Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Fixing Feeders

For several years now, I've been using an American Hunter feeder. It's a big ole drum type feeder and it has served me well. Until this year. I went out to the lease to recover my feeder in the spring and learned that racoons had pulled the motor and battery case off of the thing. Well, damn.

I happened to be at the auction several weeks ago and on the block was a Moultrie Hanging feeder. I picked it up for about $20.00 and decided to mate the brand-new Moultrie feeder motor to the barrel on my American Hunter. I'm awaiting Milady so that I can stick my head into the barrel to tighten the mounting nuts while she holds the bolt. I can't for the life of me figure out how to be in the drum to turn the nut while I'm also outside the drum holding the screw. If I had one arm that was six feet long, with two elbows, it wouldn't be a problem.

One feeder that I've used a lot, and I like a lot is the little Moultrie collapsible feeder. The MSRP is $49.99, but you can find it on sale a lot cheaper. I'm going to keep an eye open for them this winter and if I find them cheap I'm going to buy a couple as back-up feeders. What I like about this little feeder particularly is that it's easy to store, it's almost bullet-proof and it runs on four AA batteries. One set of good AA batteries will keep it spinning twice a day for an entire season. I bought a couple of them several years ago when Simmons Sporting Goods ran them on sale for $19.95 and if they run them on sale again, I'm going to buy several.

I want to start feeding this weekend. It's time to get the feeders out and start taking pictures of the deer.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Divorce Rings

Yeah, right. It's supposed to be a new fad.
We get that this is supposed to be an empowering thing, and maybe some women will be so excited and releaved to be free from their exes they'll be psyched to have a piece of jewelry representing their split.
Okay, we get it that women buy jewelry. It's as natural as guys buying... well, it's natural.

Divorce isn't something to be proud of. When I got my divorce I felt a number of emotions. Relief, sadness, failure. A well-meaning friend gave me a Christmas tree ornament that symbolized a new beginning. I threw it in the trash.

Still, a ring to symbolize failure? Yeah, that's empowering. However, when I was single and looked down the bar to see a woman with a ring on her left hand ring finger, I considered her off limits. Verboten. Not happening. If we fell into conversation later and she told me that the ring was a divorce ring, I'd write her off as some kind of loon.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Old Guard

When all hell is breaking loose, when a hurricane is bearing down on Washington D.C., it is perfectly reasonable to expect people to hunker down, to take shelter, to get in out of the weather.

Not the Old Guard. Members of the US 3rd Infantry Regiment guard the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. They guard it 24/7/365, regardless of weather. Regardless of hurricanes.
Members of The Old Guard have guarded the Tomb every second, of every day regardless of weather or holidays since April 6, 1948.
That's dedication to duty.

Well Done, gentlemen. Your example is noted and appreciated. I am in awe.

Sunday Morning Dawg

Several weeks ago, we cut a watermelon and the grandkids were spitting seeds everywhere. Some of them fell into the transition between the wooden deck and the concrete deck and took root. This is the most energetic watermelon vine I've seen in a while and Milady asked me to leave it alone and see what happens.

However, it is threatening to take over the yard, and the dog sometimes loses his ball in the vine.

He found it this time, but next time he might not be so lucky.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Saturday Morning

I went to bed last night with the firm intention of getting up a-dawn and mowing the grass. I overslept and woke at 7:00, the sun already firmly above the horizon. Made coffee and stumbled out on to the back patio and decided that the grass could wait another couple of days.

The news feeds on the computer tells me that Hurricane Irene has moderated somewhat overnight. The folks in North Carolina are going to take a hit, but not like the one they might have taken. As the storm moves up the coast, it's going to push water ahead of it and there will still be some localized flooding, but it's now a Cat 1 storm. Dr. Jeff Master's blog over at Weather Underground is showing that while the storm has weakened, it's still a threat to navigation and there will be downed power lines and disruption of daily lives.

It looks like the East Coast dodged a bullet, but we thought that too when Katrina was downgraded and jogged east just before landfall. Then the levees failed and the rest is history. You folks in the east, be careful today and tomorrow. This thing ain't over till it's over.

Friday, August 26, 2011

NYC Orders Evacaution

I see that New York City had ordered a mandatory evacuation of about 300K souls.
NEW YORK (AP) — Nearly 300,000 people were ordered Friday to evacuate flood-prone areas and subways, buses and trains prepared to shut down a day later as Hurricane Irene steamed toward New York, the most powerful storm to target the city in decades.

