Better And Better

If you don't draw yours, I won't draw mine.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Skunked.

I didn't shoot a hog this weekend.



Heck, I never even SAW a hog. I saw plenty of fresh sign, and must have done some decent stalking, because I got to within 30 feet of a pair of coyotes, and within a few dozen yards, crosswind, of some skittish whitetails and mule deer.

The local weatherman David Finfrock described the weather thusly: "In my 32 years of doing this, I have only once or twice before seen comparable dust storms." With the local humidity below 15%, the wind drove up to 50 and 60 mph gusts for over 18 hours on Saturday. The already fine red dust of the Panhandle blew southeast and on into the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Saturday hunting was shot. We stayed in the travel trailer and drank coffee, cleaned guns, and swapped stories all day... and that was probably my favorite day.

I shot a lot of very, VERY heavy loads through some highly customized revolvers that Ashley had with him. Included were plenty of Garret .44 Hammerheads through Hamilton Bowen and John Gallagher custom revolvers, as well as Ashley's own handloads through his Freedom Arms Premier Grade .454 Casull which I carried to hunt with. I'd previously shot one of these about 10 years ago while visiting then Sheriff Jim Wilson in Ozona, TX with my father. At that time, Freedom Arms were just about the only folks making the .454 Casull. I had been impressed with his then, and was again impressed with Ashley's now. Swinging the dinger at 50 yards with a 300 grain lead bullet at about 1600 fps is not really any trick with this 7.5" barreled pistol. I was highly impressed with the tolerances, which included a barrel-cylinder gap that was almost impossible to perceive in a dark room against a strong light. My guess would be 1/1000th or thereabouts.

Rich brought his highly modified NEF HandiRifle in .45-70. This had an enormous moonscope on it with target knobs, a trigger that had been lightened to an amazing weight, and a highly modified stock with a higher comb, black crinkle finish, and widened butt for a recoil pad that made the Buffalo Bore heavy loads seem like nothing much. On the side of the stock was a chart showing the come-ups in minutes to adjust the scope out to 400 yards. We found a target rock that needed killing at 440 yards, and extrapolated the drop. I hit it on the third shot, after doping the wind. Consider: this is a quarter mile shot at a rock about the size of a 19" computer monitor, with a cartridge created in the 1870s, during a rather windy day.

Rich's other .45-70 was the sweetest David Clay takedown rifle you've ever seen. While it may have started life in part as a Marlin 1895, it now breaks quickly into two components of about 15", to go into its custom-built, dust/waterproof box. Very cool, and Rich has taken 3 cape buffalo with it. Nifty feature-- the tubular magazine can be stored loaded, by virtue of the cutoff switch in it.

Due to the need to recover from recent eye surgery, Dad had to carry reduced recoil armament, and borrowed my 1953 vintage Winchester Featherweight M70 in .243, with Federal 100g loads. While he too was skunked, I am happy to report that Dad smacked the aforementioned target rock with his first shot. Nice.

Mostly, I just enjoyed hunting with my friends and my father. I never regret going, and hope to do so for many years to come.

Dad, in the rough country, seems to've gone native. Note the Afghani shemaugh sent to Dad by John Shirley. (See the 14 December 2006 post on John's Afghanistan service memoir blog.) With the British smock, it harkens back a bit to an imperial time, eh?


So we ate good food and saw good country and shot good guns and laughed so hard that there were tears that belied our failure to consume strong drink. Kinda like what Tamara said a month or so ago: You could tell me that you had as much fun as I did this weekend, but I don't think I'd believe you.


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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

I'm actually kind of impressed by Remington.


By now most of y'all have heard the tale of Zumbo. Briefly, a hunting writer for Outdoor Life wrote a divisive criticism of military-style semi-automatic rifles for field use, and called them "terrorist rifles." If he had just stated that he found hunting with AR-15s and AKs to be distasteful to him, he would have been on pretty solid ground. To be honest, I don't take 'em out in the hunting field myself, finding a certain class to slower, more traditional styles of hunting firearms. Nope, I'm not criticizing those who do it so long as they conduct themselves ethically in the field (and unethical hunting can be conducted with anything from machine guns to speers-- it ain't the kitchen-- it's the cook.). I just personally --for my own self-- don't care to take 'em hunting. If Zumbo had just stoppe there, he probably would have rankled the feathers of a few folks who are very defensive about their hunting with 'em, but that's about it.

But he didn't. He called 'em terrorist rifles, and called for their outright ban in the hunting field.

[Here's why this is a problem. This guy calls himself a friend to the sportsman, and a friend to the gun owner. But he is afraid of a simple tool. Not the misuse of the tool, but rather, the tool itself. He made clear that some guns, in and of themselves, are evil. "No honest man" would need one, and all that. That way lies the slipperyist of slopes. When you declare the "assault rifles" off limits, then why not all semi auto rifles? Heck, why not pump actions? Lever actions? Repeaters at all? And ban those sniper rifles (you know-- all scoped bolt action rifles). Where does it stop? As others have pointed out more eloquently than I, the Second Amendment actually doesn't recognize a right to keep and bear sporting weapons-- it is specifically there for military arms. (See Miller.)]

