Thursday, December 31, 2009

One Rifle

Over at The Gun Nut, there's a posting about Warren Page, the shooting editor of Field and Stream from '47-'72.

Page was a prolific and trusted scribe. He's widely credited with wildcatting cartridges from the .308 Winchester class of ammo and some say that the original derivation of 6mm-.308 was known as the Page Super Pooper. We call it the 6mm Remington today. (There are some differences in shoulder angle and taper, but the idea is sound and Page probably experimented with all the variations.)

However, what might not be known, is this vignette in the article linked above.
Yet despite the deluge of wildcats, and the eventual cascade of new factory rounds that followed, Page was essentially a one-gun hunter. He used lots of different stuff, but the majority of his big-game trophies were killed with a single rifle—a 7mm Mashburn Super Magnum. Page got this rifle very early in his career—1949 or so. He called it “Old Betsy,” and used only one handload for everything, a 175-grain Nosler semi-spitzer bullet at 3,050 fps. Throughout her career, Old Betsy wore only one scope, a 4X Redfield with a medium crosshair, and with this combination, Page killed 475 head of big game of all shapes and sizes, at all ranges. He hunted his way to a Weatherby Trophy and into Rowland Ward and Boone and Crockett.
Imagine that! Warren Page was a 7mm guy! It doesn't surprise me that his favorite cartridge was a wildcat.

Still, the article talks about one cartridge and one rifle and it rings solidly for me. As many rifles as I've owned and as many cartidges as I've played with, over the past several years I've become really fond of the .30-06. Specifically my Savage 110. If I'm hunting somewhere and unsure of the terrain or the manner that I might have to take a shot, I'll pick up the -06 every time.

Does that mean I'm a one-gun hunter? Not particularly, but unless I know exactly what type shooting I'm going to be doing, the particular ranges and the size of the game, then I'm going to grab the .30-06. I've got faith in it and enough experience with it that I know it'll do what I ask it to do. Most of my rifles are liable to be loaners, or used by grandkids, but the .30-06 is mine.

New Year's Eve

New Year's Eve and I resolve to make no resolutions. Like my birthday, it's just another trip around the sun.

There are a few things I'd like to do this year and I'll see about getting them done, but I'm not going to make any promises that I'd be liable to break. It is a time to reflect on how fortunate I am and how life changes from one year to the next.

We've been invited to a party tonight, and as soon as we accepted, the host asked Milady is she could make a platter of meat pies. He's a dear friend, a bachelor, so we don't hold it against him. As much entertaining as we do here, it'll be refreshing to go somewhere else, trash that house, then come home to our own. One tray of meat pies is small admission to a party I don't have to clean up after.

Which reminds me. Before we leave this evening, I need to put the blackeye peas on to soak. Tomorrow being the New Year, we always eat the traditional blackeye peas, cabbage and corn bread.

Happy New Year, everyone. Stay safe and thankful.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

.308 Winchester

I'm a late-comer to the .308, I guess because I shot so much of it when Uncle Sugar was buying my bullets. Our little (yeah, little) machine guns ate .308 (or, as Sugar liked to call them 7.62) and they ate it by the belt-full. It was nothing to burn up several belts during an individual qualification and when we'd qualify the company, they brought it out to us by the pallet-load. I've seen a lot of .308 ammo.

That was then, this is now. Several years ago I bought a .308 for my youngest son, as a gift for one celebration or another. We immediately began working up loads for it and learned that it liked Reloder 15 powder and 165 grain bullets. This shouldn't have come as any great surprise because lots of .30 caliber rifles like bullets in the 165-168 grain class and RL15 is a good powder for that weight bullet. In his rifle 43.0 grains of RL15 and a good 165 bullet turned in better than MOA accuracy at about 2600 fps.

Then, early in December, I bought a .308 of my own. It's a Handi-Rifle and the only reason I bought it was because the price was unbelievably right. Not surprisingly, it likes that same load, turning in 1.5 inch groups and giving me an average 2550 fps out or the short 22" barrel. This isn't a max load by any means, but if you can tell me that a deer will know the difference between being hit by a bullet at 2800 fps and 2600 fps, I'll question your sanity. I could probably load it a little hotter, but I don't intend to shoot a game animal past 200 yards anyway, and if the little rifle is sighted 2" high at 100 yards, it'll be down just 1 inch at 200 yards. Recoil is very manageable with this rifle with this load and accuracy is certainly acceptable.

I like the Sierra GameKing bullet in all the .308 calibers. It's a good, sturdy, conventional bullet. It's priced right, which means about half what a "premium" bullet costs these days. I consider the GameKing a premium bullet and intend to keep my hunting well within the limits I've set. I can't see spending more money on a bullet when the ones I trust are priced so very reasonably.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Bean Soup

I cooked a bean soup today and we just finished eating it for supper. This soup uses canned white beans. If you want to start with dried beans, soak them overnight, or go here for another take on bean soup.

Bean Soup

4 cans (16 oz) Bush Large Butter Beans
2 cups chopped pork meat (ham, tasso, bacon)
2 cups cubed fresh potato
Crushed garlic

Peel and cube potatoes into 1/4 inch cubes. Cube the pork into 1/4 inch chunks. Dump beans, potatoes, pork into a suitable pot. Add salt, pepper, and just a little garlic. You're going to have to add a little water. Cook until the potatoes are creamy and about to fall apart. Serve with saltime crackers.

That's what we had for supper and it's an easy, quick recipe perfect for a cold, rainy night. Comfort food at it's best.


I spent a few hours today, alone in the winter woods. The very woods were asleep, brown, sonambulent. Silent pines stood unmoving, watchmen over their neighbors. Nothing moved, not even the wrens who flit from branch to branch. The air was still, like the entire forest had exhaled and was in the moment before the inhale. I was alone in my thoughts and the woods were so quiet that my thoughts seemed aloud. It was a time for reflection and like any reflection, what I saw was myself. I pondered on the year and what it's meant and what I've done and failed to do and just about the time that I had finished my reflection, a rustling, a pattering, and I realized that rain was falling.

I adjusted my hat, picked up my rifle, and walked back to the truck, mindful to not disturb the sleep of my forest. Often times when we hunt, we're looking not so much for game as for ourselves. I found myself today in a silent wood and I am grateful for the opportunity.

