Saturday, May 23, 2015

Another Sign the Apocalypse is Only Hours Away...

From Fox:

Miley Cyrus cries while singing a song about her dead blowfish
It's good to know she cares about anything, and a blowfish is a lot better than, say, Sean Penn. Honestly, a blowfish is smarter than Sean Penn, although a blowfish would be unlikely to snag Charlize Theron as his fin candy. Now that I think about it, your average blowfish is smarter than Sean Penn AND Charlize Theron combined. Still…

Anyway, I have successfully snagged a desk for my office in the Secret Hidden Bunker II. For a while I've been agonizing over the desk, as much as I'm likely to agonize over any piece of furniture, which is several degrees less than a blowfish. I have stacks of desk catalogs, all of which cost more than a Connecticut Shotgun Model 21, which is less useful for storage but far more satisfying.

Finally, in an antique/junk store my Sweetie and I found a huge honking' mahogany desk dating from Sometime Back Then, maybe the late '40s or ''50s. In great shape, all drawers clean and working, $60 and you haul it away. It is now happily positioned in my office, where it looks appropriately Retro, what with the antler light fixture, the assorted dead animals, a collection of hats, my various and sundry television awards and an assortment of what-have-you. It looks at home. I'll take a picture once I get everything all finished up, say around 2057...

BTW, the company that made this monster desk started in 1876 and is still making $5000 all-wood desks for whomever it is that buys wood desks instead of shotguns.

Unfortunately, it's raining again again, so my shooting plans for the afternoon have been shelved. Tomorrow I'm going to be running my .22 rifle course, maybe start drilling myself on pistol. Tonight, I've got a bunch of fresh basil, some pine nuts, garlic and decent olive oil, so I suspect it's Pesto Night!

Not really...the parrots have been pretty good lately!

UPDATE: Yeah, now I'm going to get hostile emails from 2 groups, the people who hate it when I talk about anything except guns — especially recipes — and Patrick Sweeney, who will take me to ask for using a food processor to make the pesto instead of a mortar and pestle. I may never read my email again.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Two Days on the Range...

…and I am a whipped puppy! Plus, the 3-Gun match I was looking forward to shooting tomorrow was cancelled since, after a week of rain, we have mud up to our butts.

I was at the Sniper's Hide Cup, a stop on the Precision Rifle Series circuit. A huge precision rifle match —220 shooters! We were following OUTDOOR LIFE's John Snow, my old friend and a SHOOTING GALLERY "Usual Suspect." John is an amazing shooter; for this match he was using a George Gardner custom 6mm Creedmore, a cartridge that was originally developed by George and John for an OUTDOOR LIFE article.

I would love to shoot this match, but in all honesty I'm not good enough…yet. But I will be.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

A Firearms' Conundrum

So I decided today to put a low power scope on my Ruger No. 1 45/70 I plan to take hunting in a SHOOTING GALLERY episode later this year. Seems simple enough, right?

Ha! Maybe it's just me, but it ended up a day-long try this/no that fiasco. The issue is that, first, Ruger #1s have their Ruger proprietary scope mounts pretty far forward on the rail that carries the rear sight. That means the scopes end up mounted more forward than they would be in regular set-up. That necessitates some long eye relief for the scope.

Second, this is a falling block single shot rifle. If the scope projects too far back over the falling block, it makes reloading quickly pretty difficult.

I ran through a bunch of my scopes, and the only one that had sufficient eye relief was an old Weaver 3X, and I've never been crazy about that scope.

So I decided to think a little bit out of the (eye) box. I had one of the E. Arthur Brown slip-over scope mounts for the #1, and I was surprised at how well it seemed to be made. So I tapped out the Ruger folding rear sight and fitted the EABCO rail, which gave me a few more mount options.

