Saturday, September 30, 2006

Lookee here!

From Chad Rogers site, we get this story of nineteen indicted in North Louisiana following an FBI investigation.
The U.S. Attorney's Office indicted the following individuals and businesses after a long investigation by the FBI in February at multiple convenience stores in northeastern Louisiana.

They were indicted on one or more of the following charges; trafficking in counterfeit goods, money laundering, making false statements to a federal agent, false representations and use of Social Security account number, operating an unlicensed money transmitting business and forfeiture.

Mahmood Alshaibi, 33, Lake Providence;
Gamal Ahmed Ahmed, 34, Tallulah;
Ahmed Ali Nagi, 57, Tallulah;
Abdulfattah Nassar Saleh, 30, Tallulah;
Belva Jean Ard, 26, Tallulah;
Abdulkarim Nasser Ahmed Saleh, 28, Tallulah;
Jack Mohamed S. Mused, 39, Tuscaloosa, Ala.;
Abdulla Hussein Saleh, 31, Lake Providence;
Anis Mohamed Mana Saleh, 25, Monroe;
Moshen A. Mohamed, 38, Monroe;
Consuelo Sanchez, 36, Lake Providence;
Abdulla Mohamed Mana, 30, Lake Providence;
Akram Muqbil Safed, 23, Lake Providence;
Amin Mohamed Saleh, 25, Ruston;
Amin M. Obadi, 30, Monroe;
Salwan Musa Hussein Mohamed, 27, Ruston;
Taha Sharaf Masoud Alyousefi, 46, Monroe;
Fadhl M. Mohamed, 50, Monroe;
Gamil Ahmed Almashim, 35, Tallulah.

The seven corporations involved are Taiz Inc., South Second Street L.L.C., WGG Inc., S.G.H. Inc., Bayou King, Sun Over Sand Inc. and Alsahara Inc.

Except for Consuelo Sanchez and Belva Jean Ard, the other players look like... dare I say it.... Moderate Muslims.

I'm just sayin'.

Traffic Conundrums

Say Uncle is worried about the classic traffic conundrum.
We've all been there, stuck in traffic, maybe trying to get out of a parking lot, hoping some gracious soul will let us get into traffic. It sucks to sit there while vehicle after vehicle rolls past, unconcerned about your plight, but it is your plight to watch the world roll past because you are stuck in some parking lot.

Life is about choices. It's called personal responsibility. You got yourself stuck in the parking lot. If I am driving down a road, I have a responsibility, a trust, to clear my lane so other motorists can pass. The rest of the world is behind me, trying to get home, or to work, or whereverinthehell they are going. If I don't know the person in the parking lot, he or she is lost. I'm rolling. That person stuck in the parking lot can wait till traffic clears, even if it takes all night, because my responsibility is to the other 99% of the motoring world behind me.

There are threes caveats: If my sainted mother is stuck in the parking lot, I'll pause and wave her out. If my loving father is stuck in the parking lot, I'll wave him through. My darling wife also gets a pass, else I would never hear the end of it. The rest of you are screwed. That includes my knuckleheaded brother and my dimwitted sister. They can sit in the parking lot until the cows come home.

For if I am nice to one person, yet inconvenience a thousand, have I done any good in the world? Have I endangered my mortal soul? Better to be nice to that thousand, while the one person suffers through their own choice. I didn't make them go into that parking lot. They chose to go there.

One last note, for my sisters, who I'm sure will read this post. I'll never reveal, out of love for the family, which of you is the dimwit. It is a secret I'll carry to my grave. We will not discuss this at Thanksgiving.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Local Races

When the sun comes up tomorrow, Louisiana goes to the polls. Alexandria has a hotly contested mayoral race with seven pretenders and the results should be interesting. I worked a football game at a local high school tonight and I informally surveyed a couple of folks who keep their fingers on the pulse of Alexandria politics. The conclusion: Too close to call, or It's a Crapshoot. I don't live in Alexandria, so I don't have a dog in that hunt, and whatever they do will be wrong, so it is likely to be a particularly weird runoff that will begin Sunday morning.

The Insurance Commissioner race is interesting, only if you recognize that Louisiana has real difficulties with insurance after the joint Katrina/Rita debacle. Three of the last four insurance commissioners went to jail for corruption, and the Insurance commission seems to be uncommonly easy for someone to corrupt. The only question in that race is who do we want to send to jail?

Then we have 13 amendments to the state constitution to consider. One is so poorly worded that the Town Talk recommended that we vote it down simply to get the legislature to re-draft it.

Saturday is going to be interesting.

For myself, I am invited to the post-poll party at the Mayor of Pollock's house. It should be a rollicking good time.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Rest in Peace

The gunny blogosphere is abuzz. Jeff Cooper passed away today at his home.

