Thursday, April 29, 2010

Economic Impact

The National Sports Shooting Foundation has numbers that suggest that the shooting industry has an economic impact over $27 billion (USD) and grew last year in the face of recession.
“During difficult economic times and high unemployment rates nationally, our industry actually grew and created 16,800 new, well-paying jobs,” said NSSF President Steve Sanetti. “Our industry is proud to be one of the bright spots in this economy.”
Well done, guys!

Hat tip, Say Uncle.


The roses have exploded on the vine that covers our back yard gate.

That vine is absolutely covered with buds. It should be lovely for the wedding on Saturday.


It looks like the illegal immigrants are going to leave Arizona. That's AP's headline.

I'm all for immigration. America is a nation of immigrants. My forebears came over from several places. England, Ireland, France, Germany. At least one was native, if the papers I have in my lock-box are to be believed. I love immigrants. I don't have a problem with Mexicans. Every Hispanic person I have known personally is hard-working, God-fearing, salt-of-the-earth kind of people. I love them every one.

However, illegal immigration is a problem that we've got to get a handle on, and the Federal gummint has defaulted on the problem. So, if the Feds won't act, Arizona picks up the ball and runs with it. Suddenly, everyone (including our President) is saying that enforcing the law is a bad idea.

Well, if the simple threat of the law being enforced is enough to send illegals packing, maybe that's a good thing.

Other folks say that the law is impossible to enforce without racial profiling. I've been a cop for 30 years and I know how to make an arrest without racial profiling. The concept of reasonable suspicion is taught at every police academy in the United States. Terry v. Ohio has been law since 1968. This ain't nothing new, either to this old cop in Louisiana or to a rookie on a force somewhere in Arizona.

I have a son who worked at an private prison in Louisiana. He was detaining folks prior to deportation until President Obama was elected. ICE has all-but-quit sending people home, the population of the prison dropped, and my son was laid-off. The Federal Government simply isn't doing anything on the immigration issue. Nothing. Not even enforcing current law. They're ignoring the problem.

Arizona has stepped up to the plate. I say good for them.

Watch for other border states to enact legislation modeled on Arizona's law. On the immigration issue, the Feds should either lead, follow, or get the hell out of the way.

**UPDATE** Here's a good, clear, well written article that explains the Arizona law and why it's important, constitutional, and in line with US law.

Here's a timeline of immigration law in the United States from 1790 to the present. All of it is good reading.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Tuesday Bonus Dawg

Milady took the dog in for a haircut today. He came back looking all spiffy and groomed. I took this snapshot on the back porch while Milady was holding him.

Milady got her hair done last night, and the dog got his done today.

The only shaggy mutt left in this place is PawPaw

Monday, April 26, 2010

A Tale of Two Slugs

I've got two .30 caliber Handi-rifles. One in .308 Winchester and one in .30-30 Winchester. The .308 is older, with a Gardner, MA roll mark. The .30-30 was made recently with an Ilion, NY roll mark.

I was shooting some ammo that I load for my Winchester 94's and noticed that the velocity of that same ammo through the Handi was about 300 fps faster than through the Winchesters. That got me to pondering and I asked Junior about it. He diagnosed the Handi as having microgroove rifling and I just had to go out and put a slug through the bore to look at the rifling.

Sure enough, Junior is right. It looks like the .30-30 barrel has microgroove rifling. Microgroove rifling is a rifling style that Marlin Firearms uses in their lever action Model 336 rifles. Of course, you can click on the pictures for a larger view. What you'll see is 12 groove microgroove rifling.

So, knowing what I now know about the .30-30, I decided to slug the barrel of the .308 Winchester to see what kind of rifling it has.

That slug shows 6-groove conventional rifling. Both barrels are 1:10 twist, .30 caliber barrels, but the .30-30 has Marlin microgrooves and the .308 has conventional rifling.

I've been told that Handi-rifles never had microgroove rifling. Unless I got the only one in the batch, there are probably a few more microgroove barrels out there.

What difference does it make? Not much if you're using conventional jacketed bullets. Both barrels shoot jacketed bullets fine. It makes a big difference when you're shooting cast bullets.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sunday Morning Dawg

On rainy days, the dog likes to hang out in front of the fireplace. Friday was a rainy day and while I was reclining in my easy chair, I sniped this shot of the dog in his favorite spot.

