Thursday, June 30, 2011


Our family has a family name, Lathrop that is passed down from generation to generation, generally as a middle name. My granddaddy was Edward Lathrop Dezendorf, and my grandson is Quinton Lathrope Dezendorf. Names change over time.

My sister has found a gravestone of the fellow who is probably the guy from who we got the weird middle name. Sis claims that he is our 9th-great-grandfather.

Confined Newgate Prison 1632-1634? I'd love to hear the story on that! From the website above, his stone is found in front of the Old Lothrop Hill Cemetery in Barnstable, Cape Cod, MA.

Edit: Just heard from sis:
Rev John Lathrop succeeded Henry Jacobs as the leader of the Independent Congregational Society in London after Reverend Jacobs left England for Virginia. On April 29, 1632, the congregation was discovered by the authorities and 42 of its members were imprisoned. Within two years, all were released on bail except John who remained incarcerated at Newgate Prison, nicknamed, the Clink. Hannah, his wife, fell sick during his imprisonment and died in 1633. John was then finally released from prison on the condition that he leave the county.
How cool is that?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Cast Bullet Wednesday

As soon as I finished the post below, I threw my range box into the truck and headed for the range. It was a quiet day out there, and I walked into the office and saw the Captain, told him I wanted to hang a red flag and go shoot. He was okay with that.

As I drove over to the firing line, I saw another deputy, one of our reservists, drive up behind me. I've worked with the guy several times and he wanted to shoot his Winchester Featherweight in .308.

Beautiful day to be on the range. Temps were in the high 90s with a RealFeel temp of 109. Slight breeze from the south. Hotter than a whatchacallit out there. I was glad I had packed an ice chest with bottled water.

Here's a better picture than the one from earlier this week. This photo was taken with my Canon SLR and it's much clearer than the last one I posted.

First, I wanted to work with the trigger on my SW MP45. I haven't completely learned that trigger yet, so I hung a bullseye target on the 25 yard pistol range and shot a few magazines. Slowly. Ammo was my standar cast bullet .45 ACP load. Shots were all over the paper and I concentrated on sight alignment and trigger squeeze. The MP45 pistol has some loyal adherents, but I'm one of those guys who grew up on revolvers and 1911s. I can't get used to the crunchenticker trigger on the plastic fantastic. Slowly, I worked the trigger, trying to find the reset and noticed that my groups were starting to shrink. On the fourth or fifth magazine I noticed that my groups were starting to tighten and the shots were landing in the 4 inch black bull. Wonderful. I shot another magazine and put the pistol away. Enough work for one day.

Then I went to the truck and took out the Winchester 94 and my cast bullet loads. Sat down at a bench and surprised myself when I rang the 100 yard gong on the first shot. It's been a long time since I used iron sights and the front bead on that rifle subtends six inches at 100 yards. I had the deputy spot for me and fired another round, rang it again. He told me that I was striking the gong on the left side of the plate, good for elevation. Adjusted the sights and in just a few more minutes, I was hitting it near the center of the plate. Walking down to the target to check the other deputy's grouping, I noticed that my shots were hitting the gong near the center in a 4" group. Not bad at all for iron sights and a rifle I haven't shot in a year or longer.

After getting the sights adjusted I took a bead on the 200 yard gong and rang it. Fired again and missed. Fired again and heard the bullet strike. Fired again and missed. 200 yards is a long way when the front bead hides the whole target. Still, I'm confident that at 100 yards I can hit a 9" plate, which is minute of deer. The energy on that particular load isn't sufficient for much more than that, so I'll limit shots at game to 100 yards.

I shot nothing but cast bullets and iron sights today and I feel better than I've felt in a while. I may have to take Milady to supper later to celebrate.

.30-30 Winchester

I was piddling on the bench yesterday and noticed a big plastic pickle jar full of brass. I picked it up and looked inside. .30-30 brass! It's been a while since I played with the .30-30, so I got out my notes and started prepping brass.

The .30-30 Winchester, originally billed as the .30 Winchester Center Fire was introduced in 1895 by Winchester for the Model 1894 rifle, the standard lever action rifle that's been made almost continually since. When the .30 WCF was introduced, it was the first small bore smokeless rifle cartridge and was touted as the latest-and-greatest scientific development in gunmaking history.

No one can doubt the popularity of the cartridge. All of the ammo makers build ammo for it, most of the rifle makers have made rifles chambered in the cartridge at one time or another. the Model 1894 was manufactured between 1894 and 2006 and Winchester produced over 7.5 million of them. They're still being built by FN, the company who took over when Winchester folded in '86, and brand new ones are available today. The other rifle that popularized the cartridge was made by Winchester competitor Marlin Firearms, who started with their Model 36 rifle. The 336 came out later and most estimates place the Marlin addition to the business at something over 6 million rifles.

It's safe to say that there are a lot of .30-30s in the gun safes and closets of the USA.

The cartridge itself is a handloader's dream. That long neck and low pressures combine to make a cartridge that's easy to reload with good brass life. I normally make one of two reloads in that caliber.

On the left is the Speer Hot Cor 130 grain flat point bullet. I load it over Reloder 15 powder to about 2200 fps. Recoil is mild and it carries enough energy for deer-sized game out to about 125 yards. The cartridge on the right is my favorite load for the caliber. It's a Lyman 311041 bullet, a gas-checked design that I lube with Liquid Alox. The bullet weighs just a little over 170 grains from my alloy with the gas check applied and I push it with 4895 powder to 1850 fps. Good accuracy from both of them, to the point where I have one Win 94 sighted for the jacketed Speer load and one Winchester sighted for the Lyman cast bullet load.

It's easy, in this day of long-range rifle shooting, and big scopes and bipods on rifles, to forget that lots of game was taken with anemic old cartridges like the .30-30. I would imagine that the sportsmen 100 years ago were quite pleased to have the new cartridge and took everything in North America with it.

I wish I could say that I own a fine, pre-64 version of the Winchester 94, but I don't. My cast bullet rifle is a later rifle known as the Antique Carbine. It was the first of the non-commemorative commemoratives and is described by one wag as "Winchester's attempt to put lipstick on a pig". Still, it is a good working rifle and the inside is very tight.

It's a light, handy carbine that weighs in at 5.6 lbs and I've cut the stock down to a total length of 36". I added a Williams FP sight and it's my idea of a nearly perfect truck gun or woods-wandering gun. I think I'll grab some ammo and take it to the range.


I see that the depression in the Gulf has upgraded itself to a tropical storm, named Arlene. This is the first named storm of the season. She's expected to make landfall sometime tomorrow on the northeast coast of Mexico.

