Tuesday, July 31, 2012

New Scope

After my range time last Thursday, I decided to try a new scope, and when I went to my locally-owned gun store, he had the Nikon Pro-Staff on sale.  I'll admit that I was torn between the Burris Fullfield II, the Redfield Revolution, and the Weaver Classic V, but truth be told, there is very little to differentiate modern entry-level rifle scopes.  They're all a heck of a lot better than scopes I grew up with.  I came home with the Nikon Pro-Staff, 3X9X40, with the BDC reticle.

The BDC reticle is going to take a little time to get used to.  The first time I looked through it, it seemed "busy".  There's lots going on in that reticle.  It looks like this.

The crosshair is supposed to be your 100 yard zero and the little circles roughly translate into the hold-over for 200, 300, 400, and 500 yards.  Of course, you need to zero your rifle and verify the bullet drop at yardage, but Nikon has a really nice online program called SpotOn that helps.  You can identify your cartridge, bullet and velocity, and the program will give you updated numbers for your hold-over, depending on the magnification factor.

After registering my scope for the warranty, installation was straight-forward.  If you know anything about the Savage long action, you'll know that it is a very long action, and oftentime, extended bases are necessary for scope mounting.  I already had extended bases on my rifle and the scope snugged down in the rings without much trouble.  I had about half of an inch play, front to rear for eye relief and soon had the scope properly leveled with good eye relief.

Controls are easy to reach and fairly standard.  Starting at the ocular bell, we have a focus ring that  easily allowed me to focus the crosshair.  Just forward of the ocular bell is the power selector ring, plainly marked.  Forward of that are the turrets for adjusting the zero.  The turrets are finger adjustable and by lifting the adjustment caps, you can re-set them to zero.  This is a neat little feature that we're seeing on more and more scopes.  The turret covers seem to be rubberized and should provide good seals against the weather. 

This morning I took the rifle over to Momma's house, got into the pasture and set up my range.  I walked downrange to 25 yards, knelt and fired one shot.  The rifle was on paper, so I made an adjustment, walked back to 50 yards and fired another shot.  Still on paper, but needed an adjustment.  Walked back to the 100 yard line where my pickup was parked.  I put a sandbag on the hood of the truck and started walking the shots toward the bullseye.

The finger adjustable turrets clicked nicely and were easy to feel.  The scope didn't track exactly, but it was close enough that soon I was hovering near the target.  A final adjustment and three shots to make sure I was good.

That's a one-inch target dot and the three shot group above it.  Subtracting the width of a .308 bullet give me a three-shot group of 0.556.  That isn't bad for a hunting rifle and a $200.00 scope. Shot from a sandbag on the hood of a pickup truck by a fat man. By this time the barrel was hot and I was sweating like a pack mule.  I called it quits and I'll fine-tune this zero later, but I think that I'm going to like this scope.  Hopefully I'll have it out later this week at a place where I can stretch it out against 200 and 300 yard targets.

Nikon is a trusted name in the camera business.  They've been making great lenses for years.  I have one pair of Nikon binoculars and I've been very pleased with them for several years.  There is no reason to believe that the Nikon scope isn't going to be just as durable as the other optics I have from that company.  This scope might be on this rifle for a long time.

Corn

It's hard to over-estimate the impact that grain crops have on the US economy.  Foodstuffs, the grain crop, particularly corn, wheat, and soybeans make up a large portion of the row crops planted in the US and their economic impact flows into myriad smaller economies.  Sugar, plastics, animal feed, we consume feed grains both directly and indirectly. 

And, we're in a drought.  Grain supplies, especially corn, are down right now due purely to a lack of rain.  One anonymous wise man once said "Man - despite his artistic pretensions, his sophistication, and his many accomplishments - owes his existence to a six inch layer of topsoil and the fact that it rains." 


Over the past several years, we've seen corn, a vital food crop, diverted into fuel.  Ethanol, the bane of small engines and gasoline mileage in larger vehicles, is made primarily from corn in the US.  This is based on federal regulation and the Environmental Protection Agency, who oversees such nonsense.  Renewable fuels is their big push these days and they're diverting a bigger percentage of our food and feed crop into ethanol than ever before.


But now, we're in a drought, facing a corn shortage.  If the EPA were to undo the regulations and allow corn to follow the market, they'd be undoing a signature Democratic policy initiative.  They'd be throwing thousands of ethanol workers out of work, idling ethanol plants built with government subsidies, and washing our investment down the drain.  By sticking to their regulations, they're running the danger of further crippling our economy by forcing higher prices and inefficiencies in the marketplace.  It's a damned if you do, and a damned if you don't dilemma.

Such is the nature of government regulation.  They can't be all-seeing, all-wise technocrats and most times, they get it wrong.  God little cares what government does and His will can be capricious at times.  He has suffered us with a drought, not the first in the history of Man. Now, we're being threatened by our own policies, the unintended consequences of what seemed to be a good idea.  It wasn't.


I don't believe that the government should be in the agriculture business, neither to subsidize farmers nor to dictate production.  If growing corn is a good idea, the market will absorb it.  If growing corn is a bad idea, the market will show us.  If making ethanol is a good idea, the market will support that too.  Man has been making alcohol for a lot of years and the market seems to support that.  Some of that alcohol is made from corn.  That's a good thing, and I drink corn whiskey occasionally.  Those producers don't seem to be needing subsidies.


Ethanol producers shouldn't need subsidies and the government should not dictate where our grain crops are allocated.  Let them float on the market and we'll be fine.  But, as it stands right now, we're burning our food crops and that simply doesn't make any sense.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Monday Weather

We're under a heat advisory today, with the temps climbing into the high two-digits officially.  They're predicting 99F and if you can tell the difference between 99 and 100, you're better calibrated than I am.  I got out early this morning and mowed the lawn, so at 10:00 I'm about done with outside tasks.  With humidity at 63%, it's relatively dry for Louisiana, but the air feels like a warm blanket.  No wind to speak of and I'll probably spend the rest of the day in or near air-conditioning.  It feels like it's going to be a scorcher today and with the chance of a thunderstorm, just another day in a Louisiana summer.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Sunday Morning Dawg

On Thursday I went to Guillory's and picked up some steaks.  Guillory gets select beef and sells it at extremely attractive prices.  When I was there, the help was taking a fresh batch of pork cracklings out of the oil, so I got a sack of those too, as an hors d'oeurve.  While drinking cocktails with Milady as the grill heated, I broke out the cracklings and of course, the dog had to insert himself, begging pathetically for a morsel.

Pork does terrible things to his digestive tract, most notably resulting in what veterinarians call scouring.  All day Friday he was one sick puppy.  Almost a caricature of a sick puppy.  Yesterday, all he wanted to do was to lay on concrete and watch traffic.

He heard the shutter click and turned to look at me, as if to say, "Leave me alone, old man.  Those cracklings almost murdered me."
Doesn't he look pathetic?  He's recovering nicely, but I think that we've taken pork cracklings off his dietary list.  We've learned that barbequed ribs are tough on his system as well.

Poor old dog.  In another day or so he'll be fine and begging for treats once again.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Louisiana Tax-Free Weekend

Louisiana is once again hosting a tax-free weekend on August 3-4, 2012 and I was reminded of that when I went to my local gun store today.  They had this sign standing out front.

There is certainly nothing wrong with avoiding sales taxes when legal, and the state of Louisiana makes it legal twice per year.  If you're a Louisiana resident and contemplating a big purchase, you might save a few bucks by waiting till the weekend to make your purchase.  Just sayin'.

