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Education / Training Danger — pressure venting!

Danger — pressure venting!

by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

I read a lot of mystery novels, and in each one there’s a dose of something absurd that upsets my sensibilities as a shooter. I’ve gotten past Agatha Christie putting a “safety catch” on every revolver; but in this day of the internet, I simply cannot overlook the travesties that some authors get away with. I think I told you some months back about a military policeman in a novel who wondered whether the cartridge cases he found at a crime scene were military or not. He solved his dilemma by hefting a case in his hand and determining from its weight that it was a 5.56mm. Of course, the headstamp on the case was of no import whatsoever because nobody knows what all those words and numbers mean!

In a current novel I’m reading, we’re in the middle of a court martial and the government’s expert witness for the prosecution has just testified that a German Luger magazine holds 15 bullets. He meant to say cartridges, but nobody cares about the difference, do they? Maybe they do because he then went on the explain that 3 of the bullets had passed through the victim, and one was still in the body. But 4 bullets were found on the floor.

Did I say 4 bullets were found on the floor? Oops, I meant bullet casings, of course. I guess they were about to make bullet sausage because that’s what casings are used for. Ammunition, on the other hand, is comprised of a bullet and a cartridge case, plus gunpowder and a primer, although I’m pretty certain that if they had to explain it in the book they would have called it the explosive and the flashy-thingy.

The expert witness was then asked about the trigger on a Luger, which he described as a “hair trigger,” so light it can go off almost by itself. Oh, really? Then why are there thousands of websites devoted to removing all the mushiness from Luger triggers? Why are Luger triggers noted for their lack of precision?

Then there’s the actor Danny Glover, who starred in the movie Predator II. Glover plays an LAPD lieutenant who tracks and kills an alien predator. He is armed with a nickel-plated Desert Eagle in an unspecified caliber. I’m always captivated whenever a noted anti-gun activist like Glover also makes his living with the very thing he claims to oppose. I guess, as an activist, he has to keep the dreaded firearms very close so he can watch them! Of course, you can’t reason with a predator, which is why, I suppose, the Los Angeles Police Department gives special dispensation to officers like Glover to arm themselves with non-standard weapons. Or perhaps that was the year the LAPD carried nickel-plated Desert Eagles? It would be like seeing a dune buggy in a World War II film, and don’t you dare try to explain away that with a thumbnail sketch about the Kübelwagen!

Of course, this kind of license is not confined to firearms. Oh, no, we have it here in the airgun world, as well. Things like the following.

“There are three main types of pneumatic arms. One is powered by a spring driving a piston, another has an internal pump that pressurizes air in a built-in reservoir and the third type utilizes gas sparklets, in the same way as a seltzer bottle, only instead of water they propel lead pellets.”

Excuse me? How is a spring-piston gun a “pneumatic”? Better yet, isn’t the use of carbon dioxide gas the very antithesis of the definition of a pneumatic?

My story
If I wrote a screenplay, the hero would shoot a single-shot rifle and carry a 1911 as a sidearm. When his back was against the wall and his enemies had him pinned down, he would eliminate his oppressors with aimed shots from 500 yards and then engage them at 100 yards with the handgun. The bad guys would be Hollywood types with ball caps on backwards and black rifles that they spray and pray, while my hero picks them off like clay pipes in a shooting gallery. The movie Quigley Down Under comes to mind.

My book
And in my novel, the judge would throw the expert witness out of the courtroom after he referred to cartridges as bullets. Or, if he said that a Luger has a hair trigger, the judge would demand a technical definition of what constitutes a hair trigger. Finding none, he would then demand that a trigger-pull gauge be used on the murder weapon to determine what the trigger-pull actually is.

The murder weapon is sitting right there in the courtroom, where it is available for examination and testing. Yet both attorneys accept the words coming from the expert witness, instead of actually testing the thing in front of them. Apparently that’s okay, but it’s very important for the author to ramble on for 10 pages about how someone feels about something or what social interactions caused him/her to do/be what they did/are.

Put up or shut up
So, why don’t I write my novel or screenplay? Simple. My fictional writing isn’t worth reading. These New York Times authors can call a pig a chicken and get away with it because they do it in such a compelling way. On the other hand, I stand on my soapbox and protest the misleading details in the writing of others and nobody cares — not even me.

In the end, it really doesn’t matter to me that Michael Gross who played survivalist, Burt Gummer, in the Tremors movie series is actually on the National Committee of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, or that his wife in the same movie series, Reba McEntire, is noted for buying back guns with tickets to her concerts. Both actors admit to owning guns (of course they do!), but they really don’t want YOU to!

So what?
Why do I care so much about these petty mistakes and misleading actors? Even I admit they don’t hurt the story line. The novels are still good reading, and the movies are still worth watching. In fact, watching the 4 Tremors movies is something of an institution at my house.

But those little inconsistencies are like speed bumps in the road. They upset an otherwise smooth journey. And they remind me that in the gun world there are people who don’t really care about the things they stand for, either. People who say things like, “I think it’s okay for people to own guns — just not assault rifles.” Reba McEntire said that. The Brady campaign calls the AR-15 an assault rifle, even though it’s not capable of the full automatic fire that defines an assault rifle.

But they LOOK like assault rifles; and if we can get people to believe they ARE assault rifles, then we’ve condemned them to the ever-growing list of vilified things — things like magazines with capacities over 10 rounds, and “cop-killer” bullets and foregrips and, heaven forbid — LEAD!

Adolf Hitler said it best. A lie repeated often enough becomes the truth. Whose lies do you believe?

119 thoughts on “Danger — pressure venting!”

  1. In Predator 2’s defense, it takes place in the “near future” so LAPD Detectives could technically be issued or at least allowed to carry nickel plated Desert Eagles. That said, my favorite firearm goof in movies is when someone is shooting a full auto firearm, it runs empty, then clicks in full auto!

  2. My greatest fiction gun peeve is of course when after holding someone at gunpoint for a while the action gets worked for emphasis and no cartridge is ejected. Guaranteed to set me off.

  3. Novels have their place in time.

    BB you ain’t been writing a novel for the last 15 yrs. have you?

    But seriously write the airgun/firearm book please!!

    And has anybody watched (The Hunger Games) Movie. It was on this last Sunday evening over the weekend (I watched it instead of going outside and shooting). Second time for me watching it. And I will watch it again when I get the chance.