Maybe as she turns to the north after landfall, south Texas will get some rain. That would be a blessing.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Weaver Reticle

Several weeks ago I bought a scope for the Ugly Rifle and settled on the Weaver Buck Commander in 2.5x10. I shot that rifle with that scope while the boys and I were at the range yesterday and I like it. Like it a lot.

Many of you are familiar with mil-dot scopes. The reticle on the Buck Commander has something that Weaver calls the Command-X reticle. It looks something like this.

The literature that comes with the scope provides references for each of the stadia lines on the lower verticle, and they're supposed to provide aiming points at various yardages to help the hunter. From looking at the table, the stadia lines are supposed to be regulated for Federal .30-06 150 grain ammo, with the A point being zero at 200 yards and the D point being a dead-on hold at 500 yards. Something like this:

Well fine. Life seldom works like the literature that comes with a scope, but we can glean useful information from the reticle, nonetheless. The table tells me that with Federal Gold Metal Match in .308, I can expect the various aiming points to be at 100, 215, 310 and 420 yards. That's still useful information. My .308 load is a close match for the 168 Federal GMM load, and I sight my rifle to be 2" high at 100 yards. That's a bad habit I got in to a long time ago. I learned yesterday that for a 300 yard hit on a 12X12 steel target, I had to hold the A aiming point at the top of the target and the B aiming point at the bottom of the target.

The Buck Commander is a fine little scope. Optics are clear, the aiming marks are easily viewed. Best of all, you can have this scope for under $200.00. SWFA lists it at $184.95 and other retailers are within a few dollars. I bought mine from a local merchant and he matched the SWFA price. One feature I really like is the finger adjustable turrets. I always hated digging in my pocket to find a coin for a coin slot. The turrets are marked for 1/4 inch at 100 yards and have a return-to-zero property that I find easy and workable. You simply pull up on the finger turret to disengage the turret, move the scale to zero then push it down to re-engage. Very simple.

I doubt I'll ever pull the trigger on a deer-sized animal at 300 yards, but using this little scope boosted my confidence about hitting a target at that distance.

MIchelle Bachmann

I see that Michelle Bachmann has made it official. She's running for the Presidency of the United States. Good for her. I've been following her for the past several months and I'm pleased that she announced. I like the things she says and I like her approach to government.
The liberals, and to be clear I’m NOT one of them, want you to think the Tea Party is the Right Wing of the Republican Party. But it’s not. It’s made up of disaffected Democrats, independents, people who’ve never been political a day in their life, libertarians, Republicans. We’re people who simply want America back on the right track again.
That's an important distinction to make. I like what I'm hearing from Michelle Bachmann. It's early in the political season and there is a lot of shaking-out to do, but I hope she's got the legs to go the whole distance.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Range Day

My boys and I took off this morning to go to the range. We had scheduled the day at the Sheriff's office range to use his 300 yard rifle benches. I forgot my camera at home, and pressed the little camera on my cell phone into service.

Looking downrange from the benches. You can see the 100 yard berm with four paper targets posted, the 200 yard berm with targets posted and if you look way down in the treeline, you can just make out the 300 yard berm.

Here's youngest son Joey working his mil-dots on the 300 yard targets. He was trying to decide which mil-dot to use at the varying ranges. He finally got it figured out and shot a 1.5 inch 3-shot group at 300 yards. That Savage rifle can shoot.

Second son Matthew trying his brother's Security Six on the pistol lanes. Matt's not much of a pistol shooter, preferring his heavy barreled Savage 111 in 7mm Rem Mag. Matt shot some fine targets with that rifle today. They have a half-size silhouette at the 300 yard line and Matt shot it several time. Once he got the scope dialed in, he was deadly with it.

Joey and Elder son Barrett watching Matt shoot the revolver. I imagine that I personally fired less than 10 rounds this morning. Once I had fired the Ugly Rifle at the 300 yard steel target and heard the plong of bullet hitting steel, I was very happy to spot for the boys while they shot. It was a beautiful morning to be on the range and any day is a good day to spend shooting with my sons.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sunday Morning Dawg

What happens when you feed peanut butter to the dog? It gets stuck on the roof of his mouth.

I ought to be ashamed of myself, but he loves it.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Seattle Terror

Did y'all happen to notice that two guys were arrested recently for conspiring to shoot-up a military recruiting station in Seattle? Yeah, two guys,
Abu Khalid Abdul-Latif, who also went by Joseph Anthony Davis, 33, of Seattle, and Walli Mujahidh, also known as Frederick Domingue, Jr., 32, of Los Angeles, will face terrorism and firearms charges for the suspected plot.
We're not sure what prompted them to want to shoot up the place, but according to an Assistant AG...
"Driven by a violent, extreme ideology, these two young Americans are charged with plotting to murder men and women who were enlisting in the Armed Forces to serve and protect our country," said Todd Hinnen, Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security.
But, no one identifies that violent, extreme ideology. Were they birthers? Truthers? Episcopalians? Mennonites? The report never identifies their violent ideology.

I wonder?


Minot, North Dakota is flooding. The river over topped the levees and from all accounts, a sizeable portion of the town is destroyed. Minot is a town of about 36,000 and estimates say that as many as 12,000 residents have been displaced. Instapundit reports on a reader email.
Hundreds, if not thousands, of houses will be destroyed. I live on the South Hill, and thankfully, my home appears safe from the flooding. However, many of my friends and co-workers are not so fortunate. People have made their best efforts to move their belongings and prized possessions to higher ground, but everyday seems to bring worse news. 3 days in a row the predicted crest level has been higher than the previous day. Friends that two days ago thought they were safe found out yesterday that they were not. By the time this thing is over, perhaps a third of the town’s homes and businesses will be destroyed, along with the vital infrastructure that links the north hill and south hill neighborhoods.

The only silver lining to this disaster has been the response of the community. I am not from this part of the country (I hail from the East Coast) and nowhere that I have lived has ever faced this kind of adversity. But I would be proud to call this town my home. I have not seen one person whine or complain. I have not heard one hopeless person ask when the government or FEMA would rescue them. The town mobilized itself days ahead of the impending disaster and began planning for the worst; secondary levees and sandbag walls went up with breathtaking speed, and thousands of homes were evacuated without incident. Think of it as the anti-Katrina. Once the townspeople saw that their worst fears were about to be realized, and their homes and livelihoods destroyed, instead of giving up, they have only redoubled their efforts to save what can be saved. Their stoic determination in the face of absolute catastrophe amazes me.
As someone who has been flooded out of a house, I understand what these folks are going through. As I recall the experience, I never saw FEMA either, just local folks helping one another. FEMA has gotten better since the Katrina-Rita debacle, but you're still going to be on your own for three days.

