Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's

A student working for the school newspaper asked me just prior to the Christmas break if I had any New Year resolutions.

I told her that I resolved to make no resolutions.

Milady and I are going down the road later to see if we might find refreshment and light recreation. Music, as it were, with lighthearted company.

I still resolve to make no resolutions.

Happy New Year's.

Smith on Guns

Sometimes I wonder what drives other folks. Liberal, inner-city types. It helps me to understand how they think. If the way they think is understandable. So, we go to the Detroit News, where we find a blog by Robert Smith. He claims to be a liberal who admires Mathatma Ghandi, with an occupation of Christian Minister. Yet, he fails to understand what Ghandi said about non-violence.
No doubt the non-violent way is always the best, but where that does not come naturally the violent way is both necessary and honourable. Inaction here is rank cowardice and unmanly.
Ghandi understood the use of violence for social change. Smith doesn't understand what Ghandi stood for.

Smith also doesn't understand the 2nd Amendment. He rannts that:
The right to bear arms is killing all of us. In 2005 the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported 3,006 children and teens killed by gunfire, most of them young, black men in inner-city neighborhoods. And CNN reported yesterday that black-on-black murder of young black men is up 40 percent from last year. The harder the times get, the higher these statistics will go.
Yet, we'd wonder why young black men kill young black men and what a liberal black minister from Detroit might do about it. The easy thing of course, ban all the guns.

He's probably not aware that gun control is used mainly as race control and that banning guns is historically the way that white overlords controlled the colored classes. He's also probably not aware that the 2nd Amendment recognizes a human right to self-defense.

One might think that a liberal black christian minister in Detroit would also be a staunch defender of basic human civil rights.

You'd be wrong.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Apples and Oranges

In comments about the post on the .17 HMR, commenter Old NFO asks:
Interesting... Better than a good .22?
Uuuh, no.

Nothing is better than a good .22, although lots of things are better suited for a particular task. I like my .22s, but they're not much good at 100 yards, and not much good past that, where I'm learning that the little .17 HMR is good out past 100 yards, even out past 200 yards for some types of shooting.

The .17 HMR is a necked down .22 magnum case stuffed full of L'il Gun powder. The 17 grain bullet leaves that barrel at something over 2500 fps. On my deer lease, it's fashionable to take a .17 HMR to the stand to watch over the food plot. In the absence of venison, a swamp rabbit is liable to sun himself amongst the greens and the .17 HMR can take him at ranges that might prove inconvenient for the .22 LR.

Also, that little .17 caliber bullet is very frangible. It's going to disintegrate if it hits anything. I've talked about the over penetration of the .22 LR and the .17 isn't capable of much penetration with the varmint bullet.

The short answer is that it'll never replace the .22 LR in my battery. It also won't replace the .243, or the .30-06. However, if I'm asked to snipe at crows, or if I'm forced to do varmint work when raccoons are depredating the muscadines, I'll probably pick the .17 HMR. I know that it's fast enough to do the job and I know that the bullet isn't going to ricochet into the next parish.

When I'm squirrel hunting, I'll take the .22s. Nothing much beats a .22 LR for the squirrel woods. The .17 is a caliber I'll use as a step between the .22s and the .243s.

But no, nothing is better than a good .22.

Manual Labor

For the past two days, PawPaw has been engaged at manual labor over at Momma's house. She's got eight acres way out in the country and during the last hurricane, Gustav, her place took a battering. Two trees fell near the house and another fell on the garden.

She had someone cut the trees up, but two of them were big white oaks and one was a huge pine. My sisters decided that this week was the time to clean up around there, so PawPaw got pressed into duty as drag-it labor. For the past two days we've been dragging limbs to burn piles and I'll be we put a couple of thousand board-feet of wood through the fire. PawPaw's tired and the majority of the work is done. I had two of the grandkids with me while their father worked, and they got a workout too. It wasn't hard to put them to bed last night. I doubt their Daddy will have much trouble getting them to sleep tonight.

The tree is out of the garden, stacked and ready to burn. The garden is gone too. It's been mowed into lawn. Momma's roses survived and look great. The two trees behind the barn are still laying there, for the most part, but all the small limbs are gone and burned. All that's left is sections of tree trunk that are too big to move. We can walk through there now. I taught my sister to drive the tractor and we used chain to move the trunk sections so we can move about. I'll have to get the splitter out there and split them. That's a job for another day.

We'll be back at Momma's tomorrow morning, running a chain saw and cutting up stove wood for an elderly lady down the road. We'll cut a rick of small stove wood and have it delivered.

PawPaw's sore, but Momma's place is starting to look like Daddy would have wanted it to look.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Watching the carnage

Hamas never ceases to sicken me. In a cockpit video, the IAF shows the destruction of a Hamas missile situated in a residential area. The video is linked here.

I see that Egyptian forces have fired on Palestinians breaching the border trying to escape.
Egyptian border guards have opened fire on Palestinians who breached the border to escape Israel's assault on Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

An Egyptian security official said there were at least five breaches along the nine-mile border and hundreds of Palestinian residents were pouring in...snip
The Egyptians don't want them either. However, it seems that the Egyptians actually have a border barrier, something that needs to be breached. They're way ahead of the United States in that regard.
Palestinians reported several people were wounded by the gunfire...snip
And, I'm sure we'll be seeing them on TV shortly, blamed on the Israelis.
Israeli aircraft earlier bombed the border area in an apparent attempt to destroy cross border tunnels used to smuggle weapons and contraband into the Gaza Strip...snip
Well, of course they did. Hamas uses any means necessary to smuggle weapons into Gaza.

Some sources are reporting that Israel is preparing a ground assault.
Israeli tanks deployed on the edge of the Gaza Strip, poised to enter the densely populated enclave of 1.5 million Palestinians. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's cabinet approved a call-up of 6,500 reservists, a government official said.
The Israelis are as good or better at tank warfare than the United States. If they roll tanks, I expect that someone is in a world of hurt. Of course, most journalists can't tell a tank from an Infantry Fighting Vehicle, and they don't care to know the difference. The difference is huge. Journalists are generally ignorant of such things.

This is a damn shame. The Palestinian people I know are gentle, loving, caring people. Maybe that's why they left Palestine. This madness won't be over until Palestinian mothers love their children more than they hate Israel. Don't quote me on that, but that's a badly worded summary of something someone else wrote long ago.

Hat tip to Instapundit, Drudge, AP, and other news agencies

.17 HMR

I took the little Savage 93R17 to the range today along with the Ruger 77. While I shot one, the other rested.

I'm going to like this little rimfire, although it needs a better scope. The little 2X7 that's on it is a low-end scope and it didn't seem to have good definition. The target wasn't sharply defined, always seemingly a bit out of focus regardless of how I'd set the focus ring or the power settings. The little rifle deserves a better scope and it'll get one in the spring.

Still, the rifle was surprisingly accurate, capable of one-hole groups at 25 yards and sub one-inch groups at 50 yards. At 100 yards the group really opened up, but I think that's a function of the scope more than a failing of the rifle. We may have had parallax issues at 100 yards, which certainly mitigates against good shooting.

Still, at 50 yards I wouldn't be uncomfortable taking a shot at small game. I was using one-inch target dots against white paper and a representative five-shot group looks like this.

That's with the 17 grain Hornady ammo. I'll have to get a box of the 20 grain stuff, and try the Remington and Federal ammo, but so far I'm pleased with this little rifle.

It'll be fun to put a good scope on it and see what it'll do.

Ruger .25-06

I finally got a chance to take the Ruger Model 77, .25-06 to the range today.

I'm impressed.

It's a pawn shop rifle and I picked it up for a good price. Before I started making ammo for it, I took it down, gave it a good cleaning and floated the barrel. Ruger puts a little ledge on the forward end of the stock to put upward pressure on the barrel. Everything I had read told me that floating the barrel would go a long way toward making the rifle shoot.

I picked Sierra Gameking bullets because this rifle is going to be a hunting companion. Gameking's are a standard boat-tailed spitzer bullet of conventional construction. Because the little cartridge is overbore, I figured that a slow burning powder would be best and the Alliant guide told me that Reloder 22 would be a good place to start.

So, I loaded some 117 grain Gameking bullets over varying charges of Reloder 22. I started at 49 grains and worked up to 52 grains at one grain intervals. I didn't do anything special to the Winchester brass other than full-length sizing and camfering it.