    If it was made into a book I would buy it and read it. And I usually won’t buy a book and set down and read it unless it is about something I’m learning. So Novels ain’t my cup of tea if you know what I mean.

    Oh but I did go outside after it was over and the sun went down. I don’t know how many people have a chance or place to shoot in the dark or in low light situations. But I love it.

    I had me a silver bullet can with a coat hanger hanging it in front of my backstop.
    It was out 50 yards. and I could see the can shining slightly with a slight shape of the can when looking through the scope.
    Was shooting the can with my 1720T with the 1399 stock. Shot the gun from 3000 psi down to 2000 psi and was always trying to aim for the middle of the can. There was a 1.250″ dia. hole through the can when I got done. And I chose that gun because its probably my most quiet and accurate gun. Oh and yep I shoot from a rest most of the time unless I’m hunting. So I try to prop up against something if I can when I’m hunting.

    Now this is true what I’m writing about but here is where I will refere to a (Novel). A 1.250″ group sounds terrible for the gun and I said it was (my most quiet accurate gun) which is true.
    Now here is why I say it is my most accurate gun. In the day-light I can totally see the bulls-eye on the target with my scope out at 50 yards. With that said the same gun at the same distance now shoots a .325 “group with Superdomes. Yep Superdomes. The gun loves them ???

    Have you written about or done any Night and/or low light shooting using a normal scope yet ?

      • RR
        I wonder if the book is more detailed than the movie. That’s my problem with reading a book about something. Its got to keep me interested or it usually gets set aside.

        And goes to show you how much I get to read books and for that case to set down and watch a movie.
        Always got too much happening.
        And never even payed attention that The Hunger Games was a book first. And yeah I guess it usually works out that way. Book then movie.

        • GF1

          The book without exception is better than the movie. They are always more detailed. Take “The Shawshank Redemption” for instance. “Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption” on which it is based, is not even a novel, but a novella, or slightly longer than a short story. Yet it is far more detailed than the movie, and emotionally involving. The intricate details of prison life will give you a lump in your throat and goose bumps.

          Not to mention the idiotic liberties Hollywood insists on taking with every story in an attempt to dumb it down enough to satisfy their target audience, and thus ruining everything.

          “The Perfect Storm” is another wonderful example. The novel includes great details about wave dynamics that will boggle your mind and make your heart sink. The movie features Mark Wahlberg forcing a bad New England Accent, and he’s from New England!

          I saw “Hunger Games” and found it entertaining enough. But it is based on a thread-worn concept of a ‘game to the death’ presented as a public spectacle. Steven King alone has plowed these fields decades before with not one, but two stories, “Running Man” and “The Long Walk.”

          • The book almost always better. One exception that I remember was Lord of The Ring movie. While it was lacking in story depth, the movie scenery and characterization was good enough to made me bought the DVD.

            • The movie version was pretty good, but I can’t quite forgive the casting of Galadriel (one of my favorites from the books) — I know the lady is supposed to be a good actress, but she looks like a girl asking for “rides” at a truck stop in the movie and did not play the part well. Surprising since I think they made reasonable choices in almost every case otherwise with only a few minor quibbles. Also, I had always imagined that Gandalf should be played by Christopher Lloyd (considering not just his role in “Back to the Future”, but more importantly Reverend Jim), but I can’t fault them for not having more imagination, or maybe he was busy.

              At first, I wasn’t happy they didn’t tackle Tom Bombadil and the barrows interlude because it is critical to the story in my opinion, but I think it may have been a good choice after all to keep the story moving apace. It was pretty fine and thoughtful on the level of a “Hollywood” blockbuster, except for the Galadriel fiasco. It is visually stunning and reasonably faithful to the original story, though not as satisfying on as many levels as the book(s), to me, but that may be because I prefer reading to watching movies, anyway :).

              • I didn’t like Galadriel either. She was supposed to be of stunning beauty… not really the case, at least not in my eyes.
                I didn’t like the fact that Aragorn had a sword from the start in the movies, he didn’t get any weapon until they reached the elves in the book but appart from that it was pretty good, not as good as the books but it was pretty good.
                Gandalf was supposed to be played by Sean “James Bond” Connery, he was offered a part of the movie profits and would have earned over 400 millions $ but he apparently didn’t understand the script and said no.


            • I presume you mean the relatively recent live-action/CGI version…

              And not Bakshi’s rotoscoped animation (the only “animation” I’m familiar with in which Shadowfax was, if not the proper stallion, at least was a gelding… apparently the cel-painters weren’t skilled enough to cover up that feature <G>). Of course, since Bakshi never did the sequel, that left Rankin-Bass to bribe Yarbrough (or was it Yarborough) into singing such classics as “Where there’s a Whip, There’s a Way”.

      • Matt61
        I thought the movie was good.

        My daughter likes archery alot and had us watch the movie when it came out. And for me to sit down and watch a movie the second time around its got to be some kind of good. And like I said I could probably read the book in my spare time (yeah right; what spare time).

        I like books for the reason that you can kind of visualise something in your own way as you read the story. Take alook at music now days. Every song has a video now. All I know is sometimes when a new song comes out and I hear it on the radio then see the video it ends up being something different than what I visualised. But on the other hand sometimes the video turns out to be better than I thought.

        So I guess that could go both ways.

        Oh and what do you think about Avatar the movie (did I spell that right). Again I don’t know if there was a book version.

        And the girl is Jenifer Lawrence in The Hunger Games movie. If I was young and single again I could find myself having a big crush on her. Her as who she is ( Jenifer Lawrence ) and I could like the girl she is playing in the movie also.

        • I liked the Hunger Games, it wasn’t too bad, Avatar was well made technicaly (it is after all a James Cameron movie) but the scenario lacked some serious work. You knew 20min in who was the bad guys and who was going to die and live and where it was going.


          • J-F
            Like you said about Avatar. I like the special effects of the movie.

            And I also like Jets and Vertical Take off flight. So that was kind of cool to see the different aircraft in the movie.

  4. The world is filled with hypocrisy, and many do not realize such. As BB has pointed out, here is Danny Glover and so many others who are making gazillions of dollars teaching our youth it is OK to settle matter with violence and then shocked when they do.

    Or the ones who believe they are responsible enough, but others are not.

    And then there are those who transfer their fear of those they cannot control to the object the uncontrollable use.