It was the first time the nation's largest city was evacuated. And never before has the entire mass transit system been shuttered because of a storm. Despite the unknowns of how the city would react, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he was confident people would get out of the storm's way.
Good luck with that, Mayor. No one in New York City remembers what it's like to be evacuated. I doubt that the yuppies understand what that means.

Brendan Loy, over at Pajamas Media, is doing a good job of explaining wind and surge to the uninitiated, but maybe y'all don't understand the scale of this monster. Yeah, it's weakened some, but it has a lot of water moving.
However, since Irene is such a huge storm–tropical storm force winds extend out up to 290 miles from the center–it has set a massive amount of the ocean’s surface in motion, which will cause a much larger storm surge than the winds would suggest.
Let's do a little math. If the area of a circle is pi times the radius squared, then with a 290 mile radius, you've got over 264,000 square miles of water moving under the hurricane. That's where the surge comes in. That much water, piling up on itself and slamming into land is a problem. A huge problem, and there's not a damned thing you can do about it.

I don't wish any bad luck on New York City, nor on Philly, nor Maryland, nor the poor souls in North Carolina who look to take the brunt of the initial landfall. It's going to be an interesting weekend. I hope you folks made those reservations I talked about yesterday.

Thursday, August 25, 2011


I'm just an old country boy, a Louisiana native, and I've lived through these things. If you're paying attention to the storm track( and if you live on the East Coast, you should be) it looks like Irene is about to make herself at home in your neighborhood.

You can go to the National Weather Service and look at the whole page, but the map tells the story to a Louisiana boy. Y'all are fixin to get some wind. And rain. And, it might not be pretty. Here's another picture.

That red on the map ain't good. That's the danger area as the weather-weenies can see it today. I'll guarantee that Irene is going to jog just before landfall and this map is just a "best guess". From what I'm seeing, most of the coast, north of Charleston, is in danger. I'm talking Virginia, D.C., Philly, Boston, New York, the whole corridor. Y'all need to start battening down, packing up, and heading west. Do a mapquest and make reservations now, somewhere 200 miles inland. That should be far enough. It'll be nice to have reservations so that when you get to the hotel you won't find that the entire state of Maryland got there ahead of you.

The worst danger, with the wind, is the water. When wind stacks up water and it runs into a coastline, you're in danger of a charming little phenomena called Storm Surge. That's when the ocean comes to visit and your house moves several miles inland. Here's the projected map.

You'll notice that New York city is in that purple area, along with a huge part of the coastline.

Seriously, folks. Y'all start paying attention to what the weather-weenies and the local emergency planners are telling you.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Donkey Whisperer

You've gotta love this guy, great political ad.

I'd vote for him.

Mystery Solved

Science has done it again. They've cracked the code to the yeast used to make lager beer.
Scientists have cracked the mystery behind lager beer after years of research and found the yeast's genomic foundation, paving way for new types of designer beers.
This is important science. Much more compelling than global warming, or nuclear physics. This is good biology. Beer is a lubricant for the soul, a gift from a benevolent God, a triumph to man's desire for a more salubrious existence. As the Friar Tuck character so plainly stated in the movie Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves.
This is grain, which any fool can eat, but for which the Lord intended a more divine means of consumption. Let us give praise to our maker and glory to his bounty by learning about... BEER.
May it always be so.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The New Civility

I see that the Congressional Black Caucus (a racist organization, based totally on race) is at it again. This time, it's Representative Fredricka Wilson (D-FL) blaming the recession on racism. I kid you not.
"When you look at African American males, 40% of them are unemployed, those under 30 years of age. I understand exactly the entire nation must be involved in this recovery but the black community is experiencing a great recession. That's what we're experiencing," Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-FL) told MSNBC.

"And all of the growth in the past 30 years, we see it slipping away. From home ownership, the middle class; it's slipping away from our hands. And it has a lot to do with many issues. Racism, shipping jobs overseas, access -- no access to technology. You know, the digital divide is there and many of the new jobs that's what it requires. So, we have a problem."
Yes, Fredrica, you're right. The racism of low expectations. The racism that teaches black kids that they don't need to succeed in school, the racism that tells black youth that they should be concerned more with a failed political philosophy than preparing themselves for the job market, either through training or education. It's a racism of low expectations, Fredrica, and we know who the racist is.

Jesse Jackson entered the fray today, too. He called us all racists.
For his part, the Rev. Jesse Jackson said the Tea Party should be called “the Fort Sumter Tea Party that sought to maintain states’ rights and slavery.”
You'd do well to study history, Jesse. That was the Democratic Party. The party that you've pledged allegiance to. The party of the Klan and slavery. But you can't admit that, can you?

