Saturday, January 30, 2016

Saturday Practice

Practice Day at Thorn Valley.

Zachary was hot today, running in the 6s.  His best series was a 0.646, 0.616, 0.600, and a final 0.575.  He was hot as a two-dollar pistol.

Son-in-law took some slow-mo video of him on the line.  Good form, good speed, and if he cankeep this up, he'll be a contender at Texas State in April.

Short, slow-motion video.  He's the kid nearest the camera.

That's how you run a single-action revolver.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Most Dangerous Cities

Compliments to Mostly Cajun, who takes us to this list of the most dangerous cities in the world.  I'm not sure how they prepared the list, but I see some usual suspects.  I don't see Raqqa, Syria on the list, so the list is immediately compromised,, but it's interesting to look at these things.

Of US cities, topping the list is St. Louis, MO at #15.  I also see our beloved New Orleans, LA at #32.  I don't see Chicago, IL on the list, but we do have Baltimore, MD at #19.  I don't see Chicago, IL at all, which makes me curious.

Of course, New Orleans is a Democrat run hell-hole, only concerned with taking down Confederate monuments.  You'd think that the City Council would have something better to worry about than all those old, dead, white guys.  Like for example, all those newly-dead people littering the streets.    Of course, as Mostly Cajun says,
Yep, our very own New Orleans, a city that gives America a chance to visit a Third-World hellhole without leaving the USA, 
I guess if the tourists want to visit a third-world hellhole, it's okay.   But, New Orleans ain't Louisiana.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Get a Grip.

My son is talking about grips on his J-frames, and this is a good enough time as any to talk about such things.  Grips on a handgun are important, simply because it is how you hold the darned thing. Natural pointability is very important in a handgun, along with the ability to soak up recoil.  A grip that fits your hand is more likely to properly point the gun than one that doesn't.  A properly fitted grip will seem to transmit less recoil impulse than an improperly fitted one.

Pretty grips may be important to some, and we all want our handguns to look nice.  To that end, we spend money trying to find the proper grips for our handgun.  Whether semi, or revolver, single or double action, hammer or strker fired, if the gun doesn't fit your hand, you're less likely to hit with it.
When I'm instructing a new shooter, I try to let him or her use several different grips, to find the one that fits them best.  Fit matters, and I can't stress that enough. Let's take a look again at part of my collection.

The two on the left are my fast-draw revolvers.  They're both Uberti Cattlemen, but the grips are perceptibly different.  The brass framed grip is just a little larger than the steel framed grip.  Milady could use my steel-frame in a pinch, but the brass frame is simply too big for her hand.

Milady's revolvers are on top and bottom.  The one on top is a Traditions (made by Pietta) and has white PVC grips.  Milady bought in new in August, and fell in love with it immediately on taking it from the salesman.  It fits her hand perfectly. She bought it on the spot because it fit her hand so nicely.

Her other gun is on the bottom, the Ruger New Vaquero with the green grips.  Out of the box,, that revolver had nice rosewood grips, but it was too large for her small hands.  We looked around and settled on a pair of Ruger Gunfighter grips.  Standard black plastic with molded checkering.  They were still too large, so I sanded them down to fit her hand, but they were ugly. She fixed the ugly by simply painting it with fingernail polish and two coats of clear. Now, it fits her hand and is distinctive.She gets a lot of comments at shoots on those green grips. They fit her hand, and they look great.

The revolver in the middle is grandson Zach's gun, also a Ruger New Vaquero.  Originally, it too had Ruger rosewood grips.  After some trials, he opted for standard Ruger Gunfighter grips.  As he grows, he'll probably need larger grips, and I've kept the original rosewood grips that came with that gun.

This is just a small example, on one type of handgun.  Luckily, we have a large selection of aftermarket grips from which to choose.  Lots of companies large and small making grips. Find a pair that fits your hand and you'll notice that the gun shoots better.

A Poster from Oleg

Regular readers here don't need any introduction to Oleg Volk, a noted firearms and 2nd Amendment photographer.  His blog is on my sidebar.

He's got a neat poster up over at his place.

Self Defense is a human right and a civic responsibility.  Well said, Oleg!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Old Photos

Old photos are interesting.  Photographs prior to 1900 were normally planned events.  No one had an Iphone or a selfie-stick.  Cameras were bulky and required a certain knowledge to use.  So, photography was something that one planned, or the photographer was trying to document a particular time, place, or event.

Old photos lend a certain credence to historical interpretation.  A picture is worth a thousand words, and I can study old photos for hours.  For example, this one, below.  It shows a fellow with a horse and saddle.  I stumbled across it this morning, and while I can't find the provenance for the photo, it has an air of authenticity, probably from around the late 1800s, early 1900s.

I notice several things.  First, the fellow doesn't seem to be wearing a belt to hold his pants.  He was probably wearing suspenders. Of course, belt loops didn't come into popular use on trousers until the 1920s.  Second, he's armed with a single action revolver, likely a Colt, and he's wearing his cartridge loops in the front. And, his trouser cuffs are outside his boots.  Interesting.  But, it's an undated phtograph.

The question comes up sometimes if cowboys wore their trousers tucked into their boots, and I've seen it both ways.  There does not seem to have been a hard-fast rule.  The fellow above has his boot tops inside the trouser leg.  Some photos from the time period survive, and this one, from the 1880s is quite interesting.  This photo purports to be members of Co B, Texas Rangers, taken circa 1880.

That looks like a well-armed posse, and some of those fellows are wearing their pants tucked into high boots, some of them have their pants outside the boots.   It seems to have been left to individual preference.

Sometimes, a photo is found that can be dated and placed, and a lucky fellow recently found this tintype.  Many believe it is a photo from New Mexico in 1878.  It shows a group of people playing croquet at a wedding party.