    %$&&*(#$$@$%^*&^!!!!! You’ve gotten me venting now!

  5. Take it easy on poor Danny Glover. He has been beside himself with grief since his good buddy Hugo Chavez (the carcase from Caracas) up and croaked.

    Another notable meat puppet, Matt Damon, is also hugely anti gun rights. How many people has he gunned down as Jason Borne? Of course this is the same guy who preaches how great public schools are to us little people, then he sends his own brats off to private school. So, hypocrisy is his forte.

    Other gun control hypocrites? Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Mark Wahlberg.

    In my fantasy screenplay semiauto pistols function fine until they are held sideways. Then they mysteriously explode, embedding the slide into the user’s forehead.

    Hitler was wrong about a great many things, but not about lies turning into truth. Other notable lies accepted as truth: Columbus discovered the new world, Magellan circumnavigated the earth, I before E except after C, global warming.

    The writers that impress me are the ones that can not only tell a great story, but do endless research in order to keep it authentic in respect for their audience.

    Dang BB. This should have been a Friday blog.

    • Slinging Lead,

      If you want to read a book series that has excruciating amounts of research done before writing, you need to read Jean Auel’s books (read them in order to get the full effect). The amount of research (she lived outside with only the implements used by Neanderthals) is staggering. That’s why it took so long for her to write the books.

      In fact, I used to re-read her books but stopped in the middle of the third re-read because I became so involved with the characters that I found myself being needlessly worried about their situation all the time. Basically, I was living in the book because it was so captivating. I have never found another fiction writer who could pull me in like Jean Auel. Tom gets drawn in, too, but probably not to the extent that I do. Maybe that’s because the protagonist is female. Or maybe he can resist the draw better.


      • Did she use a sling with same proficiency as Ayla? That would really impress me. I hope she wasn’t digging roots and tubers out of the ground and eating them like the Neanderthals.


        • Matt61,

          From what I’ve read, she killed her own food in the same manner and with the same tools as the Neanderthals. She was a 33-year-old mom with no survival skills, as far as I know. And she undertook this to give her books the benefit of first-hand experience. As I write this, I feel the tug to read the books, again. I MUST resist, or I’ll never get any work done 🙂


      • Great books, Edith!

        Earth’s Children series. I just got back from having 3 hernias fixed. Out-patient surgery went well. I have the whole set and may re-read it again while recuperating!


    • One of my “favorite” inaccuracies is the little handheld optic he spies on the FBI woman in her office with while talking on a cell phone to her.My,does he have rock steady hands!

      • Wasn’t a 12-shot 6-chamber black-powder single-action (Hmmm… a review states it was a double-action yet) a plot point in a shlock movie “The Master Gunfighter” (which actually had more sword fights than gun fights)

        • I don’t recall seeing the Master Gunfighter……but I do recall a clip fed revolver being made…..the cartridges are elliptical.I believe the military experimented with a machine gun using that action but cannot recall the name.I like weird pistol innovations—-like the Chiappa Rhino or the gyro jet.

  6. They do the same thing with cars. There’s no way a car can do a wheelie in the dirt like it did in one of the fast and furious movies or in the first one when it’s on it’s rear wheels yet they’re producing a lot of smoke… if the tires are smoking they’re spinning, if they’re spinning they’re not lifting the front of the car up!

    I think most of the actors/public figure who support gun control are like politicians. They don’t really care or know much about the topic and aren’t really for a form of gun control but their agent told them that it would boost their popularity so they do it. Like most politicians they’re well trained puppets.


    • if the tires are smoking they’re spinning, if they’re spinning they’re not lifting the front of the car up!

      Not quite impossible — as long as they have enough grip to allow some torque to feed back into the suspension… Or, lift the front-end before breaking traction, while retaining just enough traction to keep the front from falling back down.

      • Not impossible but higly improbable, have you seen the movies?
        How about David Freiburger (the HotRod mag editor) F-bomb Camaro pulling wheelies with drag radials in the dirt?


        • I don’t even want to get into that conversation. Or do I.

          All I can say is I had a purple 72 Nova about 16yrs. ago that people nick named (Dr. Hook).

          It had a.030″ over 12.5 to 1 compression 350 with Air Flow Research (AFR) heads on it, Lunatti Bracket Master II cam, Victor Jr. Intake with a Holly 750 double pumper on it. 150 horse nitrous plate on it with a progressive controller. MSD 6AL box with a two step for launch RPM. Engine was going through the lights in 3rd. gear at about 6800 rpm.

          It had a Turbo 350 tyranny with a hardened sprag, a manual reverse valve-body with a 3200 stall converter and trans-brake.
          8.5″ ten bolt with a mini-spool in it and a pinion snubber (3.90 gears).

          Engine was set back about 3″ along with the rear end moved forward about 2.5″
          Had 8″ M&H Racemaster DOT 25″ tall tires on it. Also had long tube headers with 3″ dual exhaust going into quiet mufflers then going over the rear end into a single 3″ turn down behind the passenger rear tire.
          Had a fuel cell in the trunk and the stock fuel tank was still in the car filled with water for weight. Also a piece of 2″ inch diameter pipe filled with concrete was mounted to the rear bumper up inside it.

          Had the inside of the interior lightened up also. But everything on the car looked stock and it was quiet. It had steel rims with Baby Moon hub caps with the Chevy emblems in the middle. Car weighed about 2800lbs. And you could pull the left front tire about a inch of the ground by hand when it was parked. Almost everything was gutted under the hood.

          So here we go. The car would drag the rear bumper at the drag strip and on the street if you turned the rpm up on the two step. Me and my buddies was over at one of our buddies house with our cars before going to the drag-strip. They tar and graveled the road about 3 days before hand.
          They told me to get on it and see if it would pull the wheels when we were leaving. And yep it pulled the front left about 2″. Dug right through the gravel into the tar then started hooking.

          Oh I forgot to say on the back of the trunk lid It had Time Will Tell hand painted in silver lettering painted by Me. How about 10.50s at 127 mph. and 60 ft. times was about 1.33.Yep it hurt when it launched.

          • That must have been a fun car to ride in!
            Do you read HotRod? David Freiburger the editor of the mag and owner of the “F-Bomb” car that did the wheel stand in the desert went in detail about what had to be done to a separate car just for the wheel stand scene. They put so much weight in the trunk that the first car broke, they had to reinforce the frame to put more weight in the trunk in order to lift the front end, they couldn’t alter the wheel base or do any cosmetic changes to the car since the original one had to look like it.