Within minutes, the word spread. (That thread at The High Road has received 669 replies and 27,672 views, as of this writing.)

Within hours, the opposition to his statement had turned into a movement. Within a day, he'd posted a retraction.

Emails poured in to Outdoor Life and to his sponsors. The angry writers of these emails stated that they would retaliate to any further sponsorship of Mr. Zumbo's writing by boycotting the sponsors' products.

Before the weekend was over, Remington had cut Mr. Zumbo loose.

Now here's what's impressive about it: Remington really wasn't on the receiving end of any of Zumbo's criticisms. Beyond ammunition, Remington is heavily invested in the shotgun market, selling quality pump and semi-auto shotguns that are favored for hunting use and for defensive use. Remington also makes a find line of rifles, the most famous of which is the M. 700, which is pretty much an American standard as an accurate bolt action. While it's an economical and accurate rifle that is commonly found in a tactical variation in tactical armaments, it is most popular with sportsmen. There are other products, but that's the bread and butter for Remington. Sporting long arms, and some police and self defense longarms. VERY little of Remington's line or of their market share would be "tactical."

But Remington gets it-- customers are not happy with the guy that their company had chosen to endorse. Remington doesn't want alienate all those customers.

As Tamara puts it: "'An army of Davids'"... "that's how it works."

Go buy something in a green and yellow box today.

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Such is my life...

I've just spent the last couple of hours dripping synthetic blood off of hammers, knives, screwdrivers, and the like onto different media (newspaper, carpet, glass, cardboard, etc) from measured distances, and using calipers to measure the diameters of the spatters. Over other labs, we have measured the effect of angle on the shape, diameter, and length of the spatters, and have made analysis of the satellite droplets from the spatter from different heights.

Just so you know: synthetic blood sucks.

It stains worse even than real blood, by virture of the red dye in it.

It doesn't coagulate, which is good. It doesn't coagulate, which is bad for the science of the study of blood.

It doesn't spread like real blood. On glass, a spatter of this fake stuff will hit, spread, and then visibly draw itself back up into a tighter drop, due to the thickener in it.

Real blood isn't a solution as this fake stuff is-- it's a suspension of solids in saline. While the specific gravity of real blood is 1.06 (almost exactly the same density of water), the viscosity is much, MUCH higher. The nature of clotting is virtually irreproducable.

But our university's Office Of Risk Management & Not Getting Sued almost nixed the entire course when they found out that our professor, a scientist and bona fide expert in the field, was planning on using real blood. So we do what we can. The good part is that we're being exposed to the degree of anomaly that can be presented, and have a constant medium. But we all take some of this with a grain of salt.

My lab partner, a young fellow who interns with an alphabet federal agency, is a pleasure to work with, though, and we find ourselves amused at inappropriate things with some regularity.

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Sunday, February 18, 2007

Now THAT's a regular readership!


While my own monthly hits graph looks like a relief of BrokenGlassLand, due to occasional rushes and declines based on links from others, my irregular schedule, or just plain boring posts, my friend LawDog has a rather sizable, rather regular following.

If his people'd just check in on the weekends, his graph would be almost flatlined. That's loyalty!


My shoulder hurts...

I stayed at Dad's last night, and this morning we ran out to the range. Due to an eye injury that Dad's getting over, I did most of the shooting.

By my loose count, I shot about:

30 rounds of .35 Whelen 250 grain loads (Springfield and Remington M700).
10 rounds of 400 grain .45-70 Not-Safe-For-Trapdoor loads (Marlin Guide gun).
20 rounds of .375 H&H 270 grain loads at about 2600 to 2700 fps (Remington M700).
4 rounds of .38 Spl out of my shotgun adaptor (interesting only-- no recoil) (Remington M1100).
& 2 rounds of .22 LR out of Dad's nifty little Kimber .22 LR rifle.

Sure, the last couple sound easy (shot 'em first, actually), but those first 60 (it might have only been about 50) will surely make you sit up and take notice. My groups were beginning to suffer toward the end.

Come Thursday, we hunt the wild boar.

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Saturday, February 17, 2007

Meet my mama.

Mom writes a pretty good post about effects on drugs on the children of the users.

I'm pretty libertarian in my views, and for the most part feel that we're making a serious mistake in the manner we are using to deal with drugs in this country. More jail time, and serious prison time, for mere possession is a stupid way to handle things. It costs between $30,000 and $40,000 a year to house a prisoner. Given the prolific numbers of people on drugs that that are consider a felony simply to possess, that means that proper implementation of the laws that we have on the books will bankrupt us.