The lucky fellow that found this photo bought it at a California junk shop.  He's done the research and has located the cabin, and he believes that this photo shows William Bonney (aka Billy the Kid) and his compatriots just three years before his fateful meeting with Pat Garrett.

I notice that Billy's pants are worn over his boot tops.  Again, interesting.  If this photo can be authenticated, the guy who bought the photo in a lot of other images for $2.00 might have quite a payday.

Things like this fascinate the heck out of me, and involve a time period that many Americans like to study.

A Security Vigniette

Just to give the non-educated a slight understanding of security procedures, You can read this article by Kurt Schliechter (who knows of which he speaks), but before you start thinking that Hillary's email troubles are a mistake, an accident, or a lapse in judgement, know that you're wrong.  It's simply impossible for any of this to be a mistake or an oversight.  Impossible.

After you read Col Schiechter's article, let me tell you a story about a low-ranking officer, myself.  Known as Major D by my subordinates, one of my myriad duties during Desert Storm was to provide an MP presence at the post classified document facility.  No one got in there without a clearance, and no one brought in or left with papers, notes, briefing books, anything.  Occasionally we'd hold briefings there and all the slides were produced on-site.  (Old warriors will remember slides and a program called Harvard Graphics, which preceeded PowerPoint, but I digress.)

IDs were checked, coming and going, and my MPs kept the book that logged personnel in and out.  Once a week or so, I'd have business there, and I'd park my vehicle in the lot, then walk over to a chain link/barbed wire gate with a TV camera on it, and push the button.  The MP at the desk would buzz me through, then I'd get to a steel door, where I'd push another button, and the MP would again buzz me though.  Entering that door, I was faced with my MP.  I knew these guys by name, and by face, and the conversation went something like this:

MP:  "Good afternoon, Major D!:

Me:  "How are you, young warrior?  Are they treating you okay?"

MP: "Yes, sir.  How can we help you today?"

Me:  "I need to see Captain McClung.  Is he in?"

MP: "Yes, sir, he's in the back.  If I could just see your ID."

Those guys worked for me, and knew me by name and face and asked to see my ID before I could proceed into the facility.  No papers, no notebook, and yes, by God, I would produce an ID.  And this was at a piddling little Army post.  The only secrets we kept were large troop movements.

Secrets at the level that the Secretary of State keep are levels of magnitude above the ones I was trusted with.  The very idea that classified material was mistakenly sent to her server is an impossibility.  That doesn't happen unless some is ready to go to jail.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016


Two posts from yesterday at Hot Air are compelling reads.  It seems that the FBI noose is tightening around the Clinton campaign, and that the findings are troubling.   In this article, Andrew McCarthy lays out the case that this is not a simple problem of negligence, this is willful attempt to evade the law.
Mind you, even the reckless mishandling of classified information is a serious crime. But all indications are that Mrs. Clinton was not grossly negligent. This was a thought-out, quite intentional violation of law. It now looks as if her scheme involved erasing the markings from some documents because she (a) knew what she was doing was a serious violation of law, (b) anticipated the possibility of being called on it, and (c) hoped to set up a fraudulent defense that she lacked knowledge that the documents were classified.
The second article from yesterday tells us that the FBI is just about ready to take their recommendations to the Justice Department and begin the process of prosecution.  If DOJ refuses, the FBI is reportedly steeling themselves to bring the information to the public anyway.
 Washington Post columnist and Fox News commentator Krauthammer predicted on Fox News' Special Report a week later that there would be mass resignations if the DOJ doesn't move forward with an FBI recommendation. "If it happens and then it's squashed so it doesn't actually go forward, I can imagine the career lawyers in the FBI -- the career people -- are going to resign en masse.  It will be like the Saturday Night Massacre," Krauthammer predicted.
So, AG Lynch will be faced with a compelling choice.  Either move forward with the indictment of Hillary Clinton and her closest aides, or face a constitutional crises not unlike the Saturday Night Massacre in the Nixon era.

My question, based on my experience with classified documents in the military, is who else had access to Hillary's server?  Sometimes, simple access is criminal, and I'd bet that both Bill Clinton and Chelsea Clinton had access to that server.  Based on how far they're willing to take this, the revelations may be very interesting indeed.

Stay tuned, and have the popcorn ready.

Monday, January 25, 2016

That's Quick

There's been some controversy in Cowboy Fast Draw about Rule 17, which requires that we fire the gun with the muzzle in front of the opening of the holster boot.  Some of these guys are going fast, really fast, and if you don't get the muzzle in front of the boot, problems might result.  Needless to say, some of the fast shooters have been re-working their draw.

To give you some indication, and explanation of the way we shoot, there are two commands that begin the shooting cycle., Shooters on the Line.  (a short pause) and Shooters Set.  The Set command starts a random 2-second to 5 second delay before the light comes on in the target.  Take a look at my boys in the back yard and you'll get an idea of what I'm talking about.

That's brothers clowning in the back yard.  But you get the idea.

In this next clip, we've got my buddy Parttime, who is a world-class fast draw shooter. (And a world class holster maker.) When you hear the SET command, he's waiting for the light in the target.  You can't see it, but he can.  When the light comes on, watch him work.  I believe he said that was a 0.328 from the time the light came on until the wax bullet hit the target.

That's smoking.  And I get to shoot against him in March at the Silsbee invitational, and again in April at Texas State.  I need to strap up and do a little practicing.

Saturday, January 23, 2016


It's crawfish season in Louisiana, and the mudbugs are running.  We've got several seafood places in town that boil for takeout, so Milady stopped on her way home and picked up a few pounds.

I'm fixing to tear this up.