Who's the racist?

Earthquakes and Hurricanes

I see that the east coast had an earthquake today. I bet that came as a surprise. No major damage, but who'd a thunk it?

Now, Irene is headed in and it's going to be a nice storm. Cat 2 today, who knows what it'll be when it hits the Carolinas? It's fairly difficult to predict storm intensity and track, especially four to five days out. As Brendan Loy reminds us:
Track forecasting is a much more exact science than intensity forecasting, but even there, errors can be large, as the National Hurricane Center’s advisories consistently note. Every recent discussion on Irene ends with the same admonition: “IT IS IMPORTANT TO REMIND USERS NOT TO FOCUS ON THE EXACT FORECAST TRACK…ESPECIALLY AT DAYS 4 AND 5…SINCE THE MOST RECENT 5-YEAR AVERAGE ERRORS AT THOSE FORECAST TIMES ARE 200 AND 250 MILES…RESPECTIVELY.” In other words, folks in Morehead City shouldn’t panic just because the forecast track is targeting them right now for a Saturday landfall, and folks in Myrtle Beach and Virginia Beach shouldn’t breathe easy just because it isn’t. The precise track can, and will, change.
And even a near miss can become a catastrophe, because a big hurricane might be 200 miles across.

A word to the wise to my East Coast readers, from a Louisiana native who's lived through these things. Go out out now and get three days supplies of food, water, propane, batteries and flashlights. Fill your vehicle with fuel and fill every gasoline container you own. If you have a generator, make sure that it will start. Make preparations to batten down the hatches at the 24 hour mark, when the storm track will be more precise. I don't need to tell you to make sure you've got ammunition.

You'll all be just fine.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Maxine Waters

Waters is an appropriate name for Maxine. She's a Democrat from California and she's carrying the water for the Democrats who have driven California into the ground and now she wants to stop the hemmoraging. Of course, rather than all the failed policies of the past, she blames the Tea Party.
“This is a tough game. You can’t be intimidated. You can’t be frightened. And as far as I’m concerned — the tea party can go straight to hell.”
Oh, Maxine. You want to keep the poor and downtrodden on the Democratic plantation, faithfully serving the masters who gives them freebies on the government dole.

Of course you're frightened, Maxine, I can see it in your eyes. You're scared to death that we're right and everything your overseers have told you over the years is wrong. Release your fear, Maxine and come over to the side of individual responsibility, individual empowerment and individual freedom. You can see what the welfare state has done to California and it's not pretty.

Of course, you're frightened, Maxine. As people decide that you're inconsequential, you'll lose the hold that you have on them. It's scary to take responsibility for yourself, and people are learning that it's very liberating.

Maxine Waters is a very scared individual, deserving of our pity. She certainly doesn't deserve anything else.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Atlas Shrugs

If you want to see a summation of the nation's current problems, you'd do worse to read Victor Davis Hanson's piece at Pajamas Media. For a nation built on the backs of entrepreneurs, our government seems strangely hostile to the people who crank the levers on the economic engine that is America's strength.
A couple of suggestions that tax brackets might need to be adjusted would slide off the backs of most business people. Perhaps we can even smile at Barack Obama’s new arbitrary $250,000 divide — above which those who make good money now pay 60% of the aggregate income taxes and are slurred with not paying “their fair share,” while 50% of American tax filers below pay no income taxes and are promised that they “won’t see one penny in new taxes.” That nearly every discussion on the debt ceiling was introduced by Obama with the euphemism “new sources of revenue” and “investments” was only a little alarming.

Yet once again, add up all the 31 months of tax-hike demagoguery. Those who hire finally got it into their collective heads that they were not merely not liked and to be overregulated, but to be further taxed as well — not in a conciliatory manner as contributing to the nation’s welfare, but in punitive fashion as if they were culpable for making profits in the first place.
You can't rebuild the American economy on the backs of American business. You've got to unshackle them, free them, and let them roar. Then, they'll hire workers, build new plants, make profits and rebuild America. If you demonize business, they'll hunker down and wait out the storm.

Maybe it is time for that Killer Rabbit, after all.

Sunday Morning Dawg

In this heat wave, the dog likes to spend a whole lot more time inside than outside, and I can't say that I blame him. When Milady and I are inside, the dog will often be found with his belly on the cool tiles near the fireplace.