On the .410

Over at the Gun Nut, we're talking about the .410 shotgun. It's one that lots of folks started on. Personally, I consider it an expert's shotgun for wing shooting because of the tiny shot charge. For just a very little more recoil, one can step up to the 20 gauge and have a shot charge that is reasonable for most winged game. My grandfather hunted everything with a 20 gauge shotgun, including ducks and geese. For many years I hunted everything with a 20 gauge and it's likely to be the gauge I pick up for upland work.

Still, a .410 has a place in the battery and I have two of them in my cabinet. The first is a .410 pump that belongs to my wife. Her father bought it for her when she was a child so that she could squirrel hunt with him. A .410 is a fine gauge for the squirrel woods. I prefer a shotgun early in the season when the leaves are still on the trees. Later in the season I will carry a .22 rifle, but October in Louisiana shows plenty of foliage.

The other .410 I own is a little H&R Topper shotgun that I bought several years ago. I use it to teach the basics of firearms to the grandkids. Not so much the wing-shooting side, but the very basic shooting tasks. A .410 will shred a beverage can, it will pop a balloon. It has very little recoil and is a good first gun for introduction to shooting. It is a simple, basic firearm with which to teach. As they get older they step up to a real shotgun.

A .410 also makes a good knocking-around firearm for off-season woods traipsing. Primarily as a snake gun. I don't like to go into the woods unarmed and if I'm not hunting, I'll usually carry something that fires shot. I'm generally opposed to being snake-bit. I'm not one of those guys who kills every snake he sees, and I'm generally careful while wandering about, but I've managed to to have some close calls with snakes in my life and I'd just as soon have a little leverage when it comes to dealing with them. A .410 shotgun is perfect for that task.

No, I wouldn't duck hunt with one, but I think a .410 is perfect for a variety of small tasks.

Settled Science

I thought the science was settled. Maybe not so much. It seems a team of German physicists have looked into global warming and decided.... no. The papers introduction states:
(a) there are no common physical laws between the warming phenomenon in glass houses and the fictitious atmospheric greenhouse effects, (b) there are no calculations to determine an average surface temperature of a planet, (c) the frequently mentioned difference of 33 degrees Celsius is a meaningless number calculated wrongly, (d) the formulas of cavity radiation are used inappropriately, (e) the assumption of a radiative balance is unphysical, (f) thermal conductivity and friction must not be set to zero, the atmospheric greenhouse conjecture is falsified.
I'm no scientist, but for me the greatest bullshit factor is when someone tells me that the science is settled. In no other discipline is the science settled. We're still arguing about Darwin and physics is still searching for the Unified Theory. Science is never settled, it continues to seek, to search, to question.

Anyone who tells you that science is settled is lying to you.

Tuesday morning

Some things that I read in the newspaper.

First this. They're instituting stricter safety measures after the failed Christmas day bombing. Go figure. Now that the horse is out, they're closing the barn door. I used to enjoy flying. Not that I did it much, but flying was an adventure. Now it's an exercise in the herd mentality. Not only have the airlines instituted standing-room-only seating plans, but the security folks make you run through a squeeze chute before you get on the plane. If I can get there in eight hours by auto, flying is out of the picture.

Several fake $20.00 bills have surfaced on the North Shore. For those of you not in Louisiana, that's the north shore of Lake Ponchartrain. (You know, the side whut New Orleans ain't on.) Those little pens that are used to mark money are good, but for the very best counterfeit detection get someone who handles a lot of cash. A bank teller, a fast food cashier. There's nothing better than an experienced bank teller at spotting fake bills. Also, I heard several years ago that the US $20.00 bill is the most counterfeited bill. Why? There's so many of them. Inexperienced cashiers will look closely at a 100, but they see 20s all day long.

Red light cameras and parking tickets are a growing source of revenue in New Orleans. Red light cameras are in fact a revenue source. They have nothing to do with public safety. Nothing whatsoever. If you're going to New Orleans, be sure to park in a pay-lot. There are lots of them downtown and in the French Quarter. The last time I was in town, I parked in what looked like an un-marked block and came back to find a parking ticket. So, you either pay confiscatory parking rates, or you pay a parking ticket. Take your choice. You'd think that a town that wants the tourist dollar would offer lots of free parking. Not so much in New Orleans.

Monday, December 28, 2009


I'm having trouble getting my head around this statement:
But as a progressive, I would sooner lay my child to rest than succumb to the belief that the use of a gun for self-defense is somehow not in itself a gun crime.
I'd lay down my life for my kids, grandkids, the kids at school that I'm sworn to protect. I truly don't understand the mindset of the guy who'd rather lay his child to rest than to defend that life.

It's as alien to me as anything I've ever considered.

I've got two grandkids here today. I'm going to go hug both of them, then do something productive.

Hat tip to SayUncle.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Bonus Dawg

Our dog has a strange predilection. He's got plenty of fresh water at his disposal, but he prefers to drink from mud puddles. If he can find a puddle, he'll stop and fill up.

It tastes better, I guess.

Sunday Morning Dawg

My youngest sister was talking about this meme and said that knowing our house, she tries to envision from the spot I'm taking the photo. I was chasing the dog Christmas Eve after everyone had gone home, trying to get a good photo for Sunday morning. The dawg doesn't like cameras. I think the flash bothers him.

Without further ado, I give you the Sunday Morning Dawg.

Oh! And Sis, just so you know, I completed this post on Christmas morning and scheduled it to post on Sunday morning. That's one of the features of this program.

But, because it's Christmas, I'll post a double Christmas bonus. Here's a picture of the dog with our good friend, Susan.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Suburban Deer

If you look at a map of any city, you'll find patches of woods in and near the city. People like trees and some patches of land aren't suitable for development for one reason or another. If you look more closely at the map, you'll find patches of woods that aren't in the city limits. Some of those places can be hunted if the hunter uses good common sense.

My friend Craig has access to one of those places and I won't tell you where it is located because ... well, just because. Suffice it to say that it's in central Louisiana, it's perfectly legal to hunt there with permission, and Craig has permission. Today he called and invited me to hunt that small patch of land.

I jumped on the invitation like a duck on a june bug.

