Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Libertarian Purity

Huh! I scored 51 on the Libertarian Purity Test. I didn't realize how radical Libertarians can be.

Hat tip, Say Uncle.

Reloder 22

Reloder 22 is a magnum rifle powder, sold by the Alliant Corporation. Listed at 126 on the Hodgdon Burn Rate Chart, it's slower than both IMR and Hodgdon 4831. Alliant recommends it for 270 Winchester, 7mm Magnum and .300 Magnum cartridges.

I came to use it in the .243 Winchester with heavy bullets and found that it gave excellent accuracy and velocity. The family uses it in .270 Winchester and in .25-06. It shines in both of those cartridges. I don't push the powder hard in the .25-06. We've found a middling charge that sends a 117 grain Sierra Gameking to something over 2900 fps with great accuracy.

I've tried it in the .30-06 and the powder gave yeoman service. I don't think a person could put enough RL22 in a .30-06 case to hurt the rifle, most of the charges listed for that caliber are compressed charges and I don't like stuffing brass that full. It's easier to use a powder with a faster burn rate to get the velocity the caliber deserves.

Still, in overbore cartridges, Reloder 22 shines. I've just finished prepping some .25-06 brass and tomorrow morning I'll get down the powder scale and load the ammo. With the Sierra Gameking bullet we'll be well set for whitetail deer in the fall.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

IMR 4831

IMR 4831 is a slow burning magnum rifle powder, useful in any number of cartridges, most notably, the 7mm Remington Magnum. It's an extruded stick powder with various coatings that limit burn speed.

It's also notoriously hard to meter, that is, if you put it in a powder measure, it'll bridge and the handloader will get varying charges. Still, it's such a good powder for some uses that handloaders are willing to overlook the problems working with it. As it turns out, IMR 4831 turns in excellent accuracy in my son's Savage 111. He doesn't shoot it much, but every so often I load a box of ammo for his rifle. About fifty rounds per every six months or so keeps him in ammo.

Each of these rounds is assembled as carefully as I know how to assemble ammunition. The new brass was properly prepped (trimmed, camfered), then the primers seated. Powder weighed painstakingly, double-checked and the Nosler bullets seated to a length that puts them 0.010 from the lands of his rifle. This should be very accurate ammo. I've used every trick I know.

Hey, Matt! Your ammo is ready.


The yearly hurricane season began June 1, and we've got our first named storm before the month is out. Alex.
VILLAHERMOSA, Mexico – A strengthening Tropical Storm Alex was expected to become a hurricane Tuesday as it swirled toward the Gulf coast of northern Mexico and southern Texas, where authorities were readying emergency shelters and distributing sandbags.

Forecasters said the storm's likely path would take it away from the site of the huge Gulf of Mexico oil spill off Louisiana's coast, but added that it might push oil farther inland and disrupt cleanup efforts.

Alex had maximum sustained winds near 70 mph (110 kph) early Tuesday, and the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida, predicted the storm would grow into a hurricane sometime Tuesday as it headed toward the U.S.-Mexico border at the mouth of the Rio Grande. Landfall seemed likely Wednesday night.
We in storm-tossed Louisiana will be watching the Gulf closely until late September.

Monday, June 28, 2010


The US Supreme Court issued a decision today on McDonald vs Chicago, a gun rights case. They held that the 2nd Amendment is incorporated against the states.

This is a gun rights victory and one we'll be debating for a long time. The Court's decision was split 5-4 along fairly predictable lines.

Lots of folks more learned than I will be parsing the language of the Court in the coming days. What I find interesting is that four Justices decided to rule that an enumerated right is not binding on the states. These four Justices, Stevens, Breyer, Ginsburg and Sotomayor are on the liberal side of the Court, and that surprises me that they would rule against expanding the rights of citizens. When I was a young scholar, I was taught that liberals tend to advance human rights and this case is clearly a case where human rights could be advanced by incorporation. The only logical inference I can draw is that they aren't interested in expanding human rights, which makes me wonder if their only stumbling point is that the case revolves around gun rights.

So, if these four justices are against individual rights, the only conclusion we can draw is that they're not liberal, they're statists. Or fascists. Either way, these four justices are plainly out of touch with the concept of individual liberty.

Sunday, June 27, 2010


I'm told that there was a soccer game somewhere and the US lost to Ghana.

Okay, fine.

That's the last soccer update you'll see here for a while.

Sunday Mornng Dawg

I'm off work this summer and that's confused the dog. During my normal work schedule, I'm out the door at daylight and home about 3:00 p.m. excluding overtime. He follows me around, wondering what I'm doing. Likely as not, I'll look up and see the dog regarding me quizzically.

Have you ever felt like you're being watched? I'm glad he can't run a video camera.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Saturday Shooting

Second son, Matt called me last night. He's built a reactive target stand with 1" thick steel plate. We made plans to take it to our private range and do a little shooting.

This is the first design, and we've got some tweaking to do. Basically it's a wooden frame holding three steel plates. 3 inch, 6 inch and 9 inch. Shooting steel gives immediate feedback to the shooter. If the plate dances, you've hit it.

Yeah, we managed to shoot the chain a couple of times, immediately severing the link. In the above pic, you see elder son Barrett looking at the 3" target. Matt managed to cut the chain at the weld, smooth as with a cutting torch.