Tolerance

Stolen from Instapundit.

Ha!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Really? Really?

Jay G gives us the link, and I had to click on it.
Nearly six months after Jeremy Atkinson was shot and killed by a Kroger store manager during an attempted robbery, his mother is seeking more than $75,000 in damages in a wrongful-death lawsuit filed against the supermarket chain.
Okay, let me get this straight. Your son is robbing the place and a manager shoots him dead, and you're so craven that you're suing the company? Did I get that right? Yeah, looks like I got it.

One would wonder where your son got his morals and character, but I guess that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

You Didn't Build That

Our President, bless his heart, held a campaign rally in Roanoke, VA and let someone tape it.  In an unscripted moment he said some things that show what he really feels.  He said, " If you’ve got a business -- you didn’t build that.  Somebody else made that happen."  He said it... those words come directly from the White House website.  Now he's saying that he didn't really say that; his words were taken out of context.

Well, you can go to the link above and read his words.  Taken fully in context, it's a lot worse than he imagined.  Not only did he say it, but I believe he meant it.  Words mean something, as he so plainly reminded us when he was campaigning in Wisconsin in 2008.  "The American People need to trust that we're saying what we mean, and that we're meaning what we say."  Well, we do, Mr. President.  We believe that you say what you mean and that you mean what you say.  Just so we can all be clear, here's some of the rest of that speech in Roanoke.
There are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans who agree with me -- because they want to give something back. They know they didn’t -- look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something -- there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there. (Applause.)
If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business -- you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.      The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together. There are some things, just like fighting fires, we don’t do on our own. I mean, imagine if everybody had their own fire service. That would be a hard way to organize fighting fires.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what he said.  The context is even worse than the snipped quote because he reveals himself to us.  He believes that government is the end-all and the do-all for America.  The revealing bit is when he talks about firemen. "Imagine if everyone had their own fire service."  Well, many of us do.  According to the National Volunteer Fire Council, 71% of all firefighters in the United States are volunteer.  Men and women who volunteer time in the community to make sure that we're safe from fire and have a first-responder capability. 

The President doesn't understand the United States.  That's what he told us in his speech.  He believes in big government, taxation, and dependency.  I don't believe in any of that.  Now, the President is upset because we're taking him at his word.  Too bad, Mr. President, in my America, we take men at their words.  We prefer that they say what they mean.  If you disagree, maybe it's time you retired.

Headstamps

While I was at the range yesterday, I wandered over to the brass bucket to see what folks had left behind. Lo and Behold! .308 brass, pretty good stuff from the looks of it. I know that our marksmen shoot good .308 Federal GMM ammo, but sometimes they get practice ammo to save a few bucks. Today was no exception. While I scored 50 pieces of good Federal GMM brass, there were a few NATO headstamps in there as well, WCC-08, which is good stuff, then there were several pieces with this headstamp.

This stuff is Berdan primed and from what I can figure it's British, but it doesn't have the military NATO designator.  It's crimped, and as I only got nine pieces, it's going in the scrap bucket.

The Federal GMM brass and the WCC-08 are going into my reloading stock.  With as many .308s as I have in the family, I'm always on the lookout for good .308 brass.

UPDATE:  Jim Watson, from The Firing Line, tells me it's South African.  Cool!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

That's How It's Done

Courtesy of SondraK, we find this endearing story about a horse thief in Montana. 

Judy Wallman, a professional genealogy researcher in southern California, was doing some personal work on her own family tree. She discovered that she and Harry Reid share a common ancestor. Senator Harry Reid’s great-great uncle, Remus Reid, was hanged for horse stealing and train robbery in Montana in 1889. The only known photograph of Remus shows him standing on the gallows in Montana territory.
So, the lady sends it to Harry Reid, the infamous thief who is also in the Senate. His staff replies:
“Remus Reid was a famous cowboy in the Montana Territory. His business empire grew to include acquisition of valuable equestrian assets and intimate dealings with the Montana railroad. Beginning in 1883, he devoted several years of his life to government service, finally taking leave to resume his dealings with the railroad. In 1887, he was a key player in a vital investigation run by the renowned Pinkerton Detective Agency. In 1889, Remus passed away during an important civic function held in his honor when the platform upon which he was standing collapsed.”
And that's the way it's done.

.30-06 Thursday

I took my Savage .30-06 to the range this morning, to do just a little scope tweak and to verify that my hunting load for this year is a capable performer.  Got to the range, hoisted the range flag as I was the first guy there, then got out my gear.  After setting targets on the 100 yard line I got out the rifle and settled down on a bench.   Using sandbags I started on the target, and may have found a problem with my scope.

Shot #1 fell where it shows, so I decided to twist in two clicks left.  Shot #2 fell where it's marked and I was considerably confused, so I tried twisting in four clicks down.  Shot again, and shot #3 hit way out to the left.  Well, damn, twisted the scope four clicks back to the right and fired another one, which shows on the target as #4.  Walked down to the target and was considerably perplexed, so I posted another target and decided to see what happened if I left it alone.

Walked back to the bench and saw that my pard Bud had arrived with his grandson.  We chatted for a bit and his grandson posted a target, then about that time another shooter showed up, so we let her post a target.  When we called the line hot, I loaded a round and let fly.

The first shot cut the black diamond in the middle of that 3-inch dot and I felt pretty good about that.  I let the barrel cool for five minutes and let fly again.  The second shot appeared in the group in the top of the target.  Five shots in a measured 0.744, which ain't bad, but it looks like it takes a couple of shots for my zero to settle down, plus, the scope didn't track properly when I was adjusting it.  Frankly, where the shots fell had very little relationship with the inputs I fed into it.

However, I got tired of shooting at paper and reached out to the 200 yard gong, ringing it handily, then the .300 yard gong took a bullet and swayed on it's hanger.

The scope in question is a Weaver K6 that I've had on the rifle since 2006.  It's accounted for a couple of deer, lots of paper, and the occasional steel target.  To be honest, I've abused it.  Dropped it out of trees, banged it around in the back of the Mule, leaned it against trees, rattled it around in the back of a pickup truck.  I'm wondering if it's outlived it's usefulness and if it is time for an upgrade?

I may start looking for another scope.

Whither Gun Control?

In the wake of the disaster caused by a red-headed sonofabitch, I'm seeing things like Mayor Bloomberg calling for gun control and people wondering when is the proper time for such a debate. USA Today has such an article, noting that:
Advocates seeking greater gun control say the theater shooting clearly shows a need to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.
When we know that the shooter did not have an assault weapon and that the high capacity magazine he had is notoriously unreliable. Thank God for that, or the carnage might have been much, much, worse.  Even noted Democrat strategist James Carville tell us that the debate is a non-starter.  So, why are the pro-gun guys so worried about the debate?  Good question.  I guess that we're twitchy after 40 years of this debate, but the simple fact is that we're winning.  Freedom always wins eventually, and we're winning.  The best efforts of the gun-control have been for naught, simply because the facts are on our side.

  • No gun control law currently in effect will stop a madman from creating carnage.
  • In Chicago, with some of the toughest gun laws in the nation, the carnage is terrible.
  • After a horrible shooting, gun sales jump, as people realize that they're responsible for their own safety.
  • Leading gun-control advocates are getting strident, leading people to believe that they're crazier than shit-house rats.

