Sunday, August 8, 2010

Simple joys, gifts from God

Many years ago, I let the top of a pineapple sit in my compost pile and take root. There was no way it would survive a Virginia winter so I transplanted it into a pot and brought it inside. It lasted several years and one day my "foliage" plant had a baby pineapple on it! We watched it for many months and it grew a 5 inch or so pineapple. When it appeared ripe, we harvested it and rooted that top and tried again. The pineapple was tasty but rather small. The top became another foliage plant. I think it died as a result of being overturned by rampaging cats. Fast forward a few years and we buy another pineapple to eat and the top goes to the compost pile. Try again? Sure, why not? It helped keep our spirits up during a much snowier than usual winter, perched in our front window and around February we noticed that it was bearing fruit that had lovely purple flowers all around it. Today after enjoying watching the pineapple grow and produce a pineapple that reached almost market size, I decided that it was ready. In the last week it had gone from a rich dark green to a lovely golden yellow. Knife in hand, I cut it and trimmed the "slips" that accompanied it from the plant. Taken in to the cutting board I trimmed the top and the bottom, shaved down the sides and cleaned it up. that heart filled a quart storage bag. Before I popped it into the fridge, I took one small slice from the bottom. I like pineapple, I thought I had had good pineapple before. I have never had pineapple this good before! Truly a gift from God. A very simple pleasure, most unexpected. Thank you, God.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Why in the world was your first purchase a .300 Winchester Magnum?

Once upon a time I had a friend who had dream of Black Bear hunting. He owned 2 rifles, a replica of the Springfield Armory 1873 Trapdoor Carbine in .45-70 and an abused war trophy 7.7 Arisaka. In this dream a friend would back him up with the Arisaka as he took the bear with the .45-70, as the .45-70 Trapdoor is a single shot weapon. I was elected to be the friend but I found the Arisaka to be junk and unsuitable to rapid aiming and firing necessary to back up such a hunt. I studied balistics tables and decided .300 Winchester Magnum shot very flat and had plenty of energy for eastern Black Bear. As would have it, A and P Arms (local gun shop of the day) had a Ruger Model 77 in the desired caliber of .300 Winchester Magnum. So I, being capable of such purchase at the time (several hundred dollars) bought it and took it home. A trip to Best Products added the Bushnel Banner riflescope 4-12 x50mm. Once we got it on the range and tweaked in, it shot postage stamp groups at 100yards. I still have that rifle and treasure it and the fact that it was the 1976 version stamped on the barrel "Made in the 200th year of American Liberty" makes it extra special. Oh, that bear hunt? We never did go. As it turned out I would much rather punch paper than shoot critters so in the long run that was for the best too.

How did I get here?

In a Galaxy far, far away......Nah, it has been done before and undoubtedly better. I have always liked weapons. Almost any kind, guns , knives , swords, bows, and many more exotic things. I have always been interested in how to make them work and how the introduction of new or different weapons could change the course of a battle on the battle field. I grew up in the 60s watching Combat, and Rawhide, and Rescue 8, and Dragnet and Maverick, and Have Gun, Will Travel. Guns factored heavily in my entertainment. We had no guns in our house, in the suburbs. My father owned a shotgun (a .410 bore side by side) that was kept at his parents house in the country. He carried it for snakes when we went stomping around my parents acreage in North Carolina. My brothers had no interest in it and I was the youngest so shooting it just did not happen. When racial strife hit North Carolina my Grandfather decided he needed a gun and purchased a .22 caliber rifle, the Remington 552 Speedmaster. On future visits to the "country" I would get to experience it. We went out behind the farm house and had to be sure of our direction of fire. There were neighbors "over there" and these bullets "can go a mile". I think my first targets were wooden blocks and tin cans shot from perhaps 20 feet. POW! POW! POW! I do not remember wearing hearing protection, since there was none in the family until I purchased some in my teenage years, I doubt we had any to use. I am pretty sure we used .22Longs. The 552 is fairly unique in that it feeds Shorts, Longs and Long Rifles. I imagine that we fired less than 30 rounds, but, I HAD FIRED A GUN!!!!!!!!! Other visits would get more shooting in but it remained rare and special. After my Grandfather died and I had friends at home, who shot, and places we could shoot, the Remington became mine. Many hundreds of rounds of ammo from Kmart went through it. It shot well, we plinked and had fun. Some of the most fun times that I recall from my teens and 20s included that rifle in my hand. My friends led me to handguns. One friend acquired a Ruger Mark 1 and another a Ruger Single Six. More handguns were added to our "shooting club", A Colt .45 ACP (Now I would call it a 1911) and a Dan Wesson .357 Magnum. I made my first rifle purchase a Ruger Model 77 in .300 Winchester Magnum. Other folks joined the "club" bringing Black Powder rifles and pistols and more rifles and shotguns came with them. I would not purchase my first pistol until I was in my 50s but I had owned one that was a gift for more than 20 years. Early in my marriage, I took my wife shooting at the Carolina property. .22, 12Gauge and .38 Special were expended. She shot well but firearms were not of much interest to her. in the intervening years we raised a family. When my youngest was about 12 I took them all to the range. It was the start of my reawakening. I had missed shooting. I had missed those people who shoot. I was back among them to stay.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Ammo tests

