Monday, August 29, 2016

Just Haven't Been in the Mood for Writing...

…sorry. It happens, even to me.

Been working pretty hectically, and the physical therapy has been wearing me down. The good news is  I "graduate" from 11-and-a-half months of physical therapy tomorrow. Today I started my first week of "physical training," the next step. I picked a trainer who doesn't believe in machines or fancy health clubs or loud music and self-esteem…just a small gym, steps, sandbags, kettle balls, barbells, ropes and a dash of pain. Funny, I'm remembering the Michael Bane I was once, versus the Michael Bane I am now. Interesting.

Do the work. Do the work. Do the work.

Part of it is I am flying to Philadelphia this weekend to be a part of Walt Rauch's memorial service. It is an anchor on my heart, a darkness on the world. It is a part of growing old, I suppose. While I was at the Carry Optics Nationals for USPSA filming for SHOOTING GALLERY, Mike Foley, the new President of USPSA and a super nice guy, asked me how many of the "old guys," the people who helped start practical shooting, were left. Dan Pretrovitch was on the squad shooting, so I said Dan, Kenny Hackathorn, a few more. The coolest thing was while I was eating lunch at PASA, a person joined me…Bob Emerson, who I'd chased for years in Florida, and I could never even come CLOSE to catching him1 He was great, and here he was at the first CO Nationals.

"I just turned 80," he said, "and I'm still pulling the trigger."

Hell yes! "There is no fate but what we make for ourselves," as John Conner might say.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Scout Rifle Thoughts...

First, read Richard Mann's excellent post from his Empty Cases Blog:

In a description of the Scout Rifle titled, The Scout Rifle Concept, Cooper wrote, “The ‘Magnum Scout’ or ‘Super Scout,’ is in 350 RM.” This document was found in Cooper’s personal files. Additionally, in a 1998 article for Guns & Ammo titled, The Scout Rifle: Some Simple Principles, Cooper, speculating on Steyr’s introduction of the .376 Steyr or “Dragoon” as he often called it, wrote, “The ‘Magnum Scout,’ if it appears, will not make weight, of course.” In case some, as they have in the past, suggest this was an editorial change, I was able to uncover the draft for this article in the files Janelle Cooper provided me.
Never say never again…hmmmmm…sounds like suspiciously like the title of a James Bond movie. I'm fascinated by Scout rifles, use them for training, for hunting and as the "house gun", had input into the hugely successful Ruger Gunsite Scout and count Richard Mann as a very good friend. As I have mentioned before, Richard and I will be in Africa next June on the very first "Scout rifle only" plains
game safari. I'll be filming for SHOOTING GALLERY/SHOOTING GALLERY ONLINE (SGO).

As you know, I've been working on the gun I plan to hunt with. I started with an ANIB Ruger Frontier bolt action in .338 Federal. The .338 Federal cartridge is enjoying something of a small renaissance these days. It's a necked-up.308, created by Federal and Sako in 2006, and for a while was "this year's blonde." Go back and read some of the adulatory articles on it in 2007/2008. The it cooled off like your grandmother's banana pudding in the dead of winter. The reason it's coming back is that it is an excellent "do everything" cartridge, which seemed to me to make sense in a "do everything" rifle. Bullet weights run 180-210 grains. There is still a very good selection of factory ammo from Federal (you know, Hornady, it wouldn't kill you to do a .338 with a 200-grain GMX, would it?).

The .338 showed up back on my radar while I was in Texas with Bill Wilson, working on his book, GUN GUY. Bill and I were BS'ing over adult beverages — as we have done for 30 some-odd years — and Bill mentioned he was bring out his superb .308 AR-10 platform rifle in .338 Federal. I mentioned that I'd had a similar conversation back when I was in Africa. Short story…the .338 Federal may be the perfect round for any North American game. Not to say there aren't better specific use cartridges, but the .338 will do well from coyotes to elk moose and bear. From a prepper standpoint, it's a necked-up .308, which is one of the most common cartridges on earth. Stock up on bullets, and you're good to go.

I bought one of Bill's .338 AR-10s, and it's a pretty spectacular rifle. I topped it with what I think of as maybe the best "do-anything" scope at a sane price, a Leupold VX-6 2-12 Illuminated. You'll see this gun on SGO as well.

My original plan was to mount one of the new Leupold VX-R 1.5-5 FireDot…I have shot that scope on a couple of rifles and I love it. I bought one, finally found the correct 30mm Ruger rings and mounted it on the Frontier. Uh-oh…I could not get the right eye relief for 5X; secondly, the scope is 12-inches long and blocked a big chunk of the ejection port. I just didn't like it.

So I pulled out my RGS, which is fitted with the Burris 2-7X Scout, a really nice set-up. I swapped the 2 scopes,and viola! Magic! The Leupold is perfect on the RGS; the Burris is perfect on the .338 Frontier. One problem solved.