As Ed Morrissey points out, we've had the debate.  We've been having this debate since 1968 and the antis have lost it because they don't have the facts, they appeal to emotion, and their laws do nothing to stop carnage.  Indeed, just the reverse is often true when the cities and states with the most restrictive laws are often those with the worst crime problems.  Responsible gunners have led the fight for the past 40 years, gathering facts, calmly appealing to reason, watching trends, and perhaps most importantly, introducing people to the shooting sports.  I couldn't tell you how many people I've taken shooting, instructed in the art, mentored, helped, listened to when they come to me with concerns, and I'm just one guy.  There are millions of us out there with the same outlook and the facts are on our side.

I deplore the carnage in Colorado, and Chicago, and New York, but I'm smart enough to realize that it's a human problem that must be solved through one of several approaches.  One of those approaches is to realize that evil exists in our world and we can't always prevent horrific acts.

Gun control doesn't work.  We've proven that.  The issue is a non-starter and reasonable people understand that.  Freedom is expanding across the United States and that's a good thing.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm packing for a trip to the range.

Edit:  Update:  Reader Ownerus made a good catch. Yes, I meant to say that gun-control advocates are getting strident.  Edited above and corrected.  Thanks again.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A Win, in Maryland

A big court case and a judge in Maryland ruled that the citizenry doesn't have to provide a "good and substantial reason" to obtain a carry permit.  No doubt the state will appeal it, but we're winning one state at a time.  This is good news for human rights.

Training Day

I spent the day in my school, helping the SWAT team train in a school environment, walking them through problems, helping them solve issues.  I quit doing SWAT work in 1991 when I realized that I had lost a few steps, gained a few pounds, and realized that it was time to lay down my gear in favor of the younger guys.

It looks all fun-and-gun when you see it on TV, but the plain truth of the matter is that SWAT work is heavy, tiring, sweaty work.  I hoisted one of the vests they wear today, and with all the comms, the fancy toys, and the armor, the darned thing probably weighed 40 lbs.  Their new helmets are nicer than the Kevlar pots we wore, and much better than the steel pots before that.

Still, I'm glad that the young'uns are the ones carrying all that gear and I don't envy the few perks they get from the job.  I'm glad we've got them.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Pasta-Jambalaya

Last week, traveling home from vacation, we stopped at a TGI Friday's in Alabama for an evening meal.  I tried something called their Cajun Shrimp and Chicken Pasta, which the waiter described as a jambalaya.  When he brought it out, I noticed that it had sausage in it as well, and after a few minutes, he asked me how I liked it.

"It doesn't suck." I replied.

We began talking about regional foods and I thought that I could do better, so when I got home I started looking for recipes.  It seems that Emeril Lagasse has one that he calls Jambalaya Pasta, and I'm sure it's great, but it's got a lot of parts.  Good cajun cooking is about simplicity, using what's available to make a filling meal. 

So, I started with Milady's basic fettucini sauce and went from there.

Pasta-Laya



1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped bell pepper
1 T minced garlic
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can original Rotel tomatoes
8 oz Velveeta Cheese
1 cup fat-free Half & Half
2 T vegetable oil
1 rotisserie Chicken
1 lb link sausage, cut into round pieces.
1 lb pasta.  I used rigatoni, but anything would work; spaghetti, macaroni, fettucini.  This is supposed to be a simple dish.

Cut sausage into pieces.  Chop onion and bell pepper.  With 1 T oil, sautee onion, bell pepper, and garlic until the onion is translucent.  Remove and set aside.

Cook pasta in salted water.  Drain, set aside.

Brown sausage in black iron pot with 1 T vegetable oil.  Remove, set aside.  De-bone chicken.  Set aside.

In black iron pot, combine onion, bell pepper, garlic, cream of mushroom soup, Rotel tomatoes.  Slice Velveeta into cubes and add to the mix, stirring until the cheese is melted and mixture is creamy.  Add sausage, chicken and cook on low heat while you wash all the dishes you've used.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Get out a casserole dish, spray with Pam cooking oil.  Add pasta, add sauce/meat mixture. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes.

Milady and I ate this for supper this evening, and we agree that it's a really fine meal.  If I made a double-batch, with garlic bread and a salad, it would feed a regiment.  Next time we might want to use a little less pasta, or a little more liquid, but it turns into a fine meal.

Here's your Problem

Between chores this morning, I googled to ask if the theater in Aurora was a gun free zone.  In 0.13 seconds, I got 750,000 results.  Turns out, Cinemark Century Theaters is in fact a gun free zone.  The company, standing firmly on property rights, has a policy that no one can carry a gun in their theaters.  So, while the red-headed sonofabitch knew that Colorado is a concealed carry state, he also probably knew that the theater didn't allow law-abiding citizens the right to protect themselves from murderous evil.

So, while Roger Ebert wonders why no one shot back, the answer is sparklingly clear and Roger would have known this if the took 0.13 of a second to Google it.  No one shot back because the law forbid it.  The theater is a gun-free zone and law abiding citizens check their freedom at the door.

There's your problem, right there.

Odious

Glenn Reynolds links to an odious article in the New YorkDaily News. This is the gun-controls best effort at swaying opinion and it is so full of inaccuracies and false hyperbole that it deserves mention if only to deconstruct it.
Standing at Holmes’ side as he unleashed an AR-15 assault rifle and a shotgun and a handgun was Wayne LaPierre, political enforcer of the National Rifle Association.
The first hyperbole is patently false. I'm sure that the NRA wasn't in the theater that night and it's despicable to blame 8 million lawful citizens for the actions of one unhinged man. But, let's not stop there. It gets better.
Standing at Holmes’ side as he sprayed bullets and buckshot into a crowded movie theater were Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, a President and a would-be President, who have bowed to the NRA’s dictates and who responded to the slaughter Friday with revolting, useless treacle.
Now it's our President's fault, but I'm pretty sure that he wasn't there either. The Secret Service doesn't like it much when someone comes near the President with a firearm. Governor Romney was elsewhere, I'm sure.
Standing at Holmes’ side as he murdered 12 and wounded 59 were the millions of zealots who would sooner see blood flow and lives end than have to check a box on a gun registration form.
Every time I buy a gun (several times per year) I have to check a block on the Form 4473. That's the law.
Because they made sure that virtually everyone, Holmes included, has unfettered legal access to heavy weaponry. And they made sure he was permitted by law to drive to the kill scene with a fully loaded arsenal.
What? We're supposed to stop people from driving? And, aside from the simple fact that he had no heavy weapons, that last sentence smacks of desperation. It's one thing to be desperate, it's another entirely to get the basic facts wrong, andthe Editorial Board of the New York Daily News gets it wrong, over and over again. The red-headed sonofabitch had no heavy weapons.  Not one.  He drove to the theater legally, and I'm not familiar enough with Colorado's laws nor with Aurora's ordinances to know if he violated any laws before he opened fire, but the last time I looked at the statutes, murder is still against the law.

What the New York Daily News fails to appreciate is there is evil in this world and the red-headed sonofabitch is the latest permutation of that evil.  This was a senseless act and it is futile to try to make sense of it.  I mourn for the dead, I pray for the families, and I beseech a loving God to protect us, but I cannot explain it, nor can I condone the media dancing in the blood.  The opinion piece by the New York Daily News is odious, inaccurate, reflects failed policy, and would be disastrous to their intent if either party adopted their views.  Gun control is a failed experiment and should be consigned to the dustbin of history.