Thursday, June 23, 2011


I see that the FBI got Whitey Bulger. He's been on the run for 16 years.

That's the problem with warrants. They never go away. Eventually, they catch up with you.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Pot Roast

With all the rain, I decided today to make a pot roast. It's one of my family's favorites, and one that I learned at my grandfather's knee. The recipe is here, but I decided today to include a green pepper in the mix, along with the onion and carrots.

That dutch oven is going into the oven for four hours. Closer to dinner, I'll cut up some new potatoes and make mashed potatoes with the skin on them. This is old-style cooking from my childhood.


It's been lightning and thundering for two days and my dog is skeered slap to death.

He's hiding under anything he can get under.

.35 Remington

I profess a love and long abiding respect for the .35 Remington. The cartridge has been around a long time. It was originally chambered in the Remington Model 8 rifle in 1908. It's probably the last of the line of mid-powered rimless cartridges that were designed for early autoloaders of that period. Framk Hamer used a Remington Model 8 in the ambush that ended the career of outlaw Clyde Barrow.

When I was a tender youth, my buddy shot a .35 Remington and propounded on the advantages of the cartridge as a dense woods deer rifle. I couldn't afford a centerfire rifle, but I listened to my buddy and dreamed of the day I could put cash down on such a masterpiece of engineering. Then, one day when I was in college I was walking through a hardware store and saw a Marlin 336 in the rack. I asked to look at it and saw that it was chambered in .35 Remington. The price tag, new in box, was $87.50, still more than I could afford, but the counterguy told me that they had a layaway plan. So, I plunked down $10.00 to hold it, and started saving my pennies to buy the rifle. In ninety days it was mine, paid in full, and I realized I didn't have enough hard cash to afford ammo, so I waited another 30 days to afford $8.00 for a box of Remington ammo.

A friend of mine went with me to a convenient pipeline and we set up a target and sighted the rifle. I still had 10 rounds of ammo left at the end of that exercise and no more money in my pocket.

Several weeks later I was walking down a logging road with Joe Duhon, a classmate, in the Kisatchie Forest just south of Provencal, LA. We were late getting to the woods, Joe having stuck his Volkswagen in a mud hole. As we walked down Kisatchie creek, a deer stepped out of the trees and started across that tiny road. I threw the rifle up, snapped a shot and Joe and I were surprised to watch the animal spin around like he was pole-axed and drop into the dust, dead as Het. The deer kicked twice and lay still. Joe and I looked at each other, then started pacing the distance. Eighty-seven long steps. When I examined the deer, the reason for his demise was apparent. The big 200 grain bullet had entered at the point of the right jaw, traversed the neck and come out on the other side of his head. He was a middling spike buck, but for two starving college students he represented a lot of meat. Getting that deer into Joe's Volkswagen is another story. Suffice it to say that the front luggage compartment was covered in blood before we unloaded it.

The .35 Remington is considered a rather anemic cartridge. It throws a 200 grain bullet at about 2000 fps. It's long been overshadowed by other cartridges, but every deer I've killed with that rifle has exhibited much the same tendencies. They fall over, kick once, and die. There's something about putting a 200 grain slug into play that seems to end the discussion. The old slow-moving cartridges do a magnificent job when used the way the old-timers intended them to be used.

I use just one bullet in the .35 Remington. The Remington Core-Lokt 200 grain bullet. Pushed by IMR 4895, it trundles along and hits the target with surprising accuracy. Marlin still makes the 336 in .35 Remintgon. At 38 inches and 7 pounds, it's pretty much a perfect woods rifle. I suspect they cost more now than when I bought mine in '74. At some point, I put a 2X Simmons scope on my rifle and it's taken several deer over the past 38 years.

Several years ago, I passed that rifle down to my son, who also has sons. We were talking about an upcoming shooting trip and he mentioned that he was thinking about bringing the Marlin. I rummaged around on my bench and found some Winchester brass and a few old left-over Core-Lokt bullets. We'll see next week if the rifle can still shoot.

Yeah, there are faster, flatter shooting cartridges out there, but there's something special about the .35 Remington.

More on Gunrunner

The revelations just keep coming. The New York Post opines that it may go far beyond the ATF.
"They had to go to Justice to get money, to get FBI agents [and] all of the other people that helped coordinate this and to get the wiretaps they used," said Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.).
We're starting to see Eric Holder's name attached to the conspiracy, and if he didn't know about it, he should have known about it.
As for Holder, said Issa, "he should have known. It was his obligation to know." And other committee officials insist "it's quite certain that Kenneth Melson was not the principal architect of this plan."
Melson is going to be the initial scapegoat. However, this investigation should go beyond Melson. I'm convinced that at the very least, Holder should face indictment.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Blessed Rain

The day began dark with overcast. As the sun rose, the sky was yellow and the wind began to pick up. The rain started in earnest at about 9:00 and has been steady since. It's coming down in buckets and I've pretty much shut down the days activities. I managed to get the one onerous job done before the rain started and right now I'm listening to thunder and surfing the web.

Most of this will run off, but the ground is getting a well-deserved drink of water. The dog is cowering under my chair, scared to death of all the commotion outside.

As far as I'm concerned it can continue like this all day. I've got red beans and sausage in the slow cooker, and sandwich fixings in the fridge. I'll continue to comfort the dog and watch the rain.

Monday, June 20, 2011


Late this afternoon we had the first measurable rain since May 21st. Thirty days without rain. That just ain't natural for Louisiana.

It wasn't much, but it beat the hell out of nothing. The National Weather Service says we might get some more tomorrow.

Very good pilot

This guy lands a small aircraft on the roof of a motor home. Impressive. - very good pilot

Sunday, June 19, 2011


Do you remember when you could put your own foot in your mouth?

Me neither.

The house has been full of grandkids all day. The last one just left.

In the gift bag, I got a new McManus book. I'll start reading it tonight.

Sunday Morning Dawg

We've been eating outside by the pool quite a bit, or better yet, sending the grandkids out to eat by the pool. The dog has learned that scraps appear near the patio furniture.

Here's he's trying to figure out how to get on the table.

Even though there are lots of gleanings under the table. He doesn't look like he's starving.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Father's Day

I'm told that this weekend is Father's Day weekend, and if I know my children, they'll do something appropriate. I don't really need anything, so presents fall into the "cool" category. I've already written about one gift I've received, and it's a huckleberry.