He's taking his leisure on a hot summer afternoon.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Google Maps

I'm trying something and if it works, you'll all be able to see where I hunt. Google Maps has some features that I've been trying to figure out and maybe (just maybe) I've started to break the code on some of those things.

I went to the hunting camp today to check on things and I took a GPS to plot some coordinates then came home and started piddling with the technology.

View Searcy-Snyder in a larger map

That seemed to work. The map shows a portion of the Sinai-Snyder hunting club in LaSalle Parish, LA. There are three place-marks on that map. The one on bottom left is the stand of one brother-in-law, the stand on the bottom right belongs to another brother-in-law. My stand is under the SAT button at top right. If you grab the map you can move it around, change scale, do lots of things to it. The link to the map is here.

I think that's pretty cool. I really should pay more attention to this technology stuff.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


I hope he's wrong, but all I've got is hope and he's crunching the numbers.
“In a season of weak storms where 4 of 7 so far were non-tropical in origin, a frenzy of 5 to 7 true tropical storms are likely to emerge,” Bastardi said. “Almost all them are likely to reach hurricane status -- and 3 or 4 of them could impact the US coast. It appears that this very active period that is emerging could rival the 2008 frenzy of storms.”
Here we go again.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Busy Day

I spent the day at work, then came home and changed a part on the pool pump, found parts for a tractor, launched a model rocket with a grandkid. Fished same model rocket out of the pond, then took another grandkid to karate class. Came home and ate supper (Smothered steak, mashed potatoes, rolls, with leftover watermelon for dessert). As Milady did all the cooking, I washed the dishes. I'll be abed in another half hour. The alarm clock rings at 0500 and we start it all over again.

Monday, August 15, 2011


I came home tonight and Milady told me she was cooking fettucini alfredo. Chicken Fettucini Alfredo. Oh, Darn. It was all I could do to choke it down.

While she was cooking her pasta, my son came over. Someone gave him a watermelon that weighed on our bathroom scale at 41.8 lbs. Biggest damned watermelon I've ever seen. After supper we cut it. I fed ten people tonight. The fettucini took a hit, but we could only eat half the watermelon. Milady and Elder Son got out the melon-ball devices and she filled a large tupperware cake keeper with watermelon balls.

I'm stuffed.

The recipe for her alfredo sauce is here.

School Daze

It's back to school today for the teachers and the deputies who serve the schools today. Coffee's dripping and in another hour I'll pull on my boots and put on my duty belt. Classes start on Wednesday and the long endurance contest till next May.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Sunday Morning Dawg

We're on the road this weekend, in Tuscaloosa, AL for Milady's family reunion. When we're gone we have to make arrangement for the dog, and most weekends my mother agrees to keep him. That's where he's at this weekend, getting spoiled by my mother.

I'm sure he's doing fine. We'll be home late this afternoon.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Tuscaloosa II

Last night was a huge success, and Milady's mother had a magnificent time with family she gets to see only once a year.

Ninety years old, she still keeps her own house. If you get her on a dance floor, she'll two-step you till you drop. I believe she's going to outlive me.

This is her party and we're having a heck of a time.

Friday, August 12, 2011


We made it to Tuscaloosa, AL at about 3:00 local time. We're resting in the hotel and will go to a barbeque house to meet the extended family for dinner.

Tuscaloosa is busy on a Friday afternoon.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Desert Rose

We were on the back patio and Milady mentioned that her desert rose had bloomed. Very appropriate, given the lack of rainfall we're experiencing.

Still, it is a lovely flower.

In other news, we're packing for a road trip. Milady's mother is a Montgomery, from Tuscaloosa, AL and we're leaving on the morn for a jaunt into northern Alabama to attend the Montgomery family reunion. There are eight of us going from the Louisiana clan and we're looking toward a good time. We'll be back Sunday afternoon. The large question that my sister wants to know: Will there be a Sunday Morning Dawg? Oh, the mystery.

Thursday Range

I found a couple of hours today and went out to the range. Bud was coaching a couple of kids on the muzzleloaders in practice for a match next weekend. I set up where I could see the 300 yard berm and Bud had his kids practicing on the 25 yard line.

One young buck, about 11 years old, was eyeballing me, so I took off my earphones and looked at him. "What kind of rifle is that, mister?"

"It's a .30-06, a Savage."

"I've got a Savage. My Dad bought it for me for an elk hunt last year. It's a .300 WSM." The kid went back to his muzzleloader and shot a few shots with it. They called a cease-fire to change targets and the kid walked past. I asked him how he liked his Savage.

"I believe that it's too big for me."

