October 13, 1775

Some 243 years ago. Happy B-day USN!


AKs of Vermont, eh?

VSKA= Vermont Stamped Kalashnikov. They say it is a “heavy duty AK” which I am not sure what a true AK is if not heavy duty. Apparently, in this case, it means no bayonet lug or cleaning rod :/

Vermont-based Century Arms has a new Kalash they say is based on lessons learned from a call by SOCOM in 2016-17 to see if domestic AK makers could crank out legit U.S. AKs.

Up close: As noted by Atlantic Firearms in their desktop below, it appears to have a 1.5mm dimpled receiver.

The 7.62x39mm VSKA uses a new bolt carrier, front trunnion, and feed ramp machined from S7 tool steel and features both a nitro-carburized 4140 steel bolt and a chrome-moly 4150 barrel. Surfaces have a magnesium-phosphate finish while the furniture is of tiger striped American Maple in a nod to Century’s New England roots. The rifle uses the company’s RAK-1 enhanced trigger group.

More in my column at Guns.com.

Japan goes Li-Ion

The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force just launched what could be a seriously advanced non-nuclear submarine.

At 4,200-tons and 275-feet in length, these are large, capable SSPs that are a bargain at around $600 million each. For comparison, Virginia-class SSNs, while bigger and arguably more capable of worldwide operations, run $3.2 billion a pop.

Diesel-electric boats had an extended lease on life when the first nuclear-powered SSNs hit the water due to the fact that the German-originated snorkel system became standard post-WWII. Coupled with enhanced hull shapes (also largely pioneered by the Kriegsmarine) snork boats are still viable, although ASW countermeasures then started concentrating on detecting snorkel pipes and targeting same.

Then came X-shaped sterns and Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) which allowed SSKs to sever their ties to the surface in exchange for adding weight and space to the boat in the form of a Stirling system that allowed the vessel to remain operational while submerged for weeks at a time, sans coming to shallow depths to snork.

Currently, at least 10 nations are building AIP submarines while 20 nations are operating them.

Now, the Japanese could have just flipped the desk on the AIP argument by coupling it with better batteries. You see the newest member of the Soryu-class diesel-electric submarine, JS Oryu (Phoenix Dragon), uses enhanced lithium-ion batteries capable of much better performance– more than double the electric storage capacity of traditional lead-acid batteries– and still has an AIP system. Now, we could be talking months without coming to the surface, not weeks.

She launched this week at Mitsubishi’s Kobe yard.

Field of T-28s must go…or will be crushed

For the frugal warbird flyer in search of a fleet of fixer-uppers, there is a dealer selling 34 retired piston-engine trainers — in various conditions.

Platinum Fighters is selling a few squadrons’ worth of North American T-28 Trojans. The T-28 was a hearty little single-engine plane built in the 1950s and used to train pilots for the Air Force and Navy. Capable of being fitted with underwing hardpoints for guns, rockets, and small bombs, a number of armed T-28s flew in combat in Vietnam, including a batch of operated by CIA-trained Laotian military pilots.

Most of the aircraft shown for sale are U.S. Navy-marked, and the Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola says the sea service purchased and operated almost 800 T-28s from the 1950s onward, with the last one retired from active duty with the Naval Air Training Command in 1984.

What a T-28 Trojan looks like restored. This one is not for sale and is in the collection of the Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola (Photo: NAM)

If “some assembly required” is your thing, the lot offered by Platinum includes enough new parts to build five complete aircraft in addition to stocks of wings, engines (9 Wright Cyclone 1820-86Bs), factory blueprints, trailers and the like.

Although T-28s could mount various gun pods including .30-caliber, .50-caliber and 20mm flavors, sadly none of those party favors are mentioned in the stack of parts.

Price for all of this joy? $180,000 (down from $249K), which is kinda neat if you have the time and inclination to fool with it, as you could end up with a more viable air force than many third world countries.

What happens if they don’t get picked up?

According to Platinum: The owner wants these planes gone and is ready to start sending the non-airworthy components to the scrap metal dealer

Civilian cold steel

Picked this up in my travels. Made by the Russian JSC Kalashnikov Concern (Izhmash) it is classified as the “HO-8 Household Knife.”

Based on the Udmurt “purt” style traditional blade (Izhevsk is at the center of the Udmurt population base), the handle is birch wood wrapped with leather strips with brass accents. The thick (3.5mm) single-edge blade is razor sharp (but soft) stainless with the classic industrial “arrow” stamp of the Izhmash factory and it has a decorative leather sheath. Overall length is just under 10-inches with a 5-inch blade.

The certificate is to accommodate Russian weapon laws as they pertain to post-Soviet knife laws in the country.

Since 1997, blades considered to be “military” or “hunting” styles, which are deemed “civilian cold steel” are tightly regulated and since 2016 have to be registered. As this is a “household” knife that fails to meet those tests due to blade strength, shape or size, it can be bought and sold over the counter– though not necessarily carried everywhere.

It would be interesting to see what the Rockwell hardness of this blade is. I would imagine somewhere in the 55 range as it feels akin to 420 stainless.

In the UK, standards are interred

From The Army in London – HQ London District, the chronicle of how a circa-1953 unit standard was retired for good, to the cold earth.

Here lies The Sovereign’s Standard of the Royal Horse Guards

“Battered and tattered, its duties done, the once glorious gold and scarlet Standard of the Royal Horse Guards (Household Cavalry) was taken from its place of honour high in the rafters of the Royal Military Chapel in Wellington Barracks, placed in a shroud and, as prayers were said, troopers paid their respects, and a silver trumpet sounded the Last Post, it was laid reverentially to rest in the sacred soil of the Guards Chapel Garden in Birdcage Walk.”

Its final resting place, the Sovereign’s Standard is laid to rest in the sacred soil of the Guards Chapel Garden — at The Guards’ Chapel.

More here

Why hello there, Mr. Whippit

Last year Remington debuted their new Tac-14 NFA-compliant non-shotgun “firearm” complete with a 14-inch barrel and bird’s head Shockwave pistol grip. I was the first outdoor writer to get to see it and have one of the first couple made. Overall, I found it pretty neat.

Now, fast forward about 18 months and Remmy has a new take on the same concept. Chopping down their V3 semi-auto shotgun line (which replaced the venerable 11-48/1100/1187 autoloader series), they now have the Tac-13, which was quietly released this week.

Standard with a Shockwave grip and a 13-inch light contour cylinder bore barrel while keeping an overall length of just 26.5-inches, Remington bills the new gun as a compact personal protection piece and has a 5+1 capacity.

MSRP is $915, which will probably translate to an over-the-counter-price at your local retailer of about $699.

More on the V3 Tac-13 in my column at Guns.com

For comparison, Black Aces Tactical in Florida has been selling 4+1 capacity vintage 1100s chopped down to use a 12-inch barrel for $499, so there is that.


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