It's a mixed hardwood deciduous forest with hills and a stream. Lots of vines and understory and plenty of trees that were downed in the hurricanes several years ago. About sixty to eighty acres and I was within shouting distance of some factories, churches, and suburban homes. Craig's taken three deer in there this year, all with a shotgun. I carried my .45-70 Handi because it is tailor-made for patches of woods like this. I could see only about sixty yards and it's a whole lot easier slipping through the woods with a rifle that is only 37 inches long when you've very seldom walking upright.

No, I didn't see a deer, although I saw lots of sign. Tracks everywhere and plenty of rubs were evident from when the deer were in velvet. Craig has already taken three deer this season and he tells me that there is an absolute monster lurking in there. Ole Mossy-Horns hisself lives in those woods.

This afternoon I got to look at new woods, was able to walk a creek I had never seen, and was told that I'd be invited back. It was a very good Saturday afternoon.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Learnin' Photography

This is interesting.

I've been playing with the new camera and I can see that I've got a lot of learning to absorb. Playing with lights and focus. Stick a bore light in the breech and try to focus on the muzzle. I thought I had cleaned that pistol last week, but I can see that I missed some spots. You can click the picture for a larger version.

Then, a standard shot that every gun-writer takes at one point or another.

I can see that I'm going to have to be really careful with serial numbers. This camera catches everything.

Under the Tree

In 2000 I bought a Canon Rebel 35mm camera for business and pleasure. I learned to use it and really liked it, but then the digital revolution came along. As much as I like SLR photography, I wanted the immediacy and convenience of digital media.

For the past several years I've been using an HP Photosmart camera for all my digital photo work. I've taken thousands of pictures with the thing and while it works well for snapshots, it had a few little bugs that I didn't like. The flash would delay a shot and sometimes when you're shooting grandkids and pets, you want the shot when you push the button, not three or four seconds later. I'd be trying to get a shot of the dog and he'd move, the camera would shutter, and I'd have a photo of empty floor. Aggravating!

Every time I would miss a shot, I'd exclaim that one day I was going to have enough and I'd go buy a digital SLR. My wife had heard this exclamation for the past several years. So, last night as we were opening gifts, I found that she'd bought me a digital SLR. A Canon EOS Rebel XS. This camera is a lot like my Rebel film camera and has a lot of the same bells and whistles, but has additional features that I'll have to learn. The lens has a feature called Image Stabilization that I'll have to explore.

I've taken maybe half a dozen shots with it and I think I'm really going to like this camera. It won't entirely replace my old HP pocket camera, I can see that I'm going have a lot of fun learning this new camera.

One shot, of poinsettias taken at the smallest megapixel range of the camera. I was piddling with the camera and snapped this shot over the top of the computer.

I think I"m going to like this camera. I'm not a photographer, but I am a picture-snapper. This camera will expand my repetoire. I am indeed a lucky man.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

It's Christmas Eve at PawPaw's house and the grandkids will start arriving in several hours. I'll put away the computer and begin entertaining family. The nature of extended families being what they are, the kids have in-laws and out-laws and Milady decided several years ago that she wanted Christmas Eve to celebrate with family, leaving the kids available to see the other folks on Christmas day. So, by the time everyone gets gone this evening, PawPaw will be free to piddle away Christmas day.

The oven is working, cooking cornbread for dressing. We'll shortly begin cooking other things, cleaning, straightening, getting ready for family and friends. I'll probably feed 30 people tonight and by bedtime the house will be a wreck, the presents will be opened and Milady and I will pile happily into bed.

In short, Christmas Eve is our celebration. Tomorrow we'll clear the wreckage, give thanks, and be free to do whatever we want to do.

My grandfather worked for Coca-Cola for over 40 years. He brought home Coke-logo items to decorate his house and I remember lots of Santas holding coke products. When I think of Santa Claus, this old fellow is the one I'm seeing.

In the midst of all the activities today, lets not forget the reason for the season. Take a minute to say thanks for all that's good in your life and thanks for all the good people in your life.

And, to all my several readers, I'd like to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a healthy, happy, prosperous New Year.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Lemon Ice Box Pie

This recipe is from my maternal grandmother. She probably got this recipe off a box of whipped topping, or off the back of a condensed milk can. Where-ever she got it, it's a family favorite.

Lemon Ice Box Pie

2 tubs (8 oz) frozen whipped topping
1 can (12 ox) frozen condensed lemonade
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
2 pre-made graham cracker crusts.

Mix whipped topping, condensed milk and lemonade. Roll mixture into pie shells. Refrigerate for several hours. Makes two pies.

Lots of variations on this theme. Substitute limeade and make Key Lime Pie. Or puree strawberries for a strawberry cream pie. It's easy, quick and tasty.

Mine are in the freezer right now. I'll take them out tomorrow about an hour before meal time. Cooking doesn't have to be hard.


This is a recipe from my maternal grandmother. I don't know where she got it, or what the provenance is, but it's a quick easy meal a lot like spaghetti. I'm cooking it tonight simply because I haven't had it in a while


1 lb hamburger meat
1 can (25 oz) Hunt's traditional spaghetti sauce
1 can (15 oz) whole kernel corn
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 lb egg noodles.

Brown hamburger meat and drain fat. Add garlic, spaghetti sauce and corn. Simmer sauce while noodles boil.

Boil egg noodles until tender. Drain and mix with sauce. Serve with grated cheese, garlic bread.

That's it. Nothing much to it. It's easy to double the recipe and make enough to feed a regiment of grandkids. I guess you could start with whole tomatoes and make your own sauce, but that would take the quick out of it.

The .45-70

Farmist asks, in comments:
Would you consider doing a post on reloading for .45-70. I have a Marlin 1885, am a big fan of the caliber, and have been considering reloading for it.
Whoa! That's a broad subject for a blog post. Let me preface this post by saying I'm no expert, but I do have some limited experience with the caliber.

Junior and I have done some small work with the .45-70 over on the castbullet site and you can find two articles here and here. Those articles talk about loading black powder or substitutes in the .45-70, but the common ground of reloading and load development are followed.