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Aurora Killer

I understand that the red-headed sonofabitch has had his first court hearing and is back in jail. Good. I understand that our President will not speak his name, and I agree with the President on that single issue. There is no reason to know the name of evil and the red-headed sonofabitch is evil.

I was reading Victor Davis Hanson, and I agree with him (and the President) that our focus on the perpetrator should be simply enough that we try him, convict him and punish him.
I don’t care a whit whether the Aurora killer was a loner. I don’t care if he was unhappy or if he was on medication. Millions share such pathologies without killing a mouse. I don’t even know whether giving him swift justice will deter the next mass shooter. Yes, give the suspect expert legal counsel; call in all the psychiatrists imaginable; sequester the jury; ensure the judge is a pillar of jurisprudence; but if he is found guilty, I would prefer the gallows and quickly so, to remind us that we live in a civilization that prefers to remember the victims and to remember nothing at all of their killer.
The sooner the red-headed sonofabitch is convicted and punished, the better for all of us.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Insane Is as Insane Does

Wandering over to Tam's Place, I read a post, then click over to the New York Times, and an opinion by Roger Ebert.
That James Holmes is insane, few may doubt. Our gun laws are also insane, but many refuse to make the connection. The United States is one of few developed nations that accepts the notion of firearms in public hands. In theory, the citizenry needs to defend itself. Not a single person at the Aurora, Colo., theater shot back, but the theory will still be defended.
I haven't yet heard anyone opine that Holmes is insane, although his attorney will probably research the claim and medical professionals will debate it. That's a question of medicine and law. However, our gun laws are the result of careful deliberation, lawful legislation, and executive agreement. To opine that any act of the legislature is insane... well, insanity is as insanity does.

 What the gun banners don't get is that the tide is turned. Gun control is a losing proposition to elected officials, and the Courts have held that the 2nd Amendment has meaning. Whether the press likes it or not, the 2nd Amendment is the law.

 Now, as to why not a single person in that theater shot back, I'd have to look at the demographics, the laws in Aurora, Colorado, and the rules posted in the theater. If the local laws and the rules of the theater conspired to disarm the audience, then the words of Cesare Beccaria (from 1764) ring ever more true. Does not the execution of this law deprive the subject of that personal liberty, so dear to mankind and to the wise legislator? Laws designed to disarm the people tend to disarm the law-abiding citizen, while leaving the predator untouched.

This is Ebert's strawman: Because no one shot back, the right is worthless.  I guess that the same thing could be said of speaking, or voting, or those other rights that are protected in our constitution.  More likely, this thinking is accurately described by Tam. 
...or so says Roger Ebert. And believe me, if anybody knows "insane", it's Roger. He's personally trod every square foot of that terrain.
Heh!

Home at Last

We pulled into the driveway at 2:00 p.m., local time.  I was amazed at the height of the grass in the lawn.  The only question now is if I want to mow it, or contract it for hay.  It's nice bahia, but I don't think they could get a full trailer of hay.  Probably not worth the effort; I'll mow it.  Later.

With a full SUV, we looked like a traveling gypsy show, my apologies to the travelers.  Folks who pack and travel long distances on a regular basis probably have their act together. We did not.

Luggage strapped to the roof, luggage on the rack, the inside full of six souls.  I took this picture somewhere in Alabama yesterday.  I bet that we were a sight, rolling down the road.

Sometime tomorrow, I"ll start posting something that looks like regular content.

Sunday Morning Dawg

Lately, I've been trusting the dog off his leash, and he's responding well.  Last week, we explored the lot next to the house and the dog enjoyed his exploring.

A classic pointing pose, although he's not a pointer and there were no birds in sight.  I think he was simply walking up the hill.

I'm not sure what was under that log that riveted his attention.  It may simply have been the pond water, or there might have been a critter under there.  We'll never know.

We should be home late this afternoon, and pick the dog up from the groomer tomorrow morning.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Traveling.

I've been traveling all day and am now ensconced in a hotel just east of Tuscaloosa, AL.  I'm seeing lots of flags at half-staff, so our President must have ordered it in memoriam of the Colorado tragedy.

Getting my computer running, I'm seeing folks calling for more gun regulations in the wake of this senseless tragedy.  The whole thing about a senseless tragedy is that you cannot make sense of it.  It just is and we've got to deal with that.  However, we can look to our strengths and we can look to our history, and be reminded of what Cesare Beccaria wrote in his Crimes and Punishments when talking of disarming private citizens.
The laws of this nature are those which forbid to wear arms, disarming those only who are not disposed to commit the crime which the laws mean to prevent. Can it be supposed, that those who have the courage to violate the most sacred laws of humanity, and the most important of the code, will respect the less considerable and arbitrary injunctions, the violation of which is so easy, and of so little comparative importance? Does not the execution of this law deprive the subject of that personal liberty, so dear to mankind and to the wise legislator? And does it not subject the innocent to all the disagreeable circumstances that should only fall on the guilty? It certainly makes the situation of the assaulted worse and of the assailants better, and rather encourages than prevents murder, as it requires less courage to attack unarmed than armed persons.
It is interesting that I look to Beccaria when I'm looking to find a quote. My favorite, which has been taped to the inside of my briefcase since before I was commissioned in 1975 is thus:
every act of authority of one man over another, for which there is not an absolute necessity, is tyrannical.
We'd all do well to remember that.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Last Night Together

Here's the picture of our crew, taken outside the restaurant where we all ate supper tonight.

We're all leaving in the morning, so as soon as this is posted, I'm going to pack this computer.  The Sunday Dawg is posted and we'll be on the road tomorrow.  I hope to make Birmingham before stopping for the night.

Colorado Tragedy

I understand that there was a shooting tragedy in Colorado last night as we slept.  It's too early yet to know many details, but reports emerge that as many as 12 were killed, with as many as 50 others wounded.

Let's not rush to judgement, I'm sure we'll learn more as the investigation continues.  Some of the usual suspects are already calling for an assault on the Second Amendment.  I agree with Instapundit that those calling for stiffer regulation suffer from a mix of opportunism and an unwillingness to confront evil.

Let's maintain calm, and see how this shakes out.

Matt's Run

My son, Matthew, is a NASCAR fan, as is almost every redneck in the free world.  His wife did some research and found that there is a race track at Myrtle Beach.  She reserved some track time and he was able to drive a race car under the NASCAR Racing Experience.  They gave him a safety briefing, fitted him in a suit and helmet, and turned him loose in a car.  The car was governed to 100 mph, but he managed to post a lap time of 98.3 mph.  Those cars are "chipped" for amateur drivers but it was a fine experience nonetheless.



It's a five minute video, so watch at your discretion.  PawPaw was taking the video, did the editing, and made the graphics.  Blame the lame graphics and poor editing on me.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Millage Rate: Zero

I've known about this for a week or so, but I've been keeping it quiet until it hit the papers.  The town of Pollock, LA has decided to not collect property taxes this year.  It seems that the town is on a sound financial footing, so the mayor and town council decided to let the residents keep their money in their pockets. 
With a nearly debt-free town, Scott asked the town council to consider not asking for the 7.52 mills of annual property tax from its citizens. The town collected more than $13,000 in total property taxes last year.