Tried a few kinds of ammo over the past weekend. In the wife's .40S&W we tried Gold Dot hollowpoints and all functioned well. Then for giggles we tried the CCI shot shells. Good news and bad: they fire fine, they do not cycle. The shells do not attempt to extract. You will have to fully rack the slide to clear them out. They do have no trouble loading. I remember trying them in my .45 and they worked flawlessly, no issues no failures. I did try my new Corbon DPX 185Grn +P solid copper hollow points in the .45 and it did not notice that I had changed ammo. It felt no worse than 230Grn hardball at standard pressure. I mix rounds in the mag when testing so it cycles into and away from the round in question without "wasting" large quantities of expensive and sometimes scarce defensive ammo. My wife reaquainted herself with the .45. She shot well but loves her .40

Thursday, July 22, 2010

An anthem for the Tea Party.

Thank you Krista Branch. The movement has an anthem.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Appleseed Project

Well the weekend arrived: time to do Appleseed. The program is rifle shooting and history of the American concept of the "Rifleman". Much good information was dispenced and my shooting did improve. I cannot reccommend Appleseed more highly. Listen to the instructors. Follow the instructions. Learn the concept of "Natural Point of Aim". Learn the proper use of the rifle sling. Watch your targets get better. Spend 2 days with great people, make new friends. We went as a family, wife, son and self. Wife is ready to go again, there will be another one in a few months. Son had a litany of ongoing equipment issues. We provided him with the wrong rifle and the "spares" had loose scopes and other problems. Moral of the story, be sure your equipment is ready for a tough couple of days. Wife's rifle scope came loose also to the detriment of her scores. Even on a .22LR rifle the vibration is significant after 300 rounds or so. I, against suggestion from the instructors, used a bolt action rifle, my new CZ452FS in .22WMR. It does not shoot as fast as an auto loader but the action is smooth and the accuracy was impressive. With it, I regularly hit my targets and kept my groups small. A couple of folks were using ARs in 5.56mm, one gentleman was using a M1A in 7.62mm (loud) and one other was shooting a bolt gun in .22-250. Most used .22LR to keep costs down. 300-350 rounds of .22LR can cost as little as $11.00- $12.00 using bulk from Wally World. My .22WMR cost probably $30.00 or so to feed. The ARs had to cost more. Stick with cheap rimfire. The lessons translate well to heavier arms.

After the shoot we applied several lessons to our shooting. We added a cheekpeice to both my rifle and the Mossberg that the wife is using. Ordered several milspec rifle slings, tuned the scopes for correct eye relief and trued the point of aim. Both her rifle and mine shoot better than they did. The cheekpeice makes a reproducible shooting position easier. Both are now cranking out ragged quarter sized holes with great consistency. Wife has plans for that "Rifleman" patch next time. I think she will be getting one her skill and equipment seem to be ready.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Latest Range Report

Finally got to shoot the new rifle. The CZ452 in .22WMR is SWEET!!!!!!!!. Shoots like a dream and once tweaked in, drills a single hole at 25yards. For the upcoming Appleseed it should do nicely. The Wife's Ruger P944 (.40S&W) shoots well too.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Newborn Blogger

Well, world, I have arrived. Now you have to put up with my thoughts, once contained in only my head and conversations, being out in the open for the world to see. I will undoubtedly write some things that are "politically incorrect" or in some other way disagreeable. Get over it. I promise to not post something that I do not belive in with the exception of SATIRE and SARCHASM. If you do not handle satire and sarchasm, leave now you are in the wrong place.