His style was plainly his own. His wisdom about firearms, about life, about violence was almost without peer. His writing was crisp and unmistakable. He was one of the giants in the gun world. I sometimes disagreed with him, but I did it in the firm knowledge that Jeff Cooper knew exactly what he was talking about.

I never had a chance to personally meet the man, but I felt I knew him through his writing, which will live on for years.

My condolences to Ms. Janelle, and Lindy.

Godspeed, Colonel.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Push feed vs Claw extractors

Someone asked me the other day about bolt action extractors, and basically we have two choices. I figured a picture is worth a thousand words, so I went down to the local pawn shop and talked with my favorite counterman, who let me take pictures.

Paul Mauser, years ago, perfected the claw extractor. It is a big heavy honking claw of metal that grabs the rim of the cartridge when it feeds from the magazine. The cartridge is held against the face of the bolt on chambering and extraction is very, very positive. Folks who hunt dangerous game insist on the Mauser claw extractor for game that might decide to wander over and stomp you. The rifle will feed a cartridge positively, from magazine to chamber, even if the rifle is inverted. The cartridge is captured and has no place to go. Winchester went back to the claw extractor on a series of rifles in the past 15 years, and called it the Controlled Round Feed, like it was something new. It wasn't. Herr Mauser perfected it years ago. The bolt on the right is from a Ruger rifle and is fitted with a claw extractor, at 1:00 on the bolt. You can click on the picture for the larger version.

The bolt on the left is out of a Savage rifle, and is a common push-feed type. The extractor is housed in the locking lug at 2:00 on the bolt. The push-feed is easier to manufacture and is perfectly serviceable for most hunting rifles. The push-feed works by stripping a cartridge out of the magazine, then when the cartridge is chambered, the extractor snaps over the rim of the cartridge. The rifle may or may not feed inverted, which is why the dangerous game guys prefer the claw extractor. Some maintain that the bolt of a push-feed rifle is stronger. All of my rifles are push-feed and I haven't had any problems at all with chambering or extraction. Some gurus maintain that the push-feed gives better support to the head of the cartridge and is safer in case of a cartridge rupture. That may be so, but I think the jury is still out on that question. Case ruptures are bad juju, regardless of extractor type. Push feed bolts are normally found on Remington, Savage, Weatherby and other fine firearms.

There is not a lot wrong with either type, but knowledgeable riflemen should know the difference.

Did I hear that right?

In all the hoopla over the Bill Clinton/Chris Wallace interview on Fox, I thought I heard something that I didn't hear. My old ears play tricks on me sometimes, like when the refrigerator dumps ice into the tray, I'll hear it and answer the door. My daughter and Milady thinks that is hilarious.

I thought I heard President Clinton say something about a contract killing. Turns out, I was right. From the transcript, (emphasis mine):
I want to know how many people in the Bush administration you asked, ‘Why didn’t you do anything about the Cole?’ I want to know how many people you asked, ‘Why did you fire Dick Clarke?’ We contracted with people to kill him. I got closer to killing him than anybody’s gotten since.

I am not of the Repubs who believes that Clinton screwed the pooch on terror. I recall those times, and frankly, terror was just a blip on the screen. We are doing a lot of blaming about who knew what, when, and what value that information was worth at the time. On September 10, 2001 the last thing on my mind, and the minds of most Americans was Islamic jihad. The next morning changed all that, and I think that we need to give our leadership before that date, the benefit of the doubt.

I was no fan of the Clinton administration for a number of reasons, and I believe that with hindsight, he probably would have done some things differently, but I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt on terror.

However, this killing-for-hire thing is new. Were I Chris Wallace, I would have asked him "Who? Who did you hire? How much did you pay them?" The big story here is that the US government under Bill Clinton contracted someone to kill Bin Laden. I would love to see some follow-up on that. I'm not naive enough to believe that the US doesn't do things like that, but I don't believe I have ever heard a sitting or past President talk about it on TV.

Is having someone assassinated a violation of the US Code?

Saturday, September 23, 2006


I went down to Grand Rental Station this morning and rented a trencher. This thing is a heavy piece of equipment you walk behind. It cuts a four-inch trench in the ground. This morning I picked it up at 7:45, drove back to the house, did the trenching and was back at the store to turn it in before 9:00.

Then, all that was left to do was install the wire in the conduit and backfill the hole. The National Weather Service is predicting rain this afternoon and I wanted to get the hole filled before the rain begins. The picture above is eldest son assisting me with backfilling. I started at one end, he started at the other. We were completely done by 11:00.