Then I pulled the Burris 2-7X Scout Scope off the Browning BLR .223 Scout and fiddled it onto the Ruger #1 in a set of Burris low rings. It is a close fit, but by mounting it as as far forward as I can on the EABCO rail and scooting my cheek just a bit farther back on the stock, I have a great sight picture and 2-7X! An added benefit is that the eyepiece is ahead of falling block, causing no problems for reloading at speed.

What I don't know is how well it works. It was raining all day (again) at the Bunker, and I didn't have a chance to bench the gun. I plan to use Hornady Leverevolution .325-gr 45/70s. If you look at the drops on this load, I'd call it a 250-yard best-case round. If I felt lucky and had a great rest, I might be persuaded to go a teeny tiny farther. I've had good luck with the 325-gr Leverevolution round through several guns.

As always, Andy's Leather will be providing the sling and the ammo cuff!

I got Steve Hunter's new book, I, Ripper, today. I CAN'T WAIT to read it! I plan on "ripping" through it next week, with a full report on DRTV and the podcast to follow. My Sweetie and I took the "Ripper" tour last time we were in London. It was cool.

BTW, the Fourth of July t-shirts are once again available! They read:
“We celebrate the 4th of July as a reminder of earning our independence from an oppressive government. Our current Administration should take note, there’s still room on the calendar for another Holiday.“
Hell yes. Buy one and amaze your friends! It's the perfect gift.

I'm teaching on the range tomorrow…all newbies. My Sweetie and my good friend Mark Passamaneck will be teaching as well. Should go very well. Hopefully, in the afternoon, I'll have a chance to dial in a couple of rifles. I swear in the next few weeks I'm going to shift to my Glock 34 and get a handle on running that gun.

TOTALLY OFF THE SUBJECT, and out in the pale if the emails I got today are to be believed, there's a wonderful piece in the Wall Street Journal on the creation of Bob Seger's song Night Moves, the song that made him a star. Gotta say that, more than once, now that I'm an Official Old Guy, that the lyrics do cross my mind:

"I awoke last night to the sound of thunder
How far off I sat and wondered
Started humming a song from 1962
Ain't it funny how the night moves
When you just don't seem to have as much to lose
Strange how the night moves
With autumn closing in…"

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Tuesday Blahs

It is a rainy, cold, yeechy day here at the Bunker, sort of like visiting Seattle at the wrong time of the year (11 out of the 12 months, I suppose). I am sure there are a ton of things I should be doing, but mostly I'm sitting here staring at the computer screen and wondering whether I should just shove everything off my desk and into the garbage. Right now, the "Garbage Gambit" is winning.

ANYHOW, we're spinning up SHOOTING GALLERY Season 16 this week at the Sniper's Hide Precision Rifle Series match here in Colorado. We'll be following SG Usual Suspect John Snow from OUTDOOR LIFE…honestly, I'm not ready for the PRS…getting there, but not yet. John's running some trick 6mm rifle, so that ought to be cool.

I've got one more week of GUN STORIES filming, slightly less than 2 weeks of AMERICA'S RIFLE and THE BEST DEFENSE doesn't crank up until July, so as long as I don't think about it I should be fine! I have, after a year, managed to buy a desk for my office…a 1950s mahogany monster that struck me as cool. Call it good at $60.

Little luck and good weather and my Sweetie and I will be shooting a local 3-Gun match this weekend. Be cool to shoot the Tavor, eh? Long shot is 200 yards, so not out there in space.

Kinda hate to see Tracking Point falling apart. The technology is just awesome, but the price tag is just too much for the current market. I think there might also be more resistance than they anticipated in bringing the platform to a hunting market.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Life in the 21st Century...

from The Guardian:

Saudi Arabia advertises for eight new executioners as beheading rate soar

No flying cars; no uploading my consciousness into a machine; no guaranteed fatless ice cream; no decent Guinness in a can; no wars fought with robot soldiers; no 15-hour work week; no Japanese sex 'bots that can not only coo your name but perform a passable tea ceremony.