I think that the tile is cool on his belly.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Le Roux

And old video from a Louisiana band, Le Roux, playing their signature hit, New Orleans Ladies.

This video is dated, coming from an old show called The Midnight Special. Still, it's the first music video of this song I've seen by the band. The song takes some lyrical license with geography. You can walk on Bourbon Street to Esplanade, but you can't walk from Bourbon Street to Esplanade. They intersect.

Still, it's a great song.

Milady and I love dancing to it.

Brisket, again

I'm cooking a brisket for the wedding rehearsal tonight. I was looking back over some of my brisket posts and I can see that I've changed my recipe since the last time I blogged about brisket.

I still use the big aluminum pan and the 225 degree oven. What's changed is the marinade. Nowadays I use a good rub, Tony's works fine, and 6 ounces of light beer.

Put the brisket in the aluminum roasting pan (fat cap up), give it a good rub and pour the beer over it. Put it in a 225 degree oven for 8 hours.

Slice, serve. That's about all there is to it. If you want to cheat, after you've sliced it and about an hour before the guests are due to arrive, fire up the charcoal pit and put the sliced brisket, in the aluminum serving pan, on the cool end of the pit. Let the smoke interact with the meat. When the guests arrive you can take the brisket off with a flourish and they'll think that you cooked it on the barbeque.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Busy, again

This week has turned into an endurance contest. It seems that everyone who wants to do anything at the school has scheduled it for this week. Wednesday night was a track meet and I left the school at 9:00 p.m. Last night was a play and I left the school at 10:00 p.m. Tonight is the second curtain of the play. I'm going to leave home in about two hours and expect to be home at about 10:00 p.m. Tomorrow, of course, is prom.

While I'll be home most of the day, we're getting ready for a wedding and the rehearsal is tomorrow evening. I'll help move stuff to the church, cook a brisket, trim and prepare it for serving, then shower, put on my uniform and go to the prom while everyone else goes to the wedding rehearsal. I'll get home midnight-ish tomorrow night, then on Sunday there's church and the annual opening of the pool to coincide with a grandson's birthday party.

Oh, did I mention that our school baseball team is going to the playoffs? Joy! Like there's not enough activities scheduled already.

For the sisters who insist on such things, I promise that I'll have a Sunday Morning Dawg posted.

Slow Down

Ha! I stole this from Old NFO's site.

No confirmation of an old man sitting in a chair with a rifle. No confirmation at all.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Bullet Launchers

Dave Petzal talks bout buying a rifle, from the inexpensive entry-level rifles to the expensive custom jobs costing upwards of the multi-thousand dollar range.

Like most guys, I like a fine firearm, one where it appears that the metal grew to the wood and both the steel and the stock are executed flawlessly. Blueprinted actions, trued to the barrel, barrels by custom barrel makers of National Match quality, all of these things make a fine rife.

I love rifles (and shotguns) like that, but I have to admit that my taste in rifles was tainted by a young captain of infantry, one of my commanders way back in the Great When. He considered all firearms "bullet launchers", designed only to poke holes in an adversary. He wore both Airborne wings and an Army Ranger tab, along with two tours in Southeast Asia, I had to admit that he had more military acumen than I did at the time. And it's true. A rifle is designed to poke holes in things, whether they be paper, game animals, or an armed adversary.

I've got to admit that Petzal is right, that when you're spending big money for a rifle, some of what you buy is intangible. It's your money, spend it on fancy rifles or art, it matters to me not. However, with today's modern manufacturing methods, the rifles we buy today are by-and-large much better at poking holes in things than they were fifty years ago.

Take for example, my Savage rifle. With a new stock to replace the one I bought and a halfway decent scope, I've got less than $600.00 tied up in the rifle. And it gives me three-shot groups like this:

Or, this other Savage, in .243 Winchester. With the scope and mounts, it's another $600.00 rifle. It's bone stock, except for tightening the screws and floating the tang.