The .45-70 is the only cartridge I'm aware of that has loading data published in three levels. The first, and mildest data is for the old, low-pressure Springfield (trapdoor) rifles of the 1800s. The second level of pressure is for the modern rifles in the caliber. The third level of power is for Ruger #1 and Marlin 1895 rifles. You can load this cartridge to levels that approach the .458 Winchester Magnum and it is capable of taking all the game on North America. Alaskan guides routinely use this cartridge as a back-up to client's rifles.

I don't load anything that heavy. The bison herds of the 19th century were wiped out by guys using black powder and that level of power has shown to be utterly effective on the game fields. In the .45-70, I like pushing a soft lead bullet at black powder velocities (about 1200 fps). I have two loads that I routinely load in that caliber. The first uses the Lee 459-500-3R bullet. This bullet is a spire point and I load it over Hodgdon 777 for my Sharps. It turns in very good accuracy in that rifle and closely approximates the load that wiped out the bison herds.

I've tried that load in my Handi-rifle and it just didn't work as well in the carbine as it did in the Sharps. So, I worked up a load using IMR 4895. IMR 4895 is a great cast-bullet powder and works well in reduced loads in a number of calibers. My recipe for smokeless in the Handi uses the Lee 459-405-FP bullet cast of dead-soft lead and lubed with liquid Alox. I size them to 0.457 using a push-through sizer, then load them using a 2.5 cc dipper to measure the powder. I've weighed the dipper charges and they come out to 34.3 grains of powder using MY dipper technique and MY scales. Your technique and your scales might show something different.

Because the 4895 takes up so little space in the cartridge case, I use a tuft (tiny pinch) of pillow dacron to hold the powder down near the primer. I take a tiny pinch of dacron and roll it between my fingers, then stuff it in the case with a pencil eraser. It'll immediately swell up to fill the case, then I seat the bullet using standard reloading practices. I've figured that with primers costing 3 cents each and my bulk powder costing about 2 cents, I'm loading this particular load for a nickel each. That's cheap shooting.

It's a fairly accurate load in my Handi, averaging about two inches at 50 yards, which is the distance my front sight covers the bullseye on a reduced SR-1 target. Below is a picture of the target my son shot yesterday with that rifle and load.

I'm not afraid of recoil and enjoy the thump of a heavy rifle, but with newer cartridges available I don't see the need to push this particular combo. I've never made meat with this rifle, although I've killed deer with my muzzle-loaders using loads like this. A 405 grain bullet traveling 1200 fps is something to be reckoned with when the cover is thick and the ranges are short. I'll be using this combo next week as I'll be hunting two patches of land where 100 yards is a long shot.

Chapters in loading manuals have been devoted to loading for the .45-70 and I hope this little posting helps. The .45-70 is a very versatile cartridge, economical and a lot of fun to shoot. I'm glad I have it in my battery.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Pawn Circuit

I saw today under glass, a stainless Ruger Super Blackhawk, .44 magnum, 7 1/2 inch barrel. For $375.00. I could probably dicker on that price.

If it had been a Blackhawk in .357 or .45 Colt, I'd have been on it in a minute. But .44 magnum I have no experience with.

Whadd'ya think?

On the Range

I went out to our family range today and did some Handi-rifle shooting. I took the first shots with the .308 Handi and verified the zero on the .45-70 Handi.

Our range is across Momma's pasture. Lots of shots are fired there over the year and most people who live in the country have access to a range like this. Here's a view downrange.

From near to far, we have the hood of the pickup truck with a rifle and a Kelly-Tappin machine rest. That rest is little more than a piece of carpet padding, rolled into a roll and tied with string. It allows for a fairly good rest over the hood of the pickup. Next we have the chrony, which I use to evaluate handloads. Every serious hobbyist needs a chronograph. They're fairly inexpensive and easy to use.

Way downrange at the base of a huge pine tree is the target. That's a measured 100 yards, which is the standard for sighting a rifle. The tree is directly behind the target to catch stray bullets. Behind that is a pine thicket that Dad planted in the years before he died.

Here's a shot of my eldest son using the pickup benchrest to shoot the .45-70 Handi. He did pretty well, too, scoring a 50-1X with five shots on a reduced SR-1 target. That .45-70 has a firesight front and a Williams peep rear. With my own cast bullets, primers at 3 cents each, and two cents worth of surplus powder, my handloads cost me about 5 cents apiece. That's cheap shooting in a seriously powerful caliber.

This hobby doesn't have to be expensive.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Remington 870 Express

I've been getting a lot of hits on the posting Remington 870 Express and just this morning I realized that I had first talked about that shotgun in September 2005. When I bought the shotgun it had some kind of weird camo pattern on the stock, so I took it apart, stripped the paint, and finished it with hand-rubbed linseed oil. Then, I put a Choates extension on the magazine tube, then I decided I didn't like it with the extension and went back to a standard length tube. The shotgun has remained in pretty much that configuration ever since. I did add a carry strap.

When I was younger, growing up, we very seldom saw a carry strap on a shotgun. That wasn't the fashion. As times have changed, I've come to appreciate some sort of strap on every long gun. It really helps when you've in the woods and this shotgun is a woods gun.

It's got a smooth bore slug barrel with rifle sights. Surprisingly, it's got choke tubes. Originally, I bought this gun for law-enforcement work, and it's seen its share of that. It still rides with me on the occasions where I think it might be useful, but nowadays it's primarily a sporting shotgun. There have been several cases of target ammo run through it on the various clays courses. It shoots to point-of-aim with slugs and the sights center the pattern nicely at normal shotgun ranges. This shotgun would make a really nice deer gun for those places where the range is short and for those places where rifles aren't allowed.

This is a pawn-shop shotgun. I'm a big fan of pawn-shop shotguns and I feel that very soon (between Christmas and Easter) there will be some great deals on used shotguns in the pawn shop racks. Last Autumn I bought a nice 870 Express for $200 (vent rib, choke tube barrel) for a gift. I'm always looking for a nice example of a pump shotgun, and if you know your counter guy and can dicker with him, you can generally have your pick of the litter for under $250.00. Sometimes considerably less than $250.00. In either Winchester, Mossberg, or Remington brand, it's hard to beat a good shotgun for dependable value.