The one thing I'd like this Father's Day is something I can't have. I'd like to spend just one more hour with my old man. To drink one more cup of afternoon coffee.

I miss you Old Man.

Friday, June 17, 2011


We're babysitting the three-year-old and after supper, he gets a bag of dinosaur fruit gushers as a dessert. He's running his mouth like kids do and he asks me what's the name of the dinosaur he's holding in his hand. I tell him "Ernie". That satisfies him and he eats the candy. Several minutes go by and he's got another piece of candy in his hand. "I got another Ernie."

The kid's gonna think that dinosaurs were named Ralph, Bob, and Ernie. I ought to be ashamed of myself.

Final Quals

I went to the range this morning for an optional qualification. We're only required to qualify with the duty pistol and the shotgun, but I wanted to qualify with my Model 60 and my rifle. We went to the rifle range first.

My carbine is a bone stock Bushmaster XM15-E2S. Basically, a 16" heavy barrel carbine with no extras. Not even a scope. It's basically the same rifle I used in the Army for about 25 years. One of these days I'd like to get a better trigger for it, because it's got a gritty trigger, but I've been shooting rifles like this all my adult life. I cleaned the course with it. No problem

There were three other guys on the line with their heavily modified, short barreled tactical carbines. They all scored under me. The old guy with the stock rifle ruled the firing line. There's a lesson there for the younger guys. Don't get cocky. That old guy with the iron-sighted rifle might show you a thing or two.

After that was done, we walked over to the pistol lanes to qualify with our backup pistols. I shot my Model 60 and dropped several rounds low. Still qualified easily and if those shots had been on a goblin, he'd be wandering around with a bad lower GI tract. We'd probably find him at the emergency room. They just weren't good solid center-mass shots.

Now it's time to take a break for a couple of days, catch up with the grass cutting and load some more ammo. Late next week I'll start re-learning the trigger on that M&P 45.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

New Cell Phone

I got a new cell phone today. One that I can operate.

Stolen from this guy.


I went out to the sheriff's firing range this morning to get some trigger time on my Model 60. I want to qualify with it tomorrow morning and needed to put a couple (of dozen) rounds downrange to re-acquaint myself with the trigger.

The sheriff has several ranges there, one of them is called the Citizen's range, and it's generally open for the citizenry to use. 8:00-4:00 Tuesday through Friday, there's normally someone available to open the range and serve as rangemaster, subject to no tragedies or hot call-outs.

Someone was using the qualification range, so I wandered down to the citizens range and found the red flag flying. Talked to the rangemaster, posted a target and started working on my 25 yard shooting. I spent about an hour on the line, working my sights, taking time with my trigger and wearing a blister on my index finger.

The police marksmen use that part of the range because it features a 300 yard berm with good target backers. They use the standard cartridge for police marksmen, which is the .308 Winchester, and they use the good stuff, Federal Gold Medal Match. I happened to look in the brass bucket, and what did I spot? Spent .308 brass. All Federal GMM brass. 60 rounds. I know it's once-fired because none of those guys reload. They all shoot the sheriff's ammo. Plus, 20 rounds of Hornady Match brass. Oh, score.

It's full-length sized, deprimed and rumbling in the tumbler as I type this.

Poor Losers

It seems that the Boston Bruins won the Stanley Cup and the poor losers in Vancouver decided to riot.

I've worked a lot of sporting events during my time as a cop and poor losers are the biggest source of trouble. People wanting to fight because their team lost. Losers! They should have big red L's tattooed on their foreheads.

I don't understand people who get so riled-up about a sporting event in which they're not competing. Sure, I understand supporting a team, but when folks get so wrapped up in a game that they can't maintain control of their emotions they shouldn't come out at all.

It's a game, folks, played by children. Whether it's basketball or football, or soccer, or baseball, or even hockey. They are all games played by children. Someone is going to win and someone is going to lose.

It's okay to suffer defeat in a sporting event. That's how the game is designed. What is not okay is the inability to handle defeat. It's only a game. A game that children play. If you can't handle that, then you're a loser in more ways than I can describe. Stay home and let the rest of us enjoy the game for what it is.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Retrainer Day Three

Day three of the retrainer and we went to a shoot house at the local National Guard Camp, Camp Beauregard. The Army and the National Guard are seamlessly integrated like never before, with scores of thousands of Guardsmen having been deployed over the last twenty years. The Guard trains their troops to real-world standards and one of the things they have to learn is how to clear houses and rooms.

So, the Guard builds what it calls a MATCH house. MATCH is an acronym for Modular Armored Tactical Combat House and it's basically a big steel building sandwiched with steel and plywood walls, with hallways and doorways and rooms that the trainers can configure to several different scenarios. In these houses you use live ammunition with total confidence that the ammo won't leave the house. A facility like this trains our troops in the real-world scenarios they're likely to encounter while deployed. The house has speakers and is totally wired for video so that training exercises can be captured for review at a later date.

Facilities like this insure that our troops are completely trained-up before they move to deployment. It keeps them safe, keeps them professional and is an asset to any training calendar. It's a real-world, train as you fight type facility and it teaches our troops to get used to firing in a building, increasing their muzzle awareness and taking out targets in close combat.

A long hallway with several doors looks remarkably like the hallway of a school, and we often train on active-shooter scenarios. The MATCH house is perfectly configured to support this type of training, and the Guard lets us borrow their facilities when they're not using them. So, today we scheduled the MATCH house and spent the day conducting one-officer, two-officer, and three-officer scenarios with live ammunition.

Today was probably the very best training we've had on this type of scenario-based exercise.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

New Holster

My son came in an hour ago and presented me with a new holster, custom made inside-waist-band for my Smith and Wesson Model 60.

It's a beauty, ain't it? Made from stiff saddle-leather, it's strong enough that it doesn't collapse when I draw the revolver.

As a fancy added touch, he included my brand into the corner stitching. I registered this brand when I was in the cattle business and it's become sort of an unofficial trademark for everything that we hand-produce. The photo shows the quality of the stitching.

How's that for a Father's Day gift?

Electric cars

They may not be all that green. A new study out questions whether the benefits of electric autos outweigh the effect on the environment.
Many electric cars are expected to need a replacement battery after a few years. Once the emissions from producing the second battery are added in, the total CO2 from producing an electric car rises to 12.6 tonnes, compared with 5.6 tonnes for a petrol car. Disposal also produces double the emissions because of the energy consumed in recovering and recycling metals in the battery. The study also took into account carbon emitted to generate the grid electricity consumed.
Oh, damn! The amount of carbon generated over the life of an electric car is over double that produced by a contemporary internal combustion engine.