Petzal is right that there is plenty to consider when buying a rifle. As good as the rifle makers have gotten, there is a lot to consider. It's your money, but I'm hard pressed to find anything wrong with my rifles. They launch bullets just fine.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

That unpronouncable Volcano

I'm sure by now that everyone has heard of that volcano in Iceland, spewing ash all over Europe and the airlines across the continent are shut down. Turns out, it's bad juju to fly through an ash cloud.

Everyone's stranded. Lots of Brits are without flights across the channel.

So I'm wondering, what about that vaunted tunnel that connects Dover and Calais? Don't they have trains? Or cruise ships? Heck, Churchill used pleasure craft to pull the British Army off the beaches at Dunkirk during WWII.

The airlines could have chartered passenger cruise ships. The trains could run at full capacity to places that were not threatened with ash.

I don't see any news of any of those things happening. Just because you can't fly doesn't mean you can't walk or float. It's slower, but it beats standing still. It looks to me like a lot of folks have their heads up their butts over this problem.

Rivrdog's right. Just because modern conveniences don't work, doesn't mean that the last generations solutions to those problems won't work. Sometimes low-tech is best.

On Dogs

Gerry says, in comments:
I've never much liked fuzzy little yappy dogs on ribbons. No animosity, mind you, just not much attraction, feeling more drawn to larger "Heinz 57" type mutts in the 30-50 lb range
I understand the feeling. I've never been drawn to little yappy dogs, either. Luckily, this one doesn't yap much. When he vocalizes, there's a problem.

I've been blessed with some good dogs over the years and none of them have been papered dogs. One good example was a dog named Buck. Buck was a beagle that I got as a pup from the pound. He had good conformation and sparkling eyes. I was in Kentucky at the time and wanted to put him in with the pack my wife's family kept. I asked the lady not to neuter him and she didn't. Buck became a first-rate jump dog and we killed something like 200 rabbits over him.

At that time, all the beagles in Central Louisiana were kin, having been interbred for many years. Bringing Buck in from Kentucky added new genes to the line and he produced some outstanding pups.

Another dog that was a really good dog was a blonde mutt we called Duke. My oldest son found him on the side of the road near our home. He was a drop-off and was plenty distressed when we found him. Duke lived with us for many years. He was a smallish dog, about 20 lbs, but he loved to tree squirrels and he hated possums with a passion. I think that Duke was a reprobate at heart. He loved to roll in road-kill, then come jump up in your lap. Or, he'd drag something home that he found and leave it on the front porch. Normally, the stuff he dragged home would give a buzzard the dry-heaves, but Duke was proud of his find.

Last, but not least was a cur dog named Cuz. Cuz came to us late in his life. A friend of mine had to make a job-related move and asked me to look after Cuz. I whistled him up, put him the truck and brought him home. I showed him his food bowl and he was happy. Cuz adopted the family readily. Shortly before we got Cuz, he was bitten my a water moccasion in his left eye. The eye filed with blood and turned red. When a light would hit that eye, it gleamed bright, bright red.

Catahoula Curs are big working dogs. I estimate that Cuz weighed about 70 lbs, all muscle and sinew. He was a good watch dog and when he growled, everybody paid attention. However, he was good with kids and never met a kid he didn't like.

If Cuz had one bad habit, it was his gas. When Cuz broke wind, he'd drive a vulture off of a gut wagon.

Cuz and Duke lived with us at the same time and the two developed a Mutt and Jeff routine. Cuz as a big ole dog and Duke was much smaller. Cuz would trail along after Duke when Duke was chasing possums at night. When I went out in the pasture with a flashlight to see what Duke was raising hell at, I could always see that red eye before I could see either of the dogs themselves.

I tell my wife that our current little dog will do, until a good dog comes along.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Motorcycle Maintenance

Pirsig aside, motorcycles respond to knowledgeable wrenching. I took the bike out yesterday to wash it and get it ready for the season. When I charged the battery, cranked it and let it warm up, I noticed an oil leak under the transmission cover. Something called the sealing bolt was leaking oil. I turned the engine off, gave the bike a good washing and put it back into the garage.

This afternoon I got the bike out in the driveway, drained the oil, changed the filters and replaced the gasket under that sealing bolt. It was a $3.00 fix. Then I tried to start the thing and the battery is dead. Damn! The battery is two years old and I'll replace it after the next payday.