There's the notable inconsistency of drug laws. While I've had to deal with many an irate, fighting drunk, I've yet to find a pothead who wants to settle things with fistifuffs. Chips and dip, perhaps. Nachos and guacamole, maybe. But not by fighting. But even a single marijuana cigarette in your own living room is cause for an on view arrest for a jail stay of up to 180 days. The same adult can drive into a bar and drink until they close at 2:00, and then drive home if he's able. (5 hours after the liquor stores are required to close. I never understood that part. You can buy a hard drink at a bar or club, but you can't buy a bottle to take home an drink responsibly.) As Tamara refers to it, our war on drugs is really "The War On (Some) Drugs."

But then there's my good friend LawDog's point of view. LawDog is a close personal friend, and I have much respect for him. But we have a slight disagreement on the drug issue, in some areas. LD wants, last time we discussed the issue, our drug laws enforced STRONGLY. He, as I, have seen many problems directly attributable to people's addiction to and abuse of drugs of all kind. LawDog is a thinker who is blessed not to have an addictive personality. He doesn't smoke, and drinks but very lightly, if at all. He is weight proportionate.

I don't know if I have an "addictive" personality. I think I probably have a "habit-forming" personality. I never did use drugs. I never smoked. They never made sense to me. I do eat too much, and I suspect that I could develop an unfortunate habit to drink too much for the same reason-- I love the taste. For those reasons, I monitor my intake of foods and strong drink, keeping my weight below 300 and beers below a case a month. Not huge accomplishments, and I don't bother to put them on my resume', to be sure.

My point (I had one around here) is that there's lots of views on this drug thing, and sometimes they're polar opposites, even though they're from intelligent people that I like and respect. Or, in the case of my Mama, love dearly.

All I ask, here, is that we all take into account the validity of the arguments of those whom we've granted rights to have a say in things. Tamara is desperately trying to prevent and draw attention to the erosion of our civil liberties, for questionable reasons and with often tragic results. LawDog is often trying, with humor, to point out the regular trainwrecks that results from those who abuse substances that often literally have no recognizably good use. And Mom points out that there are many ("they are legion") who are abusing drugs to the extreme detriment of those who never had the chance to make a choice in the matter.

When making decisions about how you feel on the drug issue, remember that addicts don't get better by going to prison. Remember that addicts that are free and untreated commit crimes. Remember that when you violate an addict's right you are violating the rights of yourself and your loved ones. And remember that the children of addicts always suffer.

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In-laws are in town.

Unexpectedly, and staying at my house, so I guess it's good that we've taken to cleaning the place up a bit. Last time, there was a certain feeling of accusation to seeing my mother-in-law getting on her knees to scrub the linoleum floor in the kitchen. Bothered me enough that I refloored the kitchen.

They're sleeping on the hide-a-bed, which is never good for one's disposition. They're too old for that, but we haven't given up our bed. I solved part of that dilemma by announcing that I'm staying with my father tonight after work. (He lives much nearer my work than I do, and we've got some shooting to do tomorrow morning before our hunting trip.)

So this morning, after eating a pound of bacon and a dozen eggs and a half-loaf of wheat toast for breakfast and washing it down with two pots of coffee (two extra house guests and miniature greyhound, and you'd think we were hosting a camp of lumberjacks), I did my chores and set off to work. Either your work is pleasant or your home life is stressful when you feel a sigh of relief well up as your car leaves your house.

I like 'em well enough-- it's just too small a house for such a compliment.

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Friday, February 16, 2007

Cold Carry.

The nice thing about 20 degrees F is that a good cover garment is always handy and expected. You know what's been a pleasure for me to wear, the last couple of days? A Fobus kydex paddle holster with my stolen-from-Dad war-weary S&W Chief's Special Airweight .38 Special. Worn at 3:30 or 4:00 o'clock on my right hip outside the belt, it's admittedly astonishing at how poorly this rig conceals a little 5-shot J frame.

I put it on for an in-service class on Monday, where the attire was the typical "Cop Office Casual," which is usually a polo shirt tucked into khakis, with badge and gun on belt. I just put on a jacket over it for my blood spatter class, and then wore pretty much the same outfit to my Legal Issues class the next night. Comfy, and better armed than with my standard KelTec P3AT in the DeSantis pocket holster in my pocket. (Arguments that 7 rounds of .380 are better than 5 rounds of .38 Special will not be entertained.)


Truthfully, I could have better concealed my full-sized Kimber 1911 in an IWB holster like the Summer Special than this Chief in this rig. But it wouldn't have been as comfy.

I think about that shooting in Salt Lake City, and wonder how many off-duty officers and CCW licencees decided not to carry weapons under their cover garments on that briskly cold evening, and will regret that feeling of helplessness for the rest of their lives.

When you decide whether or not to go armed, consider that you are making the decision not just for yourself, but for those around you.

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Getting organized.

Y'all who are neat and organized, go someplace else.

Are they gone?

Shut the door. Lock it. Tamara, you stand jigger. Byron, you come sit up front.