I see that Harry Reid got his cloture vote this morning. Sixty senators voted (if I've got this right) to end the debate on health-care and let the bill move forward. They did it at 1:00 a.m., which is certainly not standard on the schedule, but Harry needed movement on the bill.

I find it interesting that they conducted the vote in the dead of night. Most of the nation awoke to find that the vote was a done-deal. What was so important that they had to do it while most Americans were asleep? Are they ashamed of it? They certainly have reason to be ashamed.

Some states did better than others. Louisiana got extra money, as did Nebraska, along with Florida and New York.

It's interesting to watch the bribery at work. The Congressional Budget office says that the legislation will reduce the deficit by 132 billion dollars over a decade. That's good news. It'll be interesting to see if we actually realize any savings. I'm convinced that those savings are illusory and that they'll spend the money anyway.

There's one thing for darned sure. This went down to a strict party-line vote. For better or for worse, the Democrats own this one.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

On the bench

I just finished working up some loads for the .308 Handi. I've got a bunch of .308 hollow point bullets that I've weighed and sorted to the 1/10th grain and a pound of Reloder 15 powder. I used R-P once fired cases and WLR primers.

That rifle's got a 22 inch barrel and an overall length of 37 inches. If I can find something it shoots well, it should be a good knocking-around rifle.

All the research I've done tells me that the Army specifies Reloder 15 powder for their M118LR ammunition. I've got one load with this powder that shoots really well in Joey's Savage M10FLP, well under MOA out to 250 yards. Lots of shooters use this load at ranges under 500 yards, with powder charges varying a grain or so from 43.0 grains. So, I started at 42.0 grains and worked up five cartridges each in half-grain increments to 44.0 grains.

Then, I took out some 125 grain Sierra Pro-Hunters and loaded five each at different powder weights, well under max loads. It should be interesting to see how they shoot.

Sixty Votes

Everybody on my side of the aisle is pissed off at Senator Ben Nelson because he struck the best deal he could for his state and he's considered the 60th vote for cloture on ObamaCare.

Mary Landrieu did the same thing. She just did it earlier and cheaper.

It takes 60 votes and everyone who votes for this monstrosity is wrong. Not just Nelson and Landrieu, but everyone. And, it's the Republican's fault. Yeah, the Republicans. When they had control of the wheel, they could have enacted meaningful health-care legislation, things like allowing insurance to be sold across state lines, meaningful tort legislation, reforming Medicaire. Things like that. But they didn't.

One of the centerpieces of Obama's campaign was health care. If the Republicans had taken care of it when they had the wheel, it wouldn't be an issue today. If the Republicans had taken care of Fannie and Freddie it wouldn't have been an issue.

I believe this bill is wrong for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is that it taxes one group of citizens to care for another group of citizens. But, it looks like it's going to be law, and it took more than Ben Nelson and Mary Landrieu to make it law. And, if the opposition had been statesmen in the past, none of this would be necessary today. But they didn't.

Which is why we need to run the bums out of office at the first opportunity.

One More Trip Around the Sun

I am reminded that it's my birthday. It's not such a big deal, but it gives me an excuse to post this video.

It's one of my favorite songs. Jimmy Buffett and Martina McBride from the License to Chill album.

Sunday Morning Dawg

Wanna see a fuzzy mutt? One that's pleased with himself? Happy and contented?

I give you the Sunday Morning Dawg.

He looks entirely too happy. I better go check the carpet for doggy bombs. Gawd, that mutt needs a haircut.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Flat-black people poppers

Tam finally understands why I (and lots of folks like me) can't get excited about a new whiz-bang pistol. Or rifle. My sentiments mirror her deputy friend:
"Well," he replied, "I reckon I like 'em well enough at work, but when you tote around these Flat-Black People Poppers all day long, they get kinda boring and they all look and work pretty much the same. Why would I want to play with them for fun, too?"
I carry a black gun at work, every day. As features come and features go, the different models and makes all seem to get more alike and there is less that differentiates any one from the other. They're working guns, plain and simple. I train with them, I carry and use and maintain them, and I'm not really interested in them.

Give me an old shotgun, a Smith and Wesson Model 10, or a nice wood stocked rifle and I get all drooly and finger-itching. It's good stuff. I prize my collection of vintage revolvers much more than the gun I carry to work every day.

One gun that I've been searching the pawn shops for is a nice example of a Ruger Blackhawk. If I can find a nice example in either .357 magnum or .45 Colt, I'll pick it up for my collection in a New York Second. I know, I know, I can get a new one, or troll the auction houses. I'd rather wait until the One comes along and I can buy it from under glass. I'm funny like that. When I think of all the used Blackhawks I've passed up over the years I could kick myself.

SayUncle has a picture of the new, 4th generation Glock, and it looks just like a Glock. Imagine that. I like SayUncle's site, but I can't get excited about another new black pistol.

However, Remington has made its 10-millionth 870 shotgun. That's something to celebrate!

Hat tip to both Tam, and SayUncle.

On the Range

I had heard that the Cenla Sport Shooters were having a shoot this morning at the Rapides Sheriff's Office range this morning. I drove out there to see what was going on.

The sport shooters were having their Christmas match. About a dozen shooters were using the law-enforcement pistol range and the shoot house for a match. Here's a picture from atop the tower.

It's a beautiful range and well suited for training and competition. From atop the tower, I heard a boom from the rifle range and walked down to satisfy my curiosity. I met Clay Brister, one of the movers and shakers, and he gave me a tour of the work they've been doing. The Sheriff's Office is setting up a recreational shooting range and they're doing the work as time and money allows. Clay was telling me that the Sheriff thinks it's important to have a facility for the public to use and they're working toward that goal.

We walked the recreational shooting line, which is composed of three sections, shotgun (clays), pistol and rifle lines. Here's a photo taken from the shotgun line looking toward the pistol and rifle lines.

You can see that this work is still in progress and Clay told me that they haven't set an opening date yet, but that work continues as the weather and assets allow. I was on this site in August for my grandson's Hunter Safety Course and I could see that they've done a tremendous amount of work since then.

Finally, a view from the rifle line, downrange. There are berms at 25, 100, 200, and 300 yards. There is still some work to be done on the berms and the safety barriers, but the work moves along. Rome wasn't built in a day and neither is a good range.