When I got to the range today, the weather was drizzling rain intermittently, but the wind was dead calm. Temperatures were about 60 degrees. I set up some sand bags and began at 25 yards. The scope was close, about an inch low at 25 yards, so I took the target out to 100 yards and settled down behind the scope.

This rifle wears an old Tasco fixed 6X scope. I like fixed power scopes on hunting rifles. My Savage .30-06 wears a 6X Weaver. I was pleasantly surprised that the old Tasco was as clear as it was. The targets were 2" target dots and they were easily viewed through the glass. All targets were three-shot strings with the rifle allowed to cool 5 mintes between strings.

This target, below, was shot with 50.0 grains of Reloder 22. When I looked through the spotting scope, I was pleasantly surprised.

After cooling I fired a string with 51.0 grains of Rel 22 which was no great load. I put in the last test rounds, 52.0 grains of Rel 22 and settled in behind the rifle.

That's also a fine target, and it's considerably narrower than the one above. I may have pulled that last shot, throwing it high. The width of that group is just over a half-inch, but the height of the group makes it almost 9/10ths of an inch.

Still, the little Ruger is a shooter. With both 50.0 grains and 52.0 grains of Rel 22 it turns in fine accuracy. I didn't put anything over the chronograph today, but my data tells me that both loads are running on the far side of 2800 fps.

I think I'm going to like this rifle a lot.

I wonder

Courtesy of David Codrea, we learn of a gun buyback program in Los Angeles. It's seems that if you turn in a gun, you're given a $100 gift card or a $200 gift card, depending on type of firearm surrendered.

I generally agree with David's perspective on the issue, but there are a couple of questions I always have about these things.

1. Are the police making a record of model and serial number and running them through NCIC? I'd hate to have one of my guns stolen, then turned in and melted down. Especially if the police had it in their possession.

2. Are the police requiring IDs from the people who turn in the guns? Running names through databases and making sure that convicted felons aren't breaking the law by turning in guns they shouldn't have in the first place.

3. Are the police test-firing the guns and keeping records for ballistic matching? If I had a murder gun and I was sure the police would melt it down, then that would be a perfect time to discard it. Especially if turning it in would insure a cash reward.

If the cops aren't doing those things, then they're incompetent at best, and complicit in crime at the worst.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Wind Advisory

While we were at the range this morning, the wind was terrible. Blowing strongly enough from the Southwest that partially full ammo boxes were blowing off the shooting benches. The gusts had to be at least 35 mph or better, crossing from right to left. I saw a padlock get blown off a table. The wind was stiff.

Then I get home and find this advisory from the National Weather Service:
... Lake Wind Advisory in effect until 6 PM CST this afternoon...

The National Weather Service in Lake Charles has issued a lake Wind Advisory... which is in effect until 6 PM CST this afternoon.

Winds will be south at 15 to 25 mph with gusts up to 35 mph this afternoon. Winds will decrease to 10 to 15 mph after sunset tonight.
I'll say.

I had the little .17 HMR in the truck, but I never took it out of the cab. Shooting a 17 grain bullet into a 35 mph crossing wind, I doubt I could have kept the hits on the berm, much less on a target.

I'm going back to the range tomorrow afternoon, alone. I'll take the .17 and the .25-06. Hopefully the wind will cooperate.

Iron Sight Saturday

I went out to the Woodworth range this morning to try out the Model 28 and the 1894C with the re-engineered TLC 358-190 RF bullet. After the debacle where I hadn't seated the bullet deeply enough, I took great care to insure that the loaded cartridge would fit in both the pistol and the rifle. The results were worth it.

That's four shots into 1.2 inches at 50 yards, with a called flyer opening up the group to 3.4 inches. This isn't bench work, this is off-the-elbows work with iron sights. It's interesting to note that the orange circle is six inches in diameter and that my front sight completely subtended the circle at 50 yards. So, the load is shooting into the front sight.

I took grandson Michael, 11 years old. He started on pistol work this morning, shooting the Ruger Mark II. He expended all of PawPaw's .22LR ammo working the little pistol. I didn't pester him about technique, just gave him some basics and watched over him for safety. He understands the Four Rules and is generally very safety conscious. Still, it was his first time with a handgun, so I watched him like a hawk.

That's four or five magazines at 5 yards. His technique could use some work, but this was his first time with a pistol and his first time with iron sights. I think he did okay. We talked about the difference between irons and scopes all the way home.

It was a memorable morning for the both of us.

Hamas starts war

Hamas has been raining rockets on Israel now for a couple of weeks. Several a day.

This morning, Israel had enough. They're hammering Hamas targets. Of course, Hamas lives among the population. They use backyards to launch rockets. They're terrorists of the worst stripe.

Expect civilian casualties. Hamas uses the population as shields and as propaganda fodder. Hamas wants civilian casualties, so they do everything they can to cause them. And frankly, the residents of Gaza have only themselves to blame. They allow it. If you let your backyard be used as a rocket launching site, you shouldn't complain when Israel bombs your house into rubble. That's common sense.

The people of Gaza are bereft of common sense.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Friday morning

It's Friday, the 26th, so Christmas is over. We had the kids over for Christmas Eve, let the grandkids open presents, ate a hearty meal, and had a wonderful time. Yesterday, Christmas proper, we did nothing. Piddled around the house, rested, entertained friends late in the afternoon. Christmas day was a very quiet one here at the house.

Milady did surprise me with a new rifle under the tree. A Savage model 93R17. It's one of the older models, without the Accutrigger. I've never played with the 17 HMR caliber, so I spent yesterday researching it on the computer. (It was Christmas day. The stores were closed and the range was closed. Thank God the internet was open.) It's basically a .22 magnum necked down to 17 caliber, and stuffed with Li'l Gun powder. The bullet is one of several, but Hornady makes it in either a 17 grain ballistic tip or a 20 grain ballistic tip. Actually, CCI manufactures the cartridges for themselves, Hornady, and others. Hornady makes the little Accutip bullets.

My brother-in-law tells me the cartridge is the bees knees for small varmints. Around here that's crows, raccoons and possums. I wonder if it'd penetrate an armadillo's shell?

The little cartridge pushes the bullet out at about 2600 or 2700 fps, which isn't especially fast. It's quick for a rimfire cartridge, but I've got a lot of cartridges in my armory that go faster. Heck, the old standard .30-06 is faster than that. The .243, .25-06, and 7mm mag leave it in the dust.

My rifle is the heavy-barreled model and someone mounted it with a cheesy little scope with big ole target turrets. Supposedly, it's designed for the .17 caliber, because the elevation turret is marked .17 HMR, but the scope itself doesn't have a maker's name that I can see. They were so proud of it they didn't want to sign it. Still, what I read about the cartridge and the rifle is that the Savage heavy barrel and the .17 HMR cartridge is a tack-driving combo. We'll see.

It should be a good cartridge to teach the grandkids about bolt-action rifles. If it's as accurate as I'm told, then it'll get a better scope and become a teaching rifle. It's good to have a low-recoil rifle to teach kids how to shoot, and teach raccoons to stay out of the muscadines.

Later today I have some errands to run, and one of those errands will be to buy some .17 HMR ammo.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Doctors can't cure cancer, aids, common cold, Incompetent.

Ya see, that's what happens when people have opinions about things outside their area of expertise. Just like this article, where doctors in New York say that the police use excessive force.
The sample included 315 respondents. While 99.8 percent believed excessive force is used, almost as many (97.8 percent) reported that they had managed cases that they suspected or that the patient stated had involved excessive use of force by law enforcement officers.
And they would know what excessive force looks like... how? Oh, the patient said it. That makes all the difference.

I'll admit that what we do sometimes looks excessive. I'll also admit that when we use excessive force, we're running the danger of losing the trust of the public and opening ourselves to criticism. I'll also tell anyone who's had to deal with an intoxicated, angry, out-of-control arrestee, what looks excessive may not be. That's for the Courts to sort out, not the doctors. A doctor has no more business giving opinions in this matter than I have giving medical advice.

If the doctors who talk about the police want to talk about professionalism, how about learning to cure the common cold, or Aids, or cancer. You guys haven't figured that out yet? What are you doing? Standing around with your fingers up your butts? I'd suggest that until you get a 12-hour cure for the common cold, that you shut-the-hell up about anything not medical related.

I promise to refrain from giving medical advise.

Hat tip to Matt G.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

In a few minutes I'll be turning the computer off. We've got family coming for dinner and Milady will have my afternoon totally engaged. It's good.