"This money is the good citizens of Pollock's anyway, and we're in a good enough financial state to leave it in their pockets," Scott said. The council unanimously voted July 9 to not send out property tax notices this year. The town reserves the right to send out notices in the future if necessary. This does not affect parish or state taxes.
The very idea! A town decides that it doesn't need tax money to operate, so it doesn't collect it. This is revolutionary.  Talk to your local officials about NOT collecting tax money this year.  With good management, they shouldn't need it.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

On Lawyers, Generally

If you're a regular reader of Instapundit, you've probably read about the legal education bubble, and how it's a lousy idea to get into law school right now, and how law students are burdened with heavy student loans and how lousy the job market is for attorneys right now.  Oh, boo hoo hoo.  I am heartily tired of listening to lawyers and law students whine.

Lawyers have generally one advantage that the rest of us don't have and that is their self-policing profession that limits entrance into it.  Most of the lawyers I've known aren't that bright, many of them having spent three years learning a trade that in the past was simply a self-study opportunity.  Any lawyer who passes the bar can hang a shingle that announces; Attorney-At-Law, and go into business for himself.  It's really that simple.  These days anyone with a computer has a law library and any student of college age that can't type has no business in any profession, so these days, lawyering can pretty much be a one-person office.

I don't know any lawyers who were forced to go to law school, and I don't know many lawyers who are starving.  It's a living, a better living than many people have.  The bar association, like many trade unions, inhibits competition by limiting the number of people who can enter the trade, much like the plumbers union.

What it true is that the lawyers union, unlike the plumbers union, hasn't kept pace with the technology.  I can go online and learn to take care of my own plumbing, and I can go online and make my own will.  The plumbers applaud the first, and the lawyers deplore the second.  Get over it.  Plumbers actively seek good applicants for the trade, and help young plumbers succeed.  Apprenticeships, mentoring, and short-term courses help new plumbers learn the trade. Continuing education, on-the-job experience and steady pay make a new plumber into an experienced professional, a credit to his profession and a valued member of the community.

Lawyers would do well to emulate the craft-trades model.  Taking a kid out of high school and teaching him the trade over the course of four or five years might make better lawyers at a lesser price.

But, whatthehell do I know?  I do enough reading to know that what they're doing now ain't working.  Perhaps it's time to think outside the box and get away from that whole three years of graduate work.


Brookgreen Gardens

We went to Brookgreen Gardens this morning, to see sculpture.  Very well done, extremely calm, lovely botanical gardens with scuplture everywhere.  Small sculpture, large sculpture, heroic sculpture, bronze, granite, limestone. 

They have one in the children's section, Frog Baby, that I've seen before, twenty years ago.  He's simply as captivating now as he was then. 

Finally, here's Milady sitting on a bench next to a fellow reading a newspaper.

If you find yourself near Murrell's Inlet, SC, this place is worth a second look.

Arriving at the house in the afternoon, I find my sisters making tacos, nachos, and burritos.  I may have to pour myself a drink.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Beignets

The beignet is a Louisiana donut.  It's fried and rolled in powdered sugar, but we don't put a hole in ours.  Ours are square and sometimes flat.  The corners are chewy and the powdered sugar makes a mess, but oh, they're good.   Made famous by Cafe du Monde in New Orleans, many consider them to be a New Orleans delicacy when the truth is that they're easily made with any good yeast bread dough. 

Here in Myrtle Beach, Momma decided to make beignets for our breakfast this morning, so the ladies set up an assembly line.

Rolled in powdered sugar, they look like this.

Really, they're simple.  Take any frozen yeast roll you find at the grocers, pat it flat and square, fry it in oil, then roll it in confectioners sugar. 

Monday, July 16, 2012

Ferris Wheel

Zach, Milady and I went out this afternoon, plundering about, looking for a diversion.  We found it at the Ferris wheel.  Here's Zach looking down the beach.


A view looking out the other side of the gondola.

We came home to a dinner of jambalaya, salad, and banana pudding.  I think I'm going to go walk on the beach.

Vacation

Living with the whole extended family under one roof is interesting, fun, enjoyable... really.  I'm having a ball.  Getting to know neices and nephews that I see only infrequently is a big draw, and being the curmudgeon I am, when it gets too noisy or crazy, I'm free to withdraw.  We're cooking huge evening meals, designed to feed 50 people.  Last night was chicken 'n dumplings, tonight will be a big jambalaya, and tomorrow night we're cooking meat pies and dirty rice.

That's one of the sisters working in the kitchen, and regular readers will see Milady in the background.

There's the newest member of the clan, napping on a quilt.

We're having a ball. 
 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Vacation Pictures

Taking pictures at the Beach House.  First, my sister raising hell at me for getting a camera near her.


Then, a picture of my mother, looking at my sister raising hell at me.

Then, a picture of Milady, watching my sister raise hell at me.

Can anyone detect a pattern here?

Vacation Day 3

We all closed on Myrtle Beach yesterday.  There are about 48 of us in the house, four generations from 8 months to the late 70s.  We're cooking breakfast right now, and if I were a betting man, I'd bet that the beach will be on the agenda before another hour is finished.

For myself, I intend to rest today.  The remainder of the week will be fairly hectic.  I want to go see Brookgreen Gardens, which is just south of here, but other than that my schedule is flexible. 

More later.

Sunday Morning Dawg

We're on the road and the dog is at a border's place. Lots of dogs to play with and he's got his bed, his bowl, and his food. The border is the same outfit that does the grooming, so she knows him, and he seems to always have fun when he goes for grooming. We're convinced that he's in good hands.

This picture was taken earlier this week as we watched TV.


Oh, yeah! He's got it going on, doesn't he?

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Bonus

Drinking coffee in the hotel room this morning, Milady wandered into the bathroom and exclaimed that we have a whirlpool tub.  The hell you say!  I'd have never noticed.  I can't remember the last time I took a sit-down bath, but I understand that some like them.  Me?  I'm a shower guy.  Still, I don't ever remember having a whirly-pool bath in a side-of-the-highway motor court, ever before.

Just for the record, we're staying at a Jameson Inn.  We've stayed in others on other road trips and we've found them to be consistently clean, quiet, inexpensive rooms for the night.   My standards in hotel accommodations might not be very high, having spent lots of nights in tents with the Guard.  While I like a grand hotel with all the amenities, I also like inexpensive rooms where I know that certain standards are maintained, and Jameson Inns seem to keep those standards.  Next time you're on a road trip, you might give them a chance.   They're PawPaw approved.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Vacation, Day 1

We left the house this morning at 6:20 a.m. and took our time across Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama.  We're currently in Georgia, ensconced in a cheap hotel.  We got through Atlanta relatively painlessly, even though we hit the outskirts of town at 5:00 local.  It didn't turn into a large parking lot, although it was touch and go for a few minutes.  Top speed, about 25 mph, but Atlanta is behind me.

We'll hit the road after breakfast tomorrow morning, planning to close on Myrtle Beach at about 3:00 p.m. local time.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Those California Bankruptcies

I'm reading about those California cities going bankrupt and everyone seems to think that this is something new.  Oh, no, my child.  Cities have been going bankrupt since mankind bound together to live in cities.  Poor fiscal management, an imploding economy, lack of jobs, declining housing market, all these things conspire to make people move away.  Sometimes it's a trickle, sometimes it's a flood, but folks have been building and abandoning cities since time immemorial.  Remember studying Troy?  Point at it on a map.

More recently, in the late 19th, early 20th century we made a lot of boom towns here in the US, then abandoned them.  Google "ghost town" and see how many hits you get.  Wikipedia is a great asset when you want to talk about ghost towns.  Folks move in, folks move away.  After a while, it just doesn't make any sense to stay in that spot, so we pull up stakes and go where the opportunity is.  It's the American way.