            I love gassers and the popularity and publicity they’re getting right now.


            • J-F
              I will read the Hot Rod magazines among others from time to time. But not as much anymore. Always read them when I was a kid growing up.

              But no I didn’t see the article about the F-Bomb Camero. But sounds interesting.
              I was all about keeping the car as stock looking as possible but run like I don’t know what.

              That is one car I should of never got rid of (the purple Nova). But it brought good money. People wanted to buy that car all the time.

  7. B.B.,

    Please keep in mind that the following has nothing whatsoever to do with firearm-politics, merely one example you listed.

    Regarding the Tremors’ characters Burt and Heather Gummer — played by Michael Gross and Reba McEntire — on this blog we have finally landed on a subject with which I likely have a considerable advantage of expertise over others here — finally! (LOL) My second Masters is in Film Studies, and I am a college professor who has taught film studies for fifteen years. Furthermore, I love the Tremors films (especially the first).

    The Gummers are satirical caricatures of gun-toting survivalists whose role in the film is to add comic elements. Virtually every line they have is purely comical in purpose to the film text and is not narrative-furthering, such as the hero charcters played by Kevin Bacon, Fred Ward, and Finn Carter. The Gummers’ gun collection is so absurdly extravagant, their bunker such a pop-cultural idealization of a survivalist shelter, and their lines so hilarious (they are everyone’s favorite characters in the film) that their textual purpose as parody is self-evident.

    Add to that their name, “Gummers,” a derogatory slang term for dentally-challenged rural folk who fit every negative stereotype of conservative, guns-rights people.

    So Gross and McEntire are fulfilling, not contradicting, their personal firearm-political views in their portrayal of Burt and Heather. Their characters are satirical caricatures that are to be laughed at, not along with, in the film’s rhetoric. How individual audience members’ react (laughing with, not at, the Gummers, perhaps) is independent of authorial intent, whihc in this case is pretty evident.

    Now, I happen to be of the Roland Barthes, S/Z school of critical textual analysis, which means I believe the meaning is in the reader of a text and not in the author (Barthes’ wrote, metaphorically, that “The author is dead.”) Therefore, any interpretation any of you bring to the two characters is perfectly valid, but from a traditional critical perspective, you’re off by 180 degrees, and that is worth noting.

    Just my two cents as a film scholar,


    • Michael,

      I understood that the Gummers are satirical, and that no actor could have their viewpoint exactly. And I actually applaud Gross’s portrayal of Burt Gummer, as he doesn’t break character even once in the four films, which Edith and I both love, by the way. But that doesn’t prevent me from seeing the gross (no pun intended) irony of a Brady-ite cast in that position. And he honestly admits to owning guns, “…because he assumes everyone else in the country has one.”

      I’m glad to know that we have a film prof. on the blog. Now, tell me about “Reflections in a Golden Eye?”


      • Carson MCullers! I read the novel more than once, when I was working on my first Masters, in Literature. There is a whole treasure-trove of American fiction called Southern Gothic, including McCullers, Tennessee Williams (“Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” and “Reflections of a Golden Eye” have a lot in common, including Liz Taylor in the film versions), Truman Capote, and the master, William Faulkner.

        I have yet to see the movie of “Reflections,” but it has an incredible cast.


  8. I live where the “Lie” HAS become the law of the land. Mis-count and load more than seven rounds into the mag of your 10-22 and you pay a fine, lose your guns ,or go to jail. It works here because many of the the folks who elected the officals to office who enacted these laws that limit and take away my rights, have been sucking on the public teat for so long that to risk losing their norishment by voting for the truth terrifies them. I know many who are avid hunters that think their deer rifles are safe. They are like the Jews in Hitlers Europe who believed that they were going to be OK , even as they were loaded into the cattle cars. I’m at the point where while I will not board the cattle car, I don’t particularily care about the cattle who do.

  9. Reminds me of a quote by Julia Phillips; (She produced some big films back in the 70’s) “Reagan and Bush…made the world safe for hypocrisy.”
    Funny and sad at the same time.

    Off topic, I see the Umarex Fusion is in stock at PA…any chance of a test?

  10. B.B.,

    I am damn near an outcast for my love of the Tremors movies! In fact, my son got me the entire set for my birthday a few years ago. I still watch them when they are shown by any of the cable stations (which hasn’t been very often lately)! And all this time I thought i was alone.


      • Edith,

        I hope it happens, and I hope they manage to get enough of the original cast back so that we feel some amount of continuity.

        Have you seen the movie “The Arrival” with Charlie Sheen? I loved the first one! But then when they did a second one, there was absolutely no continuity, other than a small amount of shallow dialogue. Very disappointing!


          • Edith,

            I like movies that include deep space communications, since this was an area in which I worked in while at JPL. In the case of Contact, with Jodie Foster, it reminded me of my time working at Goldstone and tracking the Pioneer spacecraft as it was at the edge of our Solar system. The Arrival supposedly takes place at JPL and Goldstone. Turns out, it’s not even close to looking like JPL, but the deep space antennas were close to what you might see at some of the smaller stations at Goldstone. Of course, I personally never worked at any of the smaller antennas, like the one in the movie. All of my work was at the large 70 meter antenna.

            Is The Arrival a good movie. I liked the character played by Charlie Sheen.


              • Edith,

                No I haven’t. But JPL has lots of joint ventures with MANY institutions. A lot of missions are actually for research initiated outside of JPL. JPL just happens to have the facilities and staff needed to make things happen. JPL’s charter was essentially, “One of a kind. First of its kind. Don’t compete with Industry.”. I worked in Communications Research and Digital Signal Processing. My first job at JPL was to develop a communications system that allowed our military command and control environments to communicate with troops out at the front lines. My system was actually fielded in Somalia and Bosnia. I don’t know of any specifics beyond that, but some 5 years later a customer called me to tell me that my system was still the only game in town. That was 20 years ago, so I’m sure that everything used back then is now obsolete.


              • Edith,

                As a related aside, at the big antenna, they occasionally fire a shotgun to scare off birds. After many years of doing this, it no longer works. The pigeons are now use to it.