I'd like to take a minute and wish my half-dozen readers a wonderful Merry Christmas. Take time to remember the reason for the season. Take a few minutes to thank God for the soldiers who are standing the line today. Take another minute and thank God for the police who are patrolling your streets, the firemen in the station houses, and the nurses walking the floor. These folks don't get to take off and they make the best of the Christmas day by serving the rest of us.

Merry Christmas, everyone.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


I see that Caroline Kennedy wants to be the new Senator from New York, filling Hillary Clinton's post. Lots of folks are opposed to the appointment, as her resume makes Sarah Palin look like an extremely seasoned public servant with a long history of elected offices. In short, Princess Caroline has no resume except her surname. The New York Times reports that her Highness is failing to make financial disclosure required to seek the post.
If she were applying to be, say, an undersecretary of education in Barack Obama’s new administration, Caroline Kennedy would have to fill out a 63-item confidential questionnaire disclosing potentially embarrassing text messages and diary entries, the immigration status of her household staff, even copies of every résumé she used in the last 10 years.

If she were running for election to the Senate, Ms. Kennedy would have to file a 10-part, publicly available report disclosing her financial assets, credit card debts, mortgages, book deals and the sources of any payments greater than $5,000 in the last three years.
Heaven forbid that the common folk be able to look at the personal fortune of someone who did nothing to earn it.

From Michelle Malkin, we learn of a photoshop by Tennyson Hayes that portrays the attitude of the regal Caroline Kennedy.

Caroline says that she's willing to make disclosure once she's appointed.
Ms. Kennedy declined on Monday to reply to those and other questions posed by The New York Times about any potential ethical, legal and financial entanglements. Through a spokesman, she said she would not disclose that kind of information unless and until she becomes a senator.
I don't have a dog in this hunt, because she won't be representing me, but I think that the last thing we need in this country are appointed Senators. If she wants the job, let her run for it. Let the voters decide. This business about appointing people to elected offices is a bunch of hogwash.

The smartest thing for Governor Paterson to do would be to hold a special election. Let the people decide.

As for Caroline, the hell with her.

In praise of the .22 Long Rifle

Every generation discovers the .22 Long Rifle (.22LR) cartridge. As ubiquitous as can be, it's properly a starter round for pistol and rifle shooting. It's inexpensive, you can buy it anywhere, and it's not reloadable. The .22LR is about as common and basic as they come.

Conceived by the J. Stevens Arms and Tool Co. in 1887, it was a redesign of the Flobert BB Cap. It's a rimfire, like many of the cartridges of the day. The fact that it survives as a common ammunition is a testament to the versatility of the round. The fact that it is probably the most produced ammunition in the world is a testament to the low cost, usefulness, and just plain fun available with a .22.

Some forums considered the .22 Long Rifle as a commodity. When we'd talk about firearms owned or shot, we didn't talk about the .22LR because the assumption was that everyone owned one, or two, or three.

As a law enforcement officer, I've been around lots of crime committed with a .22LR. In the words of one of my old chiefs, "It's an over-penetrating sonofabitch." That's true. That little bitty old round that everyone dismisses as a low-power round is capable of quite a bit of penetration.

Courtesy of the Western Rifle Shooters Association, the forum at Sniper's Hide has a thread about the lethality of the round. The guy making the report had shot a turkey, wrapped in 3 layers of clothing at 300 yards.
After shooting the 300 yards and taking back the target to the Jeep, we realized that one round had gone through the whole turkey, the clothing layers in the front AND the layers in the back as well!!!!!!!!!! And this had to occur between 250 yards and 300 yards. This was MUCH MORE than I ever had anticipated for the standard velocity 22LR round!!!!!!!!!!
No, I'm not touting the round for long-range sniping, nor am I recommending it as a large game round. It's still a rimfire .22 for gosh sake.

That said, however, I once had the experience of watching a guy take a whitetail deer with the .22LR. We were squirrel hunting during the deer season and my hunting partner jumped a deer in the edge of a woodline. He was carrying a semi-auto .22 and in the space of two seconds, put five rounds in a nice little group of that deer's ribcage. That deer walked about ten steps and folded up. Four of the five bullets had gone completely through the animal.

Don't go deer hunting with your .22. It's illegal in most states. However, the anecdote illustrates the ability of a round that is low cost, low recoil, universally available and highly accurate.

Next time you go to the range, or to the plinking grounds, take your .22. You might become re-acquainted with an extremely versatile caliber. Better yet, take a new shooter and let them have some success with a very old cartridge.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Monday ramblings

I got up this morning and went looking for a final Christmas gift. I walked into the mall at 9:00 and found that in umpteen-basillion suare feet of shopping space there wasn't a single gift there I liked. I did buy a card at the pharmacy, but I could have bought a card anywhere. Malls suck.

I came home to let Milady run her errands. We're watching kids today while parents work. I took out the lead pot and let it heat while the kids and I ate sandwiches for lunch, then I went to the garage and started making bullets, both the Lyman 311041 and the Lee TLC-358-180-RF. In just a matter of a few minutes I had emptied the pot and have a pile of bullets. Six-hole molds rock. I'd like to get a couple of more bullet molds, but I'm through with little 2-hole molds. If you want to cast a pile of bullets, you want the 6-hole molds.

The weather is cold for Louisiana. Lousy cold. It's still 33F on my back porch thermometer. I have to leave here about 2:00 p.m. to go to the schoolhouse and provide security for a soccer game, then later for a basketball game. I'll get home about 9:30 p.m. tonight. The only saving grace is that when it's cold outside, it doesn't take long to clear the fans out of the parking lot. The colder the better. There was a night a couple of years ago when we had a cold night, then just as the basketball game broke up, the rain turned to sleet. The fans departed at a sprint.

I guess I better go dig out my long-woolies. Those polyester uniforms do nothing to block the wind and the cold and thermal underwear is a big help.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Overall Length

When reloading, it's important to pay attention to overall length. It's important when you want ammo that works. For example:

I'm a fan of the .357 magnum cartridge. All of my revolvers are chambered for either .357 magnum or .38 special. Recently, a bunch of us from over at the Cast Boolit forum made a group order for a special bullet mold. The mold in question is a custom Lee 6-hole mold that throws a tumble lube, .358 inch, 180 grain, flat point, gas checked bullet. It's a big ole bullet with a wide flat meplat. It was designed for the .35 Remington rifle cartridge, but I thought it might be the bees knees in the .357 cartridge.

It's a good looking bullet and last week I finally got around to loading some. I used Alliant 2400 powder and a CCI primer, trying to get a load that would fly at about 1300 fps out of my revolver. After I had loaded a couple, I thought they looked a bit long, so I picked up my SW Model 66 and loaded a couple into the cylinder. They fit fine, and weren't too long for the cylinder. Great! I loaded the remaining brass and set them aside.

This morning, I took another revolver, My SW 27 6", my Marlin 1894C, that loaded ammo, and went to the range. Imagine my surprise when I loaded a cylinder and had the cylinder lock up as soon as I closed it into the frame. A quick survey of the problem showed me that the ammo was too long for the cylinder. Of course, you can click on the picture for a bigger view.

I was considerably surprised at this development. The ammo fit fine in my K-frame Model 66, but wouldn't fit in my N-frame Model 27. I figured that SW chambers would be the same length, but I'd obviously be wrong about that. So, while I thought about how to get my cylinder un-stuck, I tried to run a few rounds through the Marlin lever action. The ammo was too long for that action, too. It wouldn't feed. Some more reloading was obviously in order, with the bullets seated more deeply in the cases.

The rangemaster at the range carries a K-frame SW Model 13, which is a close cousin to my Model 66. I asked him to try the ammo in his revolver and it fit just fine.

He ran a cylinder through and it shot surprisingly well in his revolver, turning in tiny groups. So, I gave him about 30 rounds, rather than having to pull the ammo down. He can shoot it and he'll return the brass at some point in the future. He says he might do some late season deer hunting with it, and it'll be perfect for that role.

Afterwards, we took my locked-up revolver to his shop and I whacked the cylinder with a rubber mallet. It opened and we got the ammo out. Again, I was considerably dismayed at this development.