Look, I'm a slob. I don't know exactly why, but I am. Seriously. I love living in a neat house, but I don't seem to do the required stuff to make that happen. My wife kind of began to give up on me-- what's the point in doing all the work in a partnership? Oh, she wasn't giving up on the relationship-- just doing all the damned housework. But I gotta tell you-- that affects your environment, which affects your attitude, which will affect your relationship, I guarentee you. Oh, she'd give me hints-- if I swept and mopped and did the dishes, I'd find my wife notably more affectionate. (I used to think she had a thing for Mr. Clean.)

But she read some damned book or another, and decided to Fix Things Up Around Here. Gawd.

She made these stupid little chore wheels. She's crafty like that. You put a bunch of jobs on 'em for each member of the family (even the 4 year old), and every day, all that's expected around the house is those three chores. The deal is, it's your job. This is not voluntary; you HAVE to do it. The theory, see, is that everybody does a little portion, but at least everyone does a share, and redundant work isn't done, and people don't give up because the other person didn't do their part. While it's only a tiny bit (10 minutes?) a day, it gets everything done once a week.

Here's the thing...



...it works.


The house won't pass a white glove test or anything, but, since we've started this silly, ridiculous, juvenile thing, our house has been presentable. As in, when a friend shows up at the door unannounced, my wife doesn't go pale with terror before going red with shame. Counters are clean. Sinks are clean. Floors are reasonably clean. Laundry is only two loads behind, instead of six. You mean to tell me that it was this easy all along? Good Lord. I can't even work up any serious resentment against being assigned chores by my wife, who's supposed to be my partner and equal.

Now if you'll excuse me, I've got a load of laundry to do real fast.

Uh, you can open the door, now. Just tell 'em that we were, um... settling on how many pillows should go on the coverlet when company's expected, or something. No, wait-- not manly enough. How 'bout how we were discussing the proper method for organizing a home library for easiest access? Tell 'em that we agreed to disagree.

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Reloading


Dad and I are going hunting next week.


Dad's bringing his .45-70, his .35 Whelen, and his new Kimber .22 (I've not yet gushed publicly on how sexxxy that adult's .22 is.).


I'm bringing my Springfield .35 Whelen and... I dunno what else. Maybe a .30-30.


But we don't have much loaded ammo for same. We're going on a 5-day hunting trip on a several-section ranch, and we don't have much ammo. Not good. So I've gotta reload.


We've got cases. We've got bullets. We've got primers. We've got powder. We've got dies and trimmers and presses and... well, everything.


What we need is gumption.


I love hunting with handloaded ammo that I put together. I love experimenting with the abilities and effects of my own handloads.


But it is better to have handloaded, than to handload. Usually Dad and I handload together, and it's social. Today Dad's off on some adventure, and I'm at his place, reloading. Once everything's set up, it's not so bad. But it's a pain to do set-up, and I'm not used to doing it. This would be easier, I confess, if we were more organized. Cases get sorted, case prep material gets moved, tools get found, and the loads don't get loaded.


I tell myself that I do it for the hobby of loading. I better tell myself that, because it's a frickin' joke to claim that I'm saving lots of money. Oh, if I were organized better and didn't have to purchase duplicates, I'd save a few cents a round. But, as I mentioned, I'm [i]not[/i] that organized.


And the costs are sunk.


So I better get to it.


Yep.


Herrre I go.


. . .

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Sunday, February 11, 2007

Is the whole world on drugs?

I swear, I'm beginning to think so.

Literally. I'm not speaking figuratively, here.

At what age is it still okay to be outraged about kids doing drugs? Because I'm gathering that lots of people find it to be much, much lower than I would have figured. And I'm pretty damned liberal.

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Stupid New Blogger.

Makes me type in my whole email address.

Makes me sign up when I don't want to.

Is this the service I paid fo...

(Um. Never mind.)

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Friday, February 09, 2007

How he mocks me.

BamBuLance Driver says:
"Hey there, Salt Lake City, Utah! You were visitor #10,000! I started this blog on Docember 23, 2006, and it is humbling to know that I have had ten thousand visitors to my humble blog in such a short time. While I may never attain the rock star status of LawDog and Tamara, or be the Renaissance Man that is Matt G., I am truly thankful for my readership, and the many (okay, seven) discerning bloggers that have linked me."

Oh, very nice. The guy's only been on since December 29th (when he posted his superb osterich post) of last year, and he's already beat me to 10,000 visits! I, who posted my first post back in October, can't keep with some guy in a funny-lookin' conversion van!

Hmph. It's just 'cause ambo drivers have so much down time. That's what it is.

By the by, this very blog should reach 10k visitors sometime today, as well:



I thank you, constant reader, for visiting.
Unless you're Ambulance Driver.
Heh.

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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Gun stuff to bore you with.

Day before last, I went to Cabellas, and bought a pound of RL-15, and two packages of .410 slugs.

