Sunday, March 30, 2014

Old Friends

I went through some more boxes of old pictures this afternoon and found some of a few long-departed friends.  The pictures themselves aren't that great because they are cell-phone pictures of the pictures in the albums.

Skipper.  My first dog that was my own dog.  He's the one on the left.  That's my sister on the right.   Skipper was a Lab-German Shepard mix.  He jumped the fence one day and was killed in the school cross walk following my brother to school.  How you manage to run over a dog when you're going 20 miles per hour in a school crossing is beyond me.  I mean the crossing had a Police Officer directing traffic and making sure nobody was speeding.

Duke.  My brother's first dog that was his own dog.  A Beagle -German Shepard mix.    Duke was actually about a year older than Skipper.   When the Police Officer brought Skipper's collar to our house, he told my Dad that Duke wouldn't leave Skipper until the City man came and picked up his body.

I know.  Skipper is kind of a dumb name for a dog.  My turtle was named Giligan.  What can I tell ya?  I liked the show.  I was about eight years old so cut me some slack.

Rest in peace old friends. 

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Range Report

I had planned to take part of this morning to do a little shooting over the new chronograph.   The weather girl must be anti-gun because a lot  of rain rolled in.   We were under a tornado watch most of the day.  

The weather wasn't much of a problem.  It did pour and there was a lot of wind but I was shooting under a roof  in the lee of a building so it wasn't so bad.  The trip's purpose was chronographing several different loads in three different rifles to see how identical loads in different but similar chamberings would behave.    In other words, I wasn't there to shoot groups so the wind didn't matter.  My only accuracy parameter was to fire 60 - 70 shots across the chronograph without hitting it. 

There wasn't enough ambient light for the chronograph to read but I did have the forethought to bring the light set that I got for my old chronograph; the one that went wherever all my other socks go.

The lights are the old, gaia-molesting, incandescent lights.   I think I killed 3.1 Polar Bears using them.  They make the new ones with LEDs.  You can't use flourescents because they turn off and on 60 times a second.  You can't see it but the chronograph can and they get it really confused.  With the lights in place, the chronograph worked flawlessly. The only hiccup was when a flash of lightening caused it to misread one shot.

I haven't had time to crunch the velocity numbers to see what, if anything they tell me.   I did, however, notice that the 303 Savage loads with 125 and 150 grain bullets weren't very consistent and that it really settled down and became consistent when I got to the loads using the 170 grain 30-30 bullets.   It also liked the 190 grain Hawk bullets much better than the light weight bullets.  The 30-30 using the same four bullets and same powder charges and the 300 Savage using three of the same four bullets and its own powder charges showed no such preferences. 

I  got to try out my portable loading rig too.  I didn't have enough pieces of empty 300 Savage brass that weighed close enough to each other to load all the ammo I needed at once so I had to load my last five shots at the bench.  I am very happy with the whole setup.  I had electricity and lots wind so I used the Lyman Powder Dispenser instead of the old powder scale that I have set up to go with the portable rig.  It really worked great.  It was like having my own loading room right there at the bench.  It was like that because that's what it was.

I also wanted to do more work on the front sight for the 1899 Savage in 25-35 Winchester so I took it along.   I recently did a lot of cleaning up and reorganizing in the reloading room and all my handloaded 25-35 ammo wound up in  the same place as my old chronograph and my other socks so all I had in 25-35 was a partial box of Remington factory ammo and I didn't try to shoot enough to actually sight it in. 

The rifle used to shoot incredibly high and I made a tall front sight blade for it.  I made it a good but higher than it needs to be so I could file it down and, quite naturally, it shot incredibly low today.   I'll do some filing on it and go back with my loading setup and work up a load. 

 I really like that little rifle.  Its older than the Titanic but in way better shape.  It weighs nothing, balances perfectly and its a take-down rifle with a spare barrel in 303 Savage.  What's not to like?  I mean, other  than the screwed up front sight and not being able to hit where I aim just yet.  On second thought, The Lovely Bride already likes it.  I better shut up before she decides its her's.  Ah...   Its a piece of junk.  So worn out its dangerous.  Can't hit a thing with it.  Too underpowered for squirrels.  Out of style.   Ya.  That's what I meant to say.  Really.

As a final little test to address something I looked at a few months ago, I chronographed one of my .32 S&W loads fired through the 303 Savage with the Marbles adapter.   It was actually kind of funny.  I still had my hearing protection on and it was so quiet  I thought it misfired.  Through my cheekbone, I "heard" the firing pin hit but I didn't hear anything else.   I looked at the chronograph and it said "655."   Opened the action and out came the adapter and empty .32 S&W case.   There was some unburned powder in the case so there's probably room for a little load adjustment but I haven't decided whether I want to do that yet.  I like it so much as it is that I don't want to mess it up!