This ain't nothing new, folks.  It's as American as apple pie.

Destroy the Pyramids

It seems that some clerics in Egypt want to destroy the Pyramids.
According to several reports in the Arabic media, prominent Muslim clerics have begun to call for the demolition of Egypt’s Great Pyramids—or, in the words of Saudi Sheikh Ali bin Said al-Rabi‘i, those “symbols of paganism,”
Yeah. Y'all have fun with that.  In fairness, Egyptians built them, so I guess Egyptians can tear them down.  It'll be really interesting to see what they do with all the rubble, or if aliens show up to help them.  Of course, the whole world will decry the loss of antiquities.  And, that will remove a huge tourist, academic, and economic draw from the country and the whole place might descend into the middle ages, which seems to the intention of every Muslim cleric who has made the news lately.

UPDATE in comments:  It's a hoax, but I don't put it past them.  Look what they're doing to Timbuctu.

Hat tip to Jeff, at Alphecca.

Rain

It has rained every day for the past four days on my little acre and outside right now we're having a gentle rain.  Today, though, I'm packing for a well anticipated vacation.  I had hoped the rain would cut me a break, so that I could mow the lawn before we left, but that's not in the cards.  It's wet out there, too wet to run a lawnmower.  Milady and I, indeed, the whole clan are leaving tomorrow for Myrtle Beach, SC where we'll all meet on Saturday afternoon and spend a week under the same roof.

It's not the whole clan, but it's enough of us that we've had to rent a big house.  By my last count, there will be 45 of us under that roof.  So, I'm working my lists, making sure the little things are taken care of.  I'll be blogging during the festivities and you'll get plenty of updates.  And, I still have yet to make a couple of decisions.  Big camera or small?  LCP or J-frame?  Those two might be spur-of-the-moment.

We're pulling out shortly after daylight tomorrow morning and we'll drive past Atlanta before we hunker down for the night.  I've been looking forward to this for a long, long time.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

So Predictable

This is so predictable it's no longer worthy of mention.  But, I'll mention it anyway. 
Earlier today, Attorney General Eric Holder addressed the NAACP Nation Convention at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, Texas. What did media need in order to attend? That's right, government issued photo identification (and a second form of identification too!), something both Holder and the NAACP stand firmly against when it comes to voting. Holder's DOJ is currently suing Texas for "discriminatory" voter ID laws.
You need an ID to get in the conference, but you don't need an ID to vote. Are these people stupid, or just brain-washed? In Holder's case, he's evil. Louisiana has a voter ID law, we've had it for years. For some reason, Holder et al has yet to question it. It seems that all these places with voter ID laws would do well to emulate the Louisiana statute. Just sayin'.

3-Shot Groups

Rifle guys are always looking for that magic load that puts all the shots into the same hole and some of us have fixated on three-shot groups.  Three-shot groups are fine for some things, like basic, very basic load development.  If you can't get three shots to shoot into pretty much the same area on the target, the probability is that ten shots won't group there either.  The problem comes in when we start to depend on three-shot groups as a valid indicator of good accuracy.  It just ain't so.

Let's take my Savage 110 for example.  A standard hunting rifle in .30-06, it's got the sporter barrel and a wooden stock.  It's a solid dependable hunting rifle and it generally turns in groups that hover between one and 1.5 inches with good ammo.  It's not a benchrest gun, but it turns in some amazingly small three-shot groups.  Like this target I fired this morning.

 
That's a one-inch dot, by the way, and it shows five shots on paper.  Three of them fell into 0.379 which is magnificent shooting for a bone-stock .30-06.  The other two opened the group to almost 1.5 inches, which is about what I expect from this rifle and my indifferent bench technique.    Let's look at another target that I fired last week from the same rifle, with a different load.

That target represents ten shots fired from the same rifle.  All ten shots fell into two inches, but if you look at the 1-inch squares on the target, you'll see several sub-MOA three-shot groups, yet the entire string of ten shots fell into just a little over 1.5 inches, which is what I expect from this rifle.

Do I use three-shot groups?  Sure I do.  If ammo won't group well with three shots, it won't group well with ten shots, so I use a three-shot group early in load development to show me what won't work.  As I start to fine tune a load, I'll go to five shot, and ten shot groups.  Those groups show me something about the rifle, my technique, and the ammunition.

Don't get hung up on three shot groups.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Impossible

It seems that Chicago is experiencing a spike in gun violence, gang-bangers shooting at each other and killing innocents.  The Mayor is trying to appeal to their values.  Really
(Mayor Rahm) Emanuel -- President Obama's former chief of staff -- told anchor Scott Pelley. "And it is about values. As I said then [when a 7-year-old girl was shot and killed last month], who raised you? How were you raised? And I don't buy this case where people say they don't have values. They do have values. They have the wrong values. Don't come near the kids -- don't touch them."
Yeah, I'm sure that's going to work. Appeal to the values of gangbangers. Of course, all this is un-possible because Chicago is the last bastion of gun-banning America. Another failed social experiment that doesn't work, another failed Democratic policy. Chicago is awash in guns and is living the hell of gang warfare and it doesn't allow law-abiding people to own guns.

Range Day

Just back from the range, I went out today because I knew that a bunch of my brethren would be shooting their annual qualifications and the range officers always make time for those of us who want to qualify with off-duty pieces.  So, I took the Model 38 that I picked up earlier this year. 

Our course with a 5-shot the course is fired at the same distances as with a service revolver or pistol.  Same course, from 25 yards down to 2 yards, shot on the LA P1 target.  The only break they give us is that you're scored on the capacity of the revolver, 5 rounds as opposed to six.  Everything else remains the same and you must score 80% to qualify.    When all was said and done, I had shot an 86, which earned me the qualification I needed.  I had 38 in the center-mass 2-ring, I had 8 in the perimeter 1-ring and I had 4 in the paper outside the scoring area.  The little revolver is not hard to shoot, but it's hard to shoot well.  I need a lot more time with this little revolver before I'll feel good about the little pistol, but sometimes Good Enough is good enough and this morning I qualified.  That's good enough.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Before air conditioning

I grew up before air conditioning.  Oh, it had been invented, but it wasn't common technology.  I seem to remember that Dad had installed an air conditioner in the house on Edwards Street when I was a tiny child, but he only used it when he had to work nights.  It was a window unit that rumbled in Dad's bedroom when he was sleeping during the day.

Not so the house on Airview.  We moved there when I was in the second grade (1962?) and it didn't have air conditioning at all.  It had a big old attic fan with nice windows and we learned to stay close to the windows at night.  Our car didn't have an air conditioner, and theft wasn't much of a problem.  I suppose that there were weeks when the windows stayed down on the car.  I do recall that Daddy put a wooden block inside the door of the back windows on the car, so the baby wouldn't fall out.  Child seats?  Surely you jest.  No one had yet dreamt of such a thing.  In 1964 Momma got a new car, a Ford Galaxy station wagon.  We didn't have A/C in the house, but we had it in the car.  Louisiana afternoons were spent underneath the pecan tree in the back yard, or in the bedroom near the window.  The attic fan made a breeze even when the air was still and the afternoons scorching.  Yeah, we had 100 degree days then too, but they didn't seem to bother us so  much. 