The little Frontier is going to Bullberry Barrel Works for BUIS, New England Custom Gun's peep rear and banded front. Then it goes to CDi Precision Gunworks for new bottom metal to take AI mags. I'm going to keep the standard Ruger trigger — it is just excellent. And Andy's Rhodesian sling will wrap up the package.

I also plan to bring my Ruger Gunsite Scout…I just bought some of the new Hornady 178-gr ELD-X long-range hunters, and I'll see how they run through the RGS. My plan is to load up some Barnes TTSX 210-gr for Africa in the .338. It's still a 300 yard rifle, I think…maybe 400 if the oon is in the Second House, and Jupiter aligns with Mars. We'll see on the range. Our overall plan is me, Richard Mann and Producer John Carter will take Il Ling New's Africa hunt prep course at GUNSITE in May and make sure the rifles are hammered out.

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Some More Thoughts...

…from Facebook. I linked to Kurt Schlichter's article on Townhall:
So what have we learned about ourselves? Maybe that many of us are snobs. There's a lot of class warfare going on here, a lot of backroom snark, with a lot of conservatives who want to believe that the only people who could ever support Donald Trump are knuckle-dragging morons who can't cut it when it comes to anything besides digging ditches. Too many of us choose cultural solidarity with the liberals we live among over political solidarity with the people we expected to vote with us. 
“Gosh,” we tell ourselves. “These people can’t even see what’s in their own best interest.” Except maybe they don’t like what they see. Maybe it’s because they decided we aren’t worth listening to. Maybe they don’t like us conservatives. And maybe we better figure out how to fix that instead of whining.
Read the whole thing.

I think this is a brilliant analysis. I like to think I've been on both ends of the "conservative" spectrum. I've lived in New York City among the elites -- the elite of the elite, the media (or so we thought). I witnessed firsthand the contempt with which they, and I'm embarrasses to say, I, viewed Flyover Country, the place I'd come from and, as I would eventually learn, the place I belonged.

The irony was that my friends went through amazing conniptions to separate the "good peckerheads" from the "hillbilly trash." Texas, especially Austin, was declared Occupied Territory, the home of cool people rather than…Texans. Nashville was, well, embarrassing…I mean, those rhinestone suits! Those big boat-like Lincoln Continentals...

Then one morning I woke up, looked around at my very successful celebrity journalism career — as my friend Hank Williams Jr. said, "I have seen my name at the top of the page" — and I left. Collapsed my career pretty much, but I figured if I'd built it up once, I could build it up again.

Moved to Florida, worked like a dog and took up something called "combat shooting." I'd always been a shooter; that's the way it works when you grow up in Tennessee. Shotgun at 6 years old; handgun at 12; whitetail hunting ASAP. But I'd left it behind when I moved to the City. Ironically, I missed it more than I thought I would. I applied for a permit to keep a handgun in my apartment in NYC and was ultimately turned down because I refused to pony up the $500 "unofficial cash tax, and we don't give no receipts neither!" to the cop in the basement of One Police Plaza.

When I moved out to Long Island to finish 2 book projects away from the clubs and the nightlife of Manhattan, I discovered a shooting range, where I began shooting bullseye with borrowed guns. Bought a small truck, finished the books, and started driving South. My favorite comment was fron a photograher friend of mine, himself from North Carolina, "You can't leave! You've adjusted so well!" Apparently not well enough...

I moved South, then West, to increasingly smaller towns. Shooting and competition became a bigger and bigger part of my life. More importantly, I figured out who "my people" were, and, of course, they were the same ones I started with. I am a son of Tennessee, unashamedly what some would call "white trash;" I have worked 40 hour weeks in factories and done hard manual labor in the blistering sun. I am not afraid or ashamed of work: I have called men and women of all colors, religions and gender identities my friends, but I don't give a tinker's damn about "diversiity;" I've worked side by side with illegals…nothing aginst them, but if I'm forced to play by the rules, and so should they. That's not a political statement; that is the heartfelt truth.

I'm sorry your ancestors had the misfortune to be slaves. So did mine, and it no doubt sucked as much for them and it did for your ancestors. And while I honor their struggle, they are dust and have no more to do with my life than the brainless talking heads of television news. I am a little tired of being the only racial/ethnic group that it's safe to slur, to discriminate against, to spit on. You should probably consider that before your next big BLM rally.

I admire John Wayne and Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and Ronald Reagan. I wouldn't piss on Al Sharpton if he was on fire. I despise the Democratic Party for pretending they are not the Socialist Workers Party of America, and I despise the Republicans for their gutlessness and their willingness to throw us all under the bus to protect their dacha by the lake.

I carry a gun every day, and God help you if you try and take it away from me.

You should have listened to me, and the rest of us hillbilly white trash snake-handling deer-hunting funny talking clingers.

And we're not done talking. Think about it.

Monday, August 01, 2016

Even More to Worry About...

I should be doing the podcast for Wednesday, but in light of this development, I am instead worrying about the fate of the world:

Woman Jump-kicked by Kangaroo,
Rupturing Breast Implants

Yes, it has finally come to this...