I came home and measured the cylinders of those two pistols for total length. Both the M66 and the M27 cylinder are recessed and both barrels are pinned. The Model 66 cylinder length measured at 1.672 inches with my calipers. The Model 27 cylinder measured at 1.623 inches. That's almost five-hundredths difference in the two revolvers, and the small K-frame has a longer cylinder than the larger N-frame. The loaded cartridge, interestingly, measured at 1.662, which is over the SAAMI length, but it fit and functioned in the K-frame. I'd have thunk that all Smith and Wesson .357 cylinders were the same length, but I'd have been wrong. That's not a mistake I'm likely to make again soon.

I'll reload some more and pay attention to my OAL. This is a lesson I don't intend to repeat.

Saturday, December 20, 2008


Youngest son, Joey graduated from college last night. He took a Bachelors degree from Northwestern State University. No pictures of the graduate. Somehow, I missed getting a picture of him in his mortar and robe. No problem. I got a picture of the important fellow of the night. This was probably Grandma's last chance to see the grandson for several months, and we've got to have pictures.

They're leaving this morning for Florida. When we were there last night, the U-Haul truck was packed and only the bare essential things were unpacked. The plan is that this morning they wake, throw everything in the van, and head southeast. She's got a job with the city of St. Augustine awaiting her, and he's interviewing with the local Boy Scout council on December 23rd.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Auto Woes

The automakers are crying, whining, begging in the streets. No one's buying their cars. Chrysler is closing all it's plants for 30 days. I bet the UAW likes that, right at Christmas. Lots of members laid off during the holidays.

The auto makers are in a bind and I understand that. We don't need to bail them out and it looks like they're trying to survive until the Lightworker is ensconced at the White House. But, the bind they're in is of their own making. The boom days are over and they've got to get smart, quick. Lean business models.

I'm the type of guy that needs a pickup. Not right now, I have a good pickup truck, but I need a full-sized pickup. I've been a pickup truck driver for all my adult life. In agriculture, I damn sure needed a pickup to haul cattle trailers, loads of fertilizer, hay, all the stuff that goes with the cattle business. Nowadays, I still haul stuff. Bags of corn and deer feeders to the lease, I tow trailers regularly. Little single axle and medium double axle trailers. I haul stuff to the lease, to Momma's house, and to the school. I'm often hauling grandkids. I need a full-sized pickup truck.

My needs are simple.

1. Extended cab pickup (I need the back seat)
2. V8 engine (or a big V6. I need towing capacity)
3. AM/FM radio
4. Receiver hitch
5. Air conditioning
6. Cruise control

I don't need carpet, and while cloth seats are nice, vinyl suits me fine. I don't need electric windows, although they are nice and are almost considered standard these days.

A number of companies make a truck like this. Ford, Chevy, Dodge, Toyota, they all make them. And, they're priced pretty much alike.

Ford prices their F150 XL Supercab at $25,520
Chevy's 2009 Silverado 1500 Work truck shows an MSRP of $26,805
Dodge has something called the 2009 Ram 1500 Quad ST 4x2 for $26,245
Toyota has something called the Tundra, for $25,785
Nissan builds a truck called the Titan, for $27,220

We're talking a difference here of under $2,000 with the options I want and the drivetrain I need. There isn't a lot of difference in any of them.

I bought my first house for $23,500. Each of these trucks costs more than a house. If they'd put a porta-potty in the back, I'd see if they'd qualify for an FHA loan.

I'll wait another couple of years, and buy another used pickup. If Ford, Chevy, Dodge, or any of the others would build a decent full-sized truck like I've described above and price it at or below $20,000 they'd sell a bunch of them.

Nissan and Toyota are probably selling theirs at what the market will bear. They're kicking the domestic manufacturers into bankruptcy. If Ford, Chevy, or Dodge could make a full sized pickup with 2-row seating, air conditioning, and a receiver hitch, for under $20K, the market would be all over it.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Gotta Love it

Ya gotta love this picture. In it, my youngest son, Joey is holding his son, Elyas. They're at work. Joey works at Fort St. Jean Baptiste in Natchitoches, LA. He dresses for the work as an 18th Century colonial.

Occasionally the Fort has an encampment and other folks are allowed to dress. Joey took Elyas to work, also dressed as an 18th century colonial. But look what Joey is carrying along with the baby. That's a musket, of course. Joey, being raised in my household, is very familiar with firearms, and exceeding familiar with muzzleloaders. His first rifle was a muzzleloader.

His lovely wife got into the act. She's also a capable shot, wonderful daughter-in-law, serious academic, and sparkling dinner companion.

Actually, this was Joey's last day at work. On Friday, he graduates from The Normal, and they're heading to St. Augustine, FL, where she has a job in the Archaeology Department for the city of St. Augustine.

Which reminds me. I've got to buy a brisket and a Boston butt for the graduation party. PawPaw's on the hook for the barbeque.

Culture of Corruption

Let's play Guess the Party!
Dec. 15 (Bloomberg) -- A federal grand jury is investigating how a company that advised Jefferson County, Alabama, on bond deals that threaten to cause the biggest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history, did similar work in New Mexico after making contributions to Governor Bill Richardson’s political action committees.

The grand jury in Albuquerque is looking into Beverly Hills, California-based CDR Financial Products Inc., which received almost $1.5 million in fees from the New Mexico Finance Authority in 2004 after donating $100,000 to Richardson’s efforts to register Hispanic and American Indian voters and pay for expenses at the Democratic National Convention in 2004, people familiar with the matter said.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation asked current and former officials from the state agency if any staff members in the governor’s office influenced CDR’s hiring, said the people, who declined to be identified because the proceedings are secret. Richardson, who is President-elect Barack Obama’s designate for Commerce Secretary, has a staff of at least 30 people.

Unless you do deep background work, or are a political junkie, you'll never learn that Bill Richardson is a Democrat. He's going to be Obama's Secretary of Commerce.

So, we've got Blagojevich, Harris, Emmanuel, Rangel, Jefferson, and now Richardson. I'm sure I'm leaving out several. Whereas before we had the Republican party as defined with the Culture of Corruption, now we have the Democratic Party trying to set a new standard in kickback schemes.

Hat tip to Gateway Pundit.

Sunday, December 14, 2008


Courtesy of the Oyster, I find this headline at The Times-Picayune:
Vitter Faulted for derailing Auto Bailout
Faulted? Hell, I thought that was exemplary. Nobody wants the package except the unions and the administration.

Oh, and when did Congress become totally irrelevant? They voted against the bailout last week, yet we learn that the President is considering releasing TARP funds to help the automakers. It's starting to look to me like Congress is totally irrelevant. The Members should do something about that.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Bailout

I went to the deer lease and found that my stand had blown over in the high winds last week. I tied one leg to the truck and stood it up, then climbed it to find that the floor is bent, to the point that the stand is un-usable. Damn. I didn't have any tools, so I'll take some wrenches out there in the next couple of weeks, disassemble it and bring it home so I can fix it. I'm not sure how I'm going to fix it, but when I do, you can be sure that I'll anchor it to the ground the next time I set it up.

I have only myself to blame. I should have anchored it before the season. I hunted from the ground for an hour or so, then decided it was too windy and headed for the truck.

I went to the camp and found some guys and gals there drinking coffee and talking about politics. They were talking about the auto bailout, and the consensus there was five votes against, zero votes for.

I'm not sure what President Bush is thinking when he talks about a bailout. As a conservative he shouldn't even consider it. I've been convinced for a couple of years now that Bush isn't a conservative. He's a Republican, but lately I've been wondering what that means. He's done so much that is in conflict with conservative principals, yet he's a Republican. Maybe the whole country is shifting to the left and the conservative viewpoint is becoming irrelevant.

Anyway, there were five working-class folks sitting around the table at the deer camp and they all agreed that bailing out any auto company is a bad idea.

On the domestic front, I think that it's time for a quick nap.

If you'll excuse me...

Thursday, December 11, 2008

What's for supper, PawPaw?

This one's simple, and it's what's for supper tonight. We call it Cheesy Chicken Enchilada soup.

4 cans Progresso Chicken Cheese Enchilada Soup
2 cans whole kernel corn, drained
1 can Rotel Original tomatoes
1 store-bought rotisserie chicken
1 bag Fritos or Doritos
Shredded cheese, your choice

Peel the chicken meat off the bones. Drop it into a crock pot. Add the canned goods. Turn the crock pot on and let it warm and the flavors blend.

In an individual bowl, drop some chips, then ladle the soup over it. Garnish with shredded cheese. Eat.

As much as I love cooking, it's recipes like this that makes it easy to put a meal on the table. I like a good recipe that takes all day to lovingly prepare and serve. I also like easy and quick. This one's easy and quick.