Then I went over to son's house to help troubleshoot a telephone connection problem. The problem was the cheap phone he had hooked to the jack. That's done, and I'm back at home for 2:00.

It's time for a nap.

Friday, September 22, 2006

What a ride!

This week has been a tough one. Busy at work, busy at home.

Pawpaw is tired, and it ain't over yet. I have to be up early to get to the rental shop to rent a ditch witch. Tomorrow I'm gonna trench the back yard, then lay conduit to the project house. I've got to get electricity and plumbing finished so I can install sheetrock. I hate floating sheetrock. I don't even like to say the word but once a year or so.

Milady went to the paint store this week and picked out her colors for the project. It's gonna look good when we're finished with it.

Milady and I are watching grandkids tonight while Momma works. We love it, we do. Where else can you get four-year-old kisses? Or teach a 9 year old how to walk the dog with a Yo-Yo? I had forgotten that I knew how to do that.

PawPaw ain't forgot how to blog. He's busy. Life intrudes.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Gas Checks - Revisited

Flintlock Tom asks in comments:
Paw Paw, Help a noobie out: what is a "gas check", how is it done and what does it look like if done properly?
I anticipate doing some reloading after I retire but know nothing about the process.

Sure, Tom. I sometimes forget that folks don't know this stuff.

For lead alloy rifle bullets driven over 1500 fps, we seat gas checks on the base of the bullet to help with a pressure phenomenon known as "gas cutting". When the high pressure gasses slip past the bullet before it fully obturates in the bore, those gasses cut the base of the bullet. This blows molten metal forward of the bullet and coats the bore with lead, which the speeding bullet then irons onto the bore. This is one source of a leaded barrel. Other sources of barrel leading include improperly fitted bullets, improper bullet alloy, insufficient bullet lubrication and improper lubricant type.

Leaded barrels are bad, in that accuracy suffers and lead is hard to clean out of a barrel. So we use gas checks to reduce or eliminate leading the barrel.

A gas check is nothing more than a cup of gilding metal, manufactured by the Hornady company. They are sold in bags of 1000.

Here is a picture of some gas checks laying on my bench, with a penny for scale.

These little cups of gilding metal are seated on the base of the bullet during the sizing operation. That same operation crimps them into place. The bullet is then lubricated with an appopriate bullet lube, such as the NRA Alox/beeswax lube.

Properly seated gas checks on lead bullets look like this.

Those checks are properly seated on the base of the Lyman 311041 bullet that I use in my .30-30 loads. After lubrication they will be ready for loading. These bullets can be driven to 1800 fps with no danger of barrel leading and are the cat's whiskers for North Louisiana brushy woods deer and hog hunting.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Seating gas checks

If you do any bullet casting, eventually you want to cast for a centerfire rifle. I have a 6 hole Lee mold that casts a duplicate of Lyman's 311041 bullet. This is an old bore riding design that is wonderful in .30 caliber rifles. It was designed for the .30-30 Winchester.

I had cast a bunch of those and needed to size them and seat gas checks. This is normally done in one operation, using the Lee push-through sizer.

However, yesterday afternoon I was watching the grandkids, and I had a 7 year old that loves to tinker with me on my bench. I let him seat gas checks, and I'm going to have a really high reject rate on this batch. Really high.

He got a lot of them right, and he got a lot of them wrong. Any of us can mis-seat a gas check. They are supposed to be seated square on the bottom of the bullet. More than anything, a square base is important to bullet accuracy. When you are seating checks, there is a certain feel, a certain knowledge that comes with seating thousands of these things.

Lead is cheap, and gas checks are easily available. If grandson hadn't given us this example of .... how to say this... neophyte technique.... then I wouldn't have been able to give this little tutorial. I can't imagine how these bullets would fly, but the seating technique was creative. Very creative. They'll go into a bag with sprues and be remelted the next time.

Yesterday was just another afternoon at Pawpaw's house, seating gas checks. With time, he'll learn.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Range report

The new Savage 110 is a shooter. With the Hornady 150 grain SST bullets and surplus IMR 4895 powder, it shoots exceedingly well.

The LDWF range at Woodworth was open this afternoon. While I was there it was raining and I had to dry targets before I could write on them to record load data, but they look great now.

This load with 50 grains of powder shot just fine. You'll remember that I fired the rifle yesterday at the deer lease and put the bullets over the chronograph. Today I didn't erect the chrony. It was raining too hard. This target, with 50 grains of powder turned in a good group, at just under and inch.

A few minutes later, I shot the next target. The load in that particular string was 52 grains of 4895, Remington brass, Hornady 150 SST, and CCI 200 primer. Four shots went into 0.75 inch. I called the fifth shot as a flyer, telling my son "That hurt. I'm done." He replied, "Yeah, it went off the paper."

