

I’ve given initial training to a few folks, women and children mostly. I’m not a professional trainer, but the study of situational awareness is important. Sadly, it seems that police support sites are the only good sources of writing about firearms mindset

I’ve not read the book Spotting Danger Before It Spots You, by Gary Quesenberry from which the linked article makes mention. Also offered are opinions from the President of the United States Conceal Carry Association, Tim Schmidt.

When researchers videotaped people walking through a busy intersection in New York City, they later showed the tape to inmates who were incarcerated for violent crimes. They asked the inmates to rate the pedestrians on a scale of one to 10. One is an easy target, and 10 is a hard target.

The inmates rated the following body language characteristics as being a soft target:

  • Short, shuffling strides
  • Not swinging their arms in proportion with their stride
  • Exaggerated side-to-side movement when walking
  • Head facing at a downward angle

Conversely, the inmates rated the following body language characteristics as being a hard target:

  •  Medium to long stride
  • Arms swinging in proportion to their stride
  • Body movement in vertical alignment; appeared as a strong and determined walking pattern
  • Head level and eyes visible when walking


“Don’t go anywhere with your gun you wouldn’t go without it,” says [Tim] Schmidt.

This is a great point. It’s folly to assume you’re better off someplace you shouldn’t be just because you have a gun. If you shouldn’t be there or don’t belong there, don’t go. Similarly, becoming accustomed to always carrying is essential; never be without your gun, regardless of where you go. The first rule of a gunfight is to have a gun. Nor should carrying a firearm cause a more relaxed posture in any circumstance, be it home, work, or out.

It’s easy to make the error that peace of mind comes from having a gun. Peace of mind comes foremost from the Lord, having trained and prepared to defend yourself and your family. Peace of mind comes from being sure of yourself. That’s the basis of what the survey with the prisoners above shows, confidence in yourself, your surroundings, knowledge of where you’re going, and having purposeful intent in your demeanor.

I used to travel for word. Before I stopped flying completely, I very often got pulled from the gate or boarding line for “extra screening.” Now, I’m not particularly unusual. In fact, you could say my most unusual physical feature is my very usual size, build, and appearance. But, I’d get pulled because I was the only one not drooling into a cell phone; I was paying attention, examining the passengers, security measures, and conducting general safety observations. Well, it wasn’t hard for me to spot security; they were the only ones that were also paying attention. It’s better in that situation not to pretend you aren’t checking things. Trying not to be observed while being aware is sometimes a bad choice, as with the street crossers that had their heads up and eyes open. The point is you may be the only one paying attention, but it can save your life and the lives of others.

There are a few interesting points in the article.

Ryan Muckenhirn Discusses Rifle Bipods

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 1 month ago

As I’ve said, I would enjoy listening to Ryan discuss paint drying.

Anyway, there is a lot of wisdom here, but the best thing is that I learned about the Spartan Bipod System.  I had never seen this before.  It doesn’t look any less expensive than other bipod manufacturers, and may be a bit pricier for the higher end models, but it seems to me to be worth it if it works as advertised.

I’ll have to look into one of these models.  I’ll take one with the sling stud attachment, please, for the bolt gun I’ll take deer and hog hunting.

Reviewing the Beretta 1301 and Beretta A400 Xcel Black Edition

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 1 month ago

I said I would watch out for TFBTV discussing the Beretta 1301 with Ernest Langdon, and here it is.  He also compares and contrasts it with the more recent Beretta patrol shotgun (A300 OS, different from the A400).

Here is another review of the Beretta A400 Xcel Black Edition shotgun.  It’s a looker (and the A400 models have the same OS as the 1301), and I like the Walnut furniture.  It has a black anodized receiver.

Rolling Back The Power Of The EPA And What It Might Mean For Gun Owners

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 1 month ago

Daily Caller.

The Supreme Court rolled back the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) authority to regulate under the Clean Water Act (CWA) in a unanimous decision Thursday.

Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency, brought by a couple prevented by the EPA from building a home on their own land near Priest Lake, Idaho because it contained wetlands, considered the scope of the agency’s “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rule, which defines what “navigable waters” can be regulated under the CWA. Plaintiffs Chantell and Mike Sackett, who have spent 15 years fighting the agency’s rule in court, allege the EPA has overstepped the authority it was granted when Congress enacted the CWA in 1972—forcing them to stop construction on their land or face fines.

The Supreme Court sided with the Sacketts, determining their land is not covered under the text of the CWA, which gives the EPA authority to regulate “navigable waters.”

Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the majority opinion, which was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barett, that the EPA’s interpretation “provides little notice to landowners of their obligations under the CWA.” The Court held that the CWA applies to only wetlands that are “as a practical matter indistinguishable from waters of the United States,” maintaining a “continuous surface connection.”

EPA restrictions on wetlands is similar to civil asset forfeiture.  It amounts to thievery.  It’s wrong and everybody knows it.

The opinion was “unanimous,” but the picture isn’t so rosy as you might suspect.

Though justices were united in their judgement, they maintained disagreements on definitions. Justice Brett Kavanaugh, in an opinion concurring in judgement that was joined by Justices Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor and Ketanji Brown Jackson, thought the majority went too far in its test for which wetlands are included.