  11. That comment on the “hair trigger” raised my hackles. It is my understanding that that term came from the development and use of a spring on the trigger that was in the shape of a hair pin. Am I correct?

    Let me add another moronic movie sequence that made me roll my eyes – in the movie “Gateway” where the Russsel character and his commando troop have gone through the portal and are exploring the other world, every time they turn a corner the sound of actions cycling is heard – the pulling back of the bolts on their M-16’s. The director has inserted this sound so many times that I would have expected all the magazines would have been empty from ejecting all those rounds!

    Michael, it was very interesting reading your analysis of the movie, Tremors. I enjoyed it. I keep on saying that one day (get ready, this is great for another whimsical blog) I am going to list all the “great” movie lines that have become part of everyday conversation (you’re going to need a bigger boat; make my day; do you feel lucky, punk?; you’re killing me, smalls; I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse;) and so on.

    Fred DRPoNJ

    • Fred,

      As I have always understood it, the hair in a hair trigger means the trigger can be tripped by a human hair. I have heard of such triggers but never seen one myself. They are the triggers that go off by themselves when the gun it tilted vertically, as the weight of the trigger blade is all it takes.


      • just looked it up in entomology on line – it stated the term originated in 1830 and referred to a two trigger firearm where the first trigger was pulled to set the second, very light pressure trigger. And I always thought the term originated with the introduction of the flintlock trigger held by a hairpin type of spring as opposed to the forerunner wheel lock. Oh, well.

        Of course, today’s use is as you stated – as in a “hair trigger temper”.

        Fred DPRoNJ

        • Technically, that’s a double set trigger… As far as I’m concerned, the IZH/Baikal MP46m is a hair trigger — I can’t feel any movement or weight stacking of what is nominally a two-stage trigger; breath with a finger on the trigger and it goes off.

          To me, the term implies both: super light pull at sear release, AND no noticeable movement when pulled.

      • B.B.,

        I have shot a gun with a hair trigger. It was on a friends free-pistol. The first couple of times I held it, the gun went off without me even being close to ready to shoot. If I recall, the trigger was like a pin-head, and not the usual crescent shaped trigger. In any case, you really don’t feel ANY pressure, just a slight sensation of touch.


        • I have a Walther LG55 10M Tyrolean with double set triggers.Once the first trigger is set,the second can pretty much be tripped WITHOUT even leaving a fingerprint! Whomever adjusted it did a spectacular job.It goes off with a wish……LOL

          • With my target guns I have always tried to adjust my triggers to where I think and it fires. My 46M is set very nicely. No, you cannot pick up 500 grams with it, but since I do not shoot formal competition it does not matter. My Edge has a pretty decent trigger right now. It still needs a little more work and it will never be great, but it only takes a few ounces right now and has almost zero overtravel. I just wish I could figure out how to install a FWB trigger in it.

          • FrankBpc,

            My friend knew exactly what to expect, so when he handed it to me, not only did he warn me, he stood very close to me to make sure that it was always pointing downrange. Those first two shots when into the ground (concrete).

            Having a trigger like this requires an entirely different kind of discipline. You have to tell yourself to keep your finger away from the trigger, because the slightest tough will set it off. There is no concept of “squeeze” with these triggers. This has to be learned, but it doesn’t feel natural (to me, at least).


    • I consider the definitive “catch phrase” lines from tremors to be, “Broke into the wrong *@#$$#%n rec room, didn’t ya, you !$#@%&^*!” Along with the irony of this one from Burt: “Food for five years, a thousand gallons of gas, air filtration, water filtration, Geiger counter. BOMB SHELTER! Underground… #@^%&*#$!@ monsters.” That one was right as the monsters are breaking into his underground bomb shelter.


      • Michael,

        Those are great lines. I also like the one the new woman owners of Chang’s delivered as the ass-blasters are trying to break into the bomb shelter. But has just said to her, “And people think I’m crazy.” Then he shows her the emergency exit slide and she says, “I love you, Burt!”

        I also like the guy’s line a little later when they need a lighter in the junkyard to light the spear and he says Burt has a lighter. Burt asks him how he knows that and he responds, “You’re Burt!”


        • Burt to Melvin: “I wouldn’t give you a gun if it were World War 3. ”

          “Run for it? Running’s not a plan! Running’s what you do once a plan fails! ”

          “What do I look like, an expert in WORM?”

          “So what if we make it back to the rocks? We’ll only last for 3 days!”
          “Well, I want to live for the 3 days! ”

          “What kind of fuse is that?”
          “Cannon fuse.”
          “What the heck do you use it for?”
          “My CANNON! ”

          I’ve got it in the DVD player right now and every now and then tears stream down my face as I type these out. This is just too easy . . . . ;^D


  12. I have a habit of taking on gun grabbers and all their misleading lies. I especially loved watching Diane Feinstein, under oath in a judicial committee hearing testify to personally seeing a 5.56 NATO round “implode” and rip the limbs off a child. I know you all know this, but for people that are a bit sleepy, It is physically impossible foe any round fired out of any gun ever made to “implode”. It is also impossible for a 5.56 round to rip the limbs off a person or animal unless that animal is a mouse or something equally small and fragile. Then I hear all the liberals who heard this lie quoting it to make a case against the AR15, it drives me nuts. An AR15 is not capable of ripping the limbs off anybody. If it could we would not be allowed to issue that round to our troops and use them in war. Then we have my dad. He’s a card carrying NRA life member and gun owner with concealed carry license. He tried to tell me that the AR15 round kills with a shock wave that it sends through the nervous system. So even if you get hit in the hand it will kill you. How misinformed he is. If what he said is true then I could effectively kill somebody with my airforce condor with the power maxed out by simply shooting somebody in the hand since it also sends lead at above the speed of sound and generates a shock wave. On that same note my 300AAC Blackout upper with subsonic 7.62 rounds wouldn’t be dangerous at all (950 fps).
    I also love how much the AK47 is feared. True it packs quite a punch and it can punch a hole clean through a car. Let’s put that in perspective. What it is really doing is punching a hole in a few bits of sheet metal and plastic and a whole lot of empty space. Not such a formidable target. Look at an AR15 round, compare it to an AK47 round, then put those beside a .240 Winchester round and tell me which one is the more dangerous round. (hint, the .240 winchester dwarfs the other two in every way.)