I recall, too, the first time I felt real air conditioning.  Momma was in the A&P and I realized that my legs were cold.  Common attire in those days was blue jean shorts and a tee-shirt, barefoot from June until August, and I realized that I was chilled.  Shocked.  The whole store was air-conditioned.    Several years later (1971), I graduated from Bolton High School and the school wasn't air conditioned.  Hell, it was just barely heated. Cold in the winter and hot in the summer, the school had huge box fans in the hallways to move the warm air.  It was something I guess.

Dad didn't install air conditioning in the house until I went in the Army in 1973.  I came home on leave and noticed that the house was cool.  "When did you do that, Pop?" 

"Shortly after you left, son."

"Thanks, Pop."

What we're having here isn't global warming, folks.  What we're having here is summer.  It gets hot in the summertime.  It has been getting hot for a long time in Louisiana.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Dirty Rice

Dirty rice is a staple of Louisiana cooking, alternatively known as rice dressing.  It's an easy recipe and I talked about it first in this earlier post.  It's a filling way to use what's available and make something tasty that goes well as a side dish.

This is my updated recipe.

Dirty Rice. 

The picture above is a double batch and I made it a little differently than I did the first time I talked about it.  It's easy, peasy and I'll tell you how I made the big batch. 

2 lbs ground beef
2 lbs bulk sausage
2 packs of seasoning vegetables (onion, peppers, celery)
6 cups dry rice
6 chicken bullion cubes
6 cups water

In a large iron pot, brown your meat.  Don't drain it, but take it out and set aside, then sautee the vegetables in the meat drippings until clear.  Drain vegetables and put them in a big baking dish.  As you can see, I've used an aluminum steam table tray.  Add rice.  Stir. Put the bullion cubes into some hot water and dissolve them, then combine to make 6 cups chicken broth.  Add to meat mixture.  Cook uncovered in a 350 oven until the rice is tender and the liquid absorbed.

I made this pan of rice last night to take to a family gathering and we fed 20 people, of course we also had a pork roast, beans, country ribs, fried zucchini and a variety of desserts.  I brought the left-overs home and fed about 12 of those same people for lunch.

This recipe is easily halved and is just as tasty for a more intimate gathering.  It's a staple of cajun cooking.  For a little variety, add a cup or two of chopped chicken livers when you're browning the raw meat.  It's good stuff either way.

Sunday Morning Dawg

It's been a hot, sultry week in central Louisiana, with a couple of afternoon thunderstorms.  The dog has been trying to keep cool, inside as much as possible, but when he's outside he's likely in the shade under Milady's chair.


Unless there's a thunderstorm in the area, at which time he high-tails it for the area under my desk, where he cowers in fright until the storm passes.  With lightning about, he's a scaredy little dog.


Summertime is tough on a fuzzy little dog.

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Vacation Time

We're taking a big family vacation beginning July 13, fifty of us meeting in Myrtle Beach, SC.  It's going to be a hoot.  Some of the family have already left, planning to vaca with the other side of their respective families and meet us on the beach.

Below, a picture of one grandson in Mobile AL.  Astute squids will know immediately where he's touring.

I bet that he had fun crawling around that old hull.

SUL

Speed reholstering, bad idea.  Say Uncle links to an article talking about the problems inherent in holstering a pistol.  The worst part is that you're liable to shoot yourself, which is bad juju at best.

Draw your pistol with the speed necessary, of course.  As Wyatt Earp so famously said, “Fast is fine but accuracy is final. You must learn to be slow in a hurry.” Once you've taken the pistol out, there's no reason to be in a hurry to put it back. Take your time.

"But, PawPaw," you ask, "how do I present myself as non-threatening if I don't immediately intend to shoot?"  Simple, my child.  SUL position.  It's explained here, but a picture is worth a thousand words.

Hands on belly, thumbs interlocked, muzzle down.  Elbows at side.  It's very safe.  In the SRO business, we call it the schoolhouse position.  The firearm is immediately ready for action, but it's non-threatening.  I can holster here at leisure, or be immediately ready to re-engage, at my option.

Once you draw the pistol, everyone is going to know that you're carrying.  There's no rush to put it back in your holster, indeed, it shouldn't be holstered until whatever prompted you to draw in the first place has ceased to be a threat.  You can re-holster at leisure.  Safely, with your finger off the trigger.  Learn to use SUL.  It's a great gun-handling skill.


Sing it, Reba

Driving home last night, listening to a Classic Country station, they played this little piece and I wondered how long it had been since it was recorded.  Long time, it turns out.



Just as good as it was then.

Reloder 15

If you're a reloader, assembling metallic cartridges, you've probably got a can of Unique on your bench.  Marketed by Alliant powder, it's a staple of the pistol cartridges.  I trust Alliant powder, having used them since I began reloading in the mid '70s.  I've burned a bunch of Red Dot, Herco, Blue Dot in shotshell loads and Unique and Bullseye in pistol loads.

When I began casting about for a rifle powder for the .308 several years ago, I first looked to Alliant.  Scrolling down through the powder list, I came upon their webpage for Reloder 15 and saw this little blurb. 
Selected as the powder for U.S. Military's M118 special ball long range sniper round.
Well, hell, if the Army is using it for sniper ammo, that's good enough for me. I've long used surplus military powder in other cartridges, particularly the .30-06. So, I bought  a jug and commenced to load .308 cartridges with it.  It's an extruded propellant, a stick powder, but it meters relatively well.  I normally set my measure to drop the charge just a little light, and trickle up to the preferred weight.  However, when I'm using RL15 and get my Lyman 55 set, the thrown charge is really, really close to what I want to use.  Most of the time, trickling isn't necessary.

As I used it more, I became aware that it shares many properties with other great powders.  At #97 on the Hodgdon Burn Rate Chart, it falls in with a number of good mid-range powders, like IMR 4064 and Hodgdon Varget.  If the Army uses it, I can be assured that it's relatively temperature stable.  And when I loaded it in the .308, it turned it wonderful accuracy.   So much so that my go-to load for the .308 is 43.0 grains of Reloder 15 under either a 150 or a 168 grain bullet.  That load isn't in the top of the velocity range, but it is wonderfully accurate in the four .308s that my family uses and it's been as accurate in the few other rifles I've fired it through.  If a .308 won't shoot that load, look at the gun, or the scope, or the shooter.  It's a great load, and one of my pet loads.

The other day I was casting about for a .30-30 powder and pulled down my manuals.  Reloder 15 was listed in several of them.  "Really?" I thought.  So, I loaded a few and gave them a whirl in my Winchester 94.  Not bad at all.  I'm getting older and my eyes aren't what they used to be.  I still use iron sights on my lever rifles, but the RL15 load turned in better accuracy than I've been getting from both of my other pet loads in that caliber.  Interesting stuff.

This morning I went to the Alliant website again and looked at the calibers where RL15 has an application.  From .17 Remington to .458 Lott, there is a load listed with that powder. Thirty-eight (38) calibers listed with an application. I'm no fan of the Alliant website, and it takes a while to learn to use it to best result, but it's easy to see that Reloder 15 is very versatile.  I reload for about 12 different calibers and RL15 will cover all the bottleneck cartridges I currently load for.

If you're casting about for a mid-range rifle powder, you could do worse than to give Reloder 15 a look.  It's been good for me for several years, and it has the PawPaw seal of approval.

Friday, July 06, 2012

Zucchini

Ha!  Breda planted zucchini, and now it's taking over.  Serves her right.

I planted zucchini once, in a fertile Louisiana bottom-land garden.  Inside a month it had strangled the garden and taken over two acres of pasture.  It was climbing pecan trees and theatening to strangle the cattle while they slept.  It was worse than kudzu, like Jack's Beanstalk run amok.