“By narrowing the Act’s coverage of wetlands to only adjoining wetlands, the Court’s new test will leave some long-regulated adjacent wetlands no longer covered by the Clean Water Act, with significant repercussions for water quality and flood control throughout the United States,” he wrote.

Kagan similarly said in an opinion joined by Sotomayor and Jackson that the majority has appointed itself as “the national decision-maker on environmental policy” by choosing a test that “prevents the EPA from keeping our country’s waters clean by regulating adjacent wetlands.”

“The eight administrations since 1977 have maintained dramatically different views of how to regulate the environment, including under the Clean Water Act,” she wrote, noting some “promulgated very broad interpretations of adjacent wetlands.”

“Yet all of those eight different administrations have recognized as a matter of law that the Clean Water Act’s coverage of adjacent wetlands means more than adjoining wetlands and also includes wetlands separated from covered waters by man-made dikes or barriers, natural river berms, beach dunes, or the like,” she wrote. “That consistency in interpretation is strong confirmation of the ordinary meaning of adjacent wetlands.”

So the other “justices” sided with the sensible ones, but they want all but the most obvious examples to be decided by the FedGov, with property owned by the same.

Thus, the Leviathan only got his hand slapped rather than smitten into ruin on the rocks like he should have been.

Interestingly, Mark Smith sees this as very important for gun owners.  See how this decision applies to the ATF and why lawyers will be citing it in the coming months.

Rolling Back Civil Asset Forfeiture

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 1 month ago


When local bureaucrats in Hennepin County, Minnesota, seized an elderly woman’s home over a small tax debt, sold it, and kept the profit, they likely had no idea they would set in motion a series of events that would cripple the practice known as “home equity theft” across the country.

Yet that’s what happened. The Supreme Court on Thursday unanimously ruled that the government violated the Constitution when it took possession of Geraldine Tyler’s condo over an overdue property tax bill, auctioned the home, and pocketed the proceeds in excess of what she actually owed.

Tyler, who is now 94 years old, purchased the Minneapolis-area condo in 1999. But a series of events, including a neighborhood shooting, prompted her to relocate to a retirement community in 2010, at which point it became difficult for her to pay both her new rent and the property taxes on her former home. She accrued a $2,300 tax bill, which turned into an approximately $15,000 bill after the government added on $13,000 in penalties, interest, and fees. Local officials then sold the home for $40,000—and kept the remaining $25,000.

Tyler spent years arguing that such a taking was unconstitutional. But despite the case appearing fairly black and white from the outset, she had no such luck in the lower courts. When her case went before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit, its ruling was also unanimous—in favor of the government. “Where state law recognizes no property interest in surplus proceeds from a tax foreclosure-sale conducted after adequate notice to the owner, there is no unconstitutional taking,” wrote Judge Steven Colloton.

The Supreme Court forcefully overturned that decision today. “A taxpayer who loses her $40,000 house to the State to fulfill a $15,000 tax debt has made a far greater contribution to the public fisc than she owed,” wrote Chief Justice John Roberts for the Court. “The taxpayer must render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, but no more.”

At the heart of the case is the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment, which stipulates that “private property [shall not] be taken for public use without just compensation.” In explaining the justices’ decision, Roberts traced the spirit of the law back to the Magna Carta, then to English law, and ultimately to the States, buttressed by several Supreme Court precedents which, as Roberts wrote, “have also recognized the principle that a taxpayer is entitled to the surplus in excess of the debt owed.”

Tyler is far from the only victim of this practice. Home equity theft is legal in Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, South Dakota, and the District of Columbia, although today’s ruling should hamstring those forfeiture schemes.

Civil asset forfeiture is thievery and therefore sinful.  There is no other way to see it, and every individual, whether associated with the government or not, who has participated in or enabled such a scheme, should be ashamed, and will certainly face eternal punishment.  It’s an abomination that the Eighth Circuit found in favor of the state, and equally absurd that the Supreme Court took so long to take this head on and smash it to the ground in pieces.

Modifications to the AK-12

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 1 month ago


Firearms manufacturer Kalashnikov has unveiled an upgraded AK-12 assault rifle, with modifications based on the weapon’s use in the war on Ukraine.

[ … ]

As part of the upgrade, the rifle’s two-round burst mode was excluded from the latest design, because it didn’t increase the weapon’s efficiency significantly and complicated its layout, according to TASS.

The other changes were aimed at making the rifle easier to operate.

The AK-12 has several mounting platforms that allow the installation of additional gear, such as sights, a front handle, a flashlight, a laser designator, as well as devices for noiseless and flameless fire, according to TASS.

Interesting.  They’ve added (I assume) a better flash hider, and made the rifles suppressor-capable.  They appear to have added capability for modularization with points of connection for illumination, lasers, etc., perhaps also better capability for optics mounting (although no picture is provided so I can’t be sure).

They’ve also removed the capability for two-round burst.  This isn’t surprising.  My son never used the 3-round burst capability of the M4 in Iraq.  The only time he used full auto capability was with the SAW.  Lightweight rifles with full auto capability interfere with the main function of the semi-automatic rifle, i.e., being a battle rifle.

Full auto guns are area suppression weapon systems, and need the heavier barrel to keep from melting, the open-bolt system for cooling, etc.  That runs contrary to the concept of the battle rifle and the appurtenant doctrine.

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