    • As a matter of fact, I believe there were some early ecstatic reports from Vietnam about the extreme damage caused by AR-15 rounds. One of them supposedly took the head completely off this guy–things like that. But it was found to be impossible to reproduce this effect in testing. They figured that either the bullet was tumbling in some unusual way or the reporter was seeing things.


      • If I were to make an educated guess I’d say that the report was more likely some sort of propaganda or a boast from a soldier that didn’t really happen. There is a massive amount of data from tests done to show even a tumbling 5.56 round cannot remove a head from a man’s shoulders. But if you told me one took somebody’s finger off I just might say it was possible. All a 5.56 is, is a .22 on steroids. If I want to fire .22lr out of my AR15 all I have to do is put in a special .22 lr bolt carrier group and special magazine. Let’s guess what the media would claim about that. They’d probably claim the gun could take out a jet, train, or spacecraft just based on looks.

  13. B.B.

    Heartily agree.
    I must also notice, that the phrase about lie does not belong to Hitler. It’s a quote attributed to Dr. Goebbels – Hitler’s master of propaganda. And look, how many followers this man has in our days! 😉


  14. It was only in recent years that I heard about this quote regarding repeated lies becoming truth being attributed to Hitler. However, when I was in my 20’s (during the 80’s) I came to this realization completely on my own. Its what politicians do. In fact, it’s what almost everyone with power does to keep control. It’s what propaganda is all about. It’s also how cults work. We see it often and almost everywhere. It’s done in the workplace, and sometimes even in our churches.

    Hollywood is guilty of a lot of things, including glorifying wars, belittling death and serious injury, and even glorifying organized crime, including small-time gangs. But the fact remains that Hollywood is in the business of “entertainment” and even fantasy. I’m not a fan of anyone, as I can honestly say that I’m not “fanatical” about anyone. I don’t really care about their personal lives, so I don’t follow any of them. Of course, with the internet, it’s hard not to know certain things about some celebrities, but I certainly don’t take any of it seriously.

    On the other hand, it’s our responsibility to know that “news” is also just “entertainment”. They don’t explicitly say it, but that’s essentially what it is. How many people actually understand this? Those that don’t, listen to propaganda repeated enough times that it becomes truth to them. Even other programming falls i line with the same ideas, further reinforcing lies. How many understand that everything we see on TV or hear on the radio, is being produced by less than a hand-full of parent companies? Literally thousands of stations are owned by one single parent company. The same goes for publishers (e.g., books, magazines, videos, etc.). You think we’re not getting bombarded every second of the day by propaganda?

    Now let’s talk about politicians, who are not in the business of “entertainment”, and yet are the worse offenders with regards to lying enough times to fabricate a “truth”. How many times have the American people been lied to by politicians about justifications for war, by saying that the cause was “democracy” and “freedom”, even when the countries that were are about to “defend” were brutal Monarchies or Dictatorships, with no concept of “freedom” for its people? We don’t say it’s about oil, corporate interest, or regional control.

    Lies, hypocrisy, propaganda, and mass manipulations of the mind are all around us, every day, all the time.


  15. BB
    Knew I should of payed more attention in English class at school. You know when I was reading more than one novel.

    And BB no low light shooting? How come? Ain’t that what determines part of what makes a good quality scope. The optics and their design. I think some manufacturers even state that as a selling point.

    And see I think you will have a wonderful book about air gunning and firearms when you get it done.

    You pointed out in this blog the things you see wrong when you read novels that are written by people without knowledge of what really is involved with what they are writing about (or to hype the story up maybe).
    That’s why I believe you will have a very good selling book if you get it done. You are writing about something you know. Im sure it will be loaded with info. And that’s the books I like.

    • GF1,

      Maybe I misunderstood you. By low light I thought you meant night sight. I find those inappropriate for airguns.

      But using regular optics in lower light situations is normal for hunters. I have hunted in Germany at dusk when it was impossible to see the crosshairs, though I could see the silhouette of the deer filling my scope.


        • When it comes to low light shooting I find an illuminated reticle scope to be what saves the shot the most. If I don’t know that I am taking a clean shot I don’t take it. So I like to see my crosshairs so I know what the deal is at point of impact.

          • John
            I don’t hunt at night but there is times that I have to do pest control in the dark.
            I always find myself in a rush when trying to scope the pest. Don’t have much time usually. Hardly enough time to get the pellet loaded before hand even.
            I only got one scope that has illuminated cross hairs and its now on my new Disco. No particular reason why it ended up on the Disco. Had it and used it there.

            But I like target practicing at night when all you can see is the shape of the object in the scope. It helps me to get better at finding the target.
            Then when you try shooting at the same target in the daytime it sometimes seems to be easier.

            • Gunfun,let me recommend the ND3 laser collimeter for your shooting amusement.It mounts on the scope and can shed light on just the target.The price is kinda high,but for night pesting it’s an excellent tool.

              • FrankBpc
                Thanks for the recommendation about the ND3 Laser. I have actually looked at that.
                Most of the time when I shoot at a pest it is at night by the trash cans or they are aggravating my outside dog.
                I got flood lights in the back yard. So I can flip them on if needed.

                I just like to go outside though when its dark and set up a target by my backstop. All you have is the moon light. And then I try to keep my eyes adjusted to the dark. I don’t use a scope with a cross-hair that is illuminated either.
                Its amazing how well you can see in the dark with a regular scope if you keep your eyes adjusted to the dark.

  16. BB – I think your overlooking the fact that writers of books and movies compromise for the audience/readers and editors. Referring to a cartridge as a bullet may have been found to be more understandable for the target audience, even though the author knows the difference and originally made the correct reference.
    Having Danny Glover run around with a Desert Eagle is way more sexy then the LAPD standard issue. The target audience probably wouldn’t have cared that it was incorrect but rather more appealing. What do you remember of the movie “Dirty
    You are correct though, these small inconsistencies lead to a world of idiocracy.
    Of course you can also translate this mentallity into why airgun manufactures push “sexy” 1200+ fps guns regardless if they are accurate. They know that the target demographic is going to walk into wally world and buy the coolest looking, fast gun.