I'll never again be so weak as to plant zucchini.

Savage 110

Regular readers know the affinity that I have for my Savage 110.  In .30-06, it's been with me for several years and the more I shoot that rifle the more I like it.  Being the type of guy I am, I'm always chasing bughole groups and that Savage has been aggravating me lately.  I bought a bunch of pulled bullets, billed as 150 grain Federal Fusions and I've been trying to get them to work in several .30 caliber rifles.  Wonderfully accurate .308 rifles magically became 3" rifles with those bullets, so I decided I'd try them in the .30-06.  My -06 isn't a bench rifle, nor would it be considered a state-of-the-art long range rifle.  It is what it is, and that's a fairly accurate hunting rifle.  It shoots about 1.5-2.0 inches with whatever ammo I put through it.  It wears a Weaver fixed 6X scope and is not bedded in its wooden stock.  It's a hunting rifle, plain and simple.  Rugged, dependable, it has been lots of miles on the backs of ATVs and in my pickup truck.  It gets beat around, taken out of it's case and fired at things that need to be shot.  Whatever I shoot with it stays shot.

Anyway, I decided to try those Fusion bullets, the same ones that wouldn't shoot in the .308, and sure enough, they wouldn't shoot in the .30-06 either.  I tried every trick in the book and they turned in a fairly repeatable 3" group with everything I shot them through.  I was shooting them through the Savage this morning and accuracy was so horrible that I started doubting myself, doubting my rifle, doubting my scope.  Is something wrong?  Has my scope gone south?  Is the sun in my eyes, or the wind playing tricks? 

In a fit of pique, I decided the hell with it, let have some fun.  I took out a box of Garand loads, 47.0 grains of IMR 4895 with the 165 Sierra Gameking bullet.  This rifle has always liked this load, so I put the bags aside and shot off my elbows.  I shot four shots at one target, then looked through the spotting scope.  It was an okay group, but nothing to write home about, so I switched targets and fired six shots as fast as I could work the bolt and reload.  I walked down to get the target before coming home and sat at the bench to look at my shooting.  Superimposing one group over the other, I took my pen and circled the holes from one target onto another.  Then thought "I'll be damned."

That composite target reveals ten (10) shots in under two inches, centered one inch over the aiming point.  If my calculations are correct, that lets me shoot a game animal at about 250 yards and hold on hair the whole time.  There is not a lot wrong with that for hunting purposes.  Minute of deer out to 250 yards, with a hunting rifle, an un-bedded hunting rifle using a $200.00 scope.

It is true that I could spend some time and money, upgrading the scope, upgrading the stock, worrying about seating depths and doing ladder tests and I might find a load that works better in my rifle, but it won't make me a better hunter and it won't let me shoot farther than I can see on my lease.  Lots of time we spend time, effort and money chasing a bughole group and that's fine if that's what you want to do.  But I'm confident that my rifle and my load will seriously whack whatever I need to whack, and in the final analysis, isn't that what we want a rifle to do?

Sometimes good enough is good enough.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

The Winchester 94

I went to the range today at noon, the temperature a balmy 96F, with humidity at about 80%.  Breezes calm.  I was shooting my Savage 110 .30-06 with a Garand load, the load I'm going to use for hunting this year.  It pushes a 150 grain Federal Fusion bullet to about 2750 fps with 49.0 grains of IMR 4895.  It's a good load, and ought to whack our smallish whitetail deer just fine.

However, because I knew that sighting in the Savage wasn't going to take long, I also took along a rifle that I haven't shot in several years.  It's a Winchester 94, the old top eject model.  More particularly, it's called the Antique Model. 

This is a standard Winchester Model 94, a post 64.  Winchester built this model from 1964 to 1983 to appeal to customers who wanted an older-style rifle.  One wag described it as "Winchester's attempt to put a dress on a pig."  My particular rifle was made in 1965.  I shortened the stock a few inches, added a recoil pad and installed a Lyman FP receiver sight.

I had forgotten how much fun it is to shoot this little rifle.  I use the Lyman 311041, which is a flat nosed, gas checked design that weighs about 170 grains.  I double-lube them with liquid alox, size to 0.309 and load over a middling charge of IMR4895.  The little bullet leaves the muzzle at about 1850 fps and while that isn't sizzling by any means, it's nothing to sneeze at, either.  It's not a bench rifle at all, was never designed to be, but if my eyes were better I might be able to shoot the rifle more accurately than I do.  Sill, it's minute of deer accurate out to about 100 yards and it's still shooting into the front sight.



What does that mean?  Shooting into the front sight?  Simply, the front sight on my rifle is a standard Winchester bead, measuring 0.075" and the sight is 28 inches from my eye.  By doing just a little geometry, we learn that the little front sight covers more and more area the further away the target is.  In my case, it covers 4.8 inches at 50 yards and 9.6 inches at 100 yards.  I've got the sights set so that whatever I cover with that little bead gets smacked by a bullet, so it is shooting into the area covered by the front sight. 

I fired about 20 shots through it to verify the zero and to reacquaint myself with the rifle.  At  6 lbs, 4 oz, it's a dandy little carrying rifle in a serious caliber.  And, using cast bullets, it is very economical to shoot.  I recently figured my reloading costs for the little rifle and I'm feeding the little gun for under 10 cents a pop..  Very inexpensive shooting.

Hypocrisy

I remember under the Bush administration the wails of the loyal opposition about keeping prisoners in Guantanamo, about secret prisons, rendition, illegal wars. I'm not hearing that any more. Guantanamo is still open. Where's the outrage? Simple, they all got administration jobs. Those same high-minded liberals who blasted the Bush administration over their war-on-terror policies have all become hypocrites. Follow the link above and you'll learn about rendition, hellish prisons, and drone strikes. You'll also learn that those same folks screaming about Bush are doing that very work under Obama. The best summary I've seen so far comes from Glenn Reynolds.
Let me be clear: All you people who were playing the have-you-no-decency card under Bush, but who aren’t screaming just as loud now — which is pretty much all of you people who were playing the have-you-no-decency card under Bush — were and are miserable lying hacks. And I thank Obama for making that perfectly clear, at least.
Hypocrites.  It's easy to decry something then later learn you're wrong, but without a clear explanation and public apologies to those that you've stung, you're still a hypocrite. 

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

What Health Care Decision?

Reveling in my sloth this morning, I come upon this Washington Post article that talks about a recent Pew Poll concerning the information that people watch to be informed about current events. 
Inside the numbers was — not surprisingly — even more eye-opening. Among 18- to 29-year-olds, one of the electoral pillars on which Obama’s 2008 victory was built, 43 percent didn’t know anything about the court ruling, and other 20 percent thought the court had rejected most of the tenets of the law. That means that roughly two in every three young people didn’t know or were mistaken about what happened Thursday at the court.
That's reassuring. Still, I remember (faintly) being in that demographic. I was concerned about paying my bills, furthering my career, worrying about kids, sometimes I'd go days between reading a newspaper or watching the evening news.
Most people — especially those who are unaffiliated or independent voters — tend to be relatively low information voters. That is, they don’t have all the facts on an issue — and they don’t really care to find them out.
I doubt that I'll ever have ALL the facts on an issue, especially on those issues that really interest me, but I like to have as many of the facts as possible, especially if those facts support my prejudices. I like to think that I'm an informed voter, but this poll makes me wonder.