The bike is 14 years old now and occasionally I toy with the idea of a new one. I don't ride nearly as much as I used to, and my old bike still starts, runs, and takes me where I want to go. In ten more years, it'll be a classic.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Family Sunday

We had the grandkids over today after church. I cooked up a big batch of sloppy-joes and fed everyone sandwiches and chips.

The girls went over to my good friend Jerome's home to take pictures for the upcoming wedding. They were going for a traditional look and I think they did all right.

That's my soon-to-be daughter-in-law in front of Jerome's house.

All the kids went home about 4:30. PawPaw's going to kick back in the recliner and get ready for the week.

Sunday Morning Dawg

I was trying to get a picture of the dog and he wasn't cooperating. I think that the red-eye light on the camera bothers him. So, in frustration I finally just dangled the camera at nearly floor level and tripped the shutter.

No red-eye, but the camera focused on the piece of furniture behind him. All I can figure is that the dog is so fuzzy that the camera was looking for something hard to focus on.

He's the slightly out-of-focus, Sunday Morning Dawg.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Double Play

I watched a home-team baseball game today and saw the damndest double play I've seen in a while. Let me set it up for you.

Bottom of the fourth, one out. Runner on first. Batter hits a ground ball to the shortstop who fields the ball and flips it to second base. Second baseman tags the base, putting the runner out on a force. He takes one step across the base and fires the ball to first. Bad throw. The first baseman misses it, a step ahead of the runner. The runner sees the missed ball and rounds toward second base.

First baseman turns around to retrieve the loose ball. The ball carries past him with enough force to bounce off the infield fence and roll toward his feet. First baseman picks up the ball and fires it to second. Second baseman grabs the ball and tags the runner out two steps from the bag.

How often does a second-baseman get to make a two outs in a double play?

Wrong again, Bozo

From the Republican, a paper in Massachusetts.
All four were arrested and a search of the car interior revealed a loaded Glock .34 caliber semi-automatic handgun that had been reported stolen in Orlando, Fla.,
Layers of editorial oversight and all that crap.

These guys crack me up.

Hat tip, Say Uncle.

Wrong, wrong, wrong.

CBS reported back in January about US bullion reserves. One of the many facts they got wrong is in this paragraph.
Few people have been inside Fort Knox, a highly classified bunker ringed by fences and multiple alarms and guarded by Apache helicopter gunships. When the U.S. finished building Fort Knox in 1937, the gold was shipped in on a special nine-car train manned by machine gunners and loaded onto Army trucks protected by a U.S. Cavalry brigade. And the fort has been pretty much off limits since then.
Wrong, wrong, wrong. Fort Knox is the home of the US Army Armor School, and has been for many years. Thousands of students traverse Fort Knox each year, both enlisted and commissioned. Adjacent to Fort Knox sits the US Bullion Depository. It's run by the Treasury Department and it's just about as secure as any installation in the world. When I was stationed at Fort Knox (Armor Officer Basic Course, then C-4/37th Armor, then 2nd Batallion 4th Brigade) I was on the grounds of the Bullion Depository exactly once, as part of a drill. As soon as we were briefed at the Depository, we were ordered off the grounds. I have rolled up to the gates of the Depository on more than one occasion, a column of tanks behind me. Again, drills. We conducted a lot of drills to make sure that the gold was as safe as possible.

But no, Fort Knox is not off-limits. It's the home of the Patton Museum, which welcomes all visitors and thousands of students come through the Armor School every year. The Bullion Depository and Fort Knox are two entirely separate installations that just happen to be adjacent to one another. The Bullion Depository is off limits. Fort Knox is fairly wide-open.

If CBS got this fact wrong, then they probably got everything wrong.