You can click on the pictures for a bigger view. That little white dot out near the tree line is 300 yards away. I can't wait to try it out.

This is fine work. It should be an asset to the community when completed.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Friday night

I got home this afternoon and had nothing planned. Nothing. We're probably going to order pizza later and get into the whiskey.

I was piddling around on the computer and realized that my keyboard was crunchy. Yeah, some of the keys crunched when used. Lots of dirt and crud gets into this keyboard and I haven't blown it out in a while. I powered down the machine and took it out to the shop. Blew it out good with compressed air.

The whole point to this post is to see how the keyboard feels and it feels like it's clean now.

Having your own air compressor is a great asset for lots of tasks.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Gore effect

It looks like the Gore Effect has kicked in at Copenhagen. There's a blizzard in town for the closing days of the climate conference. Big Al's in town, so of course, temperatures plummet.

The irony is delicious.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Taco Soup

This is a dump-it-and-go recipe. It works best if you give the ingredients an hour or so to mingle and fit together. It's a favorite of the boys and on a busy Wednesday afternoon makes a quick supper.

Taco Soup

1 lb lean ground beef
1 lb bulk sausage
2 cans red kidney beans
2 cans pinto beans
1 can Rotel tomatoes
1 can petite diced tomatoes
1 small can diced chili peppers
1 packet taco seasoning
1 packet Ranch dressing mix.

Brown your hamburger and sausage and drain. Dump all cans and mixes on top of the meat. Don't drain anything. Stir it all together and let it simmer for an hour.

Serve over corn chips, garnish with cheese, and/or sour cream.

That's good eating.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Counting to 60

Poor ole Harry Reid is having problems.

First Joe Lieberman says he won't vote for healthcare if it includes a government-run public option. So, they cull the public option out of the bill.
WASHINGTON – Independent Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman says he expects to support the Democrats' health care legislation as long as any government-run insurance plan stays out of the bill.
Now, Roland Burris says he won't vote for the healthcare bill unless there is a government-run public option.
Senator Roland W. Burris, Democrat of Illinois, has vowed that he will not vote for a health care bill that does not include a government-run insurance plan, or public option.
Hmmm. Harry's in a bind. A real bind. A 60 vote bind.

At the same time, the latest Rasmussen report poll shows that public support for the health care plan is dropping.
Fifty-six percent (56%) of U.S. voters now oppose the health care plan proposed by President Obama and congressional Democrats. That’s the highest level of opposition found - reached three times before - in six months of polling.
I'd love to stay and chat with y'all, but I've got to go back to work.

Monday, December 14, 2009


It's flat-rockin' outside. Of course, the soccer teams have decided that they want to play a couple of games in the rain. Grrrr.

I'll be strapping the gun on in another half hour to go watch soccer kids play in the rain.

The main reason I like baseball so much is because it's civilized. No one plays baseball in the rain.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Hunters Stranded

This article is interesting for a couple of reasons.
RESCUERS in Arizona have pledged they are "not going to let anyone die" as they keep searching for up to 30 elk hunters still stranded in heavy snow after a powerful winter storm swept through the state earlier this week.
It seems a powerful winter storm dumped a lot of snow and there are elk hunters stranded in the mountains, but this isn't your average lost hunter story.
"Approximately 25 to 30 hunters are still stranded, with different levels of preparations," he said. "Some need to be taken out immediately...some are ok. Some are in very remote areas....cell phones have helped dramatically, they're calling in locations.
Cell phones, you see. The rescue teams know where these people are. Getting to them might be a problem, but they know where they are. Plus, these guys are hunters, so they're at least marginally prepared to be in the woods. Interestingly, with cell phone coverage like it is, I get better reception on my deer stand than I get in my living room. I've got four bars all over my hunting area, but only two bars at my dining room table.

Last, but not least, check the country origin of this story. We're reading it from an .au sight, which is Australia. From reading US news coverage, I wasn't aware that hunters were stranded in the mountains. If it were two or three hikers lost in the snow, we'd be getting plenty of news coverage, but hunters? Not so much.

Tip of the hunting cap to SayUncle.

Sunday Morning Dawg

What is it that makes dryer sheets a dog attractant? The dog loves them. He'll filch them out of the laundry basket, carry them around, play with them.

He doesn't tear them up, or eat them, but he's forever carrying one around with him and I find dryer sheets wherever I find the dog. So, the picture for the Sunday Dawg features a well-used dryer sheet.

I don't understand what goes on in that dog's head.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Rainy Saturday

I awoke this morning to rain. A steady, even, small-drop rain that soaks everything. I had good intentions of going to the lease and watching a deer that I'd like to convert to venison, but she's in the pine thickets this morning, hunkered down, trying to stay dry.

I guess I'm not dedicated enough, or I've spent enough unproductive hours in a deer stand, or I'm simply not mad at the deer. So, I'm home, unproductive. I have my blue jeans and a cup of coffee and I'm surfing the intertubes. I'm not even particularly upset with our President this week.

I really need to get out on my bench and work on ammo. I have a big pile of empty cases need filling. Then there's the new (to me) .308 I am going to have to work up loads for. There's lots of things I could be doing on a rainy Saturday morning, but I'm not in the mood for any of them.

But, I will give you a picture of the new .308. It's a Handi Rifle. That gizmo on the barrel is a De-Resonator and it came with the gun. It's since been removed and tossed in the odd-parts bin. I don't know what I'm going to do with this rifle, but I know I got a heck of a deal on it and the grandkids are getting older.

When Acidman was alive, he told me that a blogger should post something every day. This post is following his advice.

**UPDATE** I just got a call from my sister-in-law. She and hubby decided to go hunting this morning and went to something we call the Switcher Road stand. The rain stopped briefly at 7:15 and at 7:30 a venison doe walked out. She shot it with her .260 Remington and they were back home by 9:00.

Ya can't kill deer unless you're in the woods with them.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Friday night

It's cold out this evening and a good night to stay indoors. I've had this song going through my head all day long.

I may have to get into the bourbon.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A Tip

I'm just sayin'.

If you have something stolen on Tuesday morning and you realize it within minutes, don't wait until Thursday afternoon to report it to the police. That 48 hours makes a huge difference in our ability to do anything about it.