Here's a closeup shot of the 3" steel plate. The uppermost shot is a 30-06 fired from Barrett's Remington 760. The handload features a 155 grain Hornady A-Max traveling at about 2800 fps. The lower shot is a 7mm Rem Mag, with a 140 grain Nosler BT traveling at 3025. If a deer could tell the difference between getting whacked with either of those bullets, he wouldn't have long to think about it.

We shot about six different calibers, from the .22 LR to the 7mm Mag. I really enjoyed shooting my Win 94 and rocking the steel plate. My cast bullet handload of the Lyman 311041 and surplus IMR 4895 powder requited itself well.

Here's a photo from the 50 yard line. Barret is shooting my Marlin 1894 with a .357 magnum load. That little load rang the steel with authority. This morning we were shooting the Lee TL358158 over Alliant 2400, which gives me about 1400 fps from the Marlin. It's not the hottest load I have for the caliber, but it is an altogether satisfying load, and plenty accurate.

We've got some work to do on the steel swinger target and we learned a lot from shooting it this morning. Revision #2 is already in the works. The best part is that I got to spend the morning shooting with two of my sons.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Pocket guns

My son has a post today about a little gun I gave him several years ago. An FIE Titan in .25 ACP. A friend took it in trade for some computer work, but didn't particularly want it, so I struck a deal for cash. Very little cash. I shot it a time or two, then put it in my wife's car console.

Lots of folks look with disdain at the .25 ACP. It's a lightweight, no doubt, with arguably less power than a .22 Long Rifle cartridge. In the Titan, it provides serviceable accuracy at 10 yards, but I doubt I'd be tempted to fire it at that extreme range. This is a belly gun, pure and simple. It's designed to peel someone off of you that you don't want to dance with.

Someone once said that if they were shot with a .25, and found out about it, they'd be pissed-off. Well, maybe so. But put four or five in his gut at elbow distances and he'll probably wander off looking for an emergency room. Which gives you plenty of time to call the police and make a report.

For myself, I much prefer the .38 special and I carry one daily, in my pocket.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The .223 PPI

That's the .223 PawPaw Improved. It's a new cartridge I designed today. It's an interesting design, but I'm not sure I can get anyone to cut a chamber for it, and I don't know how I'd extract the brass.

You'll notice that weird ring at the shoulder, that's the main design flaw.

I was at the bench today, reloading .223 Remington, using the Hornady V-Max bullet. After doing everything right, up to the point of bullet seating, I wasn't paying attention and screwed the seating die into the press. When I seated the first bullet, I felt something odd and withdrew the case. I figured maybe I had a piece of bad brass, so I put another piece of brass in the press. Got the same result.

As it turns out, I had the seating die too far down into the press. The crimp shoulder was grabbing the neck of the cartridge, couldn't crimp it, and was collapsing the brass at the shoulder.

Yep, even PawPaw screws up once in a while. I properly adjusted the die and the ammo started coming out perfectly. Lesson: Pay attention while reloading. Little details are important.

Want a close-up?

Pay attention.


We got the first rain in several weeks, a couple of little showers, probably less than a quarter inch, but it's a dramatic improvement on what we've had lately.

So, with rain about, I stayed in the garage and cast bullets. A family member had asked for some .38 special loads and I took the opportunity to cast some bullets. My favorite .38 special load is the Lee TL358-158SWC over 4.3 grains of Unique. This load leaves the barrel of my Model 66 at 780 fps and is accurate in every revolver we've tried it in. That same load gives us 980 fps out of my Marlin 1894 and is a lot of fun to shoot. It's a great plinking load in either the revolver or the carbine and the family has shot a lot of them over the years. The only trouble is keeping it in stock. If I ever decide to buy a progressive press, this load will be the one that the press is set up for.

Huh! It's raining again. These little piddling showers are a godsend.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Border

It seems that the drug cartels have taken the literal high ground in the Arizona desert on the US side of the line.
Mexican drug cartels have set up shop on American soil, maintaining lookout bases in strategic locations in the hills of southern Arizona from which their scouts can monitor every move made by law enforcement officials, federal agents tell Fox News.
Well, yeah, if you want to secure a supply route, you put observation posts on the route to warn of danger.
The scouts are supplied by drivers who bring them food, water, batteries for radios -- all the items they need to stay in the wilderness for a long time.
That makes sense too. If you're going to have a listening post out, you have to supply it. All this is standard military practice.
“Every night we’re getting beaten like a pinata at a birthday party by drug, alien smugglers," a second federal agent told Fox News by e-mail. "The danger is out there, with all the weapons being found coming northbound…. someone needs to know about this!”
I don't doubt that at all. The Federal government has been ignoring the problem for so long that the cartels are able to operate with near impunity.

Every soldier knows how to solve the problem of unwanted listening posts. If they've taken the high ground, you take it back. With fire and maneuver. Artillery is a big help and the US government has plenty of artillery.

When the government is ready to solve the problem, they have all the assets they need. At this time they don't have the moral fiber to enforce their own laws, so the lawbreakers operate at will.

Hat tip: War on Guns


This morning dawned hot and humid in Central Louisiana, and I decided that as long as the weather was going to be miserable, I might as well do a miserable job. So, I got out the burner and started smelting lead. A month or so ago, I found a half-bucket of wheelweights I had forgotten I had, and I still had some lead left over from my last scrounging trip that needed to be processed into ingots.

So, I got out my burner and my implements and set up in the driveway after Milady left for work.