  17. Ahhh, don’t ya just love Hollywood.
    I also have just as big a beef with critics.
    “Act of Valor”. In my mind a passable action movie (supposedly semi documentary in nature) that was quite realistic in many ways (it’s about Navy Seals).
    One of its features was that a number of the actors were in fact serving Seals.
    Well…numerous critics wrote how one of the big drawbacks of the movies was the lack of acting talent displayed by these Seals/actors…how wooden the performances were.
    One of the best responses to this was on a military forum (SOFREP.com) where someone (also a Seal) said that in fact this was quite realistic…many in the SF community are known for the ‘quiet determination’ (as he put it).
    He quipped that Chuck Norris and Sylvester Stallone do not act the way real Seals act.

    • CSD,

      YES, YES, YES! That is what I want. Realism!

      I would enjoy seeing a movie about the life of Ed McGivern. And Leonardo DeCaprio wouldn’t be the star. Ed McGivern looked like Elmer Fudd. And then he started pulling the trigger and you forgot what he looked like.


    • If “wooden” is the criteria, Chuck Norris would make a great Seal. Maybe he reached the height of his art in the most recent Expendables where he made a short appearance at age 70. He didn’t even do martial arts. He just walked around firing from the hip with a machine gun and wiping out hordes of people.


      • It’s a typical fantasy Hollywood puts out. Full auto wastes many more rounds than it uses. You might blow through a 30 round magazine in a few seconds and never hit the target you intended to hit. In reality the way a soldier uses full auto is to keep the enemy’s head down giving the squad time to get to a better position or get away. An enemy trying to avoid being shot usually is too busy ducking to do any shooting. At least that is what they taught us in basic training.

        Another beef with hollywood is how they make rounds spark when they hit something solid. Granted they do make a round that does that and the effect is spectacular but they are expensive and nothing a common thug would have. Standard ammo doesn’t spark when it hits a car like in “Dark Knight Rises” where the Joker is putting bursts of machine gun fire into nearby cars. The rounds weren’t even leaving holes in the cars. It was a liberal’s best dream. Harmless bullets.

        • How would the public know where the shots are landing if they didn’t?
          Watch someone on TV or movie take a pill, they all do this head back motion, I or anyone I know takes pills like that, it’s just to show that they swallowed the pill.

          Like Micheal said, you gotta remember this is entertainment.


          • True. It makes for good theater, but definitely doesn’t lend much credibility to anybody that knows anything about a gun. But then I suppose not that many people know anything about them or they wouldn’t buy all the political lies our politicians tell about them.

              • Yeah, pretty stock sound effects. Closest I can get to that is a silenced 300AAC black out firing silenced subsonic rounds. It still chatters which is more or less the sound of the bolt carrier group moving back and forth instead of the classic silencer sound. Using a hypersonic round it still makes some racket due to the fact the bullet is punching a hole in the atmosphere.

  18. B.B., a mystery novel reader! That is pretty cool. What comes to mind recently is the Jack Reacher novel I read. Some villain shoots an FBI agent at night in the head at 400 yards with an M14 without night vision as far as I could tell. This is called a “competent” shot but nothing exceptional. If that’s competent, I may as well quit right now. The same book also says later that a shot with a handgun beyond 60 yards is something like wish fulfillment.

    As for Danny Glover, it looks like the police have upgraded since those 1930s movies where New York cops would resist invading dinosaurs with their .38 special revolvers. What I remember most about Danny Glover is one of the Lethal Weapon movies where he is ambushed at a construction site and finally takes out the attackers with a nail gun. Then, he says, “Nailed ’em both.”

    Probably the most egregious movie error I’ve seen is the old film Blue Velvet with Dennis Hopper as a psycho. When he is closing in on the hero, he works the slide after every shot for intimidation. But he should have been empty long before the final confrontation.

    B.B., you should try the Pendergast series of novels by Preston and Child. Quite riveting. The main character is a little weird but he carries a Les Baer 1911, so he’s got his guns right.

    Wulfraed, so the air canister is under more pressure than a cartridge. But how does the refrigerator come into play? What is a Q? Some kind of alien?

    Victor, how does someone get 5 Ph.D.s? Sounds bogus. He is surpassed only by some guy I read about with 29 degrees in education. At age 70, he has organized his whole life around going to school, and he has his wife type up all of his homework. Does it take 5 Ph.D.s to be surprised that the Vietnamese can be violent when they want to be? They lost a million people in their war and kept going, and just about the whole population was up in arms. I was reading about how the influx of Asians after the Vietnam War was affecting gang territories in the Los Angeles area. The incumbents resented the incursions of what they thought were new, undersized bit players. But, the Cambodians who they were antagonizing had just come out of a real war and were accustomed to calling in reinforcements from various cities….

    Bill in Indy, welcome. I think you’ve solved the problem of the blond stock that seems to trouble so many buyers of the Bronco. You just stain it!

    As another bit of news, Derrick is doing a fantastic job on my Daisy 747 complete with daily reports and pictures. You could not pay for this kind of custom treatment.


    • Matt61,

      I do read Child’s Reacher novels. I like them, but Reacher is the former MP who couldn’t read the headstamp on a 5.56 case and determined it was a military round by hefting it. So there went all credibility. He’s still a good writer in the same sense that Barbara Streisand is a good singer, but I never want to listen to her talk outside a scripted movie.



    • Matt61,

      I never asked for proof. I do know that he was highly regarded within JPL, and it isn’t unusual to find people at JPL who received their PhD’s while still teenagers. In any case, titles and degrees have never meant much to me. I look at the person.

      A lot of people never stop to think that their reality is different from others. Most usually just assume that their reality IS reality. Of course, everyone has their own reality. This is why we shouldn’t judge others until we’ve actually walked in their shoes. I believe that my friend set ambitious goals to make a positive example for his community (and he did). Being as ambitious as he is, I doubt that he was busy looking to see what was happening around him. He was too immersed in his own endeavors.

      But an important point to realize is that it only takes a few generations for a group to assimilate into their immediate environment, good or bad. There are no exceptions, as some would like to believe.


  19. Since we’re venting about the absurd when representing guns……..

    My pet peeve are the hollywood snipers.

    They get into position, open their gun case, put the gun together, attach the scope and raise the rifle to their shoulder. Camera pans to shot through the scope. Crosshairs are fixed on target. No wobble. Sniper takes his shot and it hits its’ mark perfectly. Out of a cold barrel with a quickly affixed scope that was dead on.