I still need to chronograph that load, and I will, but it turned in exceptional accuracy in falling rain. I suspect the load is running somewhere near 3000 fps, but I'll know more when I set up the chrony.

I feel like I am going to like this rifle a lot.

I stand with Pope Benedict

My Grandfather told me once that if you throw a rock into a crowd, the fellow you hit is going to holler. As with most things, the old man was right.

Pope Benedict delivered this week a thoughful, reasoned speech on religious conversion. In one passage, he quoted a recorded conversation that occurred between a Christian and a Persian during the late 12th century. They were then debating the value of conversion by the sword.

The Islamic world is hollering.

The value of reasoned arguments lies in the ability to convince people to change. Popes, over the years, have used reasoned arguments to make the Church relevant in the modern world. Jesus himself was the master at the reasoned argument delivered in a soft voice. Christians of every stripe have long since decried the use of violence to perpetuate the word of Christ. The Church long ago apologized for the excesses of the Crusades and the Inquisition, and modified the behavior of the Church to make it more relevant in a modern world.

Religious criticism is important in the secular world to keep us focused on the spiritual realm. The Pope is the titular head of Christendom. He is not a politician, he is not a diplomat. Catholics believe that he is the selected incumbent for Christ on this earth. We expect Benedict to address the truth in religious matters and to make his arguments rationally and intelligently. We expect him to make those arguments even when the subject matter is uncomfortable to us.

Benedict threw a rock into a crowd last week. The fellow he hit is hollering. By failing to understand the words of the argument, they fail to make themselves relevant in a modern world. Islam has shown these past days that without violence it cannot survive.

I am no religious scholar, nor a scholar of any stripe. My words are pale echoes of much greater thinkers. Yet it seems to me that Islam doth protest too much. Islam would be much better served by making reasoned, intelligent arguments, not issuing fatwahs and firebombing churches. Conversion by the sword is a failed concept and religions that defend it are failed religions.

**UPDATE**: My words are indeed pale echos. Go here and read Francis Porretto's thoughts on the matter.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Savage 110, 30-06

I got to shoot the new Savage 110 today, a total of nine rounds. I loaded ten rounds to get the rifle on paper, with a fairly light load of 47.0 grains of surplus 4895. I used the Hornady 150 grain SST bullet, along with Remington brass and CCI 200 primers.

When you use canister grade powder, you generally know what you are getting. When using surplus, you know you are in the ballpark, but individual lots are apt to vary in burn rate. Variable burn rates make the powder an unknown variable. For example, the IMR reloaders guide says that with a 150 grain Nosler bullet, we should start at 49 grains of 4895 and expect a velocity somewhere close to 2856 fps. The IMR tables say that the max load is at 53.0 grains of powder.

The newest Lee manual says that with a 150 grain jacketed bullet, we should start at 45.4 grains of 4895 and reach max velocities of 2880 fps with 49 grains of powder.

Based on those manuals, I built a starting load of 47.0 grains to give me a load that should put the rifle on paper with a velocity somewhere about 2750 fps. I was shooting this morning in varying light, as clouds were scudding aross the sun. The chrony gave me as many error readings as good velocities, but I was able to get enough readings to know that the 47.0 grain load was giving me an average 2781 fps with a Sd of 34.

The target from 100 yards looks like this.

Those are shots #7, 8, and 9 out of the new rifle. I expected about 2750 and the readings out of the chrony were 2781. That is very close to published data. The Sd was larger than I like for jacketed bullets, but a high Sd is often influenced by loading density. I think that when I start increasing the load in one grain increments, I'll find one where the Sd goes down. That particular load will be an accurate one.

And, it looks like the jug of 4895 I bought is real close to canister grade. That puts my mind at rest about using it for loads approaching max.

Deer Lease

I spent the morning on the deer lease, working on a stand.

While I prefer to hunt deer by still hunting, I'm not able to do this yet on the lease, as I am hunting near other hunters this year. This year I will be stand hunting. If someone drops out of the lease next year, I can be assigned another area to hunt, and it will be exclusively mine, but because I am the new guy and the last hunter accepted on this lease, I have to take the leftovers.

However, the guys have gone out of the way to help me, and give me a good hunting area. Of course, you can click on these pictures for a larger view.

This photo is taken from my stand, down the shooting lane. The area is smack dab in the middle of a large thicket consisting of young pines and volunteer hardwoods. It is virtually impenetrable. From the spot where I took the picture, to the shadow at the end of the lane is 111 yards, prefect for any rifle in my battery, from the .243 to the .30-06. The .30-30 WCF should shine here, especially with my homemade 311041 bullet. This is a great cast bullet stand.