Old Guard

The Old Guard is the US 3rd Infantry Regiment.  They are a ceremonial unit, primarily concerned with guarding the President and important locations around the Capitol.  Their most visible post is at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

While the rest of the Capitol was shutting down yesterday for the big blizzard, and the State Department couldn't make its usual Friday afternoon email dump, the soldiers of the Old Guard were standing their post.

I will guard everything within the limits of my post and quit my post only when properly relieved.

Smart Technology

As old folks understand, technology changes over time, and our perception of what technology is capable of also changes over time.  For example, once upon a time, in the early '50s, our telephone technology consisted of something called "the black 500".  Manufactured by the Western Electric corporation, it was ubiquitous in American households and you could make telephone calls all over the United States.  Here's what it looked like.

Great technology, and if you own one, you can still use it today.You can still make phone calls all over the US.  It had its limitations, but it worked.  It worked very well.  Nowadays, telephone technology has moved into smart phones.  Many people son't even have a "land-line" phone in their home.  It's much more convenient to carry a cell phone in your pocket.

Technology pervades our culture.  Smart phones, smart TVs, cars with wireless hotspots, computers of all stripes, laptops, tablets and even that smart phone in your pocket.  Technology is wonderful.

Even smart guns.  It seems that a poll was conducted last week, concerning the availability of smart guns, and it led to some interesting results.  Although those results were both programmed and predictable.
Fifty-nine percent of respondents to the Web-based survey of nearly 4,000 people indicated interest in the tech-infused guns, which use fingerprint detection or wireless signals to limit use of the weapon to its owner.

That sounds like a great idea, doesn't it?  A gun that only works when its owner is holding it!  Great stuff!  So, of those respondents who said they'd buy a smart gun, how did they self-identify?
 Non-owners of guns and people identifying as "liberal" were most likely to consider buying smart guns, while owners of multiple guns were least likely.
So, did they run out and buy one?  No, they didn't.  As it turns out, the technology is available, but hasn't been successfully integrated into a firearm yet.  A firm called Armatix GmbH is trying, but the field trials have been less than satisfying.
The Armatix pistol initially required a full 20 minutes to pair with the watch, even with the aid of an IT pro trained in its use. Without pairing, the Armatix functions like any other handgun, capable of being fired by anyone. Once paired, a “cold start” still requires a minimum of seven push-button commands and a duration of 12 seconds before the gun can be fired. The pistol must be within 10 inches of the watch during “start up.” This slows and complicates the use of the pistol if one hand is injured or otherwise unavailable.
So, the technology is in its infancy, and unless lots of people start buying them, the technology will likely not advance.  Because we expect stuff to work when we take it out of the box.  And this doesn't, from all accounts.  Maybe some day, but not today.  Still, all those non-gun-owners and liberals should be investing in this company.  I think that would be a great use of their capital.  And, who knows, one day, it might pay off.

As for myself, I'll stick with proven 1873 technology, or 1911 technology, or 1980s technology.  It's proven, it's reliable, it's predictable.  And, while I like my smart phone, I'd just as soon have a dumb gun.  It's easier that way.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have an engagement at the gun club today.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Too Hot to View

Fox News is reporting that some of the emails on the server at Hillary Clinton's house were too classified for members of Congress to view.
Some of Hillary Clinton’s emails on her private server contained information so secret that senior lawmakers who oversee the State Department cannot read them without fulfilling additional security requirements, Fox News has learned.
That's a problem.  Regardless of her earlier statements that she sent or received no classified emails, it appears that she was getting them.
 As Fox News previously reported, a Jan. 14 letter from Intelligence Community Inspector General I. Charles McCullough III to senior lawmakers said an intelligence review identified "several dozen" additional classified emails -- including specific intelligence from "special access programs" (SAP). 
That's a problem.  When I was in the military, I held a secret clearance, and I knew what I could do and not do with classified information.  SAP information is so secret that it is compartmented, on a need-to-know basis.  If you don't need to know, you don't see it.

And this was on her private server.  At home. In her house.  Unsecured.

Any lesser mortal would already be in the jail.  Probably without bond.  I'm just sayin'.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Cast Iron Cleaner

I've been using cast iron my whole life, and still cook with my cast iron skillets and dutch ovens daily.  If I'm cooking, the first thing I grab is a black iron pot.

At Christmas, my brother-in-law David sent me a little piece of chain-mail and sent the message that I should use it to clean my cast iron.  I'm funny about cleaning cast iron, because I take care to manage the seasoning of my collection.  Seasoning is important when you're using cast iron and you don't want anything to disturb it.  It's a natural, no-stick coating that takes time and effort to obtain.

But, occasionally, something will stick.  Milady likes to cook an Alfredo sauce and when we're done, there is always a little scorched Alfredon on the bottom of the pot.  Today, I came home to find that very thing.  Milady had put the pot in the sink to soak (which will not hurt cast iron), so when I came home I started cleaning then thought about that piece of chain-mail.

Great Googly-Moogly.  That little piece of chain-mail cleaned that pot slick as a whistle with very little effort.  This is the best thing for cleaning cast iron I've seen in several years.

I found it on Amazon, and the link is here.  This is a great little labor-saver, and it has the PawPaw seal of approval.

Thanks, David.  That little piece of mail is a godsend.

Tax and Spend Democrat

I know, I know, Louisiana elected a Democrat as governor this past November, and now we've got to dance with the devil.  He takes a look at the budget and the first thing he wants to do is increase taxes.
The state could increase its 4-cent sales tax by a penny, starting in April, and bring in $216 million more for the fiscal year that ends June 30.
Millions more could be brought in if the cigarette tax is hiked an additional 22 cents above the 86-cent tax rate state lawmakers approved last year.
Corporate income taxes could be overhauled to address a recent slump in payments.
Personal income tax brackets could be adjusted to bring in more revenue.
Let's see.  He wants to increase sales taxes, sin taxes, corporate income taxes and personal income taxes.  Did he miss any?  I don't think so, that's a clean sweep in my book.  I guess we could turn all the state highways into toll roads, but that would require a huge increase in state workers.  Oh, wait, don't give him any ideas.