I didn't want to tell him I agreed with him, but asked about his elk hunt last year. He allowed as how they didn't have any luck with elk, but that he had missed a deer last year, nearly 300 yards away.

I agreed that 300 yards is a long shot. "Can you see that orange target way out by the woodline?"


"That's 300 yards. Would you like to try that shot with my rifle?"

He looked at Bud, and Bud okayed the experiment. I had the kid sit down at a bench and got him a sandbag. Then, we used paper and pen to show him what the reticle and the target looked like and how I wanted him to align the horizontal crosshair with the top of the steel gong, and keep the vertical crosshair centered on the target.

I had him practice with a couple of dry-fire shots, then handed him a cartridge, my favorite load. It uses IMR 4895 under a 165 Sierra Gameking and pushes it out at about 2880 fps.

The kid chambered it like a pro, settled in on the bag, took a breath, exhaled and let it fly. In another second, we heard the CLANG of the hit and watched the gong swing from the Gameking. His face lit up.

"That's how you do it. You keep practicing with your rifle and you'll be fine."

I packed up and came home. It's hard to top a moment like that.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Wednesday Weirdness

I had to run over to the Sheriff's office today and get fitted for a new ballistic vest. They wear out every five years and I'm in line for a new one, along with about 30 others who need such things.

Then I went looking for a steering wheel for the old Yanmar tractor I own. Years of sitting in the weather have made the steering wheel... soft. Don't now how else to describe it. I'm betting that the metal under the rubber cover had a weld turn loose. I looked online and they're fairly inexpensive, but I stopped by a local tractor supply place today and he can get me the same steering wheel I found online, for less than the online price. Bonus!

Now I'm home and the uncalibrated thermometer outdoors tells me that it's currently 99F on my back deck. I think I'll stay inside the rest of the afternoon.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Tuesday Travels

I've been running around like crazy today and came home to check email and such things. I found a comment in moderation, from a fellow named Joel, aka First Shirt, that I've talked with on other forums. He made a gracious offer to send me some bullets for Bud's kids, but the link to his email isn't working. I'll look for him on the forums, but in the meantime, if Joel happens back here, my email address is ddezendorf at yahoo dot com.

Early this morning, I met Termite, a friend from another forum who just happens to live down the road from me. We met at the Sheriff's office range where we wanted to shoot some rifles, and his college-age daughter wanted to learn the intricacies of a .22 revolver. We got to the range and found that the SWAT team had scheduled it for the morning, but before they started training we had time to let his daughter and son shoot several cylinders through the .22 revolver. It was fun watching a new shooter learn about sight alignment and trigger squeeze and watching her cylinder groups tighten up. On a standard B27 target at 10 yards, her opening shots were scattered over the target in the 7 ring. Three cylinders later, she was keeping them all in the nine ring with the majority of them in the 10 or X.

One deputy let her try an L-Frame 686 with .38 special ammo and she seemed to enjoy that. I love bringing new shooters along, especially one as pretty and personable as she.

We left the range about nine o'clock and I spent the morning running errands. I haven't even looked at the Dow this afternoon, preferring the gentle glow of bringing a new shooter another step closer.

Monday, August 08, 2011

American Tinderbox

Walter Russel Meade, over at the American Interest, takes a look at what might become a racial tenderbox in the United States.

It's a great read.

That's Racist

It seems that some people haven't yet gotten the word.
Lawmakers have met with the administration three times this year seeking support for programs that specifically address the black community, but President Obama has not backed their proposals.
That's racist. Purely and simply. Why would the American president support legislation what would support any particular ethnic group?

China Criticizes US

It seems that the Chinese are upset that the US credit rating has been downgraded. Generally, I don't much care what the Chinese think, but they are our largest creditor. Xinhua News Agency says:
"China, the largest creditor of the world's sole superpower, has every right now to demand the United States to address its structural debt problems and ensure the safety of China's dollar assets," the editorial said.

"To cure its addiction to debts, the United States has to re-establish the common sense principle that one should live within its means."
When you borrow money from people, they get to tell you how to act.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Sunday Musing

I've been thinking about the S&P downgrade of the US credit rating, and I've been doing a little reading, and it seems that what I believed earlier is basically correct, with one important caveat.

It's time for the US Government to start saying no to some people. Entitlement spending needs to be cut, and certain persons need to be weaned from the government teat. We don't have to do it today, but we need to do it over the next few years or risk another downgrade, or series of downgrades. It's becoming increasingly apparent that we're no longer able to afford those people who can't take responsibility for their own problems.