I'm pretty good, and I'll do what I can, but I'll put as much urgency on it as you.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009


Cops wear boots, soldiers wear boots. In my combined careers I've spent thousands of dollars on boots, and I've worn them all. Corcorans, Georgia Boot, GI issue, Tony Lama, Justin, Herman, and Danners. I've worn them all.

I had a blowout today on my boots and my son recommended Bates Lites. I picked up a pair and we'll give them a try.

Lower than Car Salesmen

Politico reports that members of Congress, both House and Senate, rate lower on public opinion polls than car salesmen.
Being a member of Congress rates as the least ethical and honest professions – faring worse than car salesmen by 4 percent – according to a new Gallup poll out Wednesday.
I'd say that there is good reason for that, and it's a bipartisan opinion.

We elect politicians to political office. It's a hazard of the democratic process. Where we err is in letting them stay in office more than two terms.

I'd defer to that anonymous pundit who exclaimed that "Politicians, like diapers, have to be changed frequently – and for the very same reason."

In closing, I'd also defer to the judgment of another great American.
There is no distinctly American criminal class – except Congress.
Mark Twain
I intend to vote against all incumbents in the next Congressional elections.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Cast Bullet Data

I was stumbling around some gun sites earlier today and came upon the GMDR Low Velocity Chronograph Data. If you're a cast bullet guy, any page entitled Low Velocity screams Cast Bullet!

I've spent some time going through it, and I can see that this might be a heck of a resource. They claim that they shot upwards of 50,000 bullets getting the data. Some of it is really interesting.

Chicken Pot Pie

Milady is making chicken pot pie for supper. The way she does it, it's fairly easy. It tastes great and the boys love it.

Here's a picture of the basic ingredients.

Left to right. A pack of frozen mixed veggies, cooked in water with 2 chicken bullion cubes. Two cans of cream of chicken soup. A rotisserie chicken. A big casserole dish, lined with pie crust.

She uses pre-made pie crusts. You could make your own crust, but this is a quick dinner.

Boil your veggies in the chicken broth. Line your casserole dish with a pie crust, then toast the crust in the oven at 350 degrees. Peel the chicken off the bone, then mix your veggies, chicken and add the two cans of cream of chicken to make the filling. Salt and pepper to taste. Add the filling to the toasted bottom crust and cover the pie with a top crust. Bake at 350 until the filling bubbles and the top crust is done.

Here's a picture before the top crust.

Here's one after it comes out of the oven.

Bon apetit!

December 7th

It's important that we remember this day. This day and what it represented formed the basis for my father's generation. All their hopes, dreams, what they were and what they became were based in part on events that occurred on December 7th, 1941.

"I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve." Isoroku Yamamoto.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Sunday Morning Dawg

It snowed Friday night in Central Louisiana, a light dusting that would make my northern relatives snort in derision. I myself have lived several winters in locales where snow is a constant presence for months on end. I stayed home on Friday night, preferring the safety of my home to risking fate on the roads with people who have never seen winter precipitation.

Still, the dog has never seen snow. And this feature is the Sunday Dawg, so without further adieu... This shot was taken Saturday morning on the back deck. He's checking it out. Not sure about it.

Then he saw the camera, decided that I might, just might, have food in my pocket and came over to investigate.

He was sorely disappointed that I didn't have any treats for him. He knows better, but hope springs eternal in that dog's mind.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

In the Mail

In the mail today, I found a copy of the latest Alliant Reloader's Guide. I use Alliant powder, and even though I've got some loads that I know and love, it's good to have the latest information at hand. The reloader's guide is free, and you can order it at the site linked above.

Of course, those of us who use computers can find the information online. All the powder manufacturers have the data on the interwebs, but it's good to have the print data on hand.

This little book is going on my bench right now.

Friday, December 04, 2009


It's snowing in Central Louisiana, probably the earliest in the season I can remember. The snow started about the time the school buses ran this afternoon and it's continuing as I type this.

The weather weenies are trying to decide if we're going to get any accumulation. I hope not, but lots of folks are hoping for enough to make a snowman. Good for them.

I'm not going to make any global warming jokes. One of the problems we have is telling the difference between weather and climate. What we're having right now is weather. Weather has very little to do with climate.

I think I'm going to crack open some egg nog, a bottle of bourbon and watch it snow. That's something we don't often get to watch in Louisiana.

Handi Rifle

It's no secret that I've been looking for a Handi Rifle in .30-30 Winchester. I've long been a fan of the caliber and I want to try it with pointy bullets. You can't run pointy bullets in the lever-actions because it's dangerous. That and the fact that my Winchesters don't scope easily. I want to scope a .30-30 and wring it out with the standard .30 caliber bullets we use in the .30-06 or .308. The guys over at the Graybeards Outdoor Forums tell us that the .30-30 turns in exceptional accuracy. Accuracy is what I'm looking for. A rifle in that caliber that's safe with pointy bullets and accurate. I want a .30-30 Handi.

The problem with finding one is that they're made in batches and the distributors are out of them right now. My gun dealer hasn't been able to find one since we started looking before Labor Day and I have a standing order with him. I've told him I want the next one he can find. His distributor has 30 on backorder. Mine is one of those 30.

Yesterday afternoon I had a free hour, so I went over to the gun shop to look around and heckle him about the .30-30. I looked in the racks and there was a Handi standing among the bolt actions. He handed it to me.

It's an Ultra Hunter in .308 Winchester. H&R uses a heavy barrel on those rifles, not a bull barrel, but this isn't a standard sporting taper. The barrel is 22 inches long and should be very stiff. The little rifle seems to weigh between seven and eight pounds. The muzzle has a recessed crown that looks flawless. The trigger is better than many I've seen on Handi-Rifles. This little gun might have had a trigger job, but it feels right, breaking at about four pounds. It's got a laminated stock and the blueing looks like it just came out of the box. Whoever bought this rifle before bringing it to the pawn shop used it very, very little.

I asked him how much and he said $200.00. I told him to give me a 4473.