Whaddya expect from coal powered vehicles?

Retrainer Day Two

Retrainer day two is over. Range day. This morning we qualified with the handgun and the shotgun. The handgun we use is the Smith and Wesson M&P 45. Some like it, some don't. I'm not crazy about it because I don't shoot it well. I never had any trouble qualifying with my revolvers or my 1911 Kimber, but two years ago the Sheriff issued us the Smith autos and I've been struggling to qualify with it. Oh, I qualified, but not with the scores I'd like.

I know that I need more trigger time with that pistol and that's something I've got to make time for. It's important that I shoot that pistol as accurately as I can and I've just got to learn to deal with that trigger.

The shotgun, on the other hand, was a real eye-opener. Shotgun qualification, while not difficult, is fairly random, as you have to deal with buckshot patterns. Until today. We used the Federal Premium ammo with the Flite Control wad, and the performance of that shell is magnificent. Even at 25 yards, all nine buckshot were hitting the target in a pattern of about 6 inches. If you were putting the bead on the center-mass of the target, you were blowing a big hole through the center of it. Qualifications in this state is 12 rounds, two slug and 10 buckshot. They count the holes in the target and with 9 pellets per shell and 2 slugs that comes to a possible 92 points. Lots of folks were qualifying in the high 80s

That Federal shotgun ammo is some good stuff.

Tomorrow is day three, the shoot house. It's time to run and gun.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Oh, Damn!

It seems that a news reporter found a brand new police car up on blocks after the car had been left at an electronics shop.
SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) -A brand new Shreveport Police vehicle was discovered early Monday morning on cinder blocks, all four tires and rims stolen.

KSLA News 12's Adam Hooper actually reported the crime to police just before 3:00 a.m.

The car was parked at a Stoner Avenue electronics shop waiting to have equipment installed in it.

Somebody's going to jail over that! Mark my word.

Day One

Day One of our retrainer is defensive tactics. We use the Monadnock Defensive Tactics system and it's a one day retrainer. It's done.

Yes, it's good training. Yes, it's necessary for us to do our jobs. Yes, it sucks. Really, truly sucks. There's nothing enjoyable about it. It simply sucks.

Now, I've met the standards for another year.


I've got retrainer this week. Today, Tuesday and Wednesday. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, it's a time when police officers re-do their professional qualifications on such things as required by law. Once a year I've got to be re-certified.

It's a pain in the butt, but I get to network with some good people, some of those folks I only see once a year. In a few minutes I'll be loading my gear into the truck and heading for the training site.

Oh, joy.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

A Tale of Two Tumblers

I've been reloading for nigh on 40 years and never felt the need to buy a tumbler. If my brass was dirty, I washed it with soap and water and let it dry. However, I don't think that I'm too old to learn new tricks, and the forums kept extolling the benefits of tumbling brass. But I'm frugal and didn't want to spend an enormous amount of money on something I might not like.

Then I was surfing around Midsouth Shooters Supply and came upon a new item, the Smart Reloader SR737 Nano. It cost only $23.48, and I was making a bullet order anyway, so I clicked it into the cart and paid for it. I figured I'd give it a whirl and see what I'd been missing.

Just about the time the order shipped from Midway, I got an email from a reader, we'll call him John, who told me that he had an old Dillon Reloader tumbler, a CV-500 that he hadn't used in a decade and he was sending it via the UPS truck. Gratis.

Well, hell, I thought. Now I'm going to have not one tumbler, but two. And in the space of a week both showed up at my door.

Let's talk about the little one, the Nano. It is touted as holding 300 9mm cases, and it might. I own no 9mm guns. As you can see from the photograph, it is considerably smaller than the Dillon and takes up a lot less space on the bench. It buzzes, not unpleasantly, but you can tell when it's plugged-in. It doesn't have an on-off switch so it's either plugged in or not.

As soon as it came in, I unpacked it and put it on the bench. Added a little media and some .38 special cases and plugged it in. I immediately noticed that with the light weight and the vibrating motor, it wanted to walk across the bench. I placed it behind my press and let it vibrate. Got busy doing other tasks and in about an hour, realized that I didn't hear it vibrating. I went out to check on it, and it had turned itself off.

Hmmm. The motor was warm, so I unplugged it and opened it. The cases were clean. Very good. The fact that it had turned itself off was disconcerting, but in another hour I plugged it in again as a test and it started happily vibrating. Okay. Whether through design or design fault, it turns itself off.

In another day or so, a big box arrived at my door. The Dillon! I also unpacked it and got some media. This thing is a hoss! Compared to the Nano, it's a monster. It's heavy, weighing about five times what the Nano weighs. When you plug it in, you notice it's got an on-off switch and when you turn it on it's heavy enough that it doesn't try to walk off the bench. It's heavy, solidly made, a tribute to the Dillon name. It also holds about three times as much media as the Nano.

I dumped in a gallon zipper bag of .223 cases and turned it on. This big tumbler isn't as noisy as the little Nano. I let it run for an hour and opened the lid. The cases were clean.

Now I've got two tumblers, and I use them both. For big jobs, or jobs that I want to run for more than an hour, the Dillon gets the nod. It's a beast of a machine and I like it a lot. For the small jobs, say 50 cases of .308 after decapping, the Nano gets the nod. I keep it on the bench and I'll drop in a handful of cases to clean the resizing lube off the cases before reloading.

I use lizard media that I buy from the local pet store. It's fine enough that it doesn't clog flash holes and it flows easily from .223 cases.

Many thanks to reader John, who sent me the big Dillon and taught an old dog a new trick. I like both tumblers and each of them has a place on my bench.

Sunday Morning Dawg

This dog loves his ball. It's a miniature basketball I got at a promotion and brought home to him. When I was cussing and raising hell at the plumbing problem I had last week, the dog gathered the only two things that mean anything to him, and he went into a convenient corner until the ruckus died down.

His ball and a dryer sheet. He loves dryer sheets, although I don't know why. Sometimes you'll see him carrying a dryer sheet around. Go figure.

Then, later in the week when I rented the carpet cleaning machine, you'd have thought that I brought aliens into the house. The dog did not like that carpet machine. So, of course, he had to go find his ball. God Forbid that damned machine would tamper with his ball.

I'd love to know what goes on in that dog's head.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Honey-do list

At this point of the summer I've comepleted my honey-do list. My honey didn't fill it, but other obligations like church and family have been requesting attention. This morning I rented a carpet cleaner and did some work in the living room and hall, then I went over to the church to replace a fill valve in one of the bathrooms. I used a Fluidmaster replacement valve, installed it, checked for leaks, flushed it half a dozen times and things seem to be okay.