  20. Okay, this is going back a bit b.b.
    Have you ever read Rex Stouts ‘Nero Wolfe’ series.
    I read them when I was in my late teens after graduating from the Hardy Boys and such.
    Those and Zane Grey…they just don’t write ’em like they used to.

  21. Quite a blog you have started today, B.B. I too have my pet peeves concerning Hollywood’s use of artistic licence. Even as a 12 year old, I would point out the hero and/or villain almost never having to load their six shooters. I have always loved a good duster, but this has always stuck in my craw. As I matured into my 20’s, I had made a few acquaintances who were in the business of making film, and designing and building sets. I remember telling a director of documentaries about my childhood concerns. He told me that it was a matter of continuity. To stop and reload every six shots, would cause the audience to ask why doesn’t one guy rush the other when he is re- loading? This seemingly small detail would force a change in script. The continuity would be lost, and the film would seem choppy. He told me to use my imagination, and stop worrying about minor details. I told him he was asking too much.
    On the subject of Clan of the Cave Bear, another good friend from elementary school days, was hired as a set painter. The cave scenes were filmed here in southern British Columbia at 7000 ft. in Cathedral Mountain Park. The crew were told to stay on the specially built wood walkways so as not to damage the fragile alpine flora and fauna. To shorten a long story, the cast and crew walked where they wanted, and did a fair amount of irreparable damage. This was in the early 80’s, and there hasn’t been a film shot there since. When Hollywood comes to your town, be very concerned as to their true motives.
    Ciao Titus

    • A TV show, “Extreme Makeover”, came to my neighborhood, redid a residence a block away, construction noise 24-7 for more than the promised 7 days, staged lumber on my curb and rolled a forklift over my freshly watered lawn to pick up the wood, sunken ruts and broken sprinkler system, never made good on verbal commitments to repair…yeah, i just love the entertainment industry. 🙂 And the complete rebuild is beautiful, at least cosmetically.

    • John,

      My sister worked with a guy in the movie industry. Movies are designed to make certain amounts of money, including low-budge movies. They’ve got formulas for everything, including how to simply make enough money so that investors get a certain return. You’ve hit upon parts of the equation.


    • Unfortunately, how long can you stretch out some one cussing at the female police officer while destructively ripping off her uniform?

      {And let’s make “some one” the fiance whose been framed and she’s come to take him in}

  22. BB,
    I feel your pain, but I think an argument could be made that if these kinds of details are critical to a story, the story doesn’t have much going for it. People who get their firearms knowledge from novels and movies are probably fairly rare, also. As far as the writers are concerned, they need a detail and if they don’t know how to research it properly, they eventually just make a detail up! Or maybe they always meant to have that detail checked out after getting along with the story, but just never got around to it…

    For me, the utter Unreality lies in the larger situtations which are found constantly in movies. For example, is there ever a movie in which the bad guys can shoot as well as the good guys? Apparently if you are sure your cause is just, you can run through a field of fire confident that evil people don’t know how to shoot, and then pick them off one by one if they raise their head even for a moment! Maybe they could let good guys get winged or at least miss every once in a while…

    • B-G Farmer,

      Let’s not forget that books are edited and often times very heavily edited. What the author wrote may be completely different than what the publisher’s editor wrote. In fact, some of the questionable things in a book may not have even been there when the manuscript was originally written by the author. They may have been introduced once the publisher’s editor got it and decided to add some details to make the characters look larger than life. And since the publisher is putting their money on the table, they have the final say regarding what goes into the final manuscript.

      It’s my understanding that James Michener’s manuscripts were virtually unrecognizable when compared to the final, edited version, as he was a disorganized and actually mediocre writer. Yet, Michener’s books have been wildly popular. If they hadn’t been so heavily edited, he probably would have had to find another vocation.

      Jean Auel writes fabulous books. She wrote 6 in the Earth’s Children series. The first 5 were superb and came out in relatively orderly fashion. The 6th book was published about 20 years or so after the 5th. How come? The word on the street is that Jean didn’t like the way the publisher had edited it or wanted to change it. I understand she finally got her way, and it was eventually published pretty close to what she felt was right. Too bad, though! As much as I loved that series, I never was able to finish the 6th book (I tried twice to read it). It was lackluster, boring and not worth my valuable time. Tom did read it, but I think he felt it wasn’t up to the level of the previous 5 books.


    • Gents and Ladies …

      The same goes for movies when editing becomes the curse rather than the solution.

      I spoke on the phone just an hour or so ago with a friend who lives in southern California. He presently works for Industrial Light and Magic, but previously worked for IMAX. His specialty is computer generated graphics, especially in the area of special effects. He told me once he is very good a blowing up just about anything.

      The “mistakes” or “errors” that creep into film and video and are seen only by people who really know the subject in question, has been going on forever, he says. He told me that these days every big budget film has advisors who stand by to make sure that the action stays realistic and credible. For example, a war movie might have several retired military people on site to make sure that the mistakes don’t creep in. (ie: cocking and recocking the same weapon without firing it.)

      But, he says, all of that goes out the window when the product gets to editing. There, the only two things that matter are the budget and the clock/calendar. The product must be finished within budget and on time. Often, a cut made in editing makes something appear as not possible, ie: cocking and recocking the same gun without firing, when the material edited out contains the gun firing. He says almost always these things are known before the film is released and, usually, if they make it to the viewer, then there just wasn’t enough budget to do that scene over again and fix them.

      He also said that as time passes, and computer images become more and more realistic, those kinds of irregularities in live action scenes will be fixed on the computer after digitizing. Some day you won’t ever see those kinds of things. He said all we will get is “Ho-hum perfection”.

      He also said that if we think it is hard to watch a movie with guns or cars that perform in impossible ways, imagine how it is for him to watch any movie at all other than those that are perfect, of which there are none. He says, simply, he doesn’t go to movies any more just for that reason. It makes him crazy.


  23. B.B.

    A few years back a shooting instructor wanted me to check his powerpoint-presentation about basic ammunition handling and shooting skills. He was going to have a class the next following day. I noticed that one of the pages said that ammunition is comprised of only two parts:
    – cartridge case
    – bullet

    I told him that a cartridge is comprised of four parts:
    – cartridge casing
    – bullet
    – primer
    – gunpowder

    He heavily disagreed, because you could only see two parts! I told him that also the primer was visible. He refused to change his powerpoint-presentation. He has used this presentation for years – and still do!


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