.410 bore stuff:
I'll confess that I bought the cheapest slugs, and even then had to pay a lot for them. A box of five .410 slugs costs the same as a box of premium 12 gauge slugs. In this case, I paid $4 each for boxes of Winchester slugs (1850 fps, they claim. Zowie.) that were smaller than a dump pouch for six rounds of .38 Special. Consider that this is rough the same price as a box of twenty-five field loads for dove hunting, in 12 gauge! So it's not about the shipping, or the packaging, or the costs of materials. It's about economies of scale. Tons more (literally) 12 gauge are shot each season than .410 bore. And why not? They've got better knockdown, on a wider variety of game, and at longer distances, effectively.

So here's this .410 shell, putting out around a fifth to a quarter of the shot payload of a 12 gauge shell, making it harder to hit, and harder to kill game. When you're as crappy a winghooter as I am, that's a major consideration.

Paying $4.00 to $5.00 for a box of 12 gauge slugs is pricey, but at least you walk away with something substantial. Most 12 gauge slugs are one ounce slugs, with some going even higher. There are a few reduced recoil slugs out there that weigh in a tad less, but usually they're an ounce each, or twice as much as a bullet from my .45 acp. So a box contains five ounces of projectile alone. Add in primers, wads, powder, hulls, case heads and box, and you get nearly half a pound of substance for your $4.00 or so.

But I honestly believe that one could forget that a box of .410 slugs was in his pocket. I'll have to be careful not to launder them. So why would one get a .410 shotgun at all?

As for myself, I've never owned one. Come to think of it, I'm not sure that I've actually ever even fired a .410 shotgun. I'm just doing an experiment with this insert adaptor thing.

One's accuracy is said to improve when one uses a .410. Necessity: it's a mother. I don't know that .410s are any quieter-- in my experience they seem to have quite a crack to them. But they may be a little quieter than a large bore shotgun. But the main thing is that shotguns that handle .410 are usually light and handy, without the recoil that one would get from a large bore in a light gun.

Last year, a friend bought one of those cute little Winchester M9410's. I never got to shoot it, but I did handle it, and it was just as nifty as hell. If you're not familiar with them, they're a Winchester M94 lever action rifle or carbine, which has been fitted with a smoothbore .410 barrel. They are a true shotgun, but in that classic Johne Wayne style. They have a set of shallow open sights that are even more coarse than the standard M94 rifles, but which are probably pretty appropriate for a shotgun that will be wing-shooting. Now, do I really have a use for one? Damned if I can think of one. Believe me, I tried! I still think it looks like fun. But if I did, I'd have to factor in the cost of a reloading setup, because it would KILL me to pay more for .410 shells than for 12 gauge. The reloader experiences nice savings with .410, though.

Reloader 15 Powder.
I bought the RL-15 for reloading .35 Whelen, .45-70, and (drum roll) .375 H&H. Dad and I are going hog hunting the end of this month. Dad'll likely bring that 1895GS .45-70 that I gave him a few years back on his 60th birthday. I'll be bringing my M1903 Springfield sporter .35 Whelen that I rebarreled a few years ago due to bad pitting in the .30 bore. Dad and I've carried these rifles hunting quite a few times, but never got to connect with 'em. (Well, I did shoot a deer with the Springfield when it was a .30-06, but that was a different rifle, back then.) Then there's this safe queen, a Remington M700 .375, that we haven't actually shot yet. Maybe this is the time. Seems that Reloader 15 is a common powder for all three, and while we did have some on hand, these calibers gobble a lot of it. Shoot, the Whelen round is the real miser of the three, with loads only calling for 50 something grains. (Such a great caliber.)

Also, what with my latest messing around with my '06, I've got 40 fresh, once-fired .30-'06 cases all ready to be loaded with .35 Whelen loads. One of the real beautiful properties of the .35 Whelen is that you can load unprepped .30-'06 cases, and skip a step. Attend me: Usually, with rifle cases, even just once-fired, you need to trim the length down to parameters, due to the slight stretching that takes place during firing. It's not a huge task, but it involves chocking up each case in a jig of some kind, and using either hand or motor to run a small trimmer along the mouth of th case to shave off a few thousandths of brass. Then you have to chamfer the case mouth, inside and out, with a deburring tool. For good accuracy, you should do this every time. But when you run the expanding taper down the mouth and neck of the .30-'06 case during case sizing, two things occur: the case mouth and neck are expanded from .308" to .358", and the neck shrinks, just a tad. Not much, but it gets a few thousandts shorter as it gets wider. Just as if I had trimmed the case. When I first rebarreled my Springfield back when, I worried that it was going to be a pain to convert .30-'06 cases to .35 Whelen. I had no idea (until the first time I tried it) that it was not just as easy; it was actually easier than reloading the case to the same caliber.