I plan to play with it a little while, work up some loads with it, both cast and jacketed, then put it in the racks. I'm wondering how it'll do with cast bullets and I'm wondering what it will do with 125 grain GameKings. It's got enough weight that recoil shouldn't be an issue and I'm not looking to load it heavy. It should make a great little grandson or nephew rifle.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Seven Lies

I was reading the Huffington Post, over in the Green section. (Yes, dear readers, I trot over to the left side of the internet sometimes.) Katherine Goldstein posts an article entitled "The Seven Biggest Lies About the Supposed "Global Warming Hoax"

So, I counted the lies. They are standard talking points, easily rebutted. Rather than do that, lets list them in order.

1. Scientists have manipulated data.
2. Scientists had private doubts about whether the world really is heating up.
3. These scientists worked to suppress evidence and deleted emails.
4. Scientists have been working to remove skeptical peers from the climate discussion.
5. These emails are the final nail in the coffin for the idea that humans cause global warming.
6. This reignites the debate about if global warming is real.

They're on a cute little electronic flip chart and as you click the button the next one comes up. The only problem that I see is if you click the numbers and there are six supposed lies, and the article clearly says seven lies.

Can the author not count? Does she expect me to believe her premise when she can't get the number right. For that matter, should I believe any premise if the numbers aren't right?

That's my problem with AGW. The numbers aren't right. If you want to make a rational argument, you've got to get the numbers right.

Roping a Deer

This was forwarded to me by a friend. I can't vouch for the accuracy of the story, but it's funny as heck. It's not my friend's story, this is just one of those emails that make it around the internet from time to time.
I had this idea that I could rope a deer, put it in a stall, feed it up
on corn for a couple of weeks, then kill it and feast on it. The first step in this adventure was getting a deer. I figured that, since they congregate at my cattle feeder and do not seem to have much fear of me when we are there (a bold one will sometimes come right up and sniff at the bags of feed while I am in the back of the truck not four feet away), it should not be difficult to rope one, get up to it and toss a bag over its head to calm it down th en hog tie it and bring it home.

I filled the cattle feeder then hid down at the end with my rope. The cattle, having seen the roping thing before, stayed well back. They were not having any of it. After about twenty minutes, my deer showed up---three of them. I picked out a likely looking one, stepped out from the end of the feeder, and threw my rope. The deer just stood there and stared at me. I wrapped the rope around my waist and twisted the end so I would have a good hold.

The deer still just stood and stared at me, but you could tell it was mildly concerned about the whole rope situation. I took a step towards it, it took a step away. I put a little tension on the rope .., and then received an education. The first thing that I learned is that, while a deer may just stand there looking at you funny while you rope it, they are spurred to action when you start pulling on that rope.

That deer EXPLODED. The second thing I learned is that pound for pound, a deer is a LOT stronger than a cow or a colt. A cow or a colt in that weight range I could fight down with a rope and with some dignity. A deer-- no chance.

That thing ran and bucked and twisted and pulled. There was no controlling it and certainly no getting close to it. As it jerked me off my feet and started dragging me across the ground, it occurred to me that having a deer on a rope was not nearly as good an idea as I had originally imagined. The only upside is that they do not have as much stamina as many other animals.

A brief ten minutes later, it was tired and not nearly as quick to jerk me off my feet and drag me when I managed to get up. It took me a few minutes to realize this, since I was mostly blinded by the blood flowing out of the big gash in my head. At that point, I had lost my taste for corn-fed venison. I just wanted to get that devil creature off the end of that rope.

I figured if I just let it go with the rope hanging around its neck, it would likely die slow and painfully somewhere. At the time, there was no love at all between me and that deer. At that moment, I hated the thing, and I would venture a guess that the feeling was mutual.

Despite the gash in my head and the several large knots where I had cleverly arrested the deer's momentum by bracing my head against various large rocks as it dragged me across the ground, I could still think clearly enough to recognize that there was a small chance that I shared some tiny amount of responsibility for the situation we were in. I didn't want the deer to have to suffer a slow death, so I managed to get it lined back up in between my truck and the feeder - a little trap I
had set before hand...kind of like a squeeze chute. I got it to back in there and I started moving up so I could get my rope back.

Did you know that deer bite?

They do! I never in a million years would have thought that a deer would bite somebody, so I was very surprised when .... I reached up there to grab that rope and the deer grabbed hold of my wrist. Now, when a deer bites you, it is not like being bit by a horse where they just bite you and then let go. A deer bites you and shakes its head--almost like a pit bull. They bite HARD and it hurts.

The proper thing to do when a deer bites you is probably to freeze and draw back slowly. I tried screaming and shaking instead. My method was ineffective.

It seems like the deer was biting and shaking for several minutes, but it was likely only several seconds. I, being smarter than a deer (though you may be questioning that claim by now), tricked it. While I kept it busy tearing the tendons out of my right arm, I reached up with my left hand and pulled that rope loose.

That was when I got my final lesson in deer behavior for the day.

Deer will strike at you with their front feet. They rear right up on their back feet and strike right about head and shoulder level, and their hooves are surprisingly sharp. I learned a long time ago that, when an animal --like a horse --strikes at you with their hooves and you can't get away easily, the best thing to do is try to make a loud noise and make an aggressive move towards the animal. This will usually cause them to back down a bit so you can escape.

This was not a horse. This was a deer, so obviously, such trickery would not work. In the course of a millisecond, I devised a different strategy. I screamed like a woman and tried to turn and run. The reason I had always been told NOT to try to turn and run from a horse that paws at you is that there is a good chance that it will hit you in the back of the head. Deer may not be so different from horses after all, besides being twice as strong and three times as evil, because the second I
turned to run, it hit me right in the back of the head and knocked me down.

Now, when a deer paws at you and knocks you down, it does not immediately leave. I suspect it does not recognize that the danger has passed. What they do instead is paw your back and jump up and down on you while you are laying there crying like a little girl and covering your head.

I finally managed to crawl under the truck and the deer went away. So now I know why when people go deer hunting they bring a rifle with a scope to sort of even the odds.
Junior tells me that the story isn't over. The fellow went down later to the local feed and seed. The fellows there noticed the cuts and bruises and one gent observed. "Damn, young fella, you look just like you tried to rope a deer."

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Busy Tuesday

I'm home just long enough to drink a glass of iced tea, charge the radio for a little while, and check email. We've got both soccer and basketball games tonight and I've got to get back to the school.

It sure beats working for a living.