Icy weather

I woke up this morning to a winter mix of snow, sleet and rain. Put on my uniform, pulled my boots on and headed out the door. I should have known when there was no traffic across the Purple Heart Bridge that school was closed. I got to the school parking lot, realized I was the only person there, then talked with a teacher who showed up wondering where everyone was and if this weather is sufficient to keep the children home.

Of course it is. This is the worst winter storm in the last several years, with places like Forest Hill, LA and Lafayette, LA reporting snow. That's unheard of.

Just to give my northern readers an idea of what snow in central Louisiana looks like, take a gander at my neighbor's house at daybreak.

Yep, that's it. That little dusting on his roof has shut down schools in Central Louisiana. We're done for the day. I'll be watching grandkids at home today while parents work or sleep. (My eldest son works nights and is snoring on the couch.) The Courthouse is shut down, lots of gummint offices are closed. It's remarkable what happens when we get a snow day.

For lunch, I'm thinking red beans and rice.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Wednesday update

The weather is terrible outside for Louisiana standards. They're predicting mixed snow, sleet and freezing rain for tonight. Loverly.

I picked up two of the grandson's this afternoon and I'm supervising homework while I cook chili and blog. Quinton has to learn Jingle Bell Rock for his school Christmas extravaganza, so we surfed over to You Tube and found a karoake version. The original is below.

With the weather like it is, it's a good night for a bowl of the red. The only problem is that I can't find any chili powder in this house. When Milady gets home I'll ask her where she hides it, or it's a trip to the Dollar Store to get some. I can't make chili without chili powder.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Senator Craig loses his appeal

In other news in the political arena, we learn that Senator Larry Craig has lost his appeal over his conduct in the airport restroom. You might recall that:
He quietly pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor and paid a fine, but changed his mind after word of his arrest became public that August. Craig insisted he was innocent and said he was not gay. His attorney argued that the police officer misconstrued Craig's foot-tapping, hand movements and other conduct.
Yeah, right. Misconstrued. That's a good word.
"I am extremely disappointed by the action of the Minnesota Court of Appeals," Craig said in a statement. "I disagree with their conclusion and remain steadfast in my belief that nothing criminal or improper occurred at the Minneapolis airport." He said he and his attorneys were reviewing into the possibility of further appeals.
To which I might ask: Okay, Senator, if you did nothing criminal or improper, why did you plead guilty?

He's guilty, by his own word.

Tuesday madness

I got up thus morning at 5:00 a.m., as is my routine. I like to drink coffee and read the news before my shower. That hour is precious to me and imagine my shock and horror when I realized that the coffee maker had died. Not only that, but it spewed hot coffee and wet grounds all over the counter. Damn, damn, double damn.

I went old-school and made coffee in the old aluminum drip pot. After my shower, I walked outside into the rain. Damn again.

About nine o'clock, I got a call from my sister, who was stranded on the side of the road in the southern part of the parish. She was on her way to a meeting and her car had died. Again, dammit. I called the office and they sent a deputy out to see about her. (This isn't anything special. We do it for everyone. Most deputies would rather work a stranded motorist call. It helps people and we like helping people.) Within an hour or so, he had a wrecker out there to tow her car to town and he gave her a ride back to her office.

Then, I got a tip and recovered some stolen property. That works. I helped somebody else. More rain, lightning, thunderstorms.

I'm home now and have to straighten the kitchen and get supper started.

Oh! And get the new coffee maker out of the truck.

Governor Blagojevich arrested.

I saw today all over the news that Governor Rod Blagojevich of Illinios was arrested. For corruption.
The governor was arrested at his home Tuesday on charges he conspired to sell or trade President-elect Barack Obama's vacant Senate seat to the highest bidder.
Of course, they never mention his political party affiliation, so we're tasked with guessing if he's a Republican or a Democrat.

To say that Rod Blog is anti-gun would be a masterpiece of understatement. So, imagine my surprise to see this line buried in the story. Bold words are mine.
He was released on a signature bond that specifies that he'll forfeit $4,500 bond if he doesn't appear in court. Blagojevich also was ordered to relinquish his passport and his firearm owner's identification car(d).
So, we wonder, what an anti-gun governor is doing with a firearms owners identification card? Corruption is one thing, but hypocrisy is something else. The man is slime, and now he's toast.

The Smoking Gun is all over this and has what is touted as the criminal complaint filed by the FBI. It's good stuff.

I wonder who the new Senator from Illinois will be? I wonder if he or she will have a firearms owners identification card.


It's the birthright of every natural born citizen to seek the office of the President. I see that the Supreme Court has declined to take up the issue of whether Obama is a natural born citizen.

They take cases at their discretion and that's the way it works.

My question, though, is who is the arbiter of whether a person is qualified for a particular office? I've seem local political races fought in Court, when one candidate would prove that another is not qualified by residence (or some other defect, like a felony conviction) to run for a particular office.

If not the Supreme Court, then who is supposed to decide issues that affect the Constitution?

I've always suspected that the Supreme Court is a bunch of lazy bastards who hide behind the rules of the Court to avoid doing any real work. They take, what, maybe twenty cases a year, mostly arcane points of law that deal with minutia and trivia. Not one percent of the United States understands half of what they do, and only one-half of one percent cares. Yet, they're held up as the finals arbiters of the Consitution, and when a case comes before them that has real Constitutional questions, it's a miracle if they decide to hear it.

We need a Constitutional Amendment that they'll listen to every stupid bastard who walks up the steps. Eliminate Standing as a legal defect. Just eliminate it. But have one Justice who sits in a Courtroom every day and answers questions from every dumb bastard who has a question.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Not bankers

Hell, I"m not a banker either, but the thrust of the UAW ad is that if they go under, we all go under.

Horsecrap! There are other plants in the United States that makes cars and they're doing okay. Not great, maybe, but okay. Those two links are representative. Google it yourself.

The thought that if GM, or Ford goes tits-up, we'd lose the ability to make cars. That's nuts. The Big Three ain't the only car manufacturers in town. And they're not to big to fail.

I tell you who ought to fail. The UAW ought to fail. They've done more to drag down the Big Three.... wait a minute, that's not altogether true. Management shares a lot of the blame. Probably all the blame, but part of that is it let the UAW get their foot in the door. Forty, fifty years ago, unions made a lot of sense. Nowadays, not so much. Hell, I was a union member once upon a time, but I've come to look upon them as relics from the past. Like steam locomotives. Fun to watch, but archaic and wasteful.

Collective bargaining. You know, Joseph Stalin had a lot of things called Collectives. Words mean something.

Saturday, December 06, 2008


One of the mainstays of Cajun folk food is gumbo. It's easy to make, from whatever crawls, swims or flies across this earth. My forebears have been cooking it for a century or longer, and one of my favorite memories is of bringing my mother's mother a mess of squirrels, cleaned and ready for the pot. She'd make me a squirrel gumbo, dark and rich and filled with goodness.

Some make a gumbo with tomato products, some don't. I like my gumbo without the tomatoes, just the fowl or seafood, the vegetables and the roux, the darker the better. Some type of sausage always finds its way into my gumbo. Whether andouille, smoked sausage, or a polish kielbasa, it's all good in the mix.

Gumbo is good made fresh, as in a chicken gumbo that comes together on a Saturday afternoon, but another tradition is using leftover meat to make the stew and the leavings from the Thanksgiving turkey has provided the basis for many a pot of wonderful.

Today, PawPaw peeled all the meat off the bones of that Thanksgiving bird, added some sausage from a local butcher shop, made a roux, sauteed some onions and bell pepper, and I have a gumbo on the stove. We'll let the flavors blend for another couple of hours then make a pot of rice. I've filled the stock pot with culture and tradition and the grandkids will be back from the first Christmas parade of the season. Come supper time, we'll fill our bellies with gumbo.

HS Precision responds

I was reading the forums over at The High Road and saw that HS Precision has issued a statement.
To Our Valued Customers:

H-S Precision has received comments relating to individual testimonials in our 2008 catalog. All of the testimonials focused on the quality, accuracy and customer service provided by H-S Precision.

The management of H-S Precision did not intend to offend anyone or create any type of controversy. We are revising our 2009 catalog and removing all product testimonials.


The Management of H-S Precision
That's idiotic on its face. HS Precision gets flak over one testimonial, so they decide to remove all testimonials from the catalog.