Now I'm going to take a break and pack an overnight bag. Milady and I have tickets for a Bill Medley (Righteous Brothers) concert tonight and we'll leave here later this afternoon.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

No Crime Scene

Did you see this?
It was a bombshell tip that led to potentially the largest police investigation in the history of Liberty County, Texas: an informant said that dozens of bodies, some of them children, were buried in a mass grave outside a rural home. As law enforcement officials -- from local police to federal agents -- swarmed on the home, their every move followed closely by eager reporters, a small problem emerged. The tip had been called in by someone claiming to be a psychic and it turned out to be completely wrong.
Well, damn! That's got to be embarrassing.

The cops couldn't not act on a tip of thirty bodies, including children, buried in a mass grave, but the psychic didn't get it right.
"No bodies were found [and] there is nothing to indicate a homicide occurred here," Capt. Rex Evans of the Liberty County Sheriff's Office told the assembled group of reporters outside the home Tuesday night, after hours of waiting and speculation.
I bet that they're looking into their psychic.

Hurricane season

I see that there's a named hurricane in the Pacific, off the coast of Mexico. Named Adrian, it's predicted to remain offshore, traveling in a westerly direction as they normally do.

As of yet, there is no cyclonic activity in the Atlantic ocean. In the Atlantic basin, the first named hurricane for 2011 will be known as Arlene.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011


Did I mention that I hate plumbing? I can jack-leg my way around most plumbing jobs, but it takes me about three times as long as the average apprentice. I do my homework and talk to experts and try to figure out what I'm doing. Our guest bathroom commode had been leaking down, drizzling a little water from the tank into the bowl, so I talked around and found out about some new devises that would help manage the water in the tank. I hied myself down to Lowe's and talked with the plumber, who showed me a device and sold it to me. Easy-peasy, a half hour job.

That commode in the guest bathroom has always rocked, just a little bit. It didn't leak, just rocked. So, this morning after Milady went to work, I got out the little device and a handful of tools and went into that bathroom to install the new device. I even read the instructions and spread everything out on the counter so I'd know what I was doing. Installation looked rather straight-forward, until we got to the point where I shut off the water and drain the tank.

Did I mention that I hate plumbing? Did I mention that the guest bath commode has always rocked a little bit? I shut off the water and drained the tank, then started the installation. I got to the point where I re-install the water supply and when I leaned over the tank, I heard something pop. Not a good pop, but a sickening pop. Then the commode fell over on its side, I picked up the commode and tried to upright it, but my shoes slipped on the wet floor and I fell, dropping the commode on myself and breaking the porcelain.

Began cursing almost immediately, a blue-streak that would make my father proud and my mother blush. I got the commode into the carport, dripping water everywhere.

Went back into the bathroom and found that the reason the commode had always rocked was because the jazzbo who originally installed it when the house was new, had failed to secure the flange and it was rocking on PVC. The damned flange wasn't screwed to the floor. The sickening pop I head was the flange turning loose.

So, I hied myself down to the plumbing supply and got some expert advise. It seems that there are these screws called Tapcon screws that are designed for just this installation. Along with carbide concrete bits to drill the hole necessary for installation. Of course, the plumbing supply doesn't sell them, but you can get everything at Fastenal, which is just down the road.

Came home, sharpened a chisel and started chiseling out the remnants of the old flange, went back to the store for some more advise and some more carbide bits, drilled holes in concrete and properly fastened the flange to the floor, cursing the whole time. Yeah, I know, I really shouldn't curse, but did I mention how much I hate plumbing? Finally got that bastard screwed to the floor, then decided to take a picture of the completed installation.

Four screws is enough, according to the guy at the plumbing supply. It takes, on average, one $5.00 carbide bit to drill one hole in concrete.

Then I started thinking while I was cleaning up my mess. I've still got to purchase and install a commode, but that's the guest bathroom. I personally wouldn't have any trouble at all, using a stainless steel industrial crapper, but Milady might like something a little nicer. I called her at work to tell her about my day and I could tell that she was suppressing a laugh. We'll go to supper when she gets off work today, then drop by Lowe's so she can pick out a new toilet. I'm guessing at this point that the new water flow device is pretty much redundant.

Have I mentioned how much I hate plumbing?

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Tuesday musings.

Last Friday I facebooked that I was frying fish and my daughter called. She told me she'd be off at 7:00 and she hadn't had fried fish in forever, and I told her that by 7:00 the fish would be gone. Tough Luck. She moaned and I told her I'd fry fish for her the next time she's off, and that's tonight. So, in a couple of hours I'll be lighting up the fish cookers and sweating my butt to fry fish. Which I don't mind at all because she's my daughter and I love her.

Fish and french fries, fried corn-on-the-cob, hush puppies, cole slaw and iced tea. If they don't like that they can go eat somewhere else. The fish is marinating in mustard right now. I marinate my catfish in mustard before I bread it. A couple of tablespoons of regular old yellow prepared mustard will marinate four or five pounds of fish. It doesn't take much.

Of course, other folks heard that I was frying fish, so it's a party. I figure I'll feed 10 or 12 people tonight, but I don't have to get up tomorrow, so there's that and they won't stay late because they have to get up early in the morning. Tough Luck.

Tomorrow morning I'm plumbing, which I don't even like to spell. One of our commodes is trickling water so I'm going to put a new device inside the tank to stop the leaking. I bought two of the damned things because a commode at the church is trickling too. Once I get the home commode fixed, I'll gather up all the tools I used and run over to the church to fix that one. Did I mention that I hate plumbing? Well, I do.

My fish cooker was made in 1973 by a family friend, an old man who ran an auto-body shop. You've seen them everywhere, but when we made this one, you couldn't get them at the stores. Oh, no, if you wanted a fish coooker you had to scavenge a burner from an old hot water tank, then weld it into a suitable container. I used the bottom half of an old freon bottle and used a compination of 5/16 stock and rebar to make the grate.

Store-bought burner on the left, homemade burner on the right. I'd hesitate to estimate how many gallons of vegetable oil that old burner has heated to fry fish, but I'll add another one to the tally tonight.

Between College and Work

An article at the New York Times got me laughing, then thinking about our culture today. The article, was trying to give advise on how to spend the time between college and your first job, and I almost spit coffee across the keyboard. It's in Q&A format, so we'll continue with that format
Q. You’ve just graduated from college but couldn’t find a job or internship in advance — so you are moving back in with your parents. Can you take some time off before restarting your job search?
You mean to tell me that you spent four years in college and you don't already have a job? What the hell is wrong with you?