I've got a a better idea, Governor, how about cutting the budget to fall in line with expected revenues.  That's what households do when their income is cut.  We wouldn't want government to play by the same rules as honest, hardworking, Louisiana households, would we?

With oil at $28.00 a barrel, the oilfield stacking rigs, and Louisiana business and families hurting, the very first thing he comes out with is an across-the-board tax hike.  That's good governance, Mr. Edwards.  Thanks for caring.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Alarmingly Ignorant

That's how the ACTA describes the state of American college education.  Alarmingly ignorant.  In a recent survey, they learned that many college graduates are ignorant of basic American civics.
The American Council of Trustees and Alumni said their survey uncovered a “crisis in American civic education.”
It gets better:
 Yes, friends – our best and brightest seem to think that Judge Judy sits on the highest court in the land.
Parents your child’s B.A. may in fact be a bunch of B.S.
They didn't need a survey to tell me that.  I've been working in the schools for over a decade and I'm consistently amazed at the lack of common knowledge exhibited by supposedly educated people.  Once you get outside their area of expertise, they're lost.
Their findings reveal “that recent college graduates are alarmingly ignorant of America’s history and heritage.”
 That could explain why an avowed socialist like Bernie Sanders is giving Hillary Clinton a run for her money.
I'm dumbfounded that anyone would vote for Hillary Clinton.  She's under FBI investigation, and with the drip, drip, drip of the revelations about her email problems, she'll be lucky to avoid prison. A vote for Hillary is a vote for lawless corruption.

I'm just saying.

The Lull

Ive been surfing around for two days, trying to find something to blog about.  The political races have devolved to the merely boring.  SHOT show is cranking up, but the offerings so far don't pique my interest.

I'm reminded of a vignette I heard once about Col Jeff Cooper.  Someone was showing a new gun that a manufacturer was introducing.  One member of the party asked "What's it for?"

Col Cooper replied, "Why, to sell, of course."

At this stage of a Tuesday afternoon, my Muse has lost all interest.  That may change in the next hour, or it may not.  We'll see.

Monday, January 18, 2016

A Brief History

Some of us were talking the other day, and we started discussing the NICS, or the instant check system that we use to buy firearms.  Over time, my remembrance has become convoluted, but what I thought I remembered was vastly different from what others thought they remembered, so I started doing a little digging.  One of the best references I've found was at, and it closely matches my recollections.  One of the questions discussed was why the NRA doesn't support background checks.  My recollection was that it did, originally.

Shortly after the attempted assassination of President Reagan, the Brady Bunch got themselves in an uproar to pass gun control.  President Reagan was a very popular president and his spokesman, Bill Brady was a likable guy who was injured in the attack.  There was strong popular support for a bill that would strengthen the gun control regime of the nation.

The NRA saw the handwriting on the wall and supported instant background checks as an alternative to a seven-day waiting period.  The NRA knew that a waiting period might cripple the retail industry, they knew that other gun control efforts were just around the corner, and they knew that if a bill was going to be passed, they needed to work with the Congress to make it the best bill possible.  The mandate that came out of the 1993 law was that a waiting period would be imposed, but that the waiting period would be in effect for five years only.  If the FBI had not implemented a national system within five years, the law would sunset.  From the article linked above:
As the bill neared final passage, the NRA sought to make changes. GOP Rep. George Gekas of Pennsylvania won approval for an NRA-backed amendment that would end the five-day waiting period after five years, even if the instant check system wasn’t operational. Bill McIntyre, an NRA spokesman, was quoted in a Gekas press release saying that the NRA “worked closely with him on the language and to round up support for it.”
The Brady Bill passed was signed into law on Nov 30, 1993.  As with most bureaucracies, the FBI waited until the last minute before implementing the NICS checks.  Those came into effect on November 30, 1998.  If the FBI had waited another day, the legislation would have expired.  Immediately, the Brady Bunch started pushing to close the "gun-show loophole", and as always, the NRA was willing to help make the law work.
 LaPierre, May 27, 1999: We think it’s reasonable to provide for instant checks at gun shows just like at gun stores and pawn shops. But what’s unreasonable is how the proposed Lautenberg legislation ignores the 250,000 prohibited people like felons who’ve walked away from gun stores — instead of being prosecuted for a federal felony for trying to buy a gun.
And, of course, even today if you walk into a gun show and buy a gun from a licensed dealer, you will have to pass a background check.  The NRA supports background checks.  Full stop, period.  The NRA supports existing law.  But, what the members of the NRA don't support is expanding exiting law.  We've made our compromises and we've drawn a line.  This far, and no more.

It was during this time that the NRA opened their Institute for Legislative Action, a large, well-funded oeration to expand our reach and influence.  The ILA has been hugely successful at the state and federal level in stopping encroachment on a fundamental right.  They've been instrumental in keeping the creeping incrementalism from eroding a basic constitutional right.  This far and no more.

There is a great deal of bad information floating around and I try to educate people daily.  There is no federal database of firearms owners.  The law forbids such a registry on a national basis and registries only exist in a few limited jurisdictions.  It's still legal to sell a gun in a private sale, or to give a gun to a friend or family member.  The NRA still supports existing law, and exhorts law enforcement to apply those laws; to take guns from felons, to prosecute those who violate federal law, to keep Americans safe.  What we don't support is further encroachment on law-abiding Americans.