Just the 13th Century, over and over and over again…

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Sunday Round-Up

Well, a round-up of only a few cows…

There are a couple of great blog articles this morning. The first is that we welcome back RifleSlinger from the Art of the Rifle blog after his spring hiatus. His writings have been instrumental in my improvement as a rifle shooter. For the near future he's going to be addressing standards, an important issue, but not as easy as one might think:
Part of the difficulty lies in the diverse applications of the rifle. Excellence can really only be defined in terms of how effectively it accomplishes a given task. No single standard can be reasonably expected to provide an adequate measure of every application. So the logical first step is figuring out what types of skills we need to have yardsticks for. Here are those that come to mind, just off the top of my head: 
• Close range, high speed. 
• Medium range, time sensitive, general marksmanship. I’ll arbitrarily define medium range as 100-500, though other variables could alter that. This would be Appleseed’s realm of specialty, using non-scaled targets at full distance. 
• Medium range field shooting, e.g. the Cooper standards. 
• Surgical shooting- small targets in conditions and/or distances that don’t require complex accounting for trajectory or environmentals. 
• Precision shooting in the environment- up to long range, which I’ll arbitrarily define as 1000 yards, possibly extreme long range, >1000 yards. 
I believe that any standards devised with the intention to measure the above, or any other modes of rifle shooting, should include the requisite rifle handling skills (loading, reloading, clearance) that would be reasonably expected in that venue.
BTW, I think that's a perfect breakdown of the uses of the rifle. I look forward to his continued observations.

A second blogpost that's worth your read this Sunday is from Matt at Jerking the Trigger on how to get the most from a red dot sight (RDS) and a 3X magnifier. He basically breaks it down into 3 steps:
• Choose a good mount
• Choose the right RDS
• Shed weight from the front of your carbine
This is particularly applicable for me since I spent time a couple of days ago setting up an RDS with a 3X magnifier. I ended up using an old Aimpoint T1 4 MOA and an Aimpoint magnifier. Like Matt, I found 3X magnifiers to be a little better in theory than in practice. The T1's dot under magnification looks more like a red Rorscharch Test than a clearly defined round dot.

Still, it does the job well…as I mentioned in the previous post, the DoubleStar 3C delivered the accuracy I wanted with the 3X multiplier. I used the same set-up on a DD rifle at the Crimson Trace Midnight 3-Gun 2 years ago and was very happy with it.

I've hit an unfortunate stretch with illuminated sights. In the last week or so I have had 3 illuminated sights go down on me — the Burris AR-1X reflex, my oldest MTAC and a Leupold VX-6. scopes Both the VX-6 and the MTAC are older scopes and have been workhorses, so it puzzles me. I did a battery swap-out, but that didn't solve the problem. I thought I had extra 2032 batteries around to see if my existing stock of 2032s had gone south, but if I do they're in deep hiding. I ordered a bunch today. I'm going to try a couple of different AA batteries on the AR-1X today and see if I can isolate the problem. I'll let you know how it goes.

UPDATE: Using my keenly honed deductive methodology, I cleaned out the battery compartment of the Burris AR-1X by blowing in it, slotted in a new AA battery, and, as if by hand of the occult, it's 100%! Since I have the C3 perfectly sighted in for the next Appleseed, I pulled the Lucid HD7 off the TAVOR, bolted the AR-1X onto the rail and shot the crap out of it…no problems at all. Michael's key learning points…make sure the battery box is clean and that the battery box cover is tightly screwed down! I do like the "dot-in-a-donut" CQ-1X reticle, especially in green. I may shoot this set-up in a local 3-Gun match next weekend!

Friday, May 15, 2015

A Generally Icky Day on the Range

Some days just don't work out like you want. My Sweetie's Pride-Fowler scope completely tanked from leakage. It is 10+ years old, so what can I say? I slapped on a scope I had handy, but it just didn't work out for her.