I'm not talking about cutting off the old folks, I believe that someone who's worked all his life should be able to draw the Social Security he's paid. I am talking about the neer-do-wells that we've been supporting over the years. Why, for example, should someone believe that if they have a child next year they are entitled to have any government assistance? Free or subsidized housing? Emergency room visits? No, that's your child. You pay for it. Free or reduced price school lunches? Not happening. He's your kid, you feed him.

We don't have to do this tomorrow, but we've got to do it. It's going to be hard, but we simply cannot afford to subsidize people who won't learn to work, to study for a trade, to learn to take care of themselves. It's tough, but it's the only way to avoid further financial problems.

This graph from gives us the magnitude of the problem we're facing.

During last week's budget crisis, entitlements were off the table. We talked a lot about discretionary spending, but entitlements were off the table. After the bills were passed and the President signed them, we got the downgrade. This morning, the President of Standard and Poor's, David Beers told Fox News Sunday that the downgrade was based on rising debt. Our entitlements are on auto-pilot and eventually we'll not be able to afford them.
Even with the debt limit agreement passed by Congress, he said, "the underlying debt burden of the U.S. is rising and will continue to rise over the next decade."
That's what we need to tackle next. Entitlements.

Again, I'm not talking about the old folks. I'm talking about the poor folks who refuse to raise themselves from poverty. We've got plenty of education systems, plenty of trade schools, plenty of opportunities for people to take responsibility for themselves. If they refuse to join the American experiment, there is no reason that we should subsidize them. Let 'em starve. I've got no money to waste on them.


My buddy over at Mostly Cajun has a regular feature he calls The Name Game. I read it regularly for laughs. In this wild, weird world we inhabit, I decided a long time ago to adopt police work as a way to make a living and I've come in contact with some truly weird names.

Our local newspaper, which I call the Daily Wipe, has a feature this morning about the weird and sometimes hateful way in which some persons name their children.

I've run into most of those names during my career and wondered what the parent was thinking when they talked with the doctor. I've dealt with people named Demon, Lemonjello, Orangejello, Syphillis, and Gonorrhea.

We have a rather unique name that shows up in our family generationally, Lathop, based on the last name of an early American descendant. We carry that name forward proudly, most often as a middle name

What were they thinking? I don't want to know what someone is thinking when they name their child Timberrattler.

Sunday Morning Dawg

The dog believes that it's hot outside. With afternoon temps topping 100 degrees on my not-calibrated thermometer, I'm inclined to agree with him. Normally when I go outside he's bouncing off the door, but in this heat, I have to lure him outside. He won't get in the direct sunshine for anything.

With that coat, I can't say that I blame him. He's got an appointment for Monday at the groomer's shop.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Motor Parts

I was running errands today and started thinking about that Savage extractor I had ordered. All I needed was a 1/8 steel bearing, so I decided to go to Motor Parts and Bearings, a locally-owned commpany in Alexandria, LA to see if they could help.

I used to go to Motor Parts with my grandad. It's an old building on Rapides Avenue, in Alexandria, in what used to be the industrial part of town. I admit that I hadn't been there in 30 years, but found the place right there on Rapides Avenue where it was when I was a kid.

I walked in and told the lady at the counter that I needed a 1/8 steel bearing. She turned and walked to the shelves, poured something in her hand, and came back. "Is this what you need?"

"Ma'am", I replied, "I'm really not sure. The specs call for a 1/8th steel ball."

She picked up a micrometer and measured the ball at 0.125. "Looks like an eighth to me." She dropped four of them on a piece of tape and folded the tape over on itself. "Those are chromium bearings. You should be fine."

"What do I owe you?"

"It's not worth writing up, son. Come back and see us when you need something."

I came home, took the bolt to my bench and inspected the extractor thoroughly. No chips or wear spots. I put a brush on the bolt face, cleaned the slots thoroughly, then installed the spring, set a bearing on it and slid the extractor into place. Easy-Peasy. Installed the bolt in the rifle and tried it with some dummy cartridges. Everything seems to work fine.

My parts from Savage will be in next week. I'll add the bearings to the envelope and put the whole shebang away as spare parts.

If you're ever in town and need a bearing, swing by Motor Parts. They're good people.


This is disturbing. Gangs of blacks attacking whites at the Wisconsin State Fair.

This is disturbing too. The Dow is down again this morning.

More disturbing. It seems that the jobs numbers ticked up a little, with unemployment at 9.1%m and the economy adding 117K jobs, but fewer Americans are working than ever before. As a person uses up his unemployment benefits, they're dropped from the rolls. Out of the workforce. Not counted. So, the unemployment figures look better and more Americans than ever are out of work.