The above picture shows what I call wheelweight stew. At some point after you dump the wheelweights in the smelting pot, the metal becomes almost plastic, just before it melts. In these days of zinc wheelweights, it behooves us to keep the heat low and skim the metal frequently to remove the zinc wheelweights before the melt into the mix. Zinc is bad when we're making bullets and we don't want it in our metal.

I use three ingot molds when I'm smelting lead, dependent on the alloy that I might be melting. Square ingots are pure lead. Corn-stick ingots are wheelweight metal and smooth sticks are linotype. Here you see a pile of square ingots and corn-stick ingots. I didn't process any linotype metal today.

It's noon now and the fire is out. I'm out of metal and I hear a thunderstorm to the west. I think I'll go cool off too and put all this up in an hour or so.

Monday, June 21, 2010


Today's my wedding anniversary, but like so many other anniversaries, Milady and I decided to celebrate it last night. She's got to work tomorrow and we knew that a full-blown celebration wouldn't be a good idea for tonight, so we slipped off last night and spent a night alone in a cheap hotel.

Not really, we went to Markville, LA, where I had a room booked at the local casino. We played awhile, we had a good meal, and we got up this morning and watched the morning news on the television.

I celebrate my marriage every day because I am married to the most exciting woman I've ever met. I was lucky enough to marry my best friend and she's the one woman I want to spend time with. I'm a very lucky man.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sunday Morning Dawg

The dog likes his ice cream. Occasionally, Milady and I enjoy a Coke float while watching TV in the evening and the dog begs for a taste. Milady has begun giving him a half-scoop of ice cream so that her appreciation of her treat won't be tarnished by the unrequited whining of the dog.

Here, he has his face in the bowl trying to get the last drop from his ration.

The preferred ice cream? Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla, of course.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Shaved Ice?

It's called a snowcone, dumbass. Personally, I like the Blue Bubblegum. Grandson Zachary likes the Tiger Blood.

Calling it something else doesn't make it trendy.



It seems that lawmakers don't like being videotaped while talking with constituents.
Lawmakers are increasingly frustrated with guerrilla-style reporters, bloggers and campaign operatives who ambush them on video to provoke an aggressive or outraged response.

Members of both parties want to see the unedited video of the latest high-profile incident, in which Rep. Bob Etheridge (D-N.C.) grabbed a pair of young men with video recorders who asked him if he supports “the Obama agenda.” The lawmakers wonder if he was provoked or a victim of selective editing.
Well, that's tough. Lawmakers work for the citizens and even cell phones have video capabilities nowadays.

If you don't want embarrassing video on the internet, don't embarrass yourself in front of a camera. And, just as in law enforcement, you have to assume that you're always being videotaped.

So, if you're a public servant and don't like being videotaped, find another line of work. Don't whine about it. No one wants to hear it.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Retrainer V

I've been standing on a 20 acre aircraft ramp in upper 90 degree temps for the past six hours. Plenty of water, but damned little shade. We were practicing offensive driving, which is plenty different from defensive driving. Pursuit driving, high speed cornering, braking reaction, and steering reaction.

It was good training, very good training, but damn, it was hot on that pavement. Now, I am officially finished with this year's retraining.

PawPaw's going to be looking for someplace cool the rest of the afternoon.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

South Carolina Hilarity

The rollicking good time in South Carolina continues with the loser of the election trying to get the election thrown out over voting machine irregularities. It doesn't seem to matter that the elected nominee, Alvin Greene, won with 59% of the vote. No! What's important is that a middle-class, black veteran beat a white, upper-class career politician in the primary.
The state party's 92-member executive committee is meeting in Columbia to hear a protest by former state lawmaker Vic Rawl. Earlier this week, Rawl filed an official protest of the primary results, arguing that malfunctions in voting machines or software may have caused him to lose the June 8 Democratic primary to political unknown Alvin Greene.

Greene, 32, stunned the party establishment when he defeated Rawl in the primary to see who would face GOP U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint, the heavy favorite in the fall. Greene won with 59 percent of the vote to Rawl's 41 percent.
I hope Rawl prevails in his protest and the state Democratic party overturns the election. To have the state politicos overturning a popular vote to appoint a career politician over an unknown newcomer would be priceless. The media backlash would be exquisite.

And the Democrats say that the Republicans are racist. This is too much fun to watch.

Practical Accuracy

Much is made these days of the ability of a particular rifle to shoot groups into one inch at 100 yards, commonly called MOA (or Minute of Angle). Technically and mathematically, that's not precise, but it's close enough for most shooters. In the last ten years we've seen multiple manufacturers try to modify their manufacturing methods to wring this level of accuracy out of their firearms.

I think it was Townsend Whelen who famously said that "only accurate rifles are interesting", and many of us strive for that elusive one-hole group as a vindication of our handloading methods and the quality of our rifles. I myself am guilty of that. I have two rifles that will turn in groups under one inch regularly with a variety of my handloaded ammunition.

However, the standard rifle for many of us is a deer rifle and the vast majority of deer in this country are taken at less than 200 yards. Indeed, if we kept good records I'd suspect that the bulk of whitetail deer are shot at ranges under 100 yards. So, the question becomes, do we need a rifle that will take the wings off a horsefly at 300 yards? The whitetail deer's heart-lung area gives us a target of about nine inches at whatever yardage we choose to shoot him. Certainly we don't need a minute-of-angle rifle to do that job.