Horiuchi might be the best shot in the whole world. He might be able to knock a fly off a swishing burro tail at 1000 yards. He might be able take that shot only with HS Precision rifles. HS Precision should be rightfully proud that they make such a product, but if they have their finger on the pulse of the rifle world, they'd know that Horiuchi's name is extremely corrosive to discourse. Many, many people will quit using a product if Horiuchi endorses it.

There are just some things I don't want to know. I don't want to know the brand of aftershave that Mohammed Atta used. I'm not interested in knowing what brand of knife OJ Simpson prefers. And I don't want to know which rifle Lon Horiuchi prefers. Please don't tell me what brand of ammo he prefers. Really. I don't want to know.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Remington responds

I noticed over at the War On Guns, David Codrea tells us that he's spoken to Tommy Millner, CEO of Remington and that Remington has talked to HS Precision about the disturbing endorsement in their catalog.
He assures me Remington takes this situation, and lack of response by HS-Precision, very seriously, and completely disapproves of what they have done. He tells me Remington is committed to doing the right thing by their thousands of customers, up to and including changing suppliers if there is no other way to go forward.
That's good news from a truly American firearms company.

I'll be buying another shotgun or two this year and unless I get a great deal on another old Winchester, the leading contender for at least one, and maybe both of them will be Remington Arms.

O.J. Gets 15 years

Dude! O.J. Simpson got 15 years today for the Las Vegas debacle. He'll be eligible for parole after five years, and he serves the time in the Nevada DOC. There are a lot of concurrent sentences for other counts that accrued during the course of events. It sounded to me like he was sentenced on a total of ten counts, the vast majority of them felonies.

Justice is served.

Post Holes

I came home this afternoon and got out the post hole digger. Between 3:30 and 4:30 I got four holes dug, then I gave out. Tuckered down. I'm not nearly as able to dig post holes as I was when I was a 30-something rancher. I want to put in 6 posts this weekend, so I'll get up in the morning, finish the digging, then go to the lumber yard for 4X4s and concrete. I should be finished about noon, then I won't have to worry about coming home and finding my fence laying in the neighbor's yard.

It's been a slow news week. Bush isn't doing anything, Obama can't do anything yet, and Pelosi isn't able to do anything. No news is generally good news, although it doesn't sell newspapers. It doesn't give bloggers much to talk about either.

Christmas is upon us. It won't be long before Milady tasks me with dragging the Christmas tree from the attic. She's already got the stockings for the grandkids hung, so it's just a matter of time before she asks for the Christmas tree.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Traffic Jam

Milady wanted fish tonite, so I called AW's Drive In. AW's is a little old-fashioned drive-in at Deville, LA. It's way out in the woods, but makes wonderful old fashioned hamburgers and catfish plates.

Anyway, I called in the order and saddled up to get the meal. When I got on Highway 28 I noticed an ambulance flashing all its lights and heading eastbound, so I pulled over to the shoulder of the road and let it pass. After it passed, I got back on the road and was following the ambulance, staying a couple of hundred yards behind it.

The Holloway community is the next one on the road. Holloway is a crossroads community, with a couple of general stores, a Sheriff's substation, a bank branch, and a Dollar Store. That's about it. A cross roads, a half-dozen business, and you're through it.

When the ambulance got to Holloway, it caused a traffic jam. On a single road. I looked up and saw tail lights on the shoulder, tail lights in the travel lane, tail lights in the oncoming lane. I came to a stop and let these folks figure out how to get back on the road after the ambulance passed.

Damndest thing I ever saw. Three cars on the road and they couldn't figure out how to let an ambulance pass.

More linkage

Via Alphecca, we learn that a St. Louis alderman is recommending that people arm themselves against criminals.
A city alderman frustrated with the police response to rising crime called Tuesday on residents to arm themselves to protect their lives and property. "The community has to be ready to defend itself, because it's clear the economy is going to get worse, and criminals are getting more bold," Troupe, 72, said Tuesday. Troupe said that when he and residents approached a district police commander last year, they were told "there was nothing he could do to protect us and the community ... that he didn't have the manpower."
I can just see a local police commander here saying something like that. Of course, in these latitudes you don't have to tell people to keep guns in the home to protect themselves. We've been doing that for years.

Of course, the Mayor says that having guns isn't a good idea.
Mayor Francis Slay wrote in his blog Tuesday that some of the most violent crimes in Troupe's ward are committed with guns stolen from law-abiding citizens.
Well, that's what happens when you have burglars running loose, thinking that no one is going to catch them. Burglars love stealing guns. However, when the cops can't protect the people, the people have to do it themselves.

And of course, the police chief is ignoring years of societal statistics about citizens arming themselves.
Police did not immediately return requests for comment. Chief Dan Isom wrote Tuesday in a department blog that citizens arming themselves will lead to more danger, not less, he said.
The thought of people defending themselves, their property and their loved ones gives some people the vapors. Yet another reason not to live in St. Louis.

Wednesday Linkage

Matt G heads me over to the Munchkin Wrangler, where he's got a good rant on.

He takes apart favorite gun designs with a vengeance. Here's an excerpt on the revered manufacturer from Belgium, FN Herstal.
Made by Belgians, a nation with a military history that is limited to waving German divisions through at the border.
Oooh, Snap! I especially like his take on Benelli shotguns.
Plastic boutique scatterguns made by people with the martial acumen of dairy cows. Hideously expensive, and therefore popular with police agencies that get their equipment financed by tax dollars.
It's good stuff, go over and read some.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008


Back during one of the hurricanes this past season, my fence blew over. Across the back of the property I have a wooden privacy fence and the wind blew it over. It's attached to the ground with 2 3/8 terminal posts. Those terminal posts are thin-walled tubing normally designed for chain-link fencing. They crimped during the storm and lost their longitudinal rigidity.

In common terms, the fence flops. In nearly any breeze.

I intended today to come home and start punching holes in the ground to install 4X4 treated timbers to reinforce the fence. I'll install them between the terminal posts. However, I can't find my post hole diggers. I'm thinking about the time when I built the fence and the post hole diggers I used may have been borrowed from Daddy.

At any rate, I'm outta-luck on digging post holes today. I'll stop at Lowe's on the way home tomorrow and buy a post hole digger.

Between work and living, there just isn't enough hours in the day. I guess I have an hour to prep brass, so I best get on with it.

Sunday, November 30, 2008


I was reading this article over at the Grey Lady and am appalled at our response to piracy in this century.

Piracy is as old as maritime trade, and through the centuries there has been just one predictable response to piracy. Eradicate it. Pirates in the 18th century Caribbean knew that if they were caught, they'd be hanged. Nowadays though, there is a lot of hand-wringing over what to do about pirates.
While the pirates have been buying GPS devices, satellite phones and more-powerful outboard motors, officials in Europe have been discussing jurisdictional issues surrounding the arrest of pirates on the high seas and even the possibility that the pirates might demand asylum if brought onto European Union shores.
The simple answer to that would be to make sure that they never get to shore.

It's one thing to demand asylum. It's something else entirely to get it. I'm sure that modern fighting vessels have something resembling a yardarm. The convenient answer would be that if a pirate were captured, the Captain of the vessel would convene a Captain's Mast, listen to the arguments, find the bastard guilty and hang him. This could all be accomplished in one afternoon. There is no reason to coddle piracy.

Hat tip to Instapundit.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Grass Eaters

Yeah, yeah, it's 4:00 a.m. and I'm surfing the intertubes. Damn dog woke me, barking his silly ass off. I threw his butt out in the back yard, and wide-assed awake, I made coffee.

And started surfing.

Turns out, there's a new definition for people that ain't like me. Grass Eaters.
If your first reaction to a law being horrifyingly broken is “we gotta make more laws”, you might be a grass-eater. If you believe in angels — or the Just World hypothesis — you’re probably a grass-eater. Both of these delusions indicate a desire to give up responsibility (and, therefore, freedom) to a faceless “higher” power. Grass-eaters are perfectly happy to give up liberty for a little safety — even if the only safety they get is from the consequences of their actions.
I've known people like that. So have you. Frankly, they piss me off.

Some might call them "sheeple". Jeff Cooper might call them "hoplophobe", but you don't have to be afraid of guns to be a Grass Eater. You just have to exhibit the herd mentality. Mostly, calling for new laws.