I went outside this morning while it was cool and did some work in the garage, sorting brass, reloading ammunition, straightening my bench. When I came in for the afternoon, I find all this disturbing news.

I might start drinking early today.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Virginia Tech Lockdown

It seems that someone may or may not have come onto the Virginia Tech campus today and he may or may not have been carrying a gun.
Virginia Tech lifted a lockdown Thursday more than five hours after three youths reported seeing a man carrying what may have been a gun covered with a cloth on the campus where 33 people died in a mass shooting four years ago.
But that's un-possible. We all know that it's against the law to carry a gun on the Virginia Tech campus.
At 2:41 p.m. EDT, the university posted a note on its website declaring an end to the lockdown under which students, faculty and others had been asked to remain indoors. But the school said a "large police presence" would remain on campus.
Why would you need a "large police presence" if nothing untoward had been found?

I've never been to Virginia Tech, but I assumed that the students and faculty were adults. I see that I am profoundly mistaken.


Has anyone else noticed that the Dow has been slipping since Congress passed the debt deal? It looks like the market prefers government austerity to government debt.

I'm just saying.

Off My Palm

When you're sighting a rifle, it's customary to give the rifle every chance we can give it. We all like nice tight groups. Bragging rights at the hunting camp often revolves around how tight your groups might be. That's all well and good and the benchrest boys have shown us how to make nice tight groups with the rifle.

However, that knowledge doesn't always transfer over to the hunting fields. When we're hunting we don't have rock-solid concrete benches to shoot from, and the simple matter of physics is that your rifle will recoil differently from the bench than it will when you're shooting from your palm.

I'll readily admit that I'm not a great shot and what my rifles can do in the field, as opposed to what they do on the bench are two different situations. For example, I've got one .30-06 load that I shoot through my Savage 110. It uses 165/168 grain bullets and IMR 4895. It can throw that bullet at something north of 2800 fps, which makes it good medicine for any game in North America, short of the big bears. That rifle shoots that load very well, under an inch when I've got out all the sandbags and I'm doing everything that I can do to give the rifle its best chance.

So, in early August every year, after the load development is done, I start going to the range to practice shooting like I'm going to shoot in the hunting field. I'm shooting the rifle, not the bench. I may be sitting, I may be kneeling, I may be on my belly, but I'm learning again how to shoot.

This one target in particular illustrates the problem. It's that .30-06 Savage, firing its favorite load, but I'm shooting from my palm. I might be sitting at the table with my elbows on the concrete, I might kneel, I might even stand and take an expedient rest on an upright pole. But I'm not using the sandbags and my benchrest is still in the truck.

That's nine shots. Three strings of three shots each. Eight of them went into 2.2 inches, the ninth (which was a called flyer in the second string) opened the group to 3.5 inches. This from my Savage with its Weaver K6 scope mounted.

Let's look at another example. I've got a Remington 700 that I picked up last year. It's a .308 and I'm playing with a new powder, Alliant Power-Pro 2000 MR. I'm using 150 grain Hornady Interlock bullets and the powder charge is pushing that bullet to 2950 fps as recorded on my Chrony. I've got the rifle sighted 3" high with that load, and this morning between series with the Savage, I decided to give the Remington its chance. I basically put my elbows on the table and sent three at a clean target.

Three shots into 1.1 inches from a hunting position. Is that a fluke? Damned right it's a fluke, because I don't shoot that well. I've gotten bench groups of 0.58 inches with that rifle and I know it's a fine load. However, I'm not that fine a shot but I am proud to have that target.

What's the point of this rambling discourse? It's well and good to wring all the accuracy we can out of our rifles, but the hunting season is upon us and we're not going to have benches and sandbags. It's time to start practicing for the hunting season and that involves powder and bullets and some of your time. Get away from the bench and start shooting. You'll be a better hunter for the experience.

Bud's Bullets II

Last week I talked about my friend, Bud, who is sponsoring and coaching a high-school muzzleloader team. I took him those bullets and found him in his range shack, cleaning a muzzleloader. I pulled up a chair, got a bottle of water, and enjoyed the air conditioning while we talked.

One subject turned to another and we talked about the bullets, and I asked if he'd tried .45 caliber bullets in the rifles, and whether or not .44 caliber bullets might serve the team better. He opined that he didn't know. That .44 caliber bullets might work better in some rifles than others, and that having each kid tune his rifle for his load is part of the process.