I worked my way through college, had a job the whole time. Several jobs, actually, from working as a roofer, to working in a soft-drink plant, to working as a janitor. I remember going to my boss and telling him that I needed a day off so that I could attend my commencement ceremony. He patted me on the back and said fine, be back at work on Monday.

My eldest son went into the Air Force directly after high school, got a good education in a high-tech field. He's worked every day since.

Second son went to a prestigious technical college. He worked the whole time he was in school, took a weekend off and has worked every day since.

Daughter worked every day she was in college, being a car-hop at a drive-in restaurant.

Younger son worked his way through college, had to take off for his commencement ceremony. If you don't have a job when you graduate from college, I question your work ethic.
Q. What’s the best way to use the time between graduation and employment?
Get home early after the ceremony and go to bed. You've got to be back at work tomorrow morning.
Q. Is there a way to develop skills you need for your chosen field, without yet having a job in that field?
You mean to tell me that you spent four years in college and don't have the skills you need to get a job? Your education has been a waste! Go to your financial aid office and tell them that you need a refund.
Q. What if the only job you can find involves waiting tables or working as a clerk in a retail store? Could that reflect negatively on you when you interview for jobs in your industry?
Honest work is honest work, you over-entitled ignoramus. Get a job, dumbass. Any job. Your professors are laughing at you.
Q. Since you can’t find a job in your field, should you try starting your own business?
That's not a bad idea. Starting a business is a great resume builder, BUT, the way you worded the question makes me question your intelligence. In the real world you don't try. You either do it or you don't. Failure is always an option, but you'll learn valuable lessons by failing. So, either start a business or don't, but don't whine about trying.

Oh, and that whole thing about moving back in with your parents? As my Dad once so famously told me, when I asked where my bed had been moved. "Son, you don't live here any more. That wasn't your bed, that was your Mother's bed, and she sold it. I don't know where you live, but you don't live here any more."

Get a job, you lazy bum. Any job. You don't live here anymore.

Monday, June 06, 2011

.308 Monday

My son Joey and I went out to our private range today for a little shooting. As it turned out, all we shot were our centerfire rifles in .308 Winchester.

With temps in the low 90s, at least the wind was still. Not a breath of breeze to blame if the shot went astray.

Joey getting in the zone with his rifle. It's a Savage Model 10 and he installed the Choate stock that came with the ugly rifle. Truth be known, it's hard to tell if the stock made much difference. He fired five, three shot groups that averaged 0.853 inches for all groups. This is the first time he's shot that rifle in almost two years, but the rifle continues to satisfy.

A view downrage. We've got a big pile of storm-downed oak as a backstop, with another big pile of sawdust directly in front of the oak.

Finally, PawPaw hisself, shooting the ugly rifle. I fired one cold-bore shot with this rifle, and one cold-bore shot with my Remington 700. One or the other of them will get the nod as my primary deer rifle this year, so I'll start taking them along whenever we do any shooting and recording that first cold-bore shot. Right now, I'm within an inch of my aiming point with either of them.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Sunday Morning Dawg

The dog loves his treats and when Milady comes home with a new bag of treats, watch out!

Plus, an added bonus. The dog also likes watching under the fence. Yeah, you've seen this pose before, but I was in the yard with the camera yesterday and saw the dog's nose poked under the fence. It always cracks me up.


Saturday, June 04, 2011

Fried Corn on the Cob

Several years ago, Milady and I were at a restaurant and they brought us an appetizer, fried corn on the cob. Interesting. We enjoyed it and forgot about it.

Fast forward to two days ago. I had a bag of corn on the cob, and I boiled it as a side dish, then started thinking about that fried corn on the cob. I knew that eventually I'd be frying fish in the backyard and thought that fried corn might be an interesting compliment to the meal, so I started casting about for a recipe.

As it turns out, it's a fairly easy recipe. Click on the link for the original recipe I found. First, you mix a stiff cornbread batter then coat your corn in that batter. Then you roll the battered corn in seasoned flour to make a crust. Fry for about three minutes. Easy-peasy if you're a seasoned backyard fish cook.

We had people over for a fish fry last night and I trotted out my recipe. I stuck skewers in the cob to make the corn easier to handle. Fried them with the skewers stuck in the cobs.

I fried a dozen ears. That one is the sole survivor. The corn comes out with a hard crust on it, but when you bite through the crust, the corn is moist and juicy and falls off the cob into your mouth. You have to try this recipe.

Friday, June 03, 2011


I see that James Arness has died. Lots of us grew up watching Arness play Marshall Matt Dillon on the TV series Gunsmoke.

That .243

I've got a Savage 10 in .243. I really like that little rifle and sometimes it turns in magnificent groups. Sometimes it frustrates the hell out of me. I bought it at Wal-Mart several years ago, and if the model number were catalogued today, it would be the Model 11 FNS. Synthetic stock, blind magazine, accu-trigger. The problem with this little rifle is that it's got a pencil thin barrel and doesn't tolerate heat well. Ever since the first day I bought it, it's had a tendency to vertically string the shots.

I took that rifle out yesterday while I was shooting the ugly rifle, trying a new load that features the Hornady 105 grain A-Max using RL22 powder. That 105 grain Hornady is a long bullet and I wasn't sure if my 9.25 twist barrel would stabilize it. I've tried 107 Matchkings in it, and got keyholes at 100 yards. Still, I loaded a bunch, in powder increments from 41.0 to 44.0 grains of RL22, and took them out to see how they'd shoot.

At 42.5 grains I found a pretty good load.

The first two plopped down in that 2" target dot just 0.38 from each other. The third shot fell over an inch above the other two, opening the group to 1.5 inches. Just damn!

I took a deer with that rifle last year, and I know that in the deer woods I'll seldom need a third shot. The most important shot is the first one. Yet, this rifle does have a magazine and I should be able to shoot more than two shots without seeing the bullets walk up the paper.

It's aggravating.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Thursday Range

I took that ugly rifle to the range today for its first shots.

I've found that nearly any .308 Winchester will shoot a load consisting of a 165/168 grain bullet, a Winchester LR primer and 43.0 grains of Reloder 15. That load has become a pet load because every .308 I've ever shot it through shoots it just fine. Sure, each individual rifle can use some tweaking in the ammo, but if a .308 won't shoot a 165/168 bullet over 43.0 grains of RL15, start checking your action screws or scope mounting. Something isn't right with that rifle.