At this stage of our development as a culture, I'm not sure why we need legislatures except to approve the budget. There is certainly no pressing need for new laws. The ten that Moses gave us from the mountain covers the frailty of the human condition. You can write all ten of them on one sheet of paper. You would think, after two hundred years of Congress and State legislatures, we'd have all the laws we need. Yet, we keep sending legislators to the capitol so they can legislate. It's madness, sheer madness.

So, my question to the various legislatures: You've been meeting now for lo, these hundred years and yet haven't passed all the laws we need? Are you incompetent? Or merely on the Government Dole? If I had been doing a job continuously for a hundred years and hadn't made progress at it; hadn't demonstrably shown that I was capable of finishing the job, then the people who hired me would insist that I was incompetent. Yet the legislature continues to meet, year after year without any sign of completion. Indeed, they intend to meet next year because the job isn't finished.

It's either incompetence or theft.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Range

One of the traditions of our family Thanksgiving dinner is that we go shooting after the meal. Mom has plenty of land and we set up an impromptu range, get the rifles out, and have some fun shooting. Some of my nephews only get to shoot once a year and it's something they look forward to doing.

My sister came out and wanted to shoot a pistol. She's thinking about obtaining a CCW in her resident state and wanted to familiarize. Unfortunately, the only pistol I had available was the Kimber 1911 in .45 ACP. Not the best pistol for a neophyte, but she gamely stepped up and fired a couple of magazines, declaring it a lot of fun. I told her that I'd be happy to coach her and that she should seek a coach in her home state.

Then, the boys and I got out the rifles. My youngest son wanted to try some loads I have developed for his rifle, a Savage 10 FLP in .308 Win. I had loaded some Hornady Match cases with varying weights of Reloder 15. This rifle has less than 100 rounds through it, but it's looking like a winner. The best target today.. well, I'll let you see it.

Then, my second son hunkered down behind his Savage 11FV in 7mm Magnum and showed little brother how it's done. His first three shots went into a half-inch. His next three opened the group up to just over an inch, but that's with hunting ammo. His target is below.

All together we fired two pistols, and a number of rifles, including a Winchester 94, my Bushmaster, a guests FAL, andthe two Savage bolts. All the nephews got to fire everything and we had a great time.

Which reminds me. I still have to clean that Kimber.

H.S. Precision

Remember earlier this month when I broke the stock off my rifle? Well, I did the research and the due diligence and one of the companies I looked at was H.S. Precision. Nice stocks. Nice rifles, for that matter.

As it turns out, they used an endorsement from Lon Horiuchi. You remember Lon? He's the guy who shot Vicki Weaver through the head at Ruby Ridge. Even such notables as Jeff Cooper wondered why Horiuchi is allowed to wander around free.

It's hard for me to imagine that H.S. Precision, as one of the big players in the precision rifle business did not know that Lon Horiuchi is positively anathemic to the shooting community. We believe him to be at worst a murderer, at best simply a government triggerman who will follow immoral orders. There is no doubt that he killed Vicki Weaver. Court records firmly fix that fact. There is no doubt that she was unarmed and was holding an infant child.

Personally, I wouldn't share a firing line with Horiuchi. I wouldn't allow him on my property. There are very few people on this planet that in a social situation I wouldn't extend basic courtesy and gentility. Horiuchi is one of them. I consider him unfit for polite society and would ask the Sheriff to have him removed.

So, I won't be buying anything from H.S. Precision. There are lots of threads talking about this fiasco. Lots of posts discussing it. I bet the board of directors is talking today about how to fix this fiasco. It doesn't matter to me at this point. They've been so insensitive as to actually use his endorsement that it can't be fixed. That'd be like Walther firearms using an endorsement by Heinrick Himmler, or Cold Steel knives printing an endorsement by Jack the Ripper.

There are just some endorsements you don't use.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


As soon as I finish this post, I'm going to turn off the computer and get busy. We've got about thirty people descending on us for dinner and I've got a lot to do. We began this tradition several years ago, when we decided that Momma had enough to do to prepare the main meal for Thanksgiving and that we'd do the evening meal on Wednesday so that she and my sisters could concentrate on the main meal on Thursday. I have food to prep and tables to set up and sweeping and mopping to complete.

The menu for a Louisiana Wednesday night feast?
Crawfish etouffee over rice
Crab cakes
Tossed salad
Garlic french bread
Stuffed bread for those who don't like seafood. This is a rolled bread my wife makes. It's a stuffed bread with the center full of sausage and spices. It's darned good.
Lots of iced tea
Assorted cakes for dessert

I'd like to take a moment and wish everyone a wonderfully peaceful Thanksgiving. This is a uniquely American holiday and one where we should take just a minute to remember those who have come before and those who are standing on the thin front line.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

The Agenda

Allahpunit, over at Hot Air, makes this statement:
“How can the Republican Party rebound? The first step would be to quit letting Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham set its agenda.”
He's right, but it's deeper than that. I'm reminded of a time during the Civil War. (No, I wasn't there, but I've read the history.) The story might be apocryphal, but it's told about General US Grant while in the Wilderness Campaign.

The story is told that a number of his officers were arguing about what Lee might do during a particular time period. Grant listened to the discussion for a while then told them that he was damned tired of hearing about what Lee might do. He was more interested in what he was going to do, and Lee would learn to worry about that.

If the GOP is letting Limbaugh, Hannity, and Ingraham set the discussion, then the GOP had no business in office. We've got to decide what we're going to do and let the pundits talk about that. If our leadership can't handle the burden then we need new leaders.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Via The Smallest Minority, we come to the New and we find Bill Schneider's latest rant about gun nuts.

I'm a gun nut and I include hunting in my nuttery. A large portion of the spring and summer is taken in my quest for the perfect hunting load in one of a number of cartridges. I spend Sundays at the range and week nights poring over targets and measuring bullet holes looking for that perfect load. However, whenever we talk about gun laws, the two catch-phrases of the gun banners come to the forefront. One of them is "compromise", and the other is "reasonable gun law". Scheider hits on both of them in the same sentence.
Even after enduring the name-calling, I admire the dedication of gun nuts. Guns, guns, guns--that’s all that matters to these people. They’ve closed their minds to compromise. To them, there’s no such thing as a common sense gun law. Because of their single-mindedness, they get it done. Ask any politician who has proposed a “reasonable gun law.”
To my way of thinking, we've already compromised. A couple of examples of legislation come to mind. First of them is the National Firearms Act of 1934. We agreed, as a nation, that certain classes of firearms should be regulated. We regulated them. While we might dicker over the particulars, the law was a compromise. Lots of firearms were made illegal at the stroke of a pen.

Next, we come to the Gun Control Act of 1968. We agreed after the shootings of some high-powered activists and politicians that it probably wasn't a good idea to allow people to order guns through the mail. That was a compromise and it's still on the books. We've learned to live with it, although some of us don't particularly like it. That law set up a number of restrictions to owning a firearm and is still the law today.

Next we find the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, also known as the Assault Weapons ban. Our Congress agreed, in compromise, that it would sunset in 10 years if no action was taken to extend it, and after the great 10 year experiment, it was found to have done nothing to reduce crime. It was not re-enacted and expired. All of that was compromise.

There are plenty of laws currently on the books that are the result of compromise and that are reasonable on their face. It's still illegal to murder someone, regardless of the weapon used. It's still against the law to harm someone with a firearm and numerous jurisdictions offer enhanced penalties for the use of a firearm in connection with a crime. These laws are compromise and are readily available for use.

The problem is that when someone wants compromise they don't want to give up anything. So, I ask Bill Schneider, what are you willing to compromise on? What are you willing to give up? Or is all the talk of compromise and reasonableness just an excuse to further erode my right?

We've compromised and it's gotten us nothing.

Monday, November 24, 2008

250 vs 30

The title of this post tells a tale, and we'll start back in the days when I was in the Armor School. The doctrine at that time was that an attacker had to be three times as big as the defender. This ratio of 3:1 was a rule of thumb, a generalization, a good guess. A determined defender could sustain his position against higher odds, and lackadaisical defender would lose to a smaller number of attackers. Other things might be force multipliers. Like tanks, or good intelligence, or well-planned ambushes, but generally, the 3:1 ratio was a good planning figure.

Then you get those guys who will just not be denied. Like that platoon of Marines in Afghanistan who took on 250 Taliban in an ambush and routed them. That's right. 250 Taliban sprung an ambush against a single platoon of Marines and got their asses handed to them.
During the battle, the designated marksman single handedly thwarted a company-sized enemy RPG and machinegun ambush by reportedly killing 20 enemy fighters with his devastatingly accurate precision fire. He selflessly exposed himself time and again to intense enemy fire during a critical point in the eight-hour battle for Shewan in order to kill any enemy combatants who attempted to engage or maneuver on the Marines in the kill zone. What made his actions even more impressive was the fact that he didn’t miss any shots, despite the enemies’ rounds impacting within a foot of his fighting position.