Let Freedom Ring.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Town Folk Alley

In shooting of any kind, it is our responsibility to grow the sport.  Many of us learned to shot from our family.  Fathers, uncles or aunts taught us to to shoot.  Many of us learned our gun-handling skills at family functions.  Informal practice in the back pasture or a community shooting range, we learned how to fire a gun.  For all of us, there is a first time.  Some of us might not remember our first time, because we've been shooting all our lives, and we tend to forget that there are people who have never fired a gun.

In the Cowboy Fast Draw Association, it's not uncommon to be at a club shoot and have someone show up who wants to see what we're all about.  Some of these folks have never fired a gun.  It's our responsibility, our joy and pleasure to introduce these folks to the shooting sport. Safety, of course is our by-word, so we take just a little time to make sure that the neophyte is properly instructed, that the holster is properly fitted, and we conduct a little dry-fire to get them accustomed to operating the equipment.

In a more formal setting, we conduct what is called a Town Folk Alley.  Many clubs have small, portable ranges, often mounted on a trailer.  We shoot wax bullets and have suitable backstop material on hand, so we can set up almost anywhere to introduce people to our game.  Safety, safety, safety is our byword, so we assign that person a coach, fit a holster, conduct a safety briefing,

The Big Thicket Bushwackers out of Silsbee TX, conducted a Town Folk Alley yesterday in Lumberton TX. One of the people to come try the sport was a young lady who had never fired a gun.  The Bushwackers did all the right things, safety, safety, safety.  But, watching her, it brought me back to the many folks I've introduced to shooting.  The Bushwackers did it right, but you'll never know what reaction you'll get when the first shot is fired.  In this case, pure unadulterated joy.  It's a ten-second clip, so let's watch.


From all accounts, after the first shot, the young lady was thrilled and ready to take the next step.  That's the way we grow shooters, one person at a time.  Well Done, Bushwackers!  Well done indeed!

Saturday, January 16, 2016


I remember when anyone could buy a gun from a catalog and the US Post Office would deliver it to your house.  I've told the kids about this and they're amazed, but Brownells recently put a picture of one of their old catalogs on Facebook and I sucked it off of their Facebook page.

You can click on the picture to enlarge it, but a new Ruger Mark 1, bull barrel for $112.50.  What a deal.  Just fill out the order form in the back of the catalog, enclose a money order, and in a couple of weeks, your new pistol would come to your door.  No background check, no questions asked.

I wanted to buy a pistol out of the back of Field and Stream magazine, but Momma wouldn't let me.  I was about 10 years old at the time.  But, by the time I got to be 12 years old, I bought my first pump shotgun from the old McBride Rod and Gun Club at the now defunct England Air Force Base.  It was a Winchester Model 1200 and it cost me $87.50.  I saved that money myself by working Saturdays as a skeet boy for 50 cents per hour.  This was in 1965.

Of course, all that came to an end in 1968.  Congress passed a gun control law and freedom declined just a little bit.  Today, when people talk about gun control, I remember when a kid could walk into a gun shop, plunk down his money and buy a gun.

Freedom!  Let Freedom Ring.

Friday, January 15, 2016

The Democratic Landscape

With all the hoopla about the Republican nomination, we're well instructed to remember that there is another side to this story.  The Democrats.  They're going to run a candidate too.  The question becomes who will it be?  Bernie Sandars or Hillary Clinton?

Hillary has a lot of momentum, but she's also got lots of legal problems, not the least of which is a team of ~150 FBI agents looking into her background.  As Roger Simon so arguably points out:
Our Lady of Chappaqua has 150, count 'em, 150 FBI agents looking into her doings. What single person in our history has had anything close to that? Maybe Al Capone, but he wasn't a politician.  You think they're not going to come up with something?  For all we know, she's already plea-bargaining her pardon.
Then, Roger links to a gossip-sheet called the DC Whisperer:
The six-foot-eight-inch Comey and his pending FBI investigation towers over both the Clinton campaign and the Obama White House. Comey has taken significant measures to isolate the hundred-plus operative investigation from influence by outside forces intent on protecting the interests of the Obama White House and/or the Clinton political machine. The Obama/Jarrett White House either has, or is, attempting to determine if Hillary’s potential demise threatens their own future livelihood. That determination will then be brought to bear against the FBI and Attorney General Loretta Lynch.
I've heard before that if it looks like Hillary is going to be indicted, all Obama need do is sign a quick pardon.  But, to do so in a presidential race, to issue a preemptive pardon would ignite a political and constitutional firestorm the likes of which we haven't seen since the 1860s.  I'm not saying it would lead to civil war, but it would cripple the Democratic party for a generation, if not longer.  The Democrats would become the party of corruption and cover-up.

What we're not hearing, and we might not hear, is the impact that the FBI investigation might have on the current White House.  Secretary Clinton was appointed under Obama, and if she has committed various and sundry felonies during her tenure in the Obama administration. then there is no telling where the chain of evidence might lead.

FBI Director Comey, from all accounts, is a competent, nonpartisan investigator who follows an investigation to its logical end.  He seems to be exactly the right person to lead the FBI at this time.  The results of his investigation might be very interesting, indeed.  The fallout will be an interesting study in the intersection of police work and politics.  If the current president doesn't handle it correctly, he may damage the Democratic party for a generation.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Why Exactly Is That?

House Speaker Paul Ryan thinks that the President should go hunting to better understand the Second Amendment.  Really.
"Yeah, I don't think he hunts, no," the speaker replied. "Maybe he should, then he can understand the Second Amendment a little bit better."
Why exactly, Mr. Speaker, is that.  The Second Amendment has nothing to do with hunting.