I planted the far end of the lane in a wheat/oats/rye mixture for late winter browse. I walked down there to see how my seed was doing and was disappointed to find that it hasn't sprouted yet, but in one spot where I spilled some seed, I found a track.

That is a deer track next to a .30-30 cartridge for scale. The deer are using my lane, and they've been investigating the seed I left on the ground.

I might think about putting a corn feeder on the end of the lane, but that decision will come later.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Bolton - ASH

I left the house tonight to go to the Bolton-ASH game. Local high school football.

ASH (Alexandria Senior High, to the uninitiated) has a great fan base. Bolton's football team is up-and-coming and the two schools have a rivalry that extends back to the early 70s when ASH was built and took students from Bolton. Bolton is a 3A school, and ASH is a 4A school. This isn't a district game, it is an old rivalry.

Anyway, I went to ASH to see the game, and I couldn't get into the parking lot, so I came home and started looking for an AM radio. I don't own one, evidently. So, I google'd KSYL, the local radio station and found their live feed. I'm listening to the game on the computer.

Tonight's game is all ASH, all the time. The score in the middle of the 3rd quarter is 33-0. Bolton has a new coach, John Ware, and this is his first season. He's fighting a bunch of larger teams early in the season and can't expect to dominate them. Bolton starts their district matches in a couple of weeks, and Coach Ware believes that if we don't have many injuries early in the season, they'll have a good season against the district rivals.

As a Bolton alumni, I'd like to see Bolton have some successes on the gridiron and I have high hopes for the district games.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Col Jeff Cooper

I am given to understand that Colonel Jeff Cooper has suffered a major heart attack. I also understand he signed a DNR order. The news is not favorable for a recovery.

The guru, the founder of Gunsite, a major architect of the Modern Techique of the Pistol, and a rifle Master by his own right, Jeff Cooper is an icon in the shooting world.

We will miss him.

My condolences to the family, and prayers of godspeed to the Colonel.

Hat tip to Say Uncle.

UPDATE** Reports are confused at this time and his condition is being followed in this thread over at the 10-8 forums. The Colonel is home and resting, and my earlier report may be premature and in error. Our prayers continue to be with the Cooper family.

This idiot

This idiot thinks we need to repeal the Second Amendment.
You got it - the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Frankly, folks, I'm tired of it. We debate it all the time and get nowhere, so I say let's just remove it all together.

But no. In America, if you question the Constitution or the founders, you might as well be questioning your own status as an American citizen. The founders are treated like prophets and the Constitution like the Bible. I am so tired of it! People throw quotes from Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin into political debates with me all the time, and I want to hit them in the face.
Frankly, it doesn't sound like he's enthralled with the First Amendment either, you know, Free Speech and all. He wants to punch people in the face. I'm a 53 year old PawPaw, and one of the reasons I carry a gun is because some young punk might want to hit me in the face.

Frankly, folks like me worry about folks like him. He is awash in violence, with fantasy tendencies about punching people. It's sad, really, that folks like him get published. But, it gets better.
Let's repeal the Second Amendment and start over with new gun laws that actually make sense. Hunters should be able to hunt, and policemen should be able to protect our communities, but there are not many other reasons for people to have guns. Wouldn't it be great to appeal one ridiculous amendment and save thousands of lives? I sure think so, and I bet if those Founding Fathers whose words we defend were alive today, they would agree.
Here, he just shows his ignorance. The Second Amendment isn't about hunting, or police protection. Any student with a high school education knows that (or should know it, based on readily available research).

No, the Second Amendment is about tyranny. It is the threat of the Second Amendment that guarantees the First Amendment. Mr. Kellerman is simply upset that his thesis is flawed, and that his arguments gain no traction. That is precisely why the Second Amendment exists, so that he can rant and rave about things he doesn't like.

I defend the right of Mr. Kellerman to rant at his leisure. I reserve the right to laugh at his poorly constructed arguments. I think the Founding Fathers would agree.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The Dollar Store

I love a Dollar Store. There is all manner of stuff in a Dollar Store, and the two big chains are in some sort of competition lately, so they are building stores in extremely rural areas, like Libuse, and Holloway, LA. The two near my house both stock things like bread and milk and coffee, so if I'm in a hurry, I'll hit the Dollar Store.

I'm not single, being happily married for the last three years, but I was struck by the women in that Dollar Store. Country gals of every shape and style. If you like that country song about trashy women, then the Dollar Store is the place for you. In the ten minutes I was there, I saw half a dozen lookers come through the door.

Yeah, if I was a single man, I'd be hanging out in the parking lot of the dollar store.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Rolling Victory

Twenty four hours without food was not a problem. I stayed hydrated with black coffee and sweet iced tea. The lack of food was not a problem, but then I am a middle aged, overweight grandpa who could probably stand to miss a few meals.