Now, if I were shooting a scoped rifle and trying to achieve intense high accuracy, I would still trim those cases to a uniform length. Heck, I'd even neck turn the cases to achieve perfect uniformity. But this is an iron-sighted rifle with a ghost peep and a post front sight, with which I cannot achieve better than 2 minute of angle groups on mine and its best day. I'm loading it with either 225g or 250g bullets to a moderate (2300 to 2400 fps) velocity, for smacking hogs out to, oh, about 150 yards. Maybe 200, if I have the sun at my back, a good rest, and a still target. So the slight imperfection in the accuracy bothers me not. While I normally weigh each charge for scoped rifle handloads, I just throw these charges, weighing perhaps every fifth charge or so. What's the point in loading a match-accuracy round for a non-match rifle? One mustn't get overly involved in the process.

Dad's got a bunch of Remington 400g (or were they 405g?) JSP .458 bullets that we'll load up in the Marlin Guide Gun. We load 'em to about 1500 or 1600 fps. Doesn't sound like much, but this is out of a handy little carbine, and the sectional density is very nice. The carbine has Ashley Outdoors/XS peep sights on it, which is amusing, because we're hunting with Ashley himself. Ashley is a hunter and innovator. He's got skills with guns and machinery. He's madeningly adept with both, and sort of knows it. Cockiness is not so hard to take when the guy can back his claims. (Damn him.) I hunted with Ashley a couple of year ago, and liked the heck out of him.

I think that we'll load the .375 up with 270g bullets. The rifle's Dad's, so it's his call. (We sort of use the "communal armory" concept.) The late Jeff Cooper (RIP) said that the 270 was the proper weight for the .375 caliber, when he was damning Hornady for only making 210s for the .376 round for the Scout Dragoon. Who am I to argue? Zipping a 270g bullet along at 2700fps makes for a genuine magnum, fit to take anywhere on the planet. Overkill for hog? Sure, probably. But the cape buff are a little scarce here in Texas.

For what it's worth, I eat my wild hogs when I shoot 'em. Without exception, my experience has shown them to provide lean, sweet meat, fit for roasts or just grinding into sausage. I have a grinder, and recipes for sausage, and it's a snap-- actually easier than individually butchering the meat into parcels for the freezer. I just grind it and stuff it into vegetable casings, and toss it into the freezer. It's good. Hog are a serious menace to the land around here, so I shoot 'em whenever I can.

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On setting up my friends.

He's a good looking guy I work with, and feel a strong affiliation with. Honest. Smart.

She's a very good looking girl that I used to work with, and think of like a sister. Family oriented. Devilish. Funny.

Both are divorced.

Both have little girls.

Both are 30, and quite single.

Could you resist assisting fate a little?

I couldn't.

I shall expect my tux fee to be paid for. :)

Two objects may not occupy the same space at the same time...

The Sony LBT-G2000 Remote Controlled Compact Hi Fidelity Stereo System was a pretty neat little stereo in its day, about 15 years ago. It put a five-disc changer turntable, dual cassette deck with high-speed dubbing, digital radio tuner, and a graphic equalizer (admittedly only 3 bands) into a box of about 18"X18"X15"W, with a pair of respectable midsized Sony satellite speakers on about 10 feet of cable to array to each side. The sound is quite good, and the little remote is handy. My wife bought it new back in the mid-90's, and it was her main stereo until we got married, at which point my big old component system took center stage in the living room. We put hers in our bedroom.

On top of my dresser.

Which is by the door.

Which is where one might set one's beverage upon entering the room.

Now, I know better than to set my drink on TOP of such an item. So when I came into the bedroom this afternoon to change clothes for class, I naturally set my completely-full tumbler of dark black coffee on the edge of the dresser, in front of the stereo. Being naturally clumsy and attempting to account for that, I put the tumbler as far from the edge of the dresser as a I could, which meant that I was placing it almost against the front of the stereo. At this point, apparently, my knuckles brushed the front of the machine. I went to the bed to sit down to put on some socks, and heard... whirring. Why? What? I turned just in time to see the five-disk turntable sliding smoothly out of the apparatus, under power by a motor and gears that were undoubtedly the pride of the Orient in the mid-'90s, but which were the bane of my most immediate moment. The drawer-type turntable emitted from the stereo to present its cargo of Johnny Cash, Enya, and/or David Sedaris audio book CDs, whilest pushing about 18 ounces of home-brewed, fresh-ground Starbucks Extra Bold Italian Roast off of the dresser and onto my oatmeal-colored carpet.

I muttered some unpleasant oaths and got some big towels, and sopped up my mess for the next 10 minutes.

Then I had to go grind some more coffee to brew.

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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Open letter to a certain Caddy driver:

Congratulations on successfully evading me down a windy Farm To Market highway at triple digit speeds at night.

But while you're patting yourself on your back, recall that I got a very good look at your car as you passed me. And you've kinda customized it in a distinctive fashion. And I've got a good memory.

Sleep tight, pal.

Catch ya later.

Monday, February 05, 2007

I may be police at my day job, but in my spare time I...

...catch drunk drivers.