LSU caves

LSU, our flagship university, has caved on student complaints of academic rigorousness and removed a teacher from a teaching slot. I think they were wrong.
Dominique G. Homberger won't apologize for setting high expectations for her students. The biology professor at Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge gives brief quizzes at the beginning of every class, to assure attendance and to make sure students are doing the reading. On her tests, she doesn't use a curve, as she believes that students must achieve mastery of the subject matter, not just achieve more mastery than the worst students in the course. For multiple choice questions, she gives 10 possible answers, not the expected 4, as she doesn't want students to get very far with guessing.
Sounds like a wuss, to me. I had a tough professor. When I signed up for Accounting 101 at LSU, the prof gave us a sheet that told us what books to buy, read the first four chapters, complete the workbook assignments, and be prepared for a test during the first class period. That's academic rigor.
"I believe in these students. They are capable," she said. And given that LSU boasts of being the state flagship, she said, she should hold students to high standards. Many of these students are in their first year, and are taking their first college-level science course, so there is an adjustment for them to make, Homberger said. But that doesn't mean professors should lower standards.
She was teaching microbiology for non-science majors. She expected great things from her students.

Some college classes are crucibles. Every discipline has those classes. They're designed to weed-out those students who might be unsuited for a particular field of study. My professors, indeed, my deans, thought that student academic complaints were amusing. A student either did the work or passed away into that long list of students who didn't make the grade.

If the students in Ms. Homberger's class have learned anything, it's that complaints count for more than academic rigor. That's precisely the wrong lesson to glean from a college university.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Tax Day

I didn't get to attend a Tax Day Tea Party today, but Glenn Reynolds is all over the ones that I missed. I did write a fairly sizeable check to my government, then made sure it got in the mail. I've now done my duty to a government I disagree with, not the first time I've done my duty to a government I thought was unresponsive to the wishes of the people.

I dropped by the pawn shop and put some money down on a rifle I have on layaway.

Then I came home and started supper. Salisbury steaks, smothered in gravy, with mashed potatoes and English peas. LeSeur english peas. Of course, there'll be a big pitcher of iced tea. And brown-and-serve rolls.

Test guns

I don't get any test guns for this blog, nor for our e-zine The Frugal Outdoorsman. If you read about a gun in The Outdoorsman, it's one that Junior and I own.

Dave Petzal, who writes for Field and Stream, talks about test guns. Evidently, some of them don't work.
Right now, I’m testing for the magazine's "Best of the Best" section. Here’s what’s wrong with three of the six rifles I have:
That's gotta be a hell of a note Three out of six guns have something wrong with them.. One more quote from Dave:
One venerable gun company built a rifle for me with the cheekpiece on the wrong side of the stock.
Ha! I bet that looked strange. Many times we read about guns in the magazines and we're all astounded at the accuracy, fitting, and general utility of those firearms. As it turns out, if the gun is bad, they don't write about it.

I buy my guns locally from a dealer I trust. Many of them are used, and I understand that I might be getting a firearm with problems. It's part and parcel of the used gun trade. But, I've never gotten one that I couldn't fix, and I've never gotten one that plain-didn't-work.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Chopped Baker

There's a local restaurant in Central Louisiana, Outlaw's Barbeque. They have a stuffed potato they call the Chopped Baker. Our local restaurant in Pineville burned several months ago, and while they're rebuilding, I got hungry this evening for a chopped baker, so I decided to do one at home.

It's just a baked potato, loaded with all the fixin's. Sour cream, cheese, margarine, and barbeque. You can use either chicken, sausage, pork or beef. Your choice. On the way home I picked up a tub of barbequed beef and a couple of big baking potatoes. When I got home, I microwaved the potatoes, then put the beef in the nuke to warm. While the meat warmed, I got out the cheese, chives, sour cream (fat free) and margarine.

Fifteen minutes later, I had a chopped baker.

Oh, damn it was good.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Ammo Archeology

My daughter-in-law is the assistant archaeologist for the city of St. Augustine, FL. They're digging on Aviles Street, trying to prove it's the oldest street in the continental US. They're finding ammo. Old ammo.

I told her that I don't think that it's the oldest street in the US, because depending on how you define the term, Junior has an ancient buffalo road running through his property. It's been used by buffalo, Native Americans, settlers, wagons, stagecoaches, you name it. It's certainly older than Aviles street in St. Augustine. However, Aviles street may be the oldest planned street in the US.

At any rate, my daughter-in-law has a really cool job.