Most of us can't hold that closely without much training and practice, especially in the field where we find our targets. Shooting off the bench is one thing, and it's a good thing to align your scope and test your loads. However, once the loads are tested and the sights are aligned, many of us would profit from moving away from the bench and shooting at indeterminate ranges using field expedient positions. Offhand, kneeling and prone are probably three of the most used field positions. If you're a stand hunter like I am, I'd propose shooting from the stand position. That's normally seated, using whatever expedient rest is available from your particular set-up.

I have one rifle that doesn't give me minute-of-angle, but I'm finding that I can place a bullet within two inches of my aiming point at virtually any time I choose to shoot that rifle. That's not dependent on weather, or position, or whether the stars are aligned. I can hit a 9" plate with that rifle at 200 yards virtually whenever I choose to do so. I'm now confident in the rifle and the load and I can work on my personal technique, striving to become a better marksman. Interestingly, this rifle is probably the least expensive of my battery, a single-shot Handi rifle chambered in .308 Winchester. I gave under $200.00 for it out of a pawn shop rack.

It's the heat of the summer and many of us are already thinking about the upcoming hunting season. Before too many more weeks, the loads should be ready and the sights aligned. It's time to quit worrying about the minutia and begin working on practical accuracy. Get away from the bench and see how we can shoot. It'll make us better hunters and our marksmanship will surely improve between now and November.

Just as Townsend Whelen said that only accurate rifles are interesting, Jeff Cooper said that "only hits count". Let's try to work on hitting.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

.223 and 5.56

Much has been made of the difference between .223 ammo and 5.56 NATO ammo. While they look alike, perform alike, they're not alike. Knowledgeable gunnies know the difference. Go to The Gun Zone for a complete discussion, but generally, 5.56mm NATO ammo is loaded to a higher pressure level than .223 Remington, and the military chambering normally has a longer leade than sporting rifles. It's generally considered unsafe to use 5.56 mm ammo in sporting rifles chambered for .223 Remington.

However, my Bushmaster is specifically marked for both ammo types, which indicates to me that it has the longer leade and was proofed for the military ammo. It's perfectly safe to fire the .223 Remington in that rifle.

However, today when we were at the range, I noticed something that I had never noticed before. The boxes of ammo we were issued were marked as 5.56. While I'm sure that Winchester makes a lot of ammo for our military, I had never seen it sold in a commercial box. All military ammo I ever used was packaged in a plain brown cardboard box. Yet, plain as day, I had a box of Winchester ammo marked 5.56 mm.

I thought that was odd enough that it merited its own blog post.

Retrainer III

I qualified on everything shooty today. My duty pistol, my back-up, the shotgun and the rifle. Shot my little 5-shot Model 60 until it was too hot to hold. I shot until I wore a blister on my trigger finger, then got a band-aid and shot some more.

There isn't anything like recoil therapy to put a smile on my face. I think I'm going to get in my easy chair and take a nap.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Retrainer II

Today I won one and I lost one in force-on-force. The one I won, I managed to piss off the instructor, get into the fight before my lieutenant, get the bad guy and come out unscathed. The best part was pissing off the instructor, so we'll call that a two-fer. I think it had to do something with handcuffs, but I don't really remember.

Tomorrow is range quals and I'm okay with that. I get to shoot the Sheriff's ammo. That beats the hell out of shooting my own.

And to answer Termite's question, no I don't have to get Tazed and sprayed every year. Some things last longer than a year.

I've got to put together a range bag.

Monday, June 14, 2010


Busy all day, running active shooter scenarios. I have cleared more rooms today than I knew existed in one hallway. We cleared halls singly, in pairs, in groups, over and over and over.

Tomorrow, the same. With paintballs. I am not looking forward to it, but for every drop of sweat in training, we save a drop of blood in practice and no one has ever drowned in his own sweat.

After tomorrow, we get to spend a day shooting the Sheriff's ammo. That'll be cool.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Sunday Morning Dawg

The dog likes to lie on the tiles in front of the fireplace. He can watch our comings and goings and properly supervise the activities. He watches me closely to see if I have food. Food is enough to get him off his tile.

No food, no movement.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Legal Hubris

I followed a link talking about the hubris of would-be lawyers. Sounds like they're perfectly suited to be lawyers, if hubris is one of the qualifications. I'd be more likely to say that lawyers are full of crap, but hubris is a good enough word for educated folks.

Then I followed another link to an article about some kid killing time by going to law school.
But why would you make a major career decision on the basis of “kill[ing] time”? For the rest of his life, he’ll be typecast as a lawyer,
Good question. Why anyone would want to be a lawyer, which is just barely better than a labor union leader, according to some polls? I'll answer that question. It's pretty easy from what I've seen. Just about any idiot can become a lawyer if he or she is willing to put up with the bullshit, and has enough hubris.

Then this guy really pisses me off.
I mean, it’s pretty easy to kill a man, and I’m sure being lethal has benefits in lots of areas of life. But you wouldn’t sign up for U.S. Army training without having at least a basic understanding of what soldiers do and what challenges soldiers are likely to face. Boot camp isn’t something you do to “kill time.”
Oh, you think it's easy? Sounds just like a god-damned lawyer. Worthless sonofabitch! When did you serve? You have no clue why someone would join the Army. Many thousands of young men and women have joined when they couldn't see any other way out of a bad situation, either home, or job, or personal. Yet they served. Honorably.