If the Lighwrorker wants to understand the Second Amendment better, he might consider doing a little 3-gun shooting.  Or take a CCW course.  Or, go to the Library of Congress and read the Federalist Papers.

But, Mr. Speaker, the idea that the 2nd Amendment has anything to do with hunting is like thinking that the morning commute has anything to do with Formula 1 racing.  Yeah, they both use cars, but otherwise there is no comparison.

The more the Speaker opens his mouth, the more I'm convinced he's a putz.

Hurricane Alex

Imagine my surprise, clicking around earlier, and I stumbled across the news that we have a hurricane in the Atlantic Ocean.  The first named storm of 2016.

The National Hurricane Center tells the tale.
At 1100 AM AST (1500 UTC), the center of Hurricane Alex wa  located near latitude 31.5 North, longitude 28.4 West. Alex is moving toward the north-northeast near 20 mph (31 km/h) and a turn toward the north with an increase in forward speed is expected over the next day or two.  On the forecast track, the center of Alex will move near or over portions of the Azores Friday morning.
It's really odd to have a named storm, much less a hurricane in January.  Conditions must have been exactly right for formation.  

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

State of the Union

The State of the Union address is a Constitutional Duty of the President.  Required by Article 2, Section 3, it states in part:
He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient;
If I were the President, I'd give the SOTU address on a random Thursday afternoon.  With very little prior warning, probably just after lunch, I'd have my staff call Congress and tell them to all get together, I'd be over in an hour or so.  Then, I'd go to the Capitol and give a rambling address, much like a Ron White stand-up routine.  Complete with a cigar and a tumbler of good whiskey.

I'd probably roast the Speaker and the Majority leader a little bit, Try for a laugh.  I'd tell them that the Union is fine and we're going to be okay, but ....   That would be a SOTU to watch.  It would last about as long as a good stand-up, then we'd retire to the bar and get just a little bit snockered.  I'm fairly sure that I could find someone to drive me back down to the White House.

The last ten or twelve SOTUs have been dreary affairs.  Maybe it's time to try something different.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Natural Born

The Constitution says that to be president, one of the requirements is that you be a "natural born" citizen.

Ted Cruz is running for president.  Ted Cruz was born in Canada.  His mother was an American.  Is Ted "natural born"?  Beats the heck outta me.  He's certainly an American citizen, but is he qualified to be President?

Some say yes.

Some say no.

The Senate takes a pass.

I'm pretty sure that John McCain is natural born.  If I remember correctly, he was born in the Canal Zone and his father was in the military.  We tend to give a pass to Americans born outside the US while their parent is serving.  And, I won't get into the birther-ism surrounding our current President.

The question remains, is a child born to American parents, but born outside the US considered "natural born"?  That's a good question, and one that needs to be answered fully, and soon.

I'm just sayin'.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Ken Curtis

Ken Curtis was an American actor, probably best known for his portrayal of Festus on the long-running western, Gunsmoke.  One of his best-loved scenes was this little vignette

As a kid, I loved watching Gunsmoke, which probably explains part of my love for Single Action revolvers today.

I didn't know the man could sing.

Now, I'll be digging through YouTube for the next hour or so.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Sunday Family Shoot

No pics today, and not much shooting.  Only one grandson here that was shooting age, and I took him out and worked with him on the range.  PawPaw never strapped a pistol today.

Grandson is right-handed, but left-eye dominant.  He loves to shoot, and when I introduced him to long guns, we decided that he should shoot from the left side.  He adopted that and shoots rifles and shotguns from the left side.  This is both correct and proper.  Long gun shooting depends on the dominant eye.  Even with handguns shooting when using sights, it's proper to use the dominant eye, but with reactive shooting, (and CFDA-type shooting is reactive), we don't use sights.

Fast Draw shooting is what I call "rip-it-and-trip-it".  When the revolver comes out of the holster, as soon as you feel like the barrel is aligned, you trip the trigger.  I've had long-time shooters tell me that most of the time, they don't even see the revolver, it's so low at the belt line.  It's all muscle-memory and practice.  Most of the time I see the revolver, but it's low in my peripheral vision.  There is certainly no sight alignment.

This particular grandson has Asperger's syndrome.  He's a great kid, but this syndrome has its challenges.  One of them, is that once he's made up his mind, it's made up.  He doesn't see gray areas, only stark, black-and-white choices.  As he's shot with us over the past year, I've noticed that he tends to strap up with a left-handed holster, because he believes that he should shoot from the left side.

That's okay, but he's naturally right-handed and his pistol handling always looked awkward.  So, today I strapped him with a double-holster rig, and told him I wanted to conduct an experiment.  So, we'd shoot a few cartridges from the left, then a couple of cartridges from the right.  We worked on his  draw.  No electronics, just he and I shooting the revolver at the target.  After switching back and forth a few times, he decided that he was probably a little bit faster from his right side than his left, so we did some more shooting.

After we put the revolvers back in the gun-rugs, we sat on the deck and talk ed a bit about the difference between the Ruger revolvers and the Colt clones.  The pros and cons of each system, and why each was designed the way it is.  He's not sure yet which system he likes better, and I agree with him that they each have their drawbacks; their strengths and weakensses.

But, on the bottom line, I was privileged to spend an hour shooting with one of my grandsons, talking about guns, and shooting, and pros and cons of differing systems.  It was a very pleasant hour.  We made progress and we enjoyed each other's company, and I'm very pleased that we were able to do that.

Saturday, January 09, 2016

Thorn Valley Club Practice

Good practice today at Thorn Valley. Several shooters shot a personal best today.

Big Mark hit a 340 and was able to back it up sevral times.

Tony Tombstone was in the low 4s and deadly, hitting four or five in a row. His fast score today was a 376

Our new shooter, Harvey is flirting in the 5s. today. He's playing with his draw, learning new things, but he's getting quicker, fast.