After working a full shift, I came home, did some plumbing on the project house, filled in a trench I had dug, did some weed-eating, mowed some grass, and piddled around on my loading bench for an hour or so. I'll be abed in an hour or so and eat breakfast tomorrow morning.

Lesser mortals may have trouble fasting, but tankers are not lesser mortals.


Rolling Victory

Today, September 12, 2006 I am participating in the Rolling Victory Fast sponsored by the Tanker Brothers.

The Tanker Brothers are two brothers who are actually fighting the War on Terror. One is a Cav Tanker (and we all remember that if you ain't Cav, you ain't s*it.) The other is a Master Gunner, the keeper of the flame for Tank Gunnery.

Back in July, when ole Whatsername was fasting to end the War on Terror, and eating ice cream, The Tanker Brothers decided that ending the War on Terror was a good thing, but that we should end it victorious. I concur. They used ole Whatsername's idea of a rolling fast and to demonstrate that they could do it better, longer, with greater participation. They have succeeded.

Whatever it takes, whatever the sacrifice, victory comes first.

Now, as support goes, a fast is little sacrifice except to focus spiritual energy away from the physical world into the spiritual one. All major religions fast as part of their spiritual catechism. Yesterday I remembered September 11th. Today, while my stomach growls, I will contemplate the sacrifices that have been made since that time.

Because I have been both in the Cav (2/6 Cav) and line Armor (4/37AR) and as a former tanker (97%, Q1, M60A3), I signed up for my duty in solidarity with my brothers. It is my honor to do so.


Monday, September 11, 2006

Where were you?

Where were you five years ago today?

I had worked a night shift. My relief showed up for five a.m. and I went home to bed and slumber. The phone rang about 7:50. The caller was Chris, a friend of the girlfriend, now my wife. I lay abed for a few minutes, getting the cobwebs out of my brain, and stumbled into the living room in my pajamas, turning the TV on shortly before 8:00 a.m. (All times central zone). I was trying to make sense of the disaster when I watched UA flight 175 crash into the South tower.

Today, we remember.

Sunday, September 10, 2006


I've heard good things about the Hornady SST bullet, so the last time I ordered from Midway, I took the opportunity to buy some SST bullets. These are the 150 grain .30 caliber bullets. I loaded them for the .30-06 with surplus 4895 powder.

IMR 4895 powder was originally a miliary powder for the .30-06 cartridge. While a lot of shooters say that there are better powders, this stuff came in my door as surplus powder, at a substantial cost savings. Of course, since the powder is an unknown variable in this rifle, I started the charges on the low side.

That is 25 cartridges with 5 of each load, and they go up in one grain increments, so I have five at X grains of surplus 4895, five at X+1 grains of 4895, five at X+2 grains of 4895 and so on. I mark the individual cartridges with a felt marker, either on the primer or on the bullet with a specific color, then put a cheat sheet in the box, so when I get to the range I'll know what cartridge holds which charge. When I shoot the targets, I'll transfer chrony data onto the target, then analyze that data when I get home.

Of course, while I'm firing, I'll shoot the lowest charges first and watch the primer for signs of pressure. If, for example, the X+3 load is showing pressure signs, I'll stop shooting. When I get home I'll disassemble the unfired cartridges and separate the components. There is no sense shooting something that might be unsafe.

I hope to find a load that will be sufficiently accurate that I can quit load developement and settle on a load for this rifle. The .30-06 has a reputation of being easy to load for. I'm betting that my primer/powder/bullet combination will yeild a good round.

We'll see.

Saturday, September 09, 2006


It'll be deer season in another few weeks, and all of the hunters are in the woods getting ready. As another lease holder told me this morning, "Deer season can turn into work." He's right.

I spent the morning in the woods today. I moved a stand to a location I talked about in this post. The stand is sturdy, but we did some damage moving it. Of course, I went to the woods without any tools. Next weekend I'll take some tools out, retrieve the damaged section and bring it back to town for repair. The stand had been standing in a three-year-old pine growth, and it was covered in vines and thorns. Now, it is near where it will stand and more importantly, I can back the truck up to it when I work on it. No need to trek through the woods.

At another stand, I planted twenty-five pounds of a wheat/oats/clover mixture. If we get any rain this week, it should start to germinate. I'll probably haul a mineral block out there too.

After I finish here, it is nap time. This evening, we're going dancing, with the Magnolia Dance Club. It's a good time, a private club populated by old fogeys like me. We begin at 7:00 and end promptly at 10:00. I'll get home early enough to get some sleep before church tomorrow morning.