The profession of arms is a profession of honor, and I won't be besmirched by being compared to an ambulance-chasing, drunk defending lawyer. My profession revolves around concepts like duty, and honor, and service.

There are some things that no honorable person would defend, and I've seen nothing that some lawyers won't defend.

Hubris, indeed.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Friday Range

I went to the range this morning and had the rifle line all to myself. I spent a couple of hours working with the Handi in .30-30 Winchester and the .223 Handi.

That .223 doesn't like any factory ammo I feed it. I guess I'll have to start reloading for that caliber if I want to find a load for that little rifle. Factory ammo is shooting into about four inches and I'm not satisfied with that.

I had done a ladder test last week with the .30-30 Handi, using three powders, IMR 4895, IMR 3031, and Reloder 15. The 4895 and RL15 showed me some interesting targets, so I had loaded some rounds with the recipes that showed me the most consistency.

I used the Hornady A-Mas 155 grain bullet as a test bed. This bullet shows good accuracy in most .30 caliber rifles I've used it in, and I keep a supply on my bench.

That target was shot at 100 yards with a cold barrel. I haven't put it over the chronograph yet, but the manuals tell me that it should be running somewhere between 2200-2300 fps. I'll do that next week, while I adjust the scope to the load.

It's not MOA, but this is a a 7.8 pound single shot hunting rifle. I'm very pleased with this load in this rifle.

The range I'm using has a gong at the 200 yard line, a 1-foot square piece of metal dangling from a sawhorse. I took the last two rounds of this load and shot that going, hitting it two times.

It'll be interesting to see what the chronograph says.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Alvin Greene - Candidate

It seems there's this guy in South Carolina who wandered in to the state headquarters with the filing fee and registered to run as the Democratic nominee for US Senate.

All perfectly legal, all perfectly American. The guy wanted to get into politics and he started with a US Senate race. One problem is that no one knows him.
An unemployed military veteran who raised no funds and put up no campaign website shocked South Carolina's Democratic Party leadership by capturing the nomination Tuesday to face Republican U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint in November.
He says he won by old-fashined campaigning, going house to house, shaking hands and talking to people.
State Democratic Party Chairwoman Carol Fowler said voters unfamiliar with either candidate may have voted alphabetically for Greene over Rawl. "As far as I know, he never showed up at anything. Vic Rawl has been campaigning everywhere from the time he filed," she said.
Yeah, well, Rawl obvviously didn't campaign as effectively as Greene campaigned. Greene got 60% of the vote. That's not an accident. And he's now the Democratic nominee to run against Jim DeMent for the US Senate.

Oh! There is the one problem with the pornography charge, but Greene hasn't been convicted and he has no comment.

Ain't politics grand?

Redirect the Mississippi?

I don't know how many of you caught it, but last night on Anderson Cooper's CNN show, Douglas Brinkley said that the administration is considering redirecting the Mississippi River into the marshes to help clean out the oil and restore wetlands that are being lost to coastal erosion.
Well, now the Mississippi River has to be redirected. It's going to have to be flooded and sediment pumped into these marshlands to save it. I think the Obama administration...
He got interrupted and I sat up in my chair, wondering if I had heard correctly.
This is a turning point. There is an appetite on Capitol Hill for Gulf recovery act. The Mississippi River is going to have to be redirected into the marshlands. And BP and Transocean and other, you know, operations, Cameron, other companies are going to have to pay up to $10 billion and $15 billion for breaking national acts.

I hope they know what they're doing. The Mississippi River has been trying to go down the Atchafalaya for several decades now. If it weren't for the Old River control structure, the Mississippi would have made a right turn near Three Rivers and headed for Morgan City. The river at New Orleans would be brine, and a whole 'nuther story would be written.

Jungle Primary

I see that California is going to an open primary system. Ha! Serves them right!

Louisiana has been using that system for years. It was conceived by Edwin Edwards, our now convicted governor as a way to even the score with Republicans. In Louisiana, back in the day, nearly everyone was registered Democrat. If you wanted to run for elective office, you might face ten or twelve challengers in the primary race. If you succeeded in an expensive, bruising primary, you emerged battered and scarred with most of your money spent. The Republicans would hold a conference and put someone on the ticket. Then, the Democrat candidate would face a fresh candidate in the general election.

Edwards thought that this was patently unfair and worked for an open primary system so that the Republicans had to get out and mix it up in the primary system. It's led to some interesting results, like the race where Louisiana voters woke up one Sunday morning and found that they were facing a choice between Edwin Edwards (a crook, but we love him) and David Duke, at that time the grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. I can remember seeing bumper stickers in that race that said "Vote for the Crook, it's important."

SO, to you folks in California. Good luck with that.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Handi .30-30

Progress continues on shooting the Handi rifle in .30-30 Winchester. The guys over at Graybeards Outdoors Forums tell me that the .30-30 is one of the great Handi rifles and I admit to doubting them when I couldn't get mint to shoot. After working through a dozen different loads I began to suspect that the scope on the rifle was not holding zero.

So, yesterday while I was out running errands I stopped by a box store to look at their scopes. I found a Nikon Prostaff Classic rimfire scope. It's a fixed 4X. I mounted it yesterday afternoon and this morning took the rifle to the range. Yeah, I know it's a rimfire scope and that the parallax is set at 50 yards. However, if you've ever used a Nikon camera, you'll appreciate the quality of their lenses. The folks at Midway USA give this little scope a 5-star rating even on hard-kicking centerfire rifles.