Major D (my CFDA alias) was stuck in the low 7s, Couldn't find the target with a ball-peen hammer  even if he was standing down-range.  Eventually, I found the target and hit a couple of occasional 6s. Silverside was on the announcer's bench and called one shot of Major Ds at a 483. I don't believe it, but I still don't believe that 539 I shot at the invitational. Strange things happen when you're going fast.

Blue-Eyed Belle (Milady's alias) got her Ruger back this week, and after shooting her normal 1 second times with the Pietta, she took a break and switched over to the Ruger When she came back on the line with the Ruger, on her second shot, Silverside called the time at a 0.689. She objected, but Silverside told her that if Major D could shoot a 483, she could shoot a 689.

Great practice today, we're excited about Texas State and the new year at Thorn Valley.

A quick photo.  Silverside far left at the announcer's bench, Tombstone in lane 1, Sinister Sal in lane 2, and Big Mark sorting brass on lane 4.

Friday, January 08, 2016

Police Shooting in Philly

It seems that a jihadi wannabe walked up to a police cruiser today and opened fire.
“When you look at the video, this is one of the scariest things I’ve ever seen,” Commissioner Ross said. “This guy tried to execute the police officer. The police officer had no idea he was coming. It’s amazing he’s alive.”
The mayor of Philadelphia wasted no time in adopting the PC line.
Mayor Jim Kenney wasted no time in declaring that “there are too many guns on the streets,” 
He might want to look into that a bit closer.  It seems that the gun used to shoot the cop was stolen from the police department.  I'm sure that investigators will be asking several pointed questions about that.

The perp shot 13 rounds into the car.  Three of those rounds hit Officer Hartnett.  Thankfully, he's alive and from all reports, expected to recover fully.  Hartnett did return fire and managed to hit the suspect.  The suspect will also recover.

Godpeed in your recovery, Officer Hartnett.

My Ruger Story - Update

I last talked about that Ruger revolver on December 23rd.  I had a shipment coming in from New Hampshire and thought it was from Ruger.  The package was supposed to arrive on December 26th.  I knew that a firearm shipment would require a signature, so I hung around the house that day, waiting on the delivery driver.  Imagine my surprise when I walked out into the garage and found a package from New Hampshire sitting on my bench.  No signature required and it was awfully light.  No firearm in there.  So, I opened the package and found two nice Ruger ball caps.  One white, one red.  No gun.

So, on Monday, Dec 28th I called Ruger.  The service guy told me that they still had my gun, but he could see that they shipped me a couple of hats.  He promised that I'd get another email when my gun shipped.

Earlier this week, I got the email.  My package would arrive on Thursday, January 7th.  I went to FedEx on Wednesday and explained what that we'd be at work.  The nice lady and I decided on a plan to meet the truck when it got back to the facility, and last night we worked it out.  I signed for my package and brought it home.  The Ruger is back at home.

Looking at the revolver, it seems that Ruger polished it.  It is certainly a lot shinier than it was when it left.  Someone spent some time on a buffing wheel.  I'm not sure if the grips that came back with the revolver are the same grips I sent to the factory.  It looks like they've been refinished too.  Either way, the revolver went to Ruger with nice rosewood grips and came back with nicer rosewood grips.  Those won't stay on the gun.

I had lightened the mainspring for Milady, by the simple expedient of cutting a few coils.  This morning,  Milady tried the hammer and pronounced that it was stiff as a board.  No doubt.  Ruger (as they're required to do by our litigious society) replaced the mainspring, and I'm sure that they gave the internals a good inspection while they had the revolver.  I fully expected them to so so.  Changing a mainspring is a fairly simple task and I have some spare Wolff springs in the bag.

Ruger stood by its promise, took care of a customer, and sent a couple of caps as well.  In the next day or so, I'll have that mainspring replaced and Milady will have her revolver hack in her shooting bag.  It's good to have it home.  When we have a half-dozen folks shooting in the back yard, we need all the spare revolvers we can muster.

Thanks, Ruger.

Thursday, January 07, 2016

Four Scenarios

If you've been following the ongoing, depressing, political, Hillary train wreck, you'll know that she's under investigation by the FBI for her email server problems.    Roger Simon talks about four possible outcomes of the investigation.

From what I've read of FBI Director James Comey is directing the investigation,, he's a hard-nosed, non-partisan cop who digs until he finds an answer, Once he finds the answer, he reports to his boss and lets the chips fall where they may.  So, as Comey winds up his investigation over the next several weeks, we should see on of the four plausible scenarios unfold.  However, Comey's boss is AG Loretta Lynch, so her inclinations in this case matter.  They matter a lot.

1. We learn the FBI recommends an indictment and Lynch goes forward.
2. Lynch does not go forward but word leaks out the FBI had recommended that she do.
3. The FBI doesn't recommend but whistle blowers come out to say they should have.
4.  Nothing happens -- what Obama would call "transparency" but the rest of us might call stonewalling.

I'm going to discount scenario 4.  Too much time, energy and ink have been expended on this investigation for it to just quietly die.  The report is going to come out, and if the FBI recommends it move to a grand jury, AG Lynch is the one on the hook for that.  Sometimes investigations die quietly for one reason or another, but I doubt this will be one of them.

Hillary Clinton has more political problems than the email investigation.  And, a Behghazi movie is set to be released that doesn't put the administration (and Secretary Clinton) in a good light.

But, I believe that Hillary's email problems are the most likely to derail her campaign, if not land her in jail.  Go read Roger's evaluation of the possible scenarios.

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Cleaning Guns Update

I continue to cast around for a suitable cleaner for our CFDA revolvers, one that will remove wax from a gun barrel with the least fuss and bother.  And, being fairly new to this game, I continue to try new things.