The ugly rifle did not disappoint. After a couple of shots to get the scope on paper and some time to let the barrel cool, I settled down and shot this three-shot group.

Yup, that'a a three shot group, fired at a 3" target dot. The group measures just 0.754, which ain't bad for a first time out. I shot a second three shot group later that measured 1.26 inches, so the first group might have been a fluke, the second a classic triangle. We'll have to start playing with such things as overall length, but in total I'm pleased.

Even with temps hovering around the 100F mark, it was a good day to be on the range.

Making sense of the drug laws

There is an ongoing debate in this country about our drug laws. Honorable, noble people have argued for stricter laws and honorable, noble people have argued for more lenient laws, or even repeal. There are two sides to this coin and I see them both.

I was a veteran cop back in the late '80's and early '90s when the crack epidemic hit my little town. We learned how stunningly addictive crack cocaine is, and how fast one gets hooked on it. Generally if you smoked it twice you were mentally addicted and would do anything for the third, fourth, fifth rock of crack. I personally know of one guy who over the course of a week, sold all his household furnishings to buy crack cocaine.

Burglaries went up, as did thefts and prostitution. Guys and gals would do anything for the next rock of crack and we were extremely busy.

The legislatures, in their haste to "do something", made possession and sale of crack cocaine a separate offense from the sale or possession of powder cocaine. While powder cocaine was seen as a wealthy habit, crack cocaine was seen as a po-folks habit. I was on the street during those days and I know that crack cocaine did not respect your economic status. Rich folks used it as much as the poor folks, yet the perception existed, and the leges made the crack sentences much stiffer than the powder cocaine sentences.

Today I see that Eric Holder, our Attorney General, has come out in favor of the new federal sentencing guidelines reducing the penalty for crack cocaine. He also wants to apply those guidelines retroactively, potentially releasing thousands of prisoners who were sentenced under the old guidelines.

That's fair. If you're a po-folks inmate who got five years for crack cocaine, and just down the cell block is a rich guy who got 2 years for powder cocaine, then some adjustment should be made to the guidelines.

If you ask me in a weak moment, when I'm sitting at home in jeans and tennis shoes, I might tell you that the whole War on Drugs is a misapplication of tax dollars. My libertarian bent makes me believe that as long as a person isn't hurting anyone but himself it's none of my business. As me the same question when I'm in uniform and you'll get a completely different answer. My job is to enforce the laws as they're written, not to ignore those laws I don't agree with. I don't see a conflict in those positions. Change the law if you want the law changed. Argue that with your legislators, not your police officers.

Don't misunderstand, I believe in punishing those who do wrong. I also believe in fairness in sentencing. I don't agree with Eric Holder much. Mainly I disagree with the man. Yet, this one time, I think he's on the right track.

Burn Ban

While parts of Louisiana are dealing with backwater flooding, the rest of us are suffering under a prolonged drought. Our state Ag Commissioner and state Fire Marshall have issued a burn ban for most of the state.

Last year we suffered under a burn ban for several months. Locally, if a patrol deputy saw smoke, he or she would stop to investigate, verbally warn the property owner to put out the fire, then stand by while the fire was extinguished. If the property owner failed to extinguish the fire, he'd summon the fire department and issue a citation to the property owner.

Flooding in the lowlands and drought on the hilltops. Only in Louisiana.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Palin treats reporters like paparazzi

Yeah, that's the headline on this CBS article. They're whining because they can't follow her around.
Sarah Palin and her advisers are refusing to tell members of the media where she is going on her current bus tour - and the former Alaska governor seems to be enjoying the cat and mouse game that's resulted.
Awww, poor reporters.

It seems that Mrs. Palin is taking a bus tour up the east coast. She's not currently an elected official, she's not announced a candidacy for any particular office. She's a private citizen at this point in her life and she's taking a bus tour across several states. Kind of like these guys. At any given time on the summertime highways you can find hundreds, if not thousands of private citizens touring in large RVs, some of them converted buses. Yet, I don't see a caravan of reporters following those guys.

Palin's playing them like a fiddle, and she really doesn't owe them the courtesy of an itinerary. She's a private citizen. If they want to know where she's going next, they're just going to have to get in their own ride and follow her. However, there are stalking statutes in every state, and if I were on vacation and saw the same bunch of folks following me with cameras I'd call the police.


After buying that scope yesterday, I mounted it on the rifle and this morning decided that I had an hour to boresight.

I learned to boresight in the Army, working on tanks. Tank ammo is expensive and we don't want to spend a lot of ammo getting the gun to shoot accurately. Basically, you look through a device stuck in the bore of the cannon and have the gunner align the sights with where the bore is pointed. In centerfire rifles, if you can look down the bore, we accomplish the same task without using ammunition.

Some good gun shops will mount your scope and boresight it, or the home hobbyist can purchase one of these devices. They work well if you can't see down the bore, or if you don't have a convenient right angle that you can use. I prefer to use the method I was taught in the service.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so lets take some pictures.

This photo was taken from my garage, looking toward a communications box that is approximately 100 yards away. I've removed the bolt from the rifle and aligned my bore with the top right corner of that box. When we look down the bore, we see the top corner of that communications box in the bore of the rifle.

Then, we simply adjust the scope so that the corner of the box is aligned with the cross hairs of the scope.

Voila! I'm boresighted. Is my rifle perfectly sighted with the ammo I'm going to use? No, of course not, and it won't be sighted-in even if I had used a high-dollar optical instrument. Boresighting is simply to align the sights with the bore. I still have to do the range work, but I'm confident that I can put the first bullet on paper, if not at 100 yards, then certainly at 50 yards, and that's where I'll start.

Summertime weather

I awoke this morning to a muggy, sunny day. Standard summertime weather for central Louisiana. It appears that we're on track of the "eighty by eight" weather pattern where at 8:00 a.m. it's already 80 degrees on the Fahrenheit scale. It's not yet 8:00 here and the temps sit at a sultry 80 on my back porch thermometer. The weather weenies are predicting 100 degrees by the heat of the afternoon.

We're in a drought. The flooding along the Morganza spillway is considerably less than was predicted by the Corps of Engineers, simply because the ground was so parched it soaked up a lot of the water that the Corps sent down the floodway. Even moist Louisiana can be in a drought. The Morganza spillway is some 60 miles south of me, so I'm not seeing any benefit from that water. My little pond beside the house is about a foot below normal pool stage, and I doubt that it will fill until next winter, if then.

In weather like this, I'll do my outdoor piddling in the early morning, then by noon I'll be indoors where the air conditioning is cool. I'll be outside again the hour before dark.