I was heading home tonight from a relatively uneventful night of patrol, when I suddenly noticed that a pickup that had been passing me in the fast lane had suddenly swerved to my lane, and was separated by only a few feet. "Uh oh," thought I, "What's all this? I downshifted and gathered a few yards of safety between us, and began to notice that the pickup was veering from straddling the broken white line lane demarcation and straddling the solid white line marking the right shoulder. I punched it, got a few more yards of distance, signaled, and changed lanes to get into the left lane. Now safely in the passing lane, I hit the brakes, and let him pass me on the right. I watched him for all of 8 seconds before reaching for the PD cell and dialing 911.

For the next 20 minutes, I called out exits, mile markers, landmarks, and speeds (47 to 80 mph in a posted 65 zone) to the dispatcher as we wandered around the good-sized city that I followed him through. I finally followed him off an exit, and through a couple of red lights that he blew. I thought maybe he was trying to elude me at that point. Nope. A marked unit cruised up alongside me, and I pointed at the pickup. After 2 blocks, they (two more units arrived) got him stopped.

I had told the dispatcher that I was in uniform, and that I was stopping with the officers, but here's a clue to you all good Samaritans out there who want to stop with the police when they've made a traffic stop.
Don't.
Stop.
Behind them.

Pass them carefully, signal clearly, and stop well forward of them, in their pool of light and well off the road if you can possibly do so. Then turn on your hazards, and wait your turn. When approached, you can get out or stay in the car and wave them up. I usually prefer to get out and wait.

This does several good things: It puts you down beyond the person that they're already focused on. That means that the immediate threat is still the one that they chose. (Yes, you represent a threat when you're an unknown.) That also protects you and the officer because your car is not behind his, blocking the lights shed from his flashers and arrow stick. Wouldn't you rather be downstream of that, and thus in the "lee" of traffic?
It also puts you into his lights, at night, meaning that he has you at the biggest disadvantage and at his biggest advantage. That's good for you, because, trust me-- nobody likes Nervous Cop. He's not much fun. If you're behind him, he's gong to come back to you first, and he's not going to be happy that you've interupted what he was doing.

So after a minute or so, I saw one of the officers headed my way, and got out. "TELL me he's not just sleepy," I said.

The other officer laughed. "Oh, no!" he said. "He's quite impaired. We're going to request a blood draw. Can I get your.. Ah! Excellent!" he exclaimed as I handed him a card.

"Do you need anything else?" I asked.

"Nope. We'll take it from here," he said.

So I got to score a DWI for the night, and don't even have to carry any paperwork. Score!

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Sunday, February 04, 2007

Subcaliber ammunition

I need to find me some insert adaptors.

See, there have been several times in my law enforcement career where I've needed to put down an animal in the city. Sometimes it's a rabid skunk. Sometimes it's a dog that's bitten someone for the last time. Occasionally it's a dog that has a "death warrant" issued. On one memorable occasion, my lieutenant had to put down a rogue emu that had been running in and out of traffic. (I can't make this stuff up, folks.) Or it might be an animal that's been struck by a car and needs to be put down. While of course we make sure that we have good backstops, people get worked up over identifiable gunfire, sometimes. Firing my pistol is LOUD. Firing my shotgun is LOUD. I don't carry around a .22 LR rifle, which would be the best solution in all probability.

But they make these little inserts. I've seen them advertised, and even recall a magazine article on 'em back in the 1980s. They're special adaptors to fire centerfire handgun ammunition through a shotgun. Well, in my car is an 870P shotgun with iron sights. If the thing is halfway accurate (say-- hits a pie plate 5 times out of 5 at 50 yards), then I see no problem with getting a .38 Special adaptor, and putting a 158g LSWHP in it, and euthanizing said critter with minimal fuss, and far less noise than a full shotgun blast or pistol report would give. My theory is that the shotgun barrel will act to suppress the report of the subcaliber round in it. This theory, of course, is absolutely untested. :)

But I can't find the dadgumed company or companies that make or distribute 'em!! All I've found so far is
this thing, which fires .410 caliber shells in a 12 gauge shotgun.
Hm. The price is fairly low. Perhaps I'll pick one up and try it with slugs. But it's still not precisely what I had in mind.

Anybody have a link or a phone number?

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What's that in your pint glass, Matt?

Well, I'm glad you asked.

It's a Young's Special London Ale, and I'm pretty darned happy with it.

Reduced hop nose.
Medium to Medium-low carbonation.
Strong yeast.
Slightly fruity esters from the British ale yeasts.
Significant alcohol at the back of the tongue.

Rich gold to caramel color, with almost no chill haze.
Quite clear, despite the fact that it's bottle-conditioned, which means that it gets its carbonation from the ongoing fermentation of the yeasts on the malt in the bottle, leaving a little dap of sediment in the bottom of the bottle. (Good pouring can reduce the haze in your glass.)

The beer is quite complex, to tell you the truth. Sold in a 4 pack, and justly so.

I must say, I wish this was more common-- I would have it supplant Bass if 't'were.