Whatever the data winds up saying, the value and utility of the portable loading rig may be the biggest lesson I take from today's shooting.  If you can't shoot off the back porch, take your loading setup with you.  I can't believe how good that makes me feel about shooting again.   I can't wait to go back and actually work up a load at the range like we did in the good old days when I could shoot off the porch!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Sisters of St. Francis

A man is driving down a deserted stretch of highway when he notices a sign out of the corner of his eye...

It reads:


He thinks this is a figment of his imagination and drives on without second thought.

Soon he sees another sign which reads:


Suddenly he begins to realize that these signs are for real and drives past a third sign saying:


His curiosity gets the best of him and he pulls into the drive. On the far side of the parking lot is a stone building with a small sign next to the door reading:


He climbs the steps and rings the bell.
The door is answered by a nun in a long black habit who asks,

'What may we do for you my son?'

He answers, 'I saw your signs along the highway and was interested in possibly doing business....'

'Very well my son. Please follow me.'
He is led through many winding passages and is soon quite disoriented.

The nun stops at a closed door and tells the man, 'Please knock on this door.'
He does so and another nun in a long habit, holding a tin cup answers the door.

This nun instructs, 'Please place $100 in the cup then go through the large wooden door at the end of the hallway.'

He puts $100 in the cup, eagerly trots down the hall and slips through the door pulling it shut behind him.

The door locks, and he finds himself back in the parking lot facing another sign:




Saturday, March 22, 2014


My dog stays inside while I'm at work and a couple of months ago he decided that the prohibition against him getting on the couch doesn't apply when nobody is around.   First it was just dog hair on the couch.  Then I saw him standing on the back of the couch looking out the window.   After that, he made himself comfortable and he'd be sitting in the back of the couch like a Sphinx just watching the world go by when I pulled into the driveway.

The beast is of a breed that is prone to separation anxiety.   I've been working a good bit more the past few weeks and I guess it made perfect dog sense that eating the couch would help him cope with my absence.   Maybe Xanax is made from leather and couch stuffing.

Instead of just hair, we started seeing scratches in the leather.   Cover it with a tarp and he'd pull the tarp off.   He managed to chew a hole in the leather a couple of weeks ago so I started putting a 1 x 12 across the back to cover the hole and hold the tarp in place.  We piled cardboard boxes on it to keep him away but he'd just jump up on the back and be waiting there when I got home.   Last weekend we noticed scratches in the leather on the top of the back of the couch.  Another hole couldn't be far in the future.

The couch is already slightly ruined but I decided that I was going to win this battle anyway so I went to that place where the pets go and bought an indoor "pet barrier." 

Its about the size of a smoke detector and it transmits a radio signal to the shock collar.  


The first day, he was snooting around my briefcase before I left for work.  The briefcase was in front of the couch and in range of "the barrier."   The Lovely Bride saw him take about ten steps straight back away from the briefcase.  He didn't make a sound.  Just did a quick moon walk backwards.   We've had it for 4 days and he hasn't touched the couch at all.

This morning, before going to pay her Tithe at the Temple of Sam Walton, TLB snapped the collar on the dog and turned the barrier on with the him standing right beside her.  He took off for his kennel but she had to pass the kennel to get to the couch to put the barrier in place so the dog was trotting along trying to get away and she was right behind him through the kitchen, the dining room and into the living room.   She didn't realize what she'd done until it was too late.  Poor beast wouldn't come out of his kennel for over an hour.

I call it a decisive, strategic victory.   I'll even go so far as to say that with this pet barrier gizmo, if you like your couch you can keep your couch.  I will add one caution though.  I waited until it was too late.  My couch already had a hole in it before I realized what he was doing and he was working on a second hole so I had to get the barrier right away.  I paid $111 for it at the place where the pets go and it was worth it to me.   I found it on line for $42 plus shipping just now.   Plan ahead.


Thursday, March 13, 2014

Being Blessed

I spent a good part of the weekend loading various kinds of ammo for a project that I had  wanted to start for a long time and then couldn't find my chronograph.  Spent the rest of the weekend looking for it and finally gave up and asked a friend if I could borrow his.  I sent him a text offering to pay postage both ways if I could borrow his for a couple of weeks and he declined saying that he wanted to buy me a new one instead.

Got home from work this afternoon and my new Shooting Chrony F1 was waiting for me in the kitchen.

I got my original one way back when there was only one model.  This one's pretty much the same.  Its the basic model but the tall posts for the diffusers and the wide diffusers themselves are upgrades.   (The tripod is one I got on clearance at Gander a couple of years ago.  Couldn't find my chronograph then either so its just been sitting in the box waiting).

My original one had a nick in the case where it was clipped by a bullet and I know people who have actually shot their chronographs so I went to the local scrap yard yesterday and bought a fifty-six pound chunk of steel that's going to be set up in front of the chronograph to deflect any low shots.  I'll have to build it some legs this weekend but my shooting project is back on track.

I wrote to my friend to thank him for blessing me like this and he replied that it was God who had blessed me and he was just somebody who acted as a conduit.   God is Good!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014