Now, though, at 2:32, it's time for a nap. Y'all have a fun weekend.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Per Capita Income

This is good news! Per capita income is up in the Alexandria Municipal Statistical Area (MSA). Our income growth is the fourth in the nation.
Per-capita wages for those living in Rapides and Grant parishes grew at a blistering clip in 2005, enough for the area to rank fourth in the nation in personal income growth, according to a government report released Wednesday.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis, part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, estimates that for every man, woman and child in the Alexandria Metropolitan Statistical Area, income rose 8.2 percent in 2005 compared with 2004.
Very good news indeed.

We who love this area have always known the potential of Central Louisiana, with a good waterway and rail network. We're still waiting for the roads to catch up, but infrastructure takes time.

With infrastructure, you need an educated, motivated labor pool. I'd stack the Central Louisiana work force against any labor, anywhere. But, skills are absolutely necessary to get the good jobs. For example, Union Tank Car (UTLX) is hiring workers to build tank cars and all the activity associated with building those cars, from engineers to welders to bookkeepers to maintenance staff, and their salaries are very good. But the company insistes on educated labor and the hiring process weeds out a lot of folks who don't have what it takes.

My advice to all teens is: Stay in school. Graduate. Get skills training or go to college. The payoff is down the road.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Project house

It's been over a week since I did anything on the project house. We were busy with jobs and hospitals and recuperation. Today I stained the floor of the room. It's an acid stain, applied with a garden sprayer.

First, a good sweeping, then mop with a wet mop. After the concrete floor is dry, mix the stain in a garden spayer, 50-50 with water. Then spray it on the floor. It goes quickly. Very quickly. I'm waiting for the first coat to dry, then I'll put down another coat before it's too dark to see.

We're using Kemiko stain, in Malay Tan. It should give us a non-skid floor, which is especially important since this project will be a pool house.

Once the floor is stained, it will be time for running electricity, water, and putting up drywall. I still have to install a door and window.

I thought that putting down the floor this early in the process might be premature, but professionals tell me that the sooner you get the stain applied, the less chance you run with having something else stain the concrete. And because the acid is applied with a sprayer, applying it before you install drywall minimizes the chances of the stain damaging the wallboard. That makes sense to me.

The project is moving along, slowly but surely.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

New Oil

How about that. Chevron, with a couple of partners has discovered an oil field under the Gulf of Mexico that might boost known US reserves by as much as 50%. This is very good news for Louisiana.

Now, if we could get some cheap electricity (can anyone say nuclear?), then maybe energy would be assured until my grandkids get old enough to invent something spectacular that will give the world free energy forever. My buddy, who works for CLECO, tells me that nuclear energy is safe, clean, and almost free. He says that if they could get enough reactors online, then electricity costs would go way, way down.

Then we could throw all the environmentalists in a swamp and let the gators have at them. Then we could drain the swamp and turn it into farm land.

It's something to think about.

Monday, September 04, 2006


When you install a scope on a rifle, it's a good idea to boresight it. Boresighting insures that the optics are aligned with the bore of the rifle. Boresighting doesn't take the place of zeroing the rifle with good ammunition, but it will save ammunition when zeroing the rifle.

One way to get the scope looking where the barrel looks is with a commercial boresight device like this one. You can spend a little or you can spend a lot.

Or you can go out into the front yard, set up a bench and look down the barrel, find a suitable target and adjust the scope to that target. Being the frugal sort that I am, I've never bought the device. I've always set up a bench in the front yard.

This morning I set up the bench and boresighted the .30-06 with the Weaver scope. My aiming point is a mailbox about a hundred yards from my house.

That mailbox has a good aiming point in the cross between the horizontal and vertical timbers. With the bolt out of the rifle, it was easy to look down the barrel and center that aiming point in the bore. I had mounted the scope on the rifle and the initial sighting showed that the scope was fairly well centered, but was off about six inches to the left. I easily brought that into line with the windage adjustment.

Now I know that the rifle should shoot close to where it looks and when I get some ammo assembled for it, conducting a proper zero at a proper range should be much easier. The rifle is boresighted with the scope.

Of course, there was no ammo anywhere close for that rifle, and the rifle itself was disassembled. I purposely took the bolt out and left it on the kitchen table.

The truly amazing thing was that this was a standard Saturday morning in a standard Louisiana subdivision. People were moving about and working in their yards. No one thought that there was anything odd about a man with a scoped rifle sitting at a bench in the driveway.

Ain't life grand?

Steve Irwin - RIP

I learned this morning that Steve Irwin, the famous Australian crocodile hunter is dead.

A tragic accident, while filming wildlife. A stingray, of all things.

My condolences, of course, to his wife and children.