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Act of kindness

It is a kind and proper thing to light the porch lamp while awaiting someone.

As I disembarked from my car at a tad past midnight this morning, I saw that my neighbors across the street were getting a pizza delivered. As I watched the pizza guy pick his way across their yard up to a dark stoop in the dark, I thought how rude it was not to have turned on the porch light to receive the pizza guy. Then I turned to go inside.

As I got out my keys, I realized that I was hunting my front door key in the darkness of my own doorway.

Hrrumph. My wife, who absolutely blesses my family with her ability to squeeze blood from the stone that is our budget, frugally turned off the porch lamp when she retired to bed. It's true that I carry a Stinger flashlight on my belt if I need light. But still-- do we save THAT much by dousing the 60 watt bulb for two hours?

Kinda hurts my feelings. I probably should say something to avoid being passive-agressive, as well as to get the guarenteed response of "well, just learn to deal with it" out of the way. :)

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Laughing at death.

When you see them joking over the body of your loved one at the side of the road...

Take a moment.

They're cops and firefighters and paramedics and EMTs and they all ran like hell to get out there when they heard that he had crashed.
They struggled to deploy gear and lights and apparatus and get the rest vectored in without further injury or risk, and to control the scene so that there wouldn't be another accident, and then made a Very Hard Decision not to begin life-saving efforts, because he was dead.

So now the men and women that had rushed to render lifesaving aid are having to redirect themselves to reconstructing and documenting the last few seconds of his life, right down to how he ended up in that position. They talk to the witnesses ("...don't know why he swerved...") and the complainants ("...tires kept spinning even after I hung up...") and those who just drove up ("...was steaming pretty good from the radiator..."). They measure the distances and photograph the factors and mark the points of reference, and wait for the Medical Examiner's investigator.

And someone cracks a joke that is relevant, but completely inappropriate for the situation.

EVERYONE laughs. It wasn't even that funny. But we all do. Wait, though-- this guy (it wasn't me. [this time.]) has a better one. And his buddy cries out a variation of the same theme. And they all bust a gut, they're laughing so.

Graveyard humor.

It's 24 degrees and the car engine's still hot to the touch. That victim-- that former victim-- over there, now cooling, was alive and terrified not 15 minutes ago. Well. 17 minutes, now. But, you know.

A check of his license shows that he lives not 5 minutes away, and before long somebody here is going to have to tell someone there that their loved one has died, for no real good reason that anyone can yet tell.

So please don't blame them for wanting to de-personalize the situation, just a tad. It's how they function.

How we function, I mean. I guess I meant to say "we."

[I'm sorry that I laughed.]

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Friday, February 02, 2007

Keyed up.


I've been dealing with cases involving ex-boyfriends and ex-husbands messing with the automobiles of their former significant others, or their former significant others' new beaus.

This is beyond feather-legged. To paraphrase Vincent from Pulp Fiction: You don't mess with another man's ride.

If you're such a coward that you can't face the guy directly to address your aggression toward him, then you have other issues worth dealing with. Dude. She left you. Move the hell on. Keying his paintjob or slashing her tires isn't going to do you any good at all. It might just land your butt in jail, if I can catch you.

And if the car's owner catches you, I can't promise you that they won't shoot your butt. It happens.

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Thursday, February 01, 2007

Oh, for pity's sake!

Al Gore's been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize... for bringing the world's attention to global warming.

Hunh?!?

Folks, the world's getting warmer. It's a fact.

We may be contributing to that, or even causing it; it's possible. Cut down enough rainforest and pump enough greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, and there's probably a brink beyond which the world gets hotter.

And Senator Gore has unquestionably brought a lot of people's attention to those facts, along with his own assumption that we're causing the global warming. So, hey. Good for him.

But what on Gawd's Green Earth has that got to do with the Nobel Peace Prize?!?

Proof positive that the Nobel Prize is, and has always been, a politically-motivated prize with little real meaning.


Mahatma Gandhi didn't win the Nobel Peace Prize.
Woodrow Wilson didn't win the Nobel Peace Prize.
But terrorist Yasser Arafat won the frickin' prize.

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Term for the day:

Petitio Principii |pet ish ee oh - prin kip pee|

Commonly known as "begging the question."

Now, this term is commonly misused when the people mean to say "raises the question."

But it actually is a pretty damned specific logical fallacy. It's a circular argument, in which a conclusion is based upon assumptions of facts that regard what it's trying to prove.

Hmmm. Attempting examples:
1. The ATF is a valid law enforcement agency.
2. The proof of the ATF's validity is that it arrests people who violate gun regulations.
3. The ATF mandates regulations, and enforces them.
4. Enforcement of the regulations involves arresting violators of them.
5. A valid law enforcement agency makes arrests.


1. Hillary is a woman of the people.
2. Hillary says that people who love her hate George.
3. Over half the people are not supportors of George.
4. Most people love Hillary.

Dammit, there are better examples, I know it. But bedtime is sooooo soon...

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