Monday, April 12, 2010


Victor Davis Hanson talks about the disconnect between rich and poor that he witnessed during a bicycle tour of California. It's instructive in what he sees, and also in what he doesn't.
I confess this week to have listened in on many conversations in Palo Alto and at Stanford, read local newspapers, and simply watched people. So I am as worried about the elite upscale yuppie as the poor illegal alien. The former have lost almost all connection with physical labor, the physical world, or the ordeal that civilization endures to elevate us from the savagery of nature.
I confess that I've noticed the same thing. Many of the upscale in our economy seems to have no idea what it takes to put in a flowerbed, or fix a lawnmower, or solder a joint. Worse, they have no motivation to learn.
Here follows some other unscientific observations. This is a funny recession. My grandfather’s stories of the Great Depression — 27 relatives in my current farmhouse and barn — were elemental: trying to find enough food to survive, and saving gasoline by shifting to neutral and gliding to stops or on the downhill.

The problem I saw this week was rampant obesity, across all age and class lines. If anything, the wealthier in Palo Alto/Stanford eat less (yes, I know the liberal critique that they have capital and education to shop for expensive healthier fruits and vegetables while the poor and neglected must turn to fast food, coke, and pop tarts). No matter — a lot of Americans are eating too much and moving too infrequently — and no one, at least if girth matters, is starving.
Even our poor are well-fed.
In the old days a poor house in rural Selma would have poor plumbing and no insulation; today’s apartment, in terms of hot water heater, oven, cook top, or air conditioner, is not much different than those found in the estates above Stanford.
This is a remarkable country we live in and the poorest of our citizens live in relative comfort. I'd be hard-pressed to find one student in the high school where I work that doesn't have a cell phone for lack of money. Thirty years ago you couldn't have a cell phone at any price, today they're everywhere.

I'm not complaining about the lack of true poverty in the United States. I think that we've done a remarkable job in allowing everyone to participate in the American Dream. However, as I complete my income tax preparation I'm amazed at the amount of my money the government thinks they are entitled to have. When a family making $50,000 might not have any tax liability at all, I'm wondering when we'll get around to changing the tax code.

It seems to me that if you can afford housing, a television and a cell phone, you really should be paying your fair share of the tax burden.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

At the Auction

Milady and I attend an auction nearly every Saturday in Pineville, LA. It's a little auction, but you never know what might turn up. Yesterday I had to work, so Milady attended alone. She came home with what appears to be an antique hall tree. Of course, you can click on the photos for larger images.

Of particular interest is a letter found in the glove box. It's from Austen Albu, M.P., in London dated June, 1956, inviting "Charlesby" to a meeting of the Politechnic Club in Room B, at the House of Commons.

An altogether fascinating bit of history. Other letters found indicated that the hall tree might have been the property of a Dr. A. Charlesby who was a scientist in London. He published scientific papers in the mid 20th century.

The hall tree itself is made from oak, stands 6 feet tall and is pegged together with numerous miter joints. It's a marvelous piece of furniture and it makes me wonder how a hall tree from London came to be at a small country auction in Pineville, LA.

Sunday Morning Dawg

The dog likes to chase his ball and this morning was no exception. He was ripping around the backyard and I rolled his ball across the pool deck.

He's the Chasing The Ball, Sunday Morning Dawg.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Range Day

I went out to my private range today to shoot the Handi Rifles. The .30-30 and the .308 Winchester. These were the first rounds through the .30-30, and I don't know if I was off, or the loads were wrong, or the scope is bad, but I was disappointed in my shooting today.

I was testing 125 grain Sierra spitzers in that rifle, with both IMR 4895 and IMR 3031. Oh, they'd have killed a deer, but group sizes were on the nature of 6" at 100yards. I shot about 30 rounds through the rifle, using five different loads, got disgusted and put it away

I took out the .308 Handi and tried a few loads with 125 spitzers. Same story. I had brought along a box of a load that's done well in every .308 I've tried it in. It features 43 grains of Reloder 15 and the 165 grain Sierra Pro-Hunter bullet. that particular load shoots very well in a number of rifles, and in the Handi I can count on it turning in groups of 1.5-2.0 inches. Today was no exception. It gave me a 5-shot group, 2" in diameter, centered nicely around the bullseye.