Rest in Peace.

Deer Lease news

I'm sitting home this morning, nursing Milady (who is feeling much better, thank you) and got a phone call from my brother-in-law, Terry.

Terry lives just minutes from the deer lease and this time of year is out there almost every day. Our lease sits on land that is owned above-ground by a timber company. Everything below plow depth belongs to an oil company. We lease the right to hunt on it. Leasing land for hunting purposes is an accepted practice in Louisiana and some hunting clubs have histories that stretch back forty years or more. Timber operations, dry land oil operations and hunting activities are mutually beneficial. The timber company gets the trees, the oil company gets the minerals and the hunters watch over the place, letting the company know if there is a problem. Sometimes you might be sitting on your stand and have an oilfield company truck drive past. Or a hunter might watch a timber crew cruising timber. In a gun-friendly state, this is normal.

Safety for everyone is paramount. Target identification is crucial. We spend a lot of time around the campfire talking about shooting lanes and bullet flight and hunting safety. The last thing anyone wants is for a tragedy to occur, especially one that can be easily avoided.

Our lease sits on 20 year growth that was planted after the southern pine beetle decimated pine trees in the mid-1980s. Most of the lease was an impenetrable thicket that allowed the pine trees to grow unmolested. The timber company has been doing some thinning and clearing underbrush which opens up new areas to the sun. The oil company has been maintaining their rights-of-way and this also opens up new areas.

Hence the phone call from Terry. The oil company has cleared some flow lines, underground lines that bring brine from a well head to an aboveground tank. This brine is valuable as a mineral and is toxic to the environment, so it is captured when pumped and sold as by-product. The small flow lines are mini-pipelines. The oil company recently cleared a flow line through a thicket that was impenetrable for the past twenty years. One lane, ten feet wide, that runs a mile through that thicket from a well-head to a tank battery. Terry asked if I want it to put a stand. Yes, I do. The geography of the line is such that a shooter can only shoot down it in one direction. Shooting the other way would be a hazard to the main camp. Tragedy might result if a hunter fired east along the line. All shooting must be done to the west from that stand.

Yeah, I want that stand. It's an easy walk from the main camp and it covers ground that humans haven't tread in a decade or more. The deer are in that thicket, which covers a hundred or more acres and this flow line punches completely through it. Damn right I want that stand. I'll be at the lease next Saturday morning to claim it.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Home again

I got Milady home at noon today. I cooked her a Homestyle Bakes lunch and she is resting comfortably, if a little nauseous.

I'm now in nurse-maid mode. The irony there is that I'm not the nurse, she is. I hope my attentions don't kill her.

I'm thinking beef stew for supper. I make a helluva beef stew.

Saturday, September 02, 2006


Thursday, Milady noticed a spot on her upper lip was sore, and she thought she had an infection. By Friday, the pain was sufficient that she hied herself to the doctor, who looked at it, proclaimed a staph infection and put her in the hospital on antibiotics. This morning, he lanced it, cleaned it, and kept her in the hospital. I, of course, have been at the hospital all day.

She is fine, in good spirits, and bored out of her mind. She will be released tomorrow and our lives will get back to something resembling normal.

Staph infections can be damned inconvenient. As a registered nurse, Milady knows this. She knows those maladies that are within her purview to treat and she knows which ones are beyond her ability. I am forever having her look at strains, cuts, scrapes and other boo-boos, both on myself and the grandchildren. In five years, there has been just exactly one time where she looked me dead in the eye and ordered me to get my sorry butt to the emergency room.

I hate hospitals. There are sick people in hospitals. The one she checked into doesn't have internet access. With those prices, you would think the administration would have broken the code on wireless service to the rooms. Not hardly. They have a $60 million expansion in progress, with fences across roads and traffic horribly screwed up, but you can't get Yahoo! in the rooms.

I hate hospitals.

Friday, September 01, 2006


Ben said, in comments:
I shoot a 257 roberts and have often thought of reloading for it, the Fedral round is so accurate and good never got around to it. I think a reloader needs a mentor also and never had one.
I had a rifle like that once. A Remington Model 7, in 7mm-08. It shot the factory bullets with amazing accuracy, so much so that I never reloaded for it. A couple of boxes a year was all I needed and just never saw the reason to reload for that particular rifle.

But you're right that a reloader should have a mentor. With the ease of communication we have with the internet, there is no reason why the mentor has to be in the same room.

Ben, if you decide you want to start reloading and don't know anyone close by, contact me. I'd be happy to mentor you long-distance or help find someone closer that would look over your shoulder and show you the basics. Reloading is really easy with just a few basic tools and once you begin, you'll wonder why you waited so long.

Let me know if I can help.