So, this morning while the temps were cool enough to stand over a lead pot, I cast Bud some .44 caliber bullets. That is the only .44 caliber mold I own. It's a tumble-lube 240 grain semi-wadcutter (Lee TL430-240SWC) It's the only bullet I use in my Ruger Super Blackhawk, normally casting them from wheelweights for both the Special and Magnum loads I use in that pistol.

These I cast from pure muzzleloader lead. Bud's shooting them with sabots, so leading shouldn't be a problem and in a muzzleloader, pure lead is the ticket anyway. I'll take them out to him this morning.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011


I went out today to shoot the Ugly Rifle, a .308 Savage 10 I've been tinkering with. I put about 25 rounds through it, exercising the steel plates at the range. When I got home I put the rifle in the cradle to clean it. While the Hoppe's was working on the bore, I put a brush on the bolt face to clean it. Dabbed a little Hoppes on the brosh, gave the bolt face a good scrubbing and turned the brush around like I always do. Gave the ejector a little push to make sure it was free, then gave the extractor a push to make sure it was free.

Something gave way when I pushed the extractor and I heard a "ding" across the shop. Well, hell.

I lost a 1/8 steel ball that sits between the extractor and the spring. In my shop, with all the sawdust, and clutter, there's no telling where that ball went, and I spent the better part of hour looking for it. So, I looked on the website and got the part number (part #100214 - $2.00). I called the Savage customer service line and talked to the lady there. The minimum order is $10.00, so I ordered an extractor spring (part #100257 - $2.00) and another extractor (part #100139 - $4.00). That's still under the minimum $10.00, so with shipping my total is $12.00.

It looks like I'm going to learn how to install an extractor.


The Bureau of Labor Statistics posts some interesting data if you're trying to understand our economy. One interesting table is the Employment-Population ratio. (You've got to dig for this stuff.) I learn today from digging around that the current Employment-Population Ratio for June 2011 is 58.5%. In effect, not quite 6-in-10 American adults worked at a job in June 2011. That's the lowest percentage we've seen since 1981, coming out of the Carter presidency.

Yet, we're told that the unemployment rate is about 9%.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Cajun Wisdom

My buddy over at Mostly Cajun is a font of wisdom, some of it hard-gleaned from life and today he quotes Kipling while talking about lessons of agriculture.
And any farmer can tell you that what you feed, you get more of. Our benevolent overlords feed “the poor” and harvest votes. And they get more “poor”.

Any rancher can tell you that cattle left to themselves will forage and live. They won’t be nearly as profitable. They’ll be wild and intractable and hard to handle and notoriously hard to round up and sell. But they’ll make it on their own. But when you start feeding them… They’ll happily show up day after day, lowing, waiting for you to drive up and offload the hay. And one day, when they’re all there waiting on the hay, you harvest… Or worse, you stop feeding, and there’s a big die-off before the survivors remember how to get feed for themselves.
Lots of wisdom there.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Monday Musings

It's Monday and everyone is fretting about the debt deal. It looks like the Tea Party has managed to bump the ship of state into a new heading. A few degrees from the course we were on, but it's a course change nonetheless. I've been listening to the radio and if seems everyone is howling. The Congressional Black Caucus doesn't like it, the Huff Post says that it's going to be the end of Keynesian economics, Senator McCain is calling us Hobbits. Some of the new Tea Party congressmen aren't happy with it because it doesn't go far enough.

Baby-steps are fine when we're changing the course of government. Small course changes are necessary sometimes so you don't throw the whole vessel off kilter. Paul Krugman believes that the deal is an unmitigated disaster.
It is, of course, a political catastrophe for Democrats, who just a few weeks ago seemed to have Republicans on the run over their plan to dismantle Medicare; now Mr. Obama has thrown all that away.
It's okay, Paul. The sky is not falling.

In other news, I found a vise at the auction Saturday. A big red vise and I've mounted it on my bench. It's marked Sears, but the baseplate is stamped Taiwan. I've lubed it and lagged it down. It will be a counterpoint to the smaller vise that's mounted on the other end of the bench.

From doing a little research, it appears that I've got a late '60s vintage vise made by Wilton vise company. It's marked Sears, with a model number 506.5182. Wilton sold those vises under their brand as the Columbian model, and sold them to Sears as a private brand.

Before anyone hollers at me for using lag screws instead of properly bolting it down, it's on a light-duty bench and will get nowhere near the stress that I might subject it to if it were on a proper bench. Those lag screws will hold it just fine.