I ended up fitting my DoubleStar 3C ultra-light with an Aimpoint T-1 and a 3X magnifier for sight in. It took a little fiddling with those tiny Aimpoint knobs, but I eventually got the reference group in the place I wanted. With WW White Box ball I was running a little better than 1/2 inch at 25 meters. With real ammo I could do better, I think. Then I did a 10-shot run at 25 yard offhand with the little carbine all slung up (my RifleCraft sling) and was very pleased with the results...I gave up 6 points, but I was firing pretty fast.
With my Sweetie's rifle down, we'll pass up the Appleseed this weekend and schedule another one next month. I think I'll stick to the C3/Aimpoint combo for my part.

BTW, my old friend Bruce Towsley, who is a fine 3-Gun shooter in his own right, has a good article in SHOOTING ILLUSTRATED on building light-weight ARs. This article is on building a light-weight while keeping the price down. An early article by Bryce was a no-holds-barred lightweight build. As you all know, I think the DoubleStar 3C is an incredible value…it weights 5.5 pounds without sights and is rock solid with the Ace 7-inch entry can get a longer stock if you want. I thought about the longer stock, but the Aimpoint is pretty forgiving on its eye-box. The 3C MSRPs at $1620, but I've seen it with a street/auction price as low as $1050.

And if you ready yesterday's post, you know DoubleStar is a sponsor of AMERICA'S RIFLE. Bryce…naw, he's just a friend.

Excuse Me…You Were Saying???

Headline of the week, from Fox:

Our attention span is now worse than a goldfish's

I know mine is. There's probably a corollary here that the country would be better run if indeed governmental offices were staffed exclusively by goldfish. There's a plank for a political platform I could really get behind!

Today is a range day, because it's supposed to rain all day tomorrow so I flipped "Friday" and "Saturday." Mostly ARs, but if I have a little time I want to run my Open Glock and see what's what.

Couple of interesting  articles worth your time over the weekend, since today is ersatz Saturday. The first is from a progressive, Fredrik deBoer, who is appalled at the state of the progressive movement:
Well, look: as a political movement we are in pathetic shape right now. We not only have no capacity to move people who don’t already share our worldview, we seem to have no interest in doing so. Our stock arguments are lazy stacks of cliches. We seem to want to confirm everything conservatives say about our inability to argue without calling other people racist. We can’t articulate why our vision of the future is better than the other side’s, and in fact many of us will tell you that it’s offensive to think that we have an obligation to educate others on that vision at all. We celebrate grassroots activist movements like Black Lives Matter, but we insult them by treating them as the same thing as hashtag campaigns, and we don’t build a broader left-wing political movement that could increase their likelihood of success. We spend all day, every day, luxuriating in how much better we are than other people, having convinced ourselves that the work of politics is always external, never internal. We have made politics synonymous with social competition. We’re a mess.
Well, look: that's true. I do think the Left is approaching the implosion point…the insane level of political correctness is having, not surprisingly, the opposite effect on anyone who has an IQ higher than warm water. 

I also liked Twenty Rules to Live By as America Goes to Hell…here are 3 that ought to be carved in marble:

4: Plan first, consider carefully, adjust and only then do.
5: Have a contingency plan.
6: Create a backup for the contingency plan.


8: Practice regularly with everything you might one day depend on.

Back in my ill-fated days as a motivation speaker (takeaway…"Jeez Michael! Your problem is you keep telling people they truth, and they don't want to hear that!") I used to say that you didn't just need a Plan A, Plan B and Plan C," but rather Plan A though Plan ZZ and beyond. And that your ability to survive whatever, be it an obnoxious boss or TEOTWAWKI, is inextricably linked to your ability to slide seamlessly and quickly right on to the next plan when the previous fails. Of course, what I should have been talking about was how to get a Lexus, the spouse of your dreams and good hair by posting inspirational sayings on Post-It notes on the frig. Oh well, live and learn.

I did buy a gun — there's a shocker — when I was a DoubleStar earlier this week. We had a pistol owed that was our "crash test dummy" for illustrating builds. When we finished filming, I bought the lower, destined to become a dedicated .300 Blackout pistol.