Feeling better about my ability to shoot, I posted a fresh target and got the .30-30 out again. I had some of my cast-bullet reloads. This load uses the Lyman 311041 bullet, lubed with Lee's Liquid Alox. It is loaded over 27 grains of IMR 4895. In my Winchester 94 it gives me 1850 fps out of that 18" barrel with accuracy around 4 inches. It's a good deer/hog load for the thick woods of this area.

I put five rounds through the Handi and walked down to look at the target. The group was 4 inches, about what I expected. What surprised me was the velocities on the chronograph. In the Winchester 94 this load turns in 1850 fps. In the Handi rifle, the chrony registered the velocity at something hovering around 2000 fps.

I've got some 150 grain bullets loaded for the Handi, but I ran out of time and patience this afternoon. Another day we'll see what that 150 grain load will give ne.

Savage Rifles

Savage Arms company continues to innovate. They've introduced a model they call the Long Range Hunter, both in a short action and a long action. Several years ago, I bought my second son a rifle like this. It's a 7mm Remington Magnum, and at the time, Savage was calling it a varmint rifle. (Yeah, who hunts varmints with a 7 mag?). It's got a heavy barrel, a synthetic stock and that wonderful Accu-trigger. We found that with the proper handloads (it likes Nosler Ballistic Tips and IMR 4831 powder), it would routinely turn in groups that hover around a half-inch at 100 yards. Matt shot a lot of 3-shot cloverleaf groups with that rifle, all bullets touching the same hole.

Dave Petzal reviews the Long-Range Hunter and comes to the same conclusion I came to many years ago.
This is not a handsome rifle or a paragon of the rifle-maker’s art. It’s consistent with Savage’s philosophy of spending its time and effort on whatever will improve accuracy and not worrying a hell of a lot about looks. If I stuck with the best-shooting load for this rifle I would have a .500-inch gun. If I went to a custom smith with $3,000 I might get a rifle that would do .400, or even .350. Might. For an off-the-shelf factory rifle to shoot the way this one does, and for under $1,000, is nothing short of fantastic.
Dave's right, although a lot of us have been saying the same thing for years. Savage might not make attractive rifles, but they make accurate rifles. This for a suggested retail price of $934.00, it's a heck of a deal if you want a long range rifle. It comes in the standard calibers and in 6.5X284 Norma. It's a heck of a deal if you want to shoot something far, far, away.

On the other end of the spectrum, Savage is making an entry level rifle they call the Edge. It's a rifle for the beginning hunter, or the hunter on a budget. It uses a different receiver, and from what I've read, Savage took some bold steps when making this rifle. For example, the recoil lug is imbedded in the stock, rather than sandwiched between the barrel and receiver. With an MRRP at $329 dollars, the base rifle very inexpensive. I've paid more than that for used rifles on pawn-shop shelves. This new Savage Edge comes in all the standard calibers, from .223 Remington to .30-06. There's a caliber for any game you'd like to try.

What do you get from a rifle that costs so little? Jeff Quinn reviewed the rifle.
To those of you familiar with Savage rifles, you will know what I mean. For those who are new to Savage bolt guns, it means that this rifle is very accurate; a lot more accurate than a hunting rifle has to be. Several groups were fired that measured under one-half inch, but the five-eighths inch group shown was typical for the day. No groups measured in excess of the magical one-inch mark. I remember years ago when a typical hunting rifle took a lot of tuning and load development to shoot consistently under an inch at one hundred yards. Now, many rifles will do that well or better, if you are willing to spend the money for a quality rifle. This Savage Edge, with standard hunting ammo produces very good accuracy, with no special tuning nor working up tailored handloads. Right out of the box, it shoots like a Savage.
This rifle is what we've come to expect from Savage Arms. A low price point and excellent accuracy.

What more could a rifleman ask?

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Trigger Pull.

Caleb talks about trigger pull, and I agree with him. A light trigger pull isn't necessarily a good trigger pull. I've had guns with a light trigger pull that were dangerous. The mechanical linkage between the trigger and the sear has to be good enough that the gun won't go off if it's bumped.

A good trigger should break cleanly with little or no overtravel. Probably the best trigger I own is the single-action break on my Model 28. It breaks clean at about two pounds, but it's very safe.

My Savage rifles have good triggers and I haven't had to adjust any of them. They break at about four pounds, which is a good weight for hunting rifles.