I bought a set of Nikon binoculars several years ago and they stay in my hunting bag. I've been really happy with the brightness and clarity of those binoculars and thought that I'd give the little Nikon scope a test drive.

The little scope is very bright and the reticle is very clear. Eye relief seems to be about 4", which is plenty of relief. It sits low on the rifle and it's very easy to get a good cheek weld on the stock, while still providing enough room for the hammer to move.

Shooting prone, off the ground at the range, I was able to keep all the shots inside two inches. One load, featuring a 155 grain bullet and IMR 4895 powder showed real promise with less than 1/2 inch of vertical dispersion. I haven't put that load over the chrony yet, but the book tells me that I should be getting about 2100 fps out of that particular load.

Now that the scope is dialed in, it should be an easy task to find the load that this little rifle prefers.

Obama Cuts Crime

It's true that violent crime is down under President Obama, but probably not for the reasons you think.
Call it the Obama effect. The murder rate dropped 7.4 percent nationwide last year, and the administration can enjoy some of the credit - but not for the reason you might think. Mr. Obama's election sparked a surge in gun sales, and, consequently, crime rates have plummeted.

In November 2008, a total of 450,000 more people purchased firearms than had bought them in November 2007. This is a more than 10-fold increase, compared with the change in sales from November 2007 over November 2006, which was only about 35,000. The average year-to-year increase in monthly sales in the past decade averaged just 21,000.
The guys in Washington DC and Chicago should take note. Crime is down in places where the government isn't afraid of its citizens.
The connection between firearm ownership and safer streets is simple and direct. Criminals realize that they face far greater risks when members of the public have the tools they need to defend themselves.
It's also true that when criminals know that they have a fair chance of stumbling upon an armed victim, their chances of survival go down. Better to target those who don't have guns.

Bonus Video Dawg

This clip is for my sisters, who enjoy the dog postings.

The dog freaks out whenever Milady comes home. He watches the door and when he sees her car, he goes into conniptions. Below is a 40 second clip.

Have you ever seen such a display?

Tuesday, June 08, 2010


I was reading an article about the voting today in several states, and I saw this rather major disconnect in the article.
Republican strategists in Washington, who have been eagerly anticipating the chance to knock off Mr. Reid, worry that their work could become much more difficult because they believe some of the views held by Ms. Angle will not sit well with independent voters.
There's your problem, right there.

As I understand the race, Ms. Angle is running as a Republican with strong Tea Party backing and she's doing quite well in the race. We'll know tonight if she succeeds. However, the Republican Party strategists in Washington have to understand that many of us don't give a tinkers damn what they think. The Republican party is out of touch with the base. They screwed it up under the second term of G.W. Bush by adopting a spending mentality and not paying attention to conservative principles.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Savage 110

It was too hot to work today, so I headed to the range to try out those .30-06 loads I loaded last week. They feature 150 grain Nosler Ballistic Tip bullets and Reloder 19 powder.

I got set up at the 100 yard line, chatting with another shooter who was trying to zero an AR that he uses for patrol work.

After we posted fresh targets, I settled in on the bags and fired the first set of three. When I looked into the spotting scope I saw three holes, real close together.

So, I let the rifle cool off and worked with another rifle for a little while, then I got the Savage back on the bags and fired the second set of cartridges, exactly the same except for another half-grain of powder. When I looked through the spotting scope I saw a much wider dispersion. Interesting.

So, again I let the rifle cool and then loaded the third set of three cartridges. I got solid on the bags and started trying to stack them in the same hole.

Darned interesting. Both the 61.0 grain load and the 62.0 grain load shot within MOA in my old Savage. The load between them shot a group over 2 inches wide. I can't blame my technique or the rifle. It felt really solid on the bags and I tried to make every shot count. I didn't call any fliers. Each of those nine shots are as well as I can fire that rifle. I think these three targets demonstrate the difference that a half-grain of powder makes, when you take into account things like barrel harmonics.

Now that I've found the load that this particular barrel likes to shoot, I'm going to load a bunch of it and get out to the range to do chrony work and zero the scope to that particular load.

That's four loads I've found for this rifle that shoots into MOA, with two different powders and two different bullet weights. For a base-level Savage 110 with a sporter barrel and a 6X hunting scope, I am very pleased with the way it shoots.


It wasn't quite 80 by eight, but it's going to be a scorcher. The official temp is now 83 degrees and climbing. We just might see 90 by nine on my back porch, where my all too uncalibrated thermometer hangs. Add humidity at 90% or better and going outside is like walking into a wet blanket.

Over the weekend, we went to our little local auction where we bought a used chest-freezer. About five cubic feet. I haven't owned a chest freezer in several years. The price was right and the auctioneer had it plugged in, showing that it worked. I bought it and brought it home.

Today, in the heat, would be a good time to get all the stuff out of the indoor fridge and sort through it, put a bunch of stuff in the new (to me) chest freezer.

Sunday, June 06, 2010


On this date in 1944, the Allied Forces under Dwight D. Eisenhower launched Operation Overlord. The world has come to know it as D-Day.

Every military operation has a D-Day, H-Hour, the time when all forces cross the Line of Departure.

That explanation is not do distract from the heroism of the men who stormed ashore in Normandy 66 years ago. It is fitting that we should remember their sacrifice.

Sunday Morning Dawg

With the coming of the summer months, the dog spends more time taking his leisure on the back patio. He likes to recline under the rattan furniture.