“I was in my own little world,” the young corporal said. “I wasn’t even aware of a lot of the rounds impacting near my position, because I was concentrating so hard on making sure my rounds were on target.”
Commanders estimate that Corporal Shewan killed 20 Taliban during the engagement. He did this under fire, one round at a time. That's very impressive.

Of course, every Marine counted in an engagement like this and all the guys deserve part of the credit. They whupped the Taliban in his own backyard.
At the end of the battle, the Marines had reduced an enemy stronghold, killed more than 50 insurgents and wounded several more.
And they did it all without a serious wound.

That'll teach the Taliban to screw with Americans.

Hat tip to Ace of Spades.

Monday feeders

The boys and I went to the lease this morning with the express intent of filling feeders. Of course, we had to take the Mule to haul the corn. And, we had to ride the Mule while we were there. It's 36 miles from my house to my deer stand, via the road network. With gas stops and corn-dog stops and helping my brother-in-law with his feeders we were only gone for eight hours.

There's lots'a things to do in the woods, like skipping rocks in the creek and checking the muddy areas for deer tracks, and climbing in the stands. Then, when a thunderstorm blows up, you've got to count the seconds between the lightning flash and the thunder crash and figure how many miles away the lightning might be. It's amazing that we got it all done so quickly.

The least one needed rubber boots, so PawPaw took him to the Feed & Seed and got a nice pair of camo boots. They'll do till he grows out of them and PawPaw was favorably impressed that rubber boots can still be bought for under $10.00.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sarah Palin and the Turkey killing

Everbody's seen the video, right? Sarah Palin is being interviewed at a turkey farm and in the background of the shot, the turkey farmer slaughters a couple of turkeys. The operation looked to me like a wholesome, small-quantity turkey operation. The pen looked clean and not over-crowded. The killing area had only two processing funnels. It looked to be a very low tech operation.

Some folks are in shock and horror. They're also in denial if they don't think that killing precedes eating.

Your curmudgeon was in the poultry business for a while before he got into police work. I worked at a chicken processing plant. Let me tell you, those turkeys were treated with a gentle hand. Three lines running seventy birds per minute. That's 210 birds a minute getting whacked. Two shifts of 8 hours each and you have 210K chickens being processed in a single day. It's efficient, it's regulated and inspected by the USDA, and it's study in carnage. Yet, if you eat chicken in the United States, you've participated.

There's nothing like working in a chicken plant to make you never want to eat chicken again. For about two years after I left that place I couldn't look at chicken as food. That was my first leadership position outside of the Army. I was the evisceration supervisor in charge of one line in the plant. We eviscerated chickens, 70 per minute, for eight hours a day. Every worker on my line was issued two razor-sharp knives at the start of every shift. That was a leadership challenge.

If you're not willing to kill and process your own meat, then you're really not willing to be a carnivore, are you?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Military rifles

George asks, in comments:
What about military rifles? The usual battle rifle has the barrel surrounded with stock on the bottom and handguard on the top, all being bound together with rings to hold the handguard to the stock fore-end.

If I read you right, the battle rifles have built-in in-accuracy.

No, not really. Military rifles aren't known for their dead-eye accuracy. Most armies are happy if their military rifles shoot into three or four inches at 100 yards. That degree of accuracy is fine if all you want to do is put a hit on a man-sized target at 300 yards, which is the limit of fire for most infantry-type engagements. Military rifles have to be dead-nuts dependable and GI proof.

That's not to say that you can't take a standard military rifle of any of the various countries and get outstanding accuracy out of it. Our old Model 1903A3 was known to be a truly accurate piece, and the M1 Garand has fine accuracy. It's military cousin, the M14 is an accurate piece when in the hands of a good rifleman.

Most military rifles have okay accuracy. What is needed most in a military rifle is rock-solid dependability. Look at the rifles used by the (0ld) Warsaw pact nations. You find that the SKS, the Moisin, the Kalashnikov, weren't particularly accurate firearms, but they were magnificent military rifles.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

On active shooters

There's a new study out, at least it's touted as new. It talks about the police response to an active shooter. The blogosphere has picked it up.

An active shooter is the guy who brings a gun into a school or a mall and starts shooting victims at random. After review of a number of these shootings, we've learned a few things. I have to admit that a bunch of us figured it out just after Columbine and changed our tactics. We don't wait any longer for the SWAT team. The first officer on the scene confronts the shooter. The next officers on the scene form an entry team and start clearing the building. We've learned that seconds count, and that once a shooter is confronted with an armed response, he loses focus on his victims.

Still, it's good to see that the study backs up our training and brain-storming.
Based on the Virginia Tech data, experts determined the first officer on scene should make entry immediately with an aggressive attack on the shooter.

Every minute the officer waits for back-up, another three or more people could die.
That's why the first officer on the scene confronts the shooter. If the first officer manages to take the guy down, people live.
Tactical Defense Institute in Adams County, Ohio developed one of the first "single officer response" programs in the nation.

TDI was teaching the tactic even before Virginia Tech. Now the National School Resource Officer Organization (NSRO) is using TDI instructors to teach school resource officers how to confront a gunman immediately.
I don't know when the Tactical Defense Institute developed that program, but that's what we've been trained to do for six years. Find the shooter, engage him, take his focus off the victims.

For every minute we wait for backup, people die.

Some might argue that these scenarios are a good argument for concealed carry. We can argue that. The one thing that a CCW permit holder has to realize that if you're confronting an active shooter, when the police get there you need to immediately surrender. The adrenaline is going to be pumping and if we see some guy holding a gun he's liable to get shot. We can talk about your rights afterwards, but sometimes discretion is the better part of valor.

Heck, if I'm in civilian clothes in the mall and stop a shooter, when the police get there, I'm going to surrender. I'm going to go prone and let the cops handcuff me. We'll talk about my selfless defense of the public later, after everybody has calmed down.

Floating a barrel

After work today I floated the barrel on the Ruger Model 77. It seems that Ruger puts a ledge at the forward end of the barrel channel when they whittle a stock. That ledge is supposed to put upward pressure on the barrel at the end of the forearm.

Some guns shoot well with a little upward pressure at the barrel. By far, the majority of rifles shoot better with a floated barrel. I personally prefer a floated barrel if possible. With just a small set of skills and some very basic tools, it's easy to float a barrel. Basically all you need is enough tools to remove the action, a dowel, and a piece of sandpaper.

Remove the action from the stock. Wrap the dowel in sandpaper and sand stock material out of the barrel channel. I've found that a short section of 3/4th inch dowel works good for sporter-taper barrels. Here's a picture. You can click the picture to make it larger.

It took about fifteen minutes to sand that ledge off of the front of the barrel channel and take enough wood out of the channel to float the barrel all the way back to the action ring. A patch slides easily between the forearm and barrel. I finished the project by sealing the wood with three coats of boiled linseed oil, rubbed into the wood.

Then, I gave the rifle a thorough cleaning and oiling. I didn't think I was ever going to get the barrel to come completely clean, and I was right. After about twenty patches, it was mostly clean. I gave it a good wipe down with a silicone cloth and put it away.

I'll have to order dies and brass and bullets. In another month or so, we'll start seeing how this rifle shoots.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

On the bailout

Legacy costs. You know what those are, right? Pensions. The pensioners are screwed. It's just a matter of how much, or how soon. Just like the rest of us. That's our money they're talking about. Not the Gummint's money. Ours.

From everything I'm reading, GM is heading into Chapter 11 proceedings. The only question is will they go bankrupt before or after Pelosi hands them a pile of cash? When the bankruptcy begins, the automakers will be able to re-negotiate lots of things that are dragging them down, including pension plans. Figure pennies on the dollar. It's going to suck to be a GM pensioner. I hate it for those guys. They worked their whole lives on a contract and now the partnership of bad management and the UAW is dragging the company down the hole. There goes retirement.

I hate it for the automakers, because Ford and whoever owns Chrysler, ain't far behind. However, this may be the death-knell for the United Auto Workers. Imagine that, Pelosi presiding over the death of organized labor. Oh, the ironing.

This is like watching a train wreck.