My AR-15, on the other hand, has a lousy trigger. It combines grittiness, overtravel and a heavy pull. It's a stock Bushmaster carbine, but it deserves a better trigger. One of these days I'm going to do something about that.

Hat tip to Say Uncle.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010


When I mount a scope, I like to boresight it before I take it to the range. I use a boresight to get on paper, not as a definitive alignment procedure. I simply want to make sure that the bore of the rifle and the scope are pointed in the same direction.

Some folks make devices to assist in boresighting a rifle, but I trust the method the Army taught me when we were boresighting tanks prior to taking them to gunnery.

I apologize for my photography skills, but these pictures illustrate the method I use to boresight a rifle. The best part of my method, is it doesn't cost anything.

This fuzzy image is taken down the bore of a .30 caliber rifle. (I was having depth-of field problems.) What you can see is a blue circle in the center of the bore. That's a hose hanging on the wall of my neighbors garage, approximately 75 yards away.

This image is through the scope, showing the reticle closely aligned on that same hose hanging on my neighbor's wall. I can be reasonably assured that the scope and the bore of the rifle are looking at the same spot. I'll verify boresight at 25 yards, them move the target out to 100 yards and begin serious sighting.

It's quick, it's easy and it doesn't cost a thing. I optically centered the reticle before I started mounting the scope, using the method Junior talks about over at Castbullet. I got lucky with this installation as the scope is centered over the bore and the reticle is optically centered. I didn't have to shim anything, nor make any adjustments to the scope after mounting. This is probably going to be a very accurate installation.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Easter Bonus Dawg

The family has gone and they've taken the other dogs with them. The Dawg is now free to relax under Milady's chair.

Having family around was fun, but we've got to work tomorrow and it's time to kick back and relax for one afternoon before starting the work week.

The dog will probably be napping in a few minutes, which I have to admit is a wonderful idea.

Sunday Morning Dawg

We spent a lot of time at my Momma's house this weekend, working on various projects. I brought the dog and he played with my sisters dogs. Here's a picture that my sister snapped while the dog was playing. His face has been thoroughly licked by other dogs and he's having the time of his life.

While we're at it, I'll show some family photos. This one is my second-from-youngest sister, hugging my second son. Ain't she a cutie?

Finally, here's my lovely, elegant baby sister, the youngest of the clan. I sure do have some pretty sisters.

And yeah, guys, they're all married.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Battlefield Marksmanship

There have been volumes written on battlefield marksmanship and I was reading a fairly good piece on the problems the Taliban face in that regard. In the New York Times. Yeah! I had to look at the masthead three times to remind myself that I was reading an educated discussion of marksmanship in the New York Times.


Friday, April 02, 2010

Skid steer loader

My sons and I spent about four hours at Momma's house this morning, using a skid steer to move blow-down trees so that she can move about her backyard. These trees fell during Hurricane Gustav and I'm just figuring out how to move them.

That little darlin' will move anything. And you can rent one locally. It's a huge hoot seeing a project like that get completed.

I'm glad that's done.

Thursday, April 01, 2010


I've been playing with You Tube videos and I've uploaded this clip of grandson Quinton firing the AR-15. He was six years old at the time and, of course, under proper adult supervision. The little clip is 22 seconds. Notice at about 19 seconds where he turns his head to make sure his uncle is wearing hearing protection.

Quin mentioned this video at school and won serious "cool points".

It's one of my favorite grandkid videos.

Goofing Off

I'm nominally on spring break, which means I can work in blue jeans and tennis shoes. I've been busy this week around the house.

This afternoon, my high school has a baseball game and a softball game, thankfully scheduled at the same time at adjacent ball parks. I'll be at the ball park in the late afternoon, early evening. With temperatures in the 70s it's a great afternoon for baseball.

Before I get to the ball park, I'm going to rent a piece of equipment to use at Momma's house tomorrow. We're clearing up some dead fall trees that have been laying in her back yard for a couple of years. They're cut up, but I need a bucket to move them. I"ll pick this thing up on the way to the ball park and bring it back early Monday morning. The video doesn't show the specific brand equipment I'm renting, but it's close enough that you can get the idea.

With this thing, we should be able to move those logs.