I think the concrete is cool on his belly.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Helen Thomas

Helen Thomas, senior White House journalist for Hearst News, is a racist, anti-Semite. Here, she tells a journalist that the Jews should go back to Germany, or Poland.

Why people tolerate her is beyond me. The woman is an idiot, and now she's convicted herself of being an anti-Semite idiot. If our President doesn't throw her out, he's an idiot.

Rainy Day

We awoke to rain on my little parcel of Central Louisiana. A much-needed rain that shows about an inch in my redneck rain gauge. What's a redneck rain gauge, you ask? Well, it's a mason jar sitting on a bench, away from walls and fences.

Milady decided that she wanted to mop the kitchen floors and banished me to the reloading bench until the floors dried. Oh, No! While I was there, I decided to peruse my Nosler manual to get ideas for some bullets I got from the UPS man earlier this week, and I decided to use Junior's method of jamming a bullet into the lands to get an idea of the length I should load.

My Savage 110 in .30-06 is my go-to rifle for most hunting tasks. The SAAMI overall length for the .30-06 Springfield cartridge is 3.340 inches. I partially sized a case and started a 150 grain Nosler Ballistic Tip into the case neck, then got out my Savage and chambered that round. Then I measured the COAL of the round. 3.328", shorter than the SAAMI max. Interesting. I made up another case, and jammed it again. Still 3.328. Very interesting. It must be something about my particular rifle and the ogive on that Nosler bullet.

The Nosler manual tells me that Reloder 19 powder is the most accurate they tested with that particular bullet, so I loaded some ammo and seated the bullets so they would be 0.010 off the lands.

Aren't they pretty? I loaded nine rounds, in three half-grain steps under the Nosler maximum load. Early next week I'll see how they shoot.


Last year, Brooks and Dunn came out with a nice song. Believe. It quickly became one of my favorites. A friend of mine just reminded me of it.

Thanks, Richard!

Thursday, June 03, 2010

More Job Promises

I guess when the adminstration promises us jobs, what they're talking about is federal jobs, as long as we don't run against an incumbent. First, it was the Sestak affair. Now, it's a Colorado primary.
WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama was unaware a top aide encouraged a Colorado Democrat to apply for an international development job instead of challenging the candidate whom the president favored in a Senate race, the White House said Thursday.

Press Secretary Robert Gibbs faced fresh questions about another backroom political deal — the first involving a Pennsylvania candidate, now a Colorado hopeful — that put the Obama administration on the defensive. The White House acknowledged that it had contacted former Colorado House Speaker Andrew Romanoff about possible jobs in hopes of persuading him to skip the Senate primary.
Of course, everyone agrees that our President knew nothing of the deal.
Asked whether Obama was knew about the outreach, Gibbs told reporters: "He's not aware of the individual circumstances."
As I recall, that's what Nixon said too.


It must be terrible to be poor. All the poor folks are eating wrong and getting fat.

That's what this idiot wants you to believe.
That said, if there’s anything I’ve learned from watching my friends attempt to navigate the kitchen, it’s that cooking isn’t obvious. Unless you’re familiar with the basics of preparation and cooking, the act of taking a few ingredients — some cornmeal, a bushel of greens, an egg — and making a meal is mystifying. Poor people are simply less likely to have access to that kind of knowledge.
I don't know whathtehell he's making with cornmeal, a bushel of greens, and one egg, but I'd love to see it.

I've known poor folks who were raised in the country, doing the best on what they could raise in the backyard, either pork, or poultry, or beef. Plus what the family garden produced. Wonderful meals, prepared lovingly, with little or no money involved. One dear woman of my acquaintance, Mrs. Conde, lived about a half-mile from us when we lived in the country. The Conde's were po-folks but knew how to cook. When Mrs. Conde was making biscuits on a early morning, you could smell them all the way to our house. Lots of times my kids would hop on bicycles and pedal down the road when the smell of biscuits wafted down the road. I fed her kids, she fed mine. That's the way poor folks take care of each other.

Here's where he really gets it all wrong.
In my own shopping, I’ve noticed that people shopping at Kroger (the cheaper grocery store in the area) tend to be heavier than those shopping at Harris Teeter, and their carts tended to be heavy on processed and prepared foods. But that isn’t a surprise; the poorer you are, the more likely it is that your diet will be high in calorie dense but nutritionally poor foods, which is a recipe for obesity.
It's got nothing to do with poverty, it's all about lifestyle and genetics. Diet and exercise. My own appreciable girth started about 1999 when I retired from the Guard and stopped running. I'm a fat boy for lots of reasons, but poverty doesn't have anything to do with it.

Hat tip to Dennis the Peasant.

Nosler Plant Fire

It's seems that the Nosler plant in Bend, Oregon had a fire and explosion yesterday.
BEND, Ore. -- A massive explosion at an ammunition plant sent shock waves through southwest Bend Wednesday afternoon, but a quick evacuation helped save all 100 workers inside. Now, investigators are trying to figure out what happened

It all happened around 2:15 p.m. inside the 22-year-old, 80,000-square-foot Nosler Inc. building on SW Columbia St. near Simpson Avenue.
Everyone got out safely and investigators are seeking the cause.

Nosler is one of my favorite bullet manufacturers. I made an order last week and two boxes of bullets I ordered were Nosler Ballistic Tip bullets.