Last weekend, I was tlalking to a club member, Tony Tombstone, who told me that he uses Turtle Wax Bug and Tar Remover.  It's fairly inexpensive and you can buy it anywhere.

I got mine at an auto parts store, but I see that it's available at WalMart as well.

In thirty minutes I cleaned five wax-bullet revolvers with this stuff.  I sprayed it in the barrel and in the chambers, then gave the chamber a stiff brushing while the barrel soaked.  Then brushed out the barrel, followed by a boresnake, and the barrel was clean.  Easy-Peasy and now that bottle of cleaner is in my wax-bullet cleaning bag.

Sunday, January 03, 2016

Sunday Family Shoot

The day turned off nice, and the grandkids wanted to shoot, so PawPaw set up the electronics on the range, and we shot.  PawPaw spent most of his time running the range or hawkeye-ing safety, but I managed to snap a few photos.

Grandson Zach, vs Grandson Quinton.  Quin comes up to his eye to shoot, but he's still in the 7s.  If I can ever talk him into a little coaching, he's liable to get very quick.  Zach was still shooting in the 6s today.  I thik he's getting the muscle memory.

Son,Matt vs Son-in-law Greg.  They act like brothers because they pretty much grew up together.  Greg was younger son's good friend when they were kids.

It's a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon for a couple of hours, blowing powder smoke across the back yard.  PawPaw feels lucky to be able to do this, to teach the grandkids handgun skills, and play in the back yard with my sons.  It's great fun.

Now, PawPaw is going to relax with a toddy and fortify myself for tomorrow.  I've got to get back in the saddle tomorrow.  The alarm clock goes off at 5:00.

What Is That?

Surfing around on the tintertubes this morning, I come to the Book of Face, where I find this interesting picture.

I can't vouch for the photo, because I know noting about it, but it is a very interesting photo.  A Google search for the image doesn't give us any information.


Saturday, January 02, 2016

Thorn Valley

First practice of the year at the Thorn Valley Shootist Society.  About eight members showed, and a host of visitors wanting to try it out.  Good times.

Akarate Zach was working his draw, trying to get his muscle memory down pat, and suddenly, he was hitting int he 6s at about 60 percent.

For the un-initiated, that means he was drawing, cocking, firing a single action revolver and hitting the target 21 feet away in just a little over 6/10ths of a second.  His fast time today was 0.644.  The interesting thing is that last week he was hitting in the 8s.  Generally, a shooter makes marked progress one step at a time, but Zach skipped the 7s and dropped down into the 6s today.  If he keeps his muscle memory and his accuracy, he'll be a contender at Texas State in April.

Blue-Eyed Belle declared it too cold for mice and men, and she never pulled a trigger today.  She spent her time calling the line and visiting with shooters.  For myself, I'm still stuck in the 7s, but my accuracy is improving.  I'm running about 80 percent in the 7s.  Four more months till Texas State, and I want to be at 80% in the 6s.  We'll see about that.

We had several visitors today, with a couple of them expressing interest.  We'll see, but that's how you grow a club, one shooter at a time.

Crime In Louisiana

I've been a cop for a long time, so crime stats interest me.  Luckily, most states keep crime stats as part of the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) system.  Like most charts, graphs and spreadsheets, to understand them, you have to understand what they're counting, but after just a little while, we start to see things.

Every state keeps these records, and for example, Louisiana reports ours here. In Louisiana's case, the last year for which full stats were reported is 2013, but we can glean trends and make assumptions based on the numbers reported.  I'm sure that in whatever state you're in, you can find similar statistics. Google is your friend in these matters.

Other sources are available for more current numbers.  For example, keeps track of the murders in New Orleans, and they're reporting that New Orleans had an up-tick of murders this year.

It is instructive to look at the numbers and try to make sense of them, but what strikes me is that the number of murders in one small geographic area, New Orleans, is half the number of murders reported in the whole state.  In the last year counted, Louisiana reported 324 cases of murder or non-negligent manslaughter, but if you peel New Orleans out, the number drops to 164 cases for the rest of the state.  That's instructive.

The numbers lend themselves to some analysis, and I'm sure that the criminologists, sociologists and anthropologists are hard at work looking at trends, but the simple fact of the matter is that if you're worried about murder, staying out of New Orleans drops your chance of being murdered by half.

Looking around the country, a trend starts to emerge. Like Chicago, for instance, which already reports three murders to start the year.  Or the San Francisco Bay area.  Or New York City. Then look a the dominant political party in those locations, and a sharper focus starts to emerge.

***UPDATE*** Great minds think alike.  Surfing around, I found this over at Professor Reynold's site. 
Frankly, the Democratic Party must somehow benefit from ghetto violence because every city they run seems to have a Third World-level homicide rate

Friday, January 01, 2016

New Year's Day

It's a cold, clammy morning in Central Louisiana, 42F out there with a gray, overcast sky.  It's the kind of cold that sinks into your bones.  Milady and I are prepping for the day, which will mainly consist of our traditional lunch on New Years Day.

I just popped a pork loin into the oven and I'll let it roast for a couple of hours.  In another hour or so, Milady will start shredding cabbage and mixing cornbread.  The nemu is always the same on the first day of the year.  Blackeyed peas, cabbage, cornbread and pork.

That's a crock pot ful of blackeyed peas.  We put the peas in the pot yesterday afternoon ad let them soak for a couple of hours before we turned on the crock pot.  Just before bed, we put the bone from the Christmas ham in the pot, another tradition from the past.  It's something Milady does every year, and something my mother did every year.

Blackeyed peas, cabbage, cornbread and pork.  It's supposed to be good luck, buI assure you it's good eating.