I hope they're able to get everyone back to work soon.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010


For those of us who piddle with such things, the Cartridge Overall Length is an important measurement to know. If you're loading for a box magazine such at the .223 Remington, you must keep your cartridge length under what will fit in the box magazine. The Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers Institute, (SAAMI) give us basic cartridge dimensions. SAAMI has set the correct overall length for the .223 Remington to be 2.260 inches.

For the .30-30 Winchester, which normally uses a flat tipped bullet, SAAMI has set the correct COAL at 2.550 inches. These are industry standards that don't takeindividual rifles into account. The fact is that all rifles are individual and if you load for a particular rifle it is prudent to know the correct overall length for your particular rifle and the particular bullet you are loading.

I'm loading .30-30 Winchester ammo for a single-shot Handi rifle and I've been playing with spitzer bullets for that rifle. Single shot rifles and pistols such as the Thompson Center Contender can use pointed bullets, where they might be dangerous in a tube magazine. So, you can seat the bullets differently, taking into account the individual peculiarities of the individual barrel.

Junior reminded me of the correct procedure for determining COAL for a particular rifle/bullet combo. For the purposes of this demonstration, we'll use the .30-30 Handi rifle I've previously discussed, and the 155 grain Hornady A-Max bullet.

According to Junior,
Partially size a fired case sizing the neck only 1/16" or so. Start a bullet. Chamber the test round letting the beginning of the lands seat the bullet. Now you know the max COAL for that particular bullet. Load 3 rounds to the max COAL minus .010" and see how they shoot.
So, I went out to the bench and partially sized a .30-30 case, then partially started the bullet with my thumb. Then I chambered the bullet, allowing the lands to seat the bullet. Then, I measured the result.

A 155 grain Hornady A-Max, jammed into the lands of my Handi Rifle measures 2.7825, 0.2325 inches longer than the SAAMI recommended COAL for that cartridge. If I seat the bullet to 2.2725 it'll be 0.010 off the lands. Hopefully that little difference will give me better accuracy than I've been getting from that rifle.

It's time to do a little loading.


There's a lot of interest in electric cars these days. The Toyota Prius has been a huge success and both Chevy and Nissan are poised to come out with their own versions.

I think that diesel is a good idea. Diesel engines are torque monsters, even the smaller ones, which is why they are such a good idea in farm tractors and large trucks. You need torque if you're turning a generator to charge batteries, or the torque from the engine can directly drive the motors.

The leader in hybrid technology has been the railroad industry. These behemoths combine a diesel engine and electric motors and move freight very efficiently. I think that the motor companies missed an opportunity several years ago. A full-size pickup with a diesel engine and electric drive motors should he a very efficient vehicle, with enough "green" credentials to make even the most ardent environmentalist happy.

Oh, and people who buy straight electric vehicles are going to be plenty pissed off when the learn that their cars are (in fact), coal powered. Where do they think the electricity comes from?

Tuesday, June 01, 2010


If I arrest you, I've got to read your your rights. Normally, I take care of that as soon as possible, from a card I keep in my pocket. When you get to jail, they're going to read you your rights and ask you to sign a form that you were read your rights. If a detective asks you questions, he or she is going to read you your rights.

You have the right to remain silent. You have the right to an attorney. Etc, etc.

The Supreme Court says that if you don't want to talk to the police, all you have to do is tell them that you don't want to talk to them. If you want a lawyer, all you have to do is say that you want a lawyer. Interview over.

But, if you decide to run your mouth, you can't take it back later. The Court agrees with me.

Many times, an offender just can't help himself. He's got to argue and rant and rave on the way to the jail house. I'll normally remind him one more time that he's got the right to remain silent, then I'll start taking notes, running a recorder if I have one with me, paying attention to what's being said in the back seat of the cruiser. Then, when I do my report, I get to write down all the stuff I heard. Sometimes it's quite illuminating.

Pool Box

I spent the afternoon doing a carpentry project, a deck box for pool toys. I wanted to construct it of the same materials as the deck, 5/4 treated lumber, so I went to Lowe's this morning and bought a bunch of deck boards.

Damn thing is heavy. It's five feet long and 18 inches high, just the right size to double as extra seating on the deck. I hope the smaller grandkids can lift the lid.


It's been my experience that some folks like jewelry, and that's okay. If you've got a few extra bucks and you want to spend it on something a little flashy, good for you. I had one co-worker years ago who spent a chunk of change on a Rolex watch. It looked good on him. Gave him a certain elegance that the ladies seemed to appreciate. That feminine appreciation waned quickly once they spent a few minutes talking with him, but that a whole 'nuther story.

It's also my experience that the ladies I know like a little flash. Something to commemorate an event, like an anniversary, or Christmas, or a birthday.

Back in my single days, I met a lady and asked her out. I showed up at the front door wearing a signet ring. You remember signet rings. It just happened to fit on my left-hand ring finger and she refused to go anywhere with me until I removed that ring. She told me she didn't care where else I wore it, but she wouldn't be seen with a man who wore a ring on the third finger, left hand. Fine. I took the ring off and dropped it in my pocket.

Some of this crap is just getting silly.
Harold Thompson, who has been divorced twice and lives in Wilmington, N.C., is a founder of the D Jewelry Company, which sells divorce rings online. Its tag line: “Building self-esteem one person at a time.”
Hey, look, if you need a ring on your finger for self-esteem, then you've probably got more problems than most people want to deal with. Get a tee-shirt that says "Stay Away, I